It has been _0_ days since the last Trump disaster
May 17, 2017 9:53 AM   Subscribe

A week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, with varying reasons provided at and after the fact, the New York Times broke the story that Comey wrote a memo describing private meeting in February where Trump asked him "let go" of the federal investigation Flynn, which clearly did not happen, as CNN reported Grand jury subpoenas issued in FBI's Russia investigation, pursuing associates of Flynn, back on May 10. As details of this and other notes kept by Comey were made public, White House staff scramble from one fiasco to the next, and a senior official in the Trump administration summarized the situation as such: "I don’t see how Trump isn’t completely f*cked." And Trump hosted Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House Tuesday, where the Turkish president’s bodyguards beat up US protesters.

As is often the case, there's so much more (mostly pulled from What the Fuck Just Happened Today, as of the morning of Wednesday, May 17, 2017): If you want to contact your representatives, Resistbot makes it easy.
posted by filthy light thief (3434 comments total) 144 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks for the new thread.
posted by all about eevee at 9:53 AM on May 17 [31 favorites]


Also, maybe this will be the thread where he resigns!
posted by all about eevee at 9:54 AM on May 17 [65 favorites]


Counting by days just doesn't seem granular enough anymore.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:56 AM on May 17 [71 favorites]


I wonder why Trump Org might be liquidating assets at a time like this:

WPost: Trump’s ‘huuuuuge’ Caribbean estate is on the market for $28 million, prompting questions
Four St. Martin real estate agents told The Washington Post that the $28 million price tag far outstrips the amount that sellers are getting for the most exclusive properties on the Caribbean island, where the market is still rebounding from the 2008 banking crisis.
Sure, this fire sale raises any number of questions, but all of the answers are either "emoluments" or "money-laundering".
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:56 AM on May 17 [55 favorites]


Hurray for new thread.

So, before Comey sandbagged Hillary with his non-announcement about her emails, Republicans were going on record refusing to endorse Trump's candidacy, and he responded by tweeting a lot of inflammatory rhetoric, closeting himself away from campaign events, refusing Republican support, and making lists of the people who betrayed him.

What happens when articles of impeachment are filed?
posted by Autumnheart at 9:57 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


once again, heartfelt thanks to every Mefite who puts in the effort to create these threads (and every mod who keeps 'em running more or less smoothly).
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 9:57 AM on May 17 [91 favorites]


Countdown to a future comment describing this post as having been made in a more innocent time. Next Trump scandal to break in 10... 9...
posted by prefpara at 9:57 AM on May 17 [23 favorites]


May this one last for a week!
posted by drezdn at 9:57 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Why is the foreign trip even happening? Clearly Trump doesn't want to go and I can't imagine these nations invited him. So who is pushing this?
posted by Servo5678 at 9:57 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Looks like Trump has gotten himself into another pickle! It's going to be interesting to see how he gets out of thi--

[trump easily gets out of his pickle]

Well anyway, I still think he's going to be impeached very shortly!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:58 AM on May 17 [104 favorites]


Why is the foreign trip even happening? Clearly Trump doesn't want to go and I can't imagine these nations invited him. So who is pushing this?


It's an easy way to just put him front of a teleprompter so he can look presidential again.
posted by dilaudid at 10:00 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Is it too much to ask to have one day without some fresh horror? Just one?
posted by SisterHavana at 10:00 AM on May 17 [11 favorites]





[trump easily gets out of his pickle]


To be fair, I'm not sure Trump has actually got out of any pickles yet, he just seems to get himself into another bigger pickle to make people forget about the last one. It's like he's nesting parentheses.
posted by drezdn at 10:01 AM on May 17 [216 favorites]


Why is the foreign trip even happening? Clearly Trump doesn't want to go and I can't imagine these nations invited him. So who is pushing this?

It's traditional, and with good reason, for Presidents to visit abroad in their first few months in office -- it helps build connections with allies after a major transition in power, it allows reciprocity with foreign visitors to the US, and, on a basic level, it also broadens the horizons of the incoming President. On some level, I think it's being planned because it's a Thing That Happens. Why Trump is actually doing it, when he's eschewed so many other conventions -- that's a good question, and we might have more of an answer once the trip is actually underway and we hear some of his speeches while abroad. If he actually does go, which I have my doubts about.
posted by cjelli at 10:01 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Vox: Donald Trump has committed the exact offense that forced Richard Nixon to resign
In Nixon’s case, what crossed the line, moving top leaders from his own party to go to the White House and tell Nixon that his presidency was over, was Nixon’s attempt to hamper the FBI’s investigation into Watergate.

And we now know that before Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, he asked Comey to stop investigating former National Security Adviser Flynn. This is exactly the same kind of FBI investigation interference that forced Nixon out of the White House and shocked his Republican allies out of defending him.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:01 AM on May 17 [64 favorites]


Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling reports that health care puts the House in play, and "for the first time we find more voters (48%) in support of impeaching Trump than there are (41%) opposed to the idea."

After the election I just have no faith in polls anymore (not just PPP, but all of them). They all fucked up so badly.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:02 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: Counting by days just doesn't seem granular enough anymore.

I figure this title will be accurate for the foreseeable future. Alternate title: "Can't sleep, might miss breaking presidential news."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:03 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


so this has already been linked from other sources, but i just want to say that paul ryan's "welp" face in the accompanying photo is the only sustenance i require
posted by murphy slaw at 10:04 AM on May 17 [9 favorites]


looks like i picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines
posted by entropicamericana at 10:05 AM on May 17 [39 favorites]


It's like he's nesting parentheses Matryoshka dolls.

ftfy.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 10:05 AM on May 17 [62 favorites]


I stand by my theory that he intends to cash in on this being-president thing for as long as he can, get himself kicked out (but not arrested) so he doesn't have to be president any more, move his whole family and business activities to Russia, then retire.
posted by davejay at 10:05 AM on May 17 [12 favorites]


I, on the other hand, hope we need a new thread within 48 hours at the most due to Trump either further incriminating himself on twitter, rage-quitting, or trying to fire a sitting Senator.

Or, you know, impeachment proceedings.
posted by lydhre at 10:06 AM on May 17 [25 favorites]


looks like i picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines

Try to keep up. I'm switching to glue next.
posted by loquacious at 10:06 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Why is the foreign trip even happening? Clearly Trump doesn't want to go and I can't imagine these nations invited him. So who is pushing this?

Probably better than going to Disney World.

I keep having this kind of conversation with the young folks:

"It's like 1972 all over again."

"What happened in 1972?"
posted by lagomorphius at 10:07 AM on May 17 [13 favorites]


so this has already been linked from other sources, but i just want to say that paul ryan's "welp" face in the accompanying photo is the only sustenance i require

To abuse an elderly meme

Me at the start of 2016: Paul Ryan goofball workout photos

Me halfway through 2017: Paul Ryan 'welp' face
posted by Existential Dread at 10:08 AM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Maybe he's going on this trip so that he can defect to Russia before he gets the chance to be impeached.

I mean we can hope can't we?
posted by phack at 10:08 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


I have a feeling the thread title is going to be correct no matter what day it is.
posted by azpenguin at 10:09 AM on May 17 [23 favorites]


Alexandra Petri/WaPo op-ed (mentioned a few hours ago in other thread): The president is not a child. He’s something worse.

Apparently, it's unfair to be compared to President Trump. Children, bulls, bears, cartoon villains - all have some redeeming qualities that he doesn't.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:09 AM on May 17 [27 favorites]


Guys when does this bloodlust for Republicans go away

Am I turning into a werewolf
posted by schadenfrau at 10:11 AM on May 17 [90 favorites]


Guys when does this bloodlust for Republicans go away

wow so much for the tolerant left
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:12 AM on May 17 [86 favorites]


Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL) on CNN calling for an independent investigation from "an outside group", "outside of politics".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:12 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL) on CNN calling for an independent investigation "an outside group", "outside of politics".

Some sort of bureau. A federal bureau, perhaps. Maybe one tasked with investigating?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 10:13 AM on May 17 [265 favorites]


Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL) on CNN calling for an independent investigation "an outside group", "outside of politics".

At the pace at which things are unfolding, the only people who will be able to conduct a proper investigation will be a bunch of time lords.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:13 AM on May 17 [31 favorites]


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL) on CNN calling for an independent investigation "an outside group", "outside of politics".

One issue with calling for an independent investigation now is that the current FBI efforts are halted, and that new effort starts from scratch. Even if they get access to FBI resources, they'll have to re-evaluate those resources to identify any bias or gaps.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:14 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


The fact that 48% of voters favor impeachment, or that his disapproval rating is in excess of 54% (as of this writing (2017-05-17)). He has an 84% approval rating among the Republican base. That's all the cover GOP members of Congress need in order to forego a "profile in courage" moment and prioritize country over party.

For the last six months, thanks to a holdover meant to protect slavery (the Electoral College), and decades of gaming the system, we have lived in a world where a small, backward-thinking, racist faction has been able to force their will on the majority of this country. The fact that no one in government, with the possible exception of some executive agencies and the courts, is trying to act in that fashion makes me question the patriotism of our leaders.
posted by MrGuilt at 10:14 AM on May 17 [78 favorites]


> from "an outside group", "outside of politics"

Help us, Obi-Wan Zuckerberg, you're our only hope.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:15 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


After the election I just have no faith in polls anymore (not just PPP, but all of them). They all fucked up so badly.

I gotta point out that polling for the national popular vote was within normal bounds of accuracy, and 538 gave Trump a 29% chance of victory, which is not very unlikely at all.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:15 AM on May 17 [67 favorites]


Am I turning into a werewolf

But enough about Nixon.

AROOOOO!
posted by Servo5678 at 10:16 AM on May 17 [14 favorites]


To be fair, I'm not sure Trump has actually got out of any pickles yet, he just seems to get himself into another bigger pickle to make people forget about the last one.

It's pickles all the way down.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:16 AM on May 17 [18 favorites]


Barack Spinoza: Some sort of bureau. A federal bureau, perhaps. Maybe one tasked with investigating?

To counter my prior comment: the FBI is currently without leadership, unless the interim leadership just stays in place until the current investigation(s) conclude. Any new leadership, picked by Trump, will be assumed to come with its own taint and possibility of complicity due to Trump's prior request for loyalty.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:16 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, Trump used his commencement speech at the Coast Guard academy this morning to complain that no politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly than he has.

All I can say is DONALD TRUMP, WHO ARE YOU CRAPPING?
posted by SisterHavana at 10:17 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]



At the pace at which things are unfolding, the only people who will be able to conduct a proper investigation will be a bunch of time lords.


A later incarnation of Trump known as The Valeyard will in charge of trying Trump.
posted by drezdn at 10:17 AM on May 17 [18 favorites]


So I click on the YouTube video with this description: "LIVE | Senators React To Trump's Obstruction Of Justice Detailed In Comey Memo"

...and it's so far two senators giving verbal hand-jobs to our Brave Police Officers.
posted by odinsdream at 10:17 AM on May 17


One issue with calling for an independent investigation now is that the current FBI efforts are halted

Why would this be required? Why can't the investigations operate in parallel?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:17 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


He has an 84% approval rating among the Republican base.

I think it was on 538 a while ago, but I saw that dipping below 90% support from your base is unusual. And going below 80% is dangerous. It basically guarantees election failures across the board. So just remember that.
posted by Glibpaxman at 10:18 AM on May 17 [45 favorites]


Meanwhile, in conservativeland, the greatest scandal to ever happen in the world is the Clintons' wanton murder of a former associate who knew too much, a brave American who saw evil and tired to warn us. A hero named Vince Foster Seth Rich.
posted by Naberius at 10:18 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


A conservative columnists has put forth the idea that Trump should be removed under the 25th amendment.

You can see why this would be preferable to people who don't look forward to a drawn out investigation, but it would also be more decisive. Of course, congress would have to agree on it....
posted by lumpenprole at 10:18 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


538 gave Trump a 29% chance of victory, which is not very unlikely at all.

And given my luck with the RNG on Civ6 and WoW - that's a basically guaranteed sub-optimal outcome.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:18 AM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Just to keep time scales in perspective, as was noted in the previous thread, public support for impeachment is now at about the level it was for Nixon in October of '73, which was still 10 months before his eventual resignation. And as the 538 folks point out, even during the height of Nixon, quite a few Republican members of Congress opposed actual impeachment, as did Republicans during Iran-Contra, and Democrats in '98. It is very unlikely anything like impeachment would happen before the 2018 elections, so worries about Pence-vs-Trump are likely moot for some time now, and we can both pursue impeachment as hard as we like, while being fairly sure to still benefit from the electoral drag of Trump at least until 2018. But mainly, this means we have to pace ourselves -- emotionally, if not in our activism. Even with a Comey-firing scale scandal every week, all of this is unlikely to result in anything more definitive than a series of investigations, committees, reports, etc. Which are all good things, inasmuch as they might block AHCA, tax cuts, and all the other nasty stuff the Republicans would pass if they could get their acts together. But it means we're still in for a very long haul, so I would encourage all of us to think about exactly what pace (e.g., in these threads) we can imagine sustaining for another 50-100 weeks, until the game seriously changes in 2018 after Democrats (hopefully) take the House. The resistance depends on pacing and self-care.
posted by chortly at 10:19 AM on May 17 [73 favorites]


Future thread title: "You'd better get out the flags and fix a parade" in honor of Trumpy's upcoming Rainbow Tour.
posted by charred husk at 10:19 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]




I gotta point out that polling for the national popular vote was within normal bounds of accuracy, and 538 gave Trump a 29% chance of victory, which is not very unlikely at all.

Yeah, I remember a lot of people on this site and others accusing Nate Silver of stoking fear and trying to create a horse-race narrative for fun! and profit! We believed what we wanted to believe.
posted by lalex at 10:21 AM on May 17 [36 favorites]


To be fair, I'm not sure Trump has actually got out of any pickles yet, he just seems to get himself into another bigger pickle to make people forget about the last one. It's like he's nesting parentheses.

This is going to end with a stack overflow, isn't it?
posted by biogeo at 10:21 AM on May 17 [18 favorites]


Senate Intel panel asks Comey to testify publicly 🍿
posted by supercrayon at 13:19 on May 17 [+] [!]


This will be a great opportunity to really get to the bottom of that whole crazy emails thing.
posted by Evstar at 10:21 AM on May 17 [28 favorites]


Trying to calculate how much damage a President Pence can accomplish in something less than 24 months. Any ideas?
posted by rc3spencer at 10:22 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]


foxnews.com top headline right now: CRACKS IN THE WALL: Comey ‘memo’ has Republicans increasingly leery of Trump drama

Huh.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:22 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


out of the frying pan into the fire into the volcano into the basement at chernobyl into the surface of the sun
posted by murphy slaw at 10:22 AM on May 17 [56 favorites]


ugh - enough with the impeachment / resigning calls already. That would make things so much worse. All the minions with the real power, and intent, to screw things up would still be there (led by Pence, no less), and they'd then be cast in the role of responsible adults cleaning up the mess. At least with the clown-in-chief making a fool of himself every day, nothing else will get done (hopefully).

I suspect the best we can hope for is that Trump becomes such a national embarrassment that it tarnishes the corporate wing of *both* parties for a generation or two. (assuming we're still alive at the end of it)

"Resistance" is an unfortunate term, what with all the romantic heroes on the barricades connotations. We need a slogan that pushes the ridicule button hard instead. We'll have won when a Fox anchor laughs out loud at him on air.
posted by cfraenkel at 10:24 AM on May 17 [17 favorites]


Bear in mind that Nate Silver's 29% prediction was based on the possibility of systemic error in polling results. So that he was vindicated doesn't mean the (state-by-state) polls were right, it just means there were indications of their wrongness.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:24 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


A tweet for every occasion.

@realDonaldTrump Just as I predicted, @BarackObama has not allowed an independent investigation into the national security leaks from his cabinet.
posted by joedan at 10:24 AM on May 17 [24 favorites]




CRACKS IN THE WALL: Comey ‘memo’ has Republicans increasingly leery of Trump drama

You know, not really a memo, but more of a 'memo'. I mean, not memo in so many words, but 'memo'. You know?
posted by lumpenprole at 10:25 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


He has an 84% approval rating among the Republican base.

Consider though, that is not 50% R and 50% D, as it might have been in times past. Now it's more like 33%R / 33%D / 33%I, and it's the Is that everyone is trying to win over.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:26 AM on May 17 [9 favorites]


from the The Washington Post:

Look at how I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media," President Trump said at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's commencement on May 17. "No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly."

Maybe you can have worse, but the treatment seems fair to me.
posted by piyushnz at 10:27 AM on May 17 [16 favorites]


I gotta point out that polling for the national popular vote was within normal bounds of accuracy, and 538 gave Trump a 29% chance of victory, which is not very unlikely at all.

Not just a roughly 30% of victory but also laid out the exact scenario for Trump's victory which actually happened. It was extremely prescient. I know that 538 is basically the only place I'm going to trust going forward.
posted by Justinian at 10:27 AM on May 17 [12 favorites]


A 'memo' which may offer 'proof' that the 'President' maybe 'broke' the 'law' ... so-called.
posted by wabbittwax at 10:27 AM on May 17


Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago

You'd think that the FSB would have locked it down to prevent, say, the Chinese or Americans or someone from stealing their asset.
posted by acb at 10:28 AM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Here's my legislative contact angle for the day with talking points for Senators:

Tell Sen. Richard Burr (Chair of the Intelligence Committee) and Sen. Charles Grassley (Chair of Judiciary Committee) that:

- All documents related to the James Comey firing must be turned over in a timely fashion or subpoenaed

- Jefferson B. Sessions III must be investigated for his role in the firing of James Comey, given his own suspicious connections to Russian agents, and subsequent recusal from the investigation of Russia

- James Comey must testify under oath, in a public open session, as to the state of the Russia investigation at the time of his firing

- He must also testify as to whether Trump asked for a loyalty oath or tried to interfere with the investigation into Russian electoral interference

- The committees must also subpoena and release Trump's tax returns, in full, so the American people can see how his finances may have influenced his choice to betray highly classified intelligence to Russian agents in the Oval Office

- Failure to do so will show the country how unpatriotic the Republican leadership is
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:28 AM on May 17 [34 favorites]


Senate Intel panel asks Comey to testify publicly

Didn't he say something about how the only way he would agree to testify before Congress was if it was in open session?....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:29 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Look at how I’ve been treated lately
worlds tiniest violin for worlds tiniest hands
posted by localhuman at 10:29 AM on May 17 [29 favorites]


wow so much for the tolerant left

I ran out of tolerance somewhere between outright misogyny, sexual assault, and the appearance of literal nazis

And my tolerance cupboard shall remain pretty fucking bare so long as any of those things remain acceptable in the republican tent

Bring on the full fucking moon
posted by schadenfrau at 10:29 AM on May 17 [148 favorites]


ugh - enough with the impeachment / resigning calls already. That would make things so much worse. All the minions with the real power, and intent, to screw things up would still be there (led by Pence, no less), and they'd then be cast in the role of responsible adults cleaning up the mess. At least with the clown-in-chief making a fool of himself every day, nothing else will get done (hopefully).

The down side of this is that as long as Trump is in office, he normalizes his way of doing things, which is basically to ignore the law completely and dare anyone to do anything about it. We won't clean up the mess if the GOP's idea of a half measure is to get the unstable asshole out of the White House, but decide that the new way of doing things is that laws are more like guidelines that they're free to ignore when convenient.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:30 AM on May 17 [18 favorites]


Consider though, that is not 50% R and 50% D, as it might have been in times past. Now it's more like 33%R / 33%D / 33%I, and it's the Is that everyone is trying to win over.

Not in a Republican primary it ain't.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:30 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


I think it was on 538 a while ago, but I saw that dipping below 90% support from your base is unusual. And going below 80% is dangerous. It basically guarantees election failures across the board. So just remember that.

I think things are looking fairly good for the Democrats, honestly, for 2018. I'm beginning to believe one reason things went so well for the GOP in the Senate/House is because the American public, by and large, prefers a split government, rather than one party, whichever it is, controlling all three houses. Right now, it's the R's. I don't think the electorate will allow that to continue even without this insanity. Given it, it's pretty much a guarantee the Dems will pick up seats.
posted by corb at 10:31 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


CNBC: Dow drops 250 points, S&P and Nasdaq fall 1% as Trump worries send shivers down Wall Street
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:33 AM on May 17 [14 favorites]


I wonder if Trump is aware some politicians have been beheaded. Or killed, buried, dug up for a mock trial, and dumped in the Tiber. Some of them were even competent! Some got sainted! Some people saying nasty things in the press when you actually suck is, historically, barely a blip on the "bad things that happen to politicians" scale.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:34 AM on May 17 [80 favorites]


ThisIsFine.jpg
posted by chavenet at 10:35 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


This is going to end with a stack overflow, isn't it?

As many a scheme does.
posted by cortex at 10:35 AM on May 17 [30 favorites]


You'd think that the FSB would have locked it down to prevent, say, the Chinese or Americans or someone from stealing their asset.

Perhaps they're running Drumpf as a honeypot. It makes as much sense as anything else, really.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:35 AM on May 17


Michael McFaul (former US Ambassador to Russia): Trump has given Putin the best gift he could ask for
Well before Trump, Putin has argued that the United States is no different from any other country in the world, including Russia. Putin rarely tries to celebrate Russia’s democracy. Instead, he cynically suggests that other governments, including American democracy, are similar to Russia’s system of government. Putin and his Kremlin-controlled media outlets propagate to Russians and the world the idea that our democratic institutions are just as flawed as theirs and that our press is not free or impartial, but rather, controlled by oligarchs and the White House. Likewise, Russian propagandists claim that our Congress, political parties and courts are not really independent. In their view, a so-called “deep state” — anchored by the CIA and the military-industrial complex — really controls policymaking, especially foreign policy. And individual American politicians are not bound by norms or ideals, but motivated only by their personal interests. (The Netflix show “House of Cards” became a huge hit among Russian elites when I lived there last.)

It has become much more difficult to argue that the United States’ democracy is unique, admirable or an example for other countries. When I served in the U.S. government, we argued in Moscow, Beijing and Budapest that the United States was a nation governed by laws. Last week, our president fired FBI Director James B. Comey, the most senior government official responsible for investigating the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia during our presidential election. The president did not violate the letter of our Constitution but most certainly violated its spirit. Try explaining this in Moscow, Beijing or Budapest. How does this decision look any different from when autocratic leaders do the same to impede important investigations? Similarly, images of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers removing immigrants from courthouses, airplanes and factories fuel the impression that we have no greater respect for human rights than other countries do.
American exceptionalism has always been deeply problematic. But on our best days, standing up around the world for human rights, the rule of law, a free press, and democratic institutions, hypocritical as it may have been for us to do so sometimes and however much we ignored such considerations in favor of more pressing practical concerns, was one of our best virtues. As McFaul notes, our total abdication of that role and Trump's own championship of "whataboutism" plays directly into Putin's long-term agenda.
posted by zachlipton at 10:35 AM on May 17 [105 favorites]


Looking at 1% moves in the market as a reaction to any particular bit of news might as well be haruspicy. Talk to me when it moves 800 points or more in one day.
posted by Justinian at 10:35 AM on May 17 [20 favorites]


"No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly."

Dan Snow on Twitter:
'Well, the Emperor Valerian was captured in battle, enslaved, used as a foot-stool, forced to drink molten gold and then skinned and stuffed."
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:35 AM on May 17 [115 favorites]


Why is the foreign trip even happening? Clearly Trump doesn't want to go and I can't imagine these nations invited him. So who is pushing this?

The President is already miserable and would struggle to cope with eleven days on the road in any case...

Mike Pence?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:35 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


WPost: Trump’s ‘huuuuuge’ Caribbean estate is on the market for $28 million, prompting questions

The question it raised for me was this:
The trust appears to be seeking substantially more for the St. Martin residence than Trump paid the previous owners, Steve Hilbert and his wife, Tomisue. Hilbert, an Indiana businessman who had licensed a caviar-based skin-care line developed by Melania Trump, sold Donald Trump the house in 2013.
I can't afford to eat caviar, let alone rub it on my face. But it's apparently a thing, and according to this article Melania's skin cream blew up on the launch pad because of the business practices of her incompetent partners:
About a year after Melania signed a contract with New Sunshine, the company imploded. John Menard found out that the investment company he'd left Hilbert to manage, MH Private Equity, was making less money than he'd believed. He fired Hilbert, but Hilbert refused to leave. So Menard sued Hilbert and the management company controlled by his wife, Tomisue, for breach of contract and fraud. Steve Hilbert filed a countersuit. So did his wife, Tomisue, claiming Menard had pressured Tomisue to have a threesome with him and his wife, that he "no longer liked working, was tired of pleasing his customers, and had decided he wanted to live his life fully and fulfill his sexual urges." Somewhere in this mess, Menard decided the only way out of his financial obligations to the company he and Hilbert had started was to sue Melania Trump herself, attempting to void her contract.... And so, just months after it was launched, Melania by Melania Trump was mired in lawsuits. It barely shipped to stores. It got into a few hands. And then it was done.
Other than pointing out that Melania likely lied under oath by saying that she graduated with a bachelor’s in architecture, the article is pretty sympathetic to Melania:
It’s unclear why Melania Trump has not tried to launch a product since the failure of her skincare line. Court transcripts suggest that Melania was indeed passionate about her designs, and mad when they did not come into the market in the way that she wanted. The transcripts also make it clear that Melania is a serious business woman, that given the opportunity and a company more competent that New Sunshine, she might be able to launch many more successful products. And the court documents make it seem like she’s not done yet.
Imagine what Melania Knauss could have accomplished if she had married up instead of settling for Donald Trump.
posted by peeedro at 10:36 AM on May 17 [20 favorites]


'Well, the Emperor Valerian was captured in battle, enslaved, used as a foot-stool, forced to drink molten gold and then skinned and stuffed."

But did they call him a Secret Aethiopian?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:37 AM on May 17 [14 favorites]


mcmaster is getting some pushback on his claim that trump's disclosures were "wholly appropriate"

NBC: Trump Gave Russians Secrets News Orgs Are Being Asked To Withhold
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told reporters Tuesday that what Trump shared was "wholly appropriate," and that Bossert acted "maybe from an overabundance of caution."

McMaster, a serving Army general who is not steeped in counterterrorism, did not immediately realize the impact of what Trump had said, the U.S. official recounted.

Many current and former intelligence officials said they were aghast at what they described as a reckless mistake by the president. But behind the scenes, U.S. intelligence officials were divided on the real world impact. Some said it could harm intelligence sharing, while others disagreed. Many pushed back on a news report that the life of an Israeli asset was in danger.

Four U.S. officials told NBC News they did not believe any lives were put at risk. Two said, however, that the Israeli operation, one of the West's best windows into ISIS, was in jeopardy in the wake of the president's disclosure.

McMaster told reporters that Trump had not been aware of the source of the information he conveyed to the Russians, a statement that raised questions about whether the president has been properly briefed on how he should treated classified intelligence.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:37 AM on May 17 [20 favorites]


> At least with the clown-in-chief making a fool of himself every day, nothing else will get done (hopefully).

This argument would make a lot more sense if real harm weren't already being done on a daily basis, with no significant opposition from the majority party.

> I suspect the best we can hope for is that Trump becomes such a national embarrassment that it tarnishes the corporate wing of *both* parties for a generation or two. (assuming we're still alive at the end of it)

How many eggs (read: other peoples' lives) are you willing to sacrifice to make this omelette of progressive change? No need for a specific number, just an order of magnitude will suffice. I'd also like some support for the idea that the "corporate wing of *both* parties" would receive the blame for Trump. Seems to me that a lot of things have to go right or that to actually occur, and, again, we're dealing with life and death of actual human beings in the mean time.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:38 AM on May 17 [42 favorites]


I'm for the resignation and/or impeachment of Every Single Administration Official. With that said, it's somewhat shocking to see folks questioning whether or not Trump should be removed because it might help Democrats electorally.

I support the immediate removal of Donald J. Trump from office. He is an existential threat, not just to this nation, but all life on the planet.

Pence is an odious, sickening man too, but Trump must go NOW.

Country. Over. Party.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 10:38 AM on May 17 [181 favorites]


Look at how I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media," President Trump said at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's commencement on May 17. "No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly."

He really is the late-period Morrissey of politics, isn't he?
posted by acb at 10:38 AM on May 17 [44 favorites]


a caviar-based skin-care line developed by Melania Trump

It's very popular. The entire Republican party is going to have egg on their faces.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:39 AM on May 17 [82 favorites]


People: What Does Barack Obama Really Think of Donald Trump? ‘He’s Nothing But a ...'
Cool, even-keeled, no-drama Barack Obama is one of the few people in the country who hasn’t publicly opined on the tweets and turmoil wrought by President Trump. And so a persistent question to those close to the former president is: What does Obama really think of the man now occupying the Oval Office?

“He’s nothing but a bullsh–ter,” Obama told two friends early last November, describing an election night phone call with Trump, in which the businessman suddenly professed his “respect” and “admiration” for Obama—after years of hectoring.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:39 AM on May 17 [32 favorites]


I fear I might lose in the pool I have with friends of inauguration plus 18 months.
posted by zippy at 10:40 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


It kinda feels like this latest Comey business is more noise and we're still all locked up in the luggage compartments of the pussy grabbing Access Hollywood bus. Comey testifying on live TV is the only thing that will make me feel a little better about it.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:41 AM on May 17


claiming Menard had pressured Tomisue to have a threesome with him and his wife, that he "no longer liked working, was tired of pleasing his customers, and had decided he wanted to live his life fully and fulfill his sexual urges."

the 1%, they're just like us!
posted by murphy slaw at 10:42 AM on May 17 [13 favorites]


The trust appears to be seeking substantially more for the St. Martin residence than Trump paid the previous owners, Steve Hilbert and his wife, Tomisue. Hilbert, an Indiana businessman who had licensed a caviar-based skin-care line developed by Melania Trump, sold Donald Trump the house in 2013.

About a year after Melania signed a contract with New Sunshine, the company imploded. John Menard found out that the investment company he'd left Hilbert to manage, MH Private Equity, was making less money than he'd believed. He fired Hilbert, but Hilbert refused to leave. So Menard sued Hilbert and the management company controlled by his wife, Tomisue, for breach of contract and fraud. Steve Hilbert filed a countersuit. So did his wife, Tomisue, claiming Menard had pressured Tomisue to have a threesome with him and his wife, that he "no longer liked working, was tired of pleasing his customers, and had decided he wanted to live his life fully and fulfill his sexual urges." Somewhere in this mess, Menard decided the only way out of his financial obligations to the company he and Hilbert had started was to sue Melania Trump herself, attempting to void her contract.... And so, just months after it was launched, Melania by Melania Trump was mired in lawsuits. It barely shipped to stores. It got into a few hands. And then it was done.


...and do you know where Mr. Hilbert met his second wife, Tomisue?

At his son's birthday party; she jumped out of the cake.

“My first memory of Hilbert was a story that went through Indianapolis like wildfire,” says Eddie Cheever, a former racecar driver and team owner when Conseco was a sponsor in the old Indy Racing League. Hilbert was at a birthday party, which included a large cake. “A young, lovely lady jumped out and did what women do when they jump out of cakes at dinner parties,” says Cheever. “The kicker to the story was that he then went on to marry the young lady. Hard to forget that one. Racing is full of interesting stories, but that one takes the cake, so to speak.”

I will say, though, she's a very sweet person.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:43 AM on May 17 [16 favorites]


It's like he's nesting parentheses Matryoshka dolls.

Except each doll is a turd, and somehow each successive one is bigger instead of smaller.
posted by Quindar Beep at 10:43 AM on May 17 [15 favorites]


ugh - enough with the impeachment / resigning calls already. That would make things so much worse. All the minions with the real power, and intent, to screw things up would still be there (led by Pence, no less), and they'd then be cast in the role of responsible adults cleaning up the mess. At least with the clown-in-chief making a fool of himself every day, nothing else will get done (hopefully).

I can't disagree with this strongly enough. Regardless of what happens, the rest of this term is going to stink of Trump, but it is absolutely critical that this man be removed from office for his crimes. Not only is he dangerously unstable, his incompetence is actively destroying our international alliances. President Pence will be a nightmare, but at the very least he won't bumblingly destroy our relationships with long-time allies like Israel.

A conservative columnists has put forth the idea that Trump should be removed under the 25th amendment.

The problem with a 25A solution is that Pence has to be the one to initiate it. I think this has several problems. First, I doubt he's likely to, or at least he won't until the damage is even worse than it already is. Second, if it does, he potentially gets to be cast as a "savior" who reluctantly stepped in when Trump could no longer serve due to his poor health. Third, it contributes to the continuing problem that Congress isn't fucking doing their job. Removing a treasonous president is supposed to be their job, not the VP's. The Republican Congress has been slowly abdicating all its responsibilities over the last few decades, shifting more and more power to the presidency. As glad as I am that Obama did what he had to do in the face of an obstructionist Congress, this expansion of executive power is not good for the country. The fact that jackasses like Paul Ryan seem to feel they can get away with saying "Welp, nothing I can do about this situation!" is bad enough, establishing precedent for issues of succession to be resolved entirely within the executive with only a rubber stamp from Congress will only make things worse.
posted by biogeo at 10:44 AM on May 17 [35 favorites]


What podcasts are people following during this whole mess? I am looking for something along the lines of Pod Save America/various Crooked Media pods or the various Vox podcasts. I need more pods, ideally ones that are released on a daily basis to keep up with this insanity. I know that a daily podcast won't necessarily be content-rich, but people in my real world are so detached from politics that it gives me comfort to have somebody chattering in my ear about it.
posted by schroedinger at 10:45 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


(also repeatedly refreshing news websites, Twitter, and this thread is not a recipe for getting anything done)
posted by schroedinger at 10:46 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


John Menard found out that the investment company he'd left Hilbert to manage, MH Private Equity, was making less money than he'd believed.

Does anyone know if this is John Menard Jr.?
posted by drezdn at 10:46 AM on May 17


Wouldn't be the first (or second) time Comey threw someone big under the bus.
posted by Peach at 10:46 AM on May 17


so umm, does all this mean that we can at least declare an official moratorium on Republicans referring to themselves as good judges of character?
posted by philip-random at 10:47 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


There's going to be this weird cohort of Coast Guard officers who, when they pass in the hallway, simply look at each other and nod. Academy '17? the glance will say. Academy '17, the slight eye roll will confirm. Some older or younger officer will notice that the temperature has dropped, and start to ask "What?" before remembering that these two have seen a thing that, while not as bad as combat, nevertheless has forged a bond between them. And every now and then, someone will whisper "surety" on a bridge, and only a few will laugh.
posted by Etrigan at 10:47 AM on May 17 [55 favorites]


Seawater is technically a "caviar extract" if you squeeze it right.
posted by CyberSlug Labs at 10:47 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


> the American public, by and large, prefers a split government, rather than one party

False, and not even close.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:47 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


ugh - enough with the impeachment / resigning calls already. That would make things so much worse.

No. Listen, Pence is awful. But Pence at least understands the basics of governance. I have been living in dread of what will happen if there's a serious national security emergency or natural disaster under the Trump presidency. Because Trump will not respond rationally to such a thing. Trump is not mentally capable of handling a major, non-self inflicted emergency. So on top of whatever we have to worry about from the emergency itself, we have to live in terror of whatever crazy nonsense Trump would do in response to it, and then whatever crisis ensues as the military or whoever decides whether or not follow through on that nonsense. Right now, we're in a car being driven by a drunk driver. The designated driver is a total asshole, and creepy, and we probably don't want to be locked alone in a room with him for any length of time longer than this drive, but he won't drive us off a cliff or into oncoming traffic. The priority is getting the drunk driver out from behind the wheel.
posted by yasaman at 10:47 AM on May 17 [125 favorites]


Okay, trying to reconstruct the timeline: At some point, there was a behind-closed-doors meeting with a bunch of Senators and Comey, and the rumors were all the Senators came out of the meeting stonefaced and spooked, and wouldn't talk to reporters. Does anybody remember what I'm talking about? When did it happen?
posted by jcreigh at 10:48 AM on May 17 [22 favorites]


Does anybody remember what I'm talking about?

I remember it, but I can't remember when it happened.
posted by drezdn at 10:49 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Donald Trump has committed the exact offense that forced Richard Nixon to resign

Trumps one innovation is that basically when he arrives at a point where anyone else would resign he doesn't. It's remarkably effecvtive.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on May 17 [25 favorites]


At least with the clown-in-chief making a fool of himself every day, nothing else will get done (hopefully).
I'm sure the people who care about the Mossad asset (or assets) that Trump betrayed for the lols might have some opinions on that.
posted by xyzzy at 10:50 AM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Does anyone know if this is John Menard Jr.?

According to this Forbes article, it is indeed John Menard Jr.

Cracks me up that Menards Asshole is behind that.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:51 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Hate to say it but Trump is not going anywhere. Maybe he'll be impeached. But so was Bill Clinton. Will he be removed from office in a vote? Unlikely.

All that's left for the next four years is bitterness and ugliness, day after day after day.
posted by My Dad at 10:51 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]




Re: Melania Trump's caviar skin cream business... About a year after Melania signed a contract with New Sunshine, the company imploded.

We should bear in mind - in all fairness to Melania - that this is a business that is notorious for being a tough roe to hoe.

*ducks*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:51 AM on May 17 [89 favorites]


This morning our office telescreens were on CNN (before someone who knows how to work the remote switched them to the Cartoon Network.) I saw some little picture which said above it "Any moment on CNN" and below it "Trump speaks live amid new crisis." Shouldn't they just leave that up?
posted by madcaptenor at 10:51 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


"No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly."

He really believes this. Because he thinks all politicians are as corrupt as he is. Just more hypocritical about it, maybe. Not "straight shooters" like him.

He thinks as politicians are this corrupt, and he doesn't understand why the press is go ing him such a hard time and when they played along with everyone else. After all, he had such a great relationship with the press before. He was a star.

as long as Trump is in office, he normalizes his way of doing things, which is basically to ignore the law completely and dare anyone to do anything about it.

Quoted for Truth. The longer this goes on the more damage will be done to our institutions. My greatest fear is democratic backsliding.

We need to stop him now, while we still can.

Already we have become a "flawed Democracy."

I can't remember if this analysis of the risks Trump poses to our democracy (by the author of "On Tyranny") was already posted on another thread, but if you haven't read it, you should. And so is this Vox piece about what 21st century authoritarianism looks like, called "Life in authoritarian states is mostly boring and tolerable."

If we let Trump be normalized, we will lose our democracy even if we keep its trappings. Impeachment is the clearest way to say "this is not normal"... before it is.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:51 AM on May 17 [25 favorites]


In February? This might not be the exact meeting but I think it would have been around this time.

Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties (Some autoplay video/sound)
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:51 AM on May 17


BTW can we keep this title for all future threads? or possibly just rename the site?
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on May 17 [24 favorites]


American exceptionalism has always been deeply problematic.

These days the only thing exceptional about Americans is their ability to fuck themselves if it'll fuck the black/gay/female person worse.
posted by Talez at 10:52 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago [ProPublica]: We tested internet security at four Trump properties. It’s not good.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:52 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Does anybody remember what I'm talking about?

March 15th
posted by Sophie1 at 10:52 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


[Quick note, we've now got a separate thread about the ProPublica Mar-a-Lago digital security investigation if folks want to dig in on that.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:54 AM on May 17 [16 favorites]


2017: I remember it, but I can't remember when it happened.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:54 AM on May 17 [13 favorites]


March 15th

so like, last week.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:55 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


ugh - enough with the impeachment / resigning calls already. That would make things so much worse.

I have much more confidence in Pence not to get into a nuclear conflict.

I have almost zero confidence that Trump will be able to do the same.

Whatever happens politically, we can deal with that within 'the rules.' There were some pretty fucking dark times in the last Bush admin too, but we got through that. We can actually GET through a Pence presidency. I don't know if we'll actually survive a Trump presidency
posted by furnace.heart at 10:55 AM on May 17 [11 favorites]


WTF? @Acosta: "DHS Sec. Kelly tells POTUS, holding ceremonial saber at USCG commencement to "use that on the press.""

It's reportedly audible on a hot mic, though I haven't seen tape anywhere yet.
posted by zachlipton at 10:55 AM on May 17 [28 favorites]


We should bear in mind - in all fairness to Melania - that this is a business that is notorious for being a tough roe to hoe.

Even after careful planning, you could wind up with egg on your face.
posted by Autumnheart at 10:56 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


what happens if the POTUS attacks you with a sword

are you allowed to defend yourself

does the secret service stop him
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:58 AM on May 17 [38 favorites]


Bah, someone beat me to the egg-on-face usage. Now I have egg on my face!
posted by Autumnheart at 10:59 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


out of the frying pan into the fire into the volcano into the basement at chernobyl into the surface of the sun.

Then the murders began.
posted by Quindar Beep at 10:59 AM on May 17 [13 favorites]


Fucker doesn't believe in exercise, he's gonna be shit in a fight. Bets he could do is come at you in a shuffle.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


> "DHS Sec. Kelly tells POTUS, holding ceremonial saber at USCG commencement to "use that on the press.""

Is it any shock that the people around him were chosen because they're assholes, and/or they lower themselves to his level of asshole-dom? The fish rots from the head down.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:00 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


After you recover from your injuries at the hospital, you apologize for getting in the way of the President's sword.
posted by notyou at 11:00 AM on May 17 [14 favorites]


Periodic reminder that every single crisis so far including this crisis has been entirely self-inflicted, that eventually there will be a disaster that Trump & co. did not start themselves and will be called upon to manage, and holy shit.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:01 AM on May 17 [71 favorites]


If you want some quick directions for action in resistance, here's the latest re:act email message via their official webpage.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:01 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Does anybody remember what I'm talking about?

March 15th


Hmm, interesting. So would Comey have told them then about Trump's trying to shut down the investigation? Probably not, right? Does that mean the shoe still hasn't dropped on whatever they were briefed on?

Oh god, I can't even remember all the horrible stuff that has come to light in the last two months. I need to stop this line of speculation.
posted by jcreigh at 11:01 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


> "'No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.'"

Why, for him to be treated more unfairly, some miscreant would have to call into question the facts of his life from his very birth, contemptuously claiming that the place where he claimed to be born, and therefore his entire existence upon this planet, was nothing but a lie, and that he therefore in fact has no legal right to his position at all!
posted by kyrademon at 11:02 AM on May 17 [53 favorites]


Meanwhile, Trump used his commencement speech at the Coast Guard academy this morning to complain that no politician in history has been treated worse or more unfairly than he has.

I'd think Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy would have something to say about that...
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:02 AM on May 17 [22 favorites]


Huey Long (AKA the Kingfish), who should be studied as a prototype for Trump, may have been accidentally shot by his own bodyguards in their rush to shoot someone he got into a tussle with.*

So, you know, fingers crossed.

* In the official account the assailant was armed.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Is it legal to challenge an elected official to a duel?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:04 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Huey Long (AKA the Kingfish), who should be studied as a prototype for Trump, may have been accidentally shit by his own bodyguards in their rush to shoot someone he got into a tussle with.*

Since we have an edit function, I'm preserving this for posterity.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:04 AM on May 17 [43 favorites]


may have been accidentally shit by his own bodyguards in their rush to shoot someone he got into a tussle with.

The poor bodyguard.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:04 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]


He thinks as politicians are this corrupt, and he doesn't understand why the press is go ing him such a hard time and when they played along with everyone else. After all, he had such a great relationship with the press before. He was a star.

Yes. The Trump algebra is:

being a star = you can do whatever you want. They let you do it
you can do whatever you want. They let you do it = having power
having the most power = being president

Which leads to:

being president = you can do the most of whatever you want. They let you do all of it

So he's... understandably confused as to how his presidency is going so far.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:05 AM on May 17 [63 favorites]


may have been accidentally shit by his own bodyguards

And Trump thinks he's been treated unfairly!
posted by saturday_morning at 11:05 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Lincoln especially. Gets elected, half the country secedes. Wins Civil War, gets assassinated. Party that he helped create to end slavery turns around and become racist ignorant sacks of shit.
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:05 AM on May 17 [103 favorites]


Autumnheart: Bah, someone beat me to the egg-on-face usage. Now I have egg on my face!

Dont' feel too bad. The caviar thing was bound to spawn more than one instance of that comment downstream somewhere.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:06 AM on May 17 [34 favorites]


Is it legal to challenge an elected official to a duel?

Which official? Because right now it's a choice between a sword and a Pence.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:06 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


OTOH, with Trump bumbling around at Mar-a-Lago and his golf courses and the government around him in damage-control mode, America isn't going to be turned into a hybrid Republic of Gilead/Hunger Games rapidly. With Pence in charge of a well-disciplined cadre of Republicans with their eyes on the prize and no distractions, the transformation will be rapid.

Perhaps Trump's handlers could make sure to idiot-proof his environment; replace his nuclear codes and intelligence briefings with fake ones and let him do what he pleases, whilst discreetly reassuring America's counterparts on the global stage that competent people are actually in charge?
posted by acb at 11:06 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


well you can't say that dallas doesn't love you mister president
posted by entropicamericana at 11:06 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


The thing about Pence triggering the 25th is that Pence is a very dumb man, who has always been managed by his staff and handlers. It's honestly very helpful if you think of him as an automaton with limited programming. When he's been programmed properly he does great as a talking head and stuffed shirt. But when his aides have failed to prep him for a particular question or turn of events, he just freezes. He literally cannot answer off-the-cuff questions, or delve into detail, or deviate from his talking points if the conversation swerves. (It's part of why you don't actually see him doing the rounds of political morning shows that often.)

Triggering the 25th is the sort of thing that requires a strong personality with a sense of duty and the capacity for independent evaluation and independent action. Pence has none of those, and he doesn't have a Svengali on staff who could direct him to make big, bold moves or convince him they're his idea. He's a very small-time politician with a very limited intellect who moves within a limited, safe realm of GOP orthodoxy, as explained to him by his handlers.

Triggering the 25th would require Pence to be capable of boldness. He is not. He is a small and timid man who knows himself dependent upon his advisers and who has always been scared to stand alone in the face of opposition -- when he passed stupid-ass bills as governor of Indiana that were unexpectedly unpopular, he would hold closed signing ceremonies and refuse to do press conferences and cancel public appearances because he folds like a cheap suit in the face of controversy.

Pence would obviously be better than Trump as president -- he would be wrong within normal parameters -- but Pence doesn't lead from the front, ever, and he won't on this.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:06 AM on May 17 [135 favorites]


Since we have an edit function, I'm preserving this for posterity.

FAKE NEWS!
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Lincoln especially. Gets elected, half the country secedes. Wins Civil War, gets assassinated.

Bannon, Sessions et al. definitely don't see that as a case of unfair treatment.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:07 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


If we let Trump be normalized, we will lose our democracy even if we keep its trappings. Impeachment is the clearest way to say "this is not normal"... before it is.

It's too late, it already is. We can never go back no matter what happens to Trump, even if he were impeached tomorrow. His victory showed it was possible to win in that manner, which means other people will invariably try, and sometimes succeed.

If Trump goes down it will only mean that those who come after him know where the public line is before they face any consequences and adjust accordingly to do whatever they want without crossing it. Trump's problem is Trump; the next person who wants to play like Trump might be just as evil but much smarter.

This is the new normal. Trump has blazed a new trail to victory and shown that certain tactics can work, and you can never take that back.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:07 AM on May 17 [8 favorites]




An early Washington Post story on the beating of protesters by the Turkish was very circumspect - they vaguely described a clash between two groups of protestors, and did not say that it was Erdogan's bodyguards who did it. They've since posted an updated story.
posted by larrybob at 11:07 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Chaffetz also says he wants Comey to testify next week, but he [real] doesn't have Comey's phone number since he left the govenrment: "I need to actually be able to contact him and other than looking him up on Google, I need to network out how to be able do that."
posted by zachlipton at 11:07 AM on May 17 [21 favorites]


I wouldn't trust these people to find their own asses.
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on May 17 [14 favorites]


Trump just fired you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, call me Comey
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:09 AM on May 17 [137 favorites]


So we're what, a week or two away from Republicans saying "Trump was only joking when he suggested Putin kill Comey for him."
posted by drezdn at 11:09 AM on May 17 [9 favorites]


After you recover from your injuries at the hospital, you apologize for getting in the way of the President's sword.

I thought only the Vice President can receive an apology from the victim of their aggression.
posted by Talez at 11:09 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


An early Washington Post story on the beating of protesters by the Turkish was very circumspect - they vaguely described a clash between two groups of protestors, and did not say that it was Erdogan's bodyguards who did it.

There's been reporting that part of the reason the DC police couldn't do more was that some of the guards were carrying guns. If a foreign guard pulls a gun on protestors and god forbid kills one, what would the cops do?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:10 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


They're cops, they'd probably cheer.
posted by aramaic at 11:12 AM on May 17 [11 favorites]


If we get through this, though, it's important to remember how young our country is. Pretty much every other country in the world has suffered through leaders who were mad, bad or dangerous to know in some combination. We will be scarred but we do not have to be destroyed.

My most hopeful moments are those where I picture the Trump Presidency display in a museum in the year 2500, where a few outrageous stories are told and then the narrative launches into the wave of reforms that followed while the schoolchildren yawn and wonder why their ancestors were so stupid.
posted by emjaybee at 11:13 AM on May 17 [78 favorites]


he [real] doesn't have Comey's phone number since he left the govenrment: "I need to actually be able to contact him and other than looking him up on Google, I need to network out how to be able do that."

I get that we're dealing with a rare set of circumstances here, but the Chair of the House Oversight Committee doesn't have staff that can track down contact information for people he wants to talk to?
posted by diogenes at 11:14 AM on May 17 [16 favorites]


There's been reporting that part of the reason the DC police couldn't do more was that some of the guards were carrying guns. If a foreign guard pulls a gun on protestors and god forbid kills one, what would the cops do?

They would be arrested. A foreign guard does not have diplomatic immunity and has only functional immunity. Committing a felony like that would be grounds for arrest and prosecution.
posted by Talez at 11:14 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Our country, state, is actually older than most. Our imaginary nation is comparatively young, of course. But it's important not to project the first onto the second.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:15 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Trump just fired you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, call me Comey

When I find myself in times of trouble
Director Comey comes to me
Leaking words of wisdom
"Let it pee"

posted by CyberSlug Labs at 11:15 AM on May 17 [27 favorites]


They would be arrested. A foreign guard does not have diplomatic immunity and has only functional immunity. Committing a felony like that would be grounds for arrest and prosecution.

They're on video kicking a guy on the ground in the head repeatedly. I'm not a lawyer, but how is that not assault with a deadly weapon?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:16 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Art of the Deal ghost writer Tony Schwartz is back with more insight into Trump's mind: His Self-Sabotage Is Rooted In The Past. (WaPo)
"On the face of it, Trump has more opportunities now to feel significant and accomplished than almost any human being on the planet. But that’s like saying that a heroin addict has his problem licked once he has free and continuous access to the drug. Trump also now has a far bigger and more public stage on which to fail and to feel unworthy."
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:18 AM on May 17 [20 favorites]


They're on video kicking a guy on the ground in the head repeatedly. I'm not a lawyer, but how is that not assault with a deadly weapon?

Because common assault is usually a misdemeanor without aggravating factors.
posted by Talez at 11:18 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Apparently, it's unfair to be compared to President Trump. Children, bulls, bears, cartoon villains - all have some redeeming qualities that he doesn't.

As do dingleberries, particles of projectile vomit, lamprey mouths and oozing pustules.
posted by y2karl at 11:19 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


It is also a felony to commit assault with a dangerous weapon in the District of Columbia. Dangerous weapons are objects that are likely to produce death or great bodily injury, or they can also include any object that is actually used to kill or cause injury or to attempt to kill or cause injury. The District of Columbia appears to use more expansive definition of a dangerous weapon, which means that, for example, a firearm is a dangerous weapon, but so is a beer bottle if it is used to cause injury. Even a clenched hand or steel toe boot can be considered a dangerous weapon, if either is used (or attempted to use) to cause injury.

(D.C. Code §§ 22-402, 22-4501.)

posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:19 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Presumably if they actuallywnated to arrest these guys they could just go ahead and do it.

They won't.
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on May 17 [3 favorites]


It is also a felony in the District of Columbia to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause significant bodily injury while committing an assault. Significant bodily injury requires immediate medical attention or warrants hospitalization.

(D.C. Code § 22-404.)

posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:20 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


So, for future reference, here are the members of the House Judiciary Committee. If the investigations ever get going, eventually it'll get in front of these, uh, distinguished gentlemen and ladies.

Republicans
Bob Goodlatte, Virginia, Chairman
Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin
Lamar S. Smith, Texas
Steve Chabot, Ohio
Darrell Issa, California
Steve King, Iowa
Trent Franks, Arizona
Louie Gohmert, Texas
Jim Jordan, Ohio
Ted Poe, Texas
Jason Chaffetz, Utah
Tom Marino, Pennsylvania
Trey Gowdy, South Carolina
Raúl Labrador, Idaho
Blake Farenthold, Texas
Doug Collins, Georgia
Ron DeSantis, Florida
Ken Buck, Colorado
John Ratcliffe, Texas
Mike Bishop, Michigan
Martha Roby, Alabama
Matt Gaetz, Florida
Mike Johnson, Louisiana
Andy Biggs, Arizona

Democrats
John Conyers, Michigan, Ranking Member
Jerrold Nadler, New York
Zoe Lofgren, California
Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas
Steve Cohen, Tennessee <--my Congressman
Hank Johnson, Georgia
Ted Deutch, Florida
Luis Gutiérrez, Illinois
Karen Bass, California
Cedric Richmond, Louisiana
Hakeem Jeffries, New York
David Cicilline, Rhode Island
Eric Swalwell, California
Ted Lieu, California
Jamie Raskin, Maryland
Pramila Jayapal, Washington
Brad Schneider, Illinois
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:21 AM on May 17 [12 favorites]


They're cops, they'd probably cheer.

The DC Capitol Police are professionals who serve our democracy daily by ensuring the right of the people to peaceably assemble and protest in our nation's capitol. I have no love of authoritarian thugs who hide behind a uniform, or the culture of the thin blue line that protects them, but this is a good department, and this kind of hot take is pretty gross.
posted by biogeo at 11:21 AM on May 17 [83 favorites]


Presumably if they actuallywnated to arrest these guys they could just go ahead and do it.

They won't.


I'm just saying it's ridiculous to think that these guys are on the right side of the law.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:21 AM on May 17


Will no one rid me of this troublesome FBI director?
posted by bq at 11:21 AM on May 17 [18 favorites]


Look, typically consular officers may only be arrested and be taken into custody for serious felonies. If they have a blue bordered ID card from the state department they're untouchable. If someone kills a person and they don't have a blue bordered card they're going to jail.
posted by Talez at 11:21 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


>This argument would make a lot more sense if real harm weren't already being done on a daily basis, with no significant opposition from the majority party.
Debateable. The argument is the real harm would get significantly worse, and become much more entrenched.

How many eggs (read: other peoples' lives) are you willing to sacrifice
Your "sacrifice" framing implies impeachment would somehow magically make the harm go away (?).

> but it is absolutely critical that this man be removed from office for his crimes.
Only if your goal is to preserve the status quo, which was already broken, just less so. Four years of embarrassment and futility might possibly be enough to empower a very big broom.


>My most hopeful moments are those where I picture the Trump Presidency display in a museum in the year 2500, where a few outrageous stories are told and then the narrative launches into the wave of reforms that followed while the schoolchildren yawn and wonder why their ancestors were so stupid.
Yes, we can hope.
posted by cfraenkel at 11:22 AM on May 17


the rest of the administration has figured out how to use the the president's excuse!

so McMaster didn't destroy his credibility after all. he didn't lie when he lied to the press, he was just wrong because he had no idea what was going on at the meeting he was at, because he didn't know that the information Trump shared was important. a deeply stupid man of principle, our national security adviser. trump didn't take his dignity, just his brains. that is the explanation of record.

this is the empathy gap I cannot bridge, that there are so many powerful people who would rather be thought stupid than wicked. it is probably nothing to brag about, that I would admit to immorality sooner than idiocy in their place. but of course not being an idiot is why I am not in their place.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:22 AM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Guys I’m starting to think President isn’t the best fit for on-the-job training.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:24 AM on May 17 [27 favorites]


> but it is absolutely critical that this man be removed from office for his crimes.

Only if your goal is to preserve the status quo, which was already broken, just less so. Four years of embarrassment and futility might possibly be enough to empower a very big broom.


Accelerationism on aisle 12, we have some accelerationism on aisle 12! Someone go find a mop.
posted by lydhre at 11:25 AM on May 17 [36 favorites]


Whether or not you think that the DC cops made the right call by not arresting those thugs, this is going to get worse and soon it will be our protests that are attacked. And people are going to die.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:25 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


If you make it worse for long enough, in some distant future it will get way way better. This is why the 76ers are so successful. We just have to trust the process.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:26 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]




Sam Hinkie: The Zen Master of Accelerationism
posted by tonycpsu at 11:26 AM on May 17


Guys I’m starting to think President isn’t the best fit for on-the-job training.

It's almost like there are reasons the President tends to be an elite insider establishment type.
posted by Justinian at 11:27 AM on May 17 [15 favorites]


Not exactly the strongest words from the State Department: ""We are communicating our concern to the Turkish govt in the strongest possible terms" @StateDept on violence bn protestors & Erdogan detail"
posted by zachlipton at 11:28 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]



Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump. (NyTimes)


Here's the world's smallest violin!
posted by drezdn at 11:29 AM on May 17 [30 favorites]


"Seawater is technically a "caviar extract" if you squeeze it right."

Homeopathic caviar?

posted by XtinaS at 11:29 AM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Not exactly the strongest words from the State Department: ""We are communicating our concern to the Turkish govt in the strongest possible terms" @StateDept on violence bn protestors & Erdogan detail"

To be fair someone asked Tillerson about it and all he had to say about it was "does it have anything to do with the Russian oil industry? Then I don't give a fuck."
posted by Talez at 11:29 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


someone shared this segment from NBC's election night coverage and it is creepy as hell how prescient is Richard Engel's commentary on a trump win.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:30 AM on May 17 [24 favorites]




He really is the late-period Morrissey of politics, isn't he?

Congress
Congress I was only joking when I said I'd like to
Squash the inquest by the feds
posted by saturday_morning at 11:31 AM on May 17 [60 favorites]


"Let's stop with the calls for impeachment/resignation"

Our President is a fucking traitorous corrupt criminal and YOU WANT HIM TO STAY IN OFFICE?!
posted by INFJ at 11:31 AM on May 17 [48 favorites]


NYT: A New Goal for President Trump’s First Foreign Trip: Damage Control
For his part, Mr. Trump, a confirmed homebody, has expressed dread about the trip, asking aides whether it can be shortened to five days from nine. His advisers concede that the intense schedule — dozens of interactions with leaders from the Middle East and Europe, over a range of delicate issues — could produce unscripted, diplomatically perilous moments.

Even beyond the tempests surrounding the president, Israeli officials expressed alarm about the unwillingness of Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, to publicly affirm that the Western Wall, one of the holiest prayer sites in the Jewish faith, was part of Israel.
...
Aaron David Miller, another longtime Middle East diplomat, said, “This will likely break crockery, jeopardizing sources and additional information on ISIS operations.” But he added that Mr. Netanyahu “will see no reason to exacerbate the incident, and may well see some political advantage in giving Trump some cover and the benefit of the doubt.”

In Israel, some analysts speculated that Mr. Trump’s disclosure of Israeli intelligence might force his hand on the embassy, since he would need to make a good-will gesture to the Israelis.
posted by zachlipton at 11:31 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


After you recover from your injuries at the hospital, you apologize for getting in the way of the President's sword.

I thought only the Vice President can receive an apology from the victim of their aggression.


A quick Google and I can't turn up any examples of Presidents who have assaulted anyone while in office. Jackson, Lincoln, and T. Roosevelt are said to have belted, slugged, or punched various persons prior to taking office (Jackson would not have had the Secret Service on hand to intervene, although Old Hickory might not have needed them). If the link above is to be believed, Teddy R was a boxer, an activity he kept up while in office until a heavy punch damaged his eyesight.
posted by notyou at 11:32 AM on May 17



Cracks me up that Menards Asshole is behind that.


He's like one of Wisconsin's own Koch brothers.
posted by drezdn at 11:32 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]


(Not counting war-making and so on.)
posted by notyou at 11:32 AM on May 17


*snap*
it, it, feels like backstage at the Gong Show with a broken popcorn machine popcorn.
posted by clavdivs at 11:36 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Our President is a fucking traitorous corrupt criminal and YOU WANT HIM TO STAY IN OFFICE?!

Not to mention a white supremacist fascist who wants to destroy democracy and the environment. But other than that, it's all good.
posted by chris24 at 11:36 AM on May 17 [20 favorites]


'Look at how I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,' President Trump said at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's commencement on May 17. 'No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.'

Julius Caesar says, "Et tu, Trumpe?"
posted by kirkaracha at 11:38 AM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Not exactly the strongest words from the State Department: ""We are communicating our concern to the Turkish govt in the strongest possible terms" @StateDept on violence bn protestors & Erdogan detail"

Maybe later they'll escalate to "very troubled."
posted by notyou at 11:38 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


OMG I scrolled through the last 273 comments on the last thread faster than the rolling movie credits they show on TBS.

wait for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
posted by yoga at 11:38 AM on May 17 [45 favorites]


Jimmy Fallon Was on Top of the World. Then Came Trump. (NyTimes)
Accusations that Mr. Fallon was helping to normalize an extremist candidate spread rapidly, just as they had when Mr. Michaels invited Mr. Trump to host “Saturday Night Live” in 2015.

[...]

Speaking in a quiet, tentative tone, Mr. Fallon seemed to be reliving the experience as he recounted it.

“I’m a people pleaser,” he said. “If there’s one bad thing on Twitter about me, it will make me upset. So, after this happened, I was devastated. I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.”
He didn't learn anything from the hair-mussing uproar. He still doesn't understand. Enabler.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:38 AM on May 17 [67 favorites]


But maybe if he blows up the world the roaches will make a reasoned decision at the voting booth next time.
posted by lydhre at 11:39 AM on May 17 [4 favorites]




I support the immediate removal of Donald J. Trump from office. He is an existential threat, not just to this nation, but all life on the planet.

I have expressed fear that if Trump is impeached and Pence is empowered, and nothing much else changes...then all the Republican plans to destroy lives and life will chug on unchallenged as everyone will be too busy celebrating the "win" of ousting Trump to care anymore.

I still have that fear and think that's exactly likely to happen, but yeah, seriously, Trump needs to be impeached yesterday. Last month. January. He is an unstable, openly corrupt, openly compromised head of state of questionable legitimacy and loyalty who would have been impeached, imprisoned and launched in a rocket into the sun were he literally any other president. Trump is a powerful symbol to resist, and it's easy to fear that if he falls, resistance fizzles and the US simply belongs to Republicans going forward. But it probably already does, and meantime, Trump is an existential threat to life on Earth who continues to do horrifically illegal, unethical, frankly stupid things every single day.
posted by byanyothername at 11:41 AM on May 17 [17 favorites]


I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just trying to have fun.

"Why can't I joke around with Hitler? I just like to make people laugh." - Some German comedian in 1933 probably.
posted by chris24 at 11:41 AM on May 17 [50 favorites]


From the state department: Guide to Diplomatic and Consular Immunity for Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities

I don't like it one bit, but Erdogans henchmen likely fall under "Members of Administrative and Technical Staff" for "Diplomatic Agents" - The DC cops were likely working to do as much as they could within the guidelines presented here. I'm not a police apologist by any means, but I do think that they are put in a different situation than most here - Diplomatic immunity is a tricky concept and they likely have to make assumptions rapidly.

This is still horrible and there _should_ be some diplomatic actions taken here - something I don't expect under this administration.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:42 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Not to mention a white supremacist fascist who wants to destroy democracy and the environment.

The problem is that the replacement is a Dominionist fascist who is far more shrewd and disciplined (though, to be fair, that's not a high bar). Impeaching Trump may be a case of slamming down the accelerator.
posted by acb at 11:43 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]


heatherlogan: Putin offers to give U.S. Congress notes of Trump's meeting

Just like the rest of the Russian-sourced leaks (Macron's data dump, for example), expect the information to accurate, but in the words of Trump's lawyers, "with few exceptions."

Which then undermines the credibility of anything in the information, but that won't hurt Putin like it will hurt Trump.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:46 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Trump: "No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly."

Someone told him about the Jon Stewart observation that he always says "believe me" when he's lying, so he's switched it up with "and I say this with great surety".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:47 AM on May 17 [29 favorites]


The sense I'm getting from Congressional Republicans is that they're starting to realize they have to get ahead of this. They're not actually interested in doing something, but they know that the hits are just going to keep on coming, and it's increasingly going to pose a problem for their sweet precious tax cuts, so they at least want to try a little bloodletting and get more of it out at once instead of the steady drip-drip.

For example, look at Chaffetz. He's a completely useless person who has no intention of actually performing oversight, but noticed a hearing with Comey for next Wednesday before he's even managed to find Comey's phone number or come up with a plan to find his phone number besides Googling it.

At this point, their calculations are around how they still get their massive tax cuts with all of this going on.

And as a sign of how bad this has gotten, Rep. Curbelo's office actually called Mother Jones to request a correction that he was the first Republican to mention impeachment, not Rep. Amash. When Republicans are fighting to be recognized as the first to use the I-word, shit is moving fast.
posted by zachlipton at 11:48 AM on May 17 [67 favorites]


I encourage anyone who says that Trump should remain in office because Pence is more competent and will get more done to read up on the American nuclear arsenal. And maybe watch "Threads".
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:49 AM on May 17 [39 favorites]


The problem is that the replacement is a Dominionist fascist who is far more shrewd

Assumes facts not in evidence. Trump is dumb but has a certain cunning and charisma (to some.) Pence is dumb with neither cleverness nor personality. Pence couldn't even run a conservative state like Indiana well enough to get re-elected.

Plus I'd rather fight Lawful Evil than Chaotic Evil.
posted by chris24 at 11:49 AM on May 17 [94 favorites]


encourage anyone who says that Trump should remain in office because Pence is more competent and will get more done to read up on the American nuclear arsenal. And maybe watch "Threads".

Nuclear hellfire would heighten the contradictions tho
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:50 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


I don't know. I'd rather us not become annexed to Russia. I'll take Pence's possible presidency over losing our country's identity and democracy.
posted by INFJ at 11:51 AM on May 17 [6 favorites]


@Jordanfabian: President Trump meeting with four candidates for FBI director: Andrew McCabe, Frank Keating, Joe Lieberman plus one other, per @PressSec

You did not read that wrong. Joe Lieberman's name really is on that list.
posted by zachlipton at 11:51 AM on May 17 [35 favorites]


VP Pence just formed his own PAC
posted by Peach at 11:51 AM on May 17 [39 favorites]



In Israel, some analysts speculated that Mr. Trump’s disclosure of Israeli intelligence might force his hand on the embassy, since he would need to make a good-will gesture to the Israelis.


oh god. some analysts still don't understand what they're working with. he might do this, who knows! but he doesn't "need to" do anything. it isn't like with a president.

he is like a terrifying Victorian children's story about the dangers of unbounded leisure and total want of industry. wheresoever he is, so long as he is out of prison, he will do anything and everything that he wants. the lesson of the children's story is that this does not make you happy, but I don't think the analysts need to be interested in that part of it.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:52 AM on May 17 [12 favorites]


"No politician in history, and I say this with great surety..."

Hmm.

In the jurisdiction where I live:

A surety is someone who agrees to take responsibility for a person accused of a crime.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:53 AM on May 17 [24 favorites]


It was the same argument against the Dems using the filibuster with Gorsuch. Holding back is not going to get us ANYTHING. Impeach Trump, then deal with Pence.

Seriously guys, take one motherfucker at a time and we can get this done.
posted by lydhre at 11:53 AM on May 17 [44 favorites]


VP Pence just formed his own PAC

Great America Committee? Seriously? He's so addicted to the roller coaster bullshit of this administration that he's naming his fucking PAC the "Great America Committee"?
posted by Etrigan at 11:53 AM on May 17 [15 favorites]


An early Washington Post story on the beating of protesters by the Turkish was very circumspect - they vaguely described a clash between two groups of protestors, and did not say that it was Erdogan's bodyguards who did it. They've since posted an updated story.

You link goes to the wrong place, here's the updated Post coverage: Turkey’s presidential guards clash with D.C. protesters outside ambassador’s residence
D.C. police announced they are pursuing charges against additional suspects involved in Tuesday’s violent clash between demonstrators and guards for visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Two people with direct knowledge of the investigation said authorities are reviewing video to try to identify Erdogan guards who they believe instigated the melee outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence. Nine people were injured; two arrests already have been made.
posted by peeedro at 11:53 AM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Hey, let's get Pence in there and then fire him too! Then fire Ryan! It'll be reverse POTUS Apprentice and we'll roll back bizaro world a half tick or so. Entirely possible if a citizenry is utterly pissed. There are many levels of cabinet and other officials deep to fall back into until we get a bland passably competent listener and then we can limp the fuck along again.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:54 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


The cycle on "WTF just happened today" is too slow. I need "WTF just happened in the four hours since I last checked MF."
posted by Coventry at 11:54 AM on May 17 [34 favorites]


VP Pence just formed his own PAC

I've seen reports that this is "a legal move to move Pence assets -- donor files, email lists -- from Indiana to the federal level."

That said, the "Great America Committee" is a really stupid name.
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 AM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Coventry: As far as today goes, it's pretty slow. I use Reddit (r/politics) for most up-to-the-minte breaking news bat shittery from our President.
posted by INFJ at 11:56 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Great America Committee? Seriously? He's so addicted to the roller coaster bullshit of this administration that he's naming his fucking PAC the "Great America Committee"?

"Why does Mike Pence need six flags? Shouldn't one flag be enough for him?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:57 AM on May 17 [25 favorites]


No, see. They made America Great Again already! So trump can retire with honors because job done. Pence can carry us in the Promised Land.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:57 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Assumes facts not in evidence. Trump is dumb but has a certain cunning and charisma (to some.) Pence is dumb with neither cleverness nor personality. Pence couldn't even run a conservative state like Indiana well enough to get re-elected.

As a Hoosier, trust me, Mike's dumb as a Pence Fost. It's really hard to fuck up being a Republican governor in Indiana. He's not even corrupt! He's just so maladroit at maneuvering the unpopular parts of the Republican agenda (social stuff mostly) that he pissed off the wealthy pro-business Republicans who fund campaigns here.

He's like W without a scintilla of charm or charisma (or experienced advisors).
posted by leotrotsky at 11:59 AM on May 17 [41 favorites]


Yeah, no, Trump is worse than Pence. If America is the rope in a game of tug-of-war, Pence might be better at pulling it in the Republican's direction, but Putin has convinced Trump to just cut the rope in half. With Pence there's still a chance for us to pull back in our direction. Trump leaves us all in the dirt.
posted by that's how you get ants at 11:59 AM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Interesting take on why the 25th is not the best approach.
posted by prefpara at 11:59 AM on May 17 [2 favorites]


You did not read that wrong. Joe Lieberman's name really is on that list.

Trump: he's gonna smooth things over with Israel. Did you know it was founded by Jews? I just learned that.
posted by zippy at 12:00 PM on May 17 [27 favorites]


because no political clusterfuck is complete until you get joe lieberman in there
posted by murphy slaw at 12:01 PM on May 17 [75 favorites]


Great America Committee? Seriously? He's so addicted to the roller coaster bullshit of this administration that he's naming his fucking PAC the "Great America Committee"?

Oh, no. That sly, stupid, motherfucker. He's trying to position himself as Trump's heir to the MAGAhats, and as the Savior of the Nation to everyone else.
posted by corb at 12:01 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


VP Pence just formed his own PAC

The GAC PAC? Seriously? Is it going to include the rest of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard's eight ducklings?
posted by Mayor West at 12:02 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


The only person the Senate Ds should accept as the new FBI head is McCabe.
posted by Justinian at 12:02 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Trump: he's gonna smooth things over Israel. Did you know it was founded by Jews? I just learned that.

Who knew the Middle East was so complicated?
posted by kingless at 12:02 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Great America Committee? Seriously? He's so addicted to the roller coaster bullshit of this administration that he's naming his fucking PAC the "Great America Committee"?

It's not a terrible move if he's looking to bring the Trump base along after an impeachment/resignation/removal. The establishment Republicans will just be happy that Trump is gone and will support him unconditionally, so he might as well do whatever he can to reach out to the rabid MAGA crowd and convince them he's on their side.
posted by contraption at 12:03 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Pence makes Gerald Ford look like Teddy Roosevelt.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:03 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


that assumes Trump's base even knows WTF a PAC is.
posted by INFJ at 12:04 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Impeaching Trump may be a case of slamming down the accelerator.

There have been two instances of US presidential impeachment (A. Johnson, Clinton) and one instance of resignation preempting almost certain impeachment (Nixon) and in all three cases, the overall agenda and day-to-day functioning of each embattled administration was thrown into utter chaos.

Also, in all three cases, the opposition party gained the White House in the subsequent election.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:04 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


The DC Capitol Police are professionals who serve our democracy daily by ensuring the right of the people to peaceably assemble and protest in our nation's capitol. I have no love of authoritarian thugs who hide behind a uniform, or the culture of the thin blue line that protects them, but this is a good department, and this kind of hot take is pretty gross.

There is no such thing as the DC Capitol Police. You have seemingly conflated the DC Metropolitan Police Dept with the United States Capitol Police, who would not, to my knowledge, be out handling the perimeter of an embassy during a protest.

As far as the idea that DCMPD is some sort of necessarily Good Department as opposed to bad ones, meh. I would opine that perhaps you are operating on an old set of impressions but they've been mediocre for a long time and have any number of really shitty past incidents with protesters. How well they handle complaints has been up for a lot of discussion and issues with them taking them have been documented.

Chief Lanier was an improvement from Ramsay but not without her flaws. The new guy, Newsham, was pretty strongly opposed by the local BLM operation. Why? Well guess who was Assistant Chief back when those protesters were kettled, hogtied, and arrested? Yep, Newsham, who it has been claimed was the person who ordered the arrests. The arrests that cost well over 10M bucks out of city coffers. Whether he ordered them or not, he was in charge in January when DCPD made mass arrests during inauguration proceedings. The ones that involved many charges of journalists who were swept up along the way.

I don't think much of Newsham and am concerned he needs to be properly watched (particularly since he's been calling for big increases in officer hiring rather than supporting intervention programs with a good track record in practice, fairly recently in nearby Baltimore) but I don't think MPD is a particularly bad operation. But they don't deserve to be held up as some bastion of protestor protection.
posted by phearlez at 12:04 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]




If Lieberman becomes FBI Director, I will begin building a giant electromagnet designed to attract civilization-ending-sized meteors because it will be another species's turn to give this planet a try. Surely roaches would be better stewards.
posted by delfin at 12:05 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


I love that Trump's FBI list is the guy who's already doing it, a guy who's 73 and hasn't done anything in 15 years, a guy who's 75 and retired 5 years ago, and Mystery Candidate (who is probably Mike Tyson or something).

I mean, shit, Bob Dole's still alive and well-rested from 20+ years out of the public eye, why not get him in there?
posted by Copronymus at 12:06 PM on May 17 [19 favorites]


Lieberman being on that list is just further evidence for the theory that the appointments are more about "pissing off liberals" than absolutely anything else.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:08 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]




Mystery Candidate (who is probably Mike Tyson or something).

IT WAS ME ALL ALONG, AUSTIN!
posted by Etrigan at 12:09 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


"He's like W without a scintilla of charm or charisma (or experienced advisors)."

Haha, true Pence story that I totally forgot until just this moment -- after he got elected, Illinois's Bruce Rauner hired a bunch of Pence's campaign guys (often referred to collectively as the "frat bros") and they came in very unprepared with no budget, etc., just a lot of talking points. But the hilarious bit was, Illinois's state constitution forbids multi-subject bills -- that is, you can't try to pass a bill about school curriculum with a rider about traffic laws or whatever. All bills have to be single-subject, and if you want to pass a package of a bunch of laws, you generally have to negotiate in enough good faith to keep a coalition on board through 6 to 10 votes on a variety of bills.

The Frat Bros from Indiana had an entire legislative strategy for Illinois of rolling up big tax cuts and unpopular union-busting legislation all together in one giant bill, throwing in a couple meaningless sweeteners, and strong-arming the legislature into passing it by threatening ads that said, "YOUR REP VOTED AGAINST MOTHER'S DAY" or whatever. They didn't know multi-subject bills were constitutionally forbidden because they did not bother to read the state constitution before riding in to fix Illinois and make it just like Indiana. Nor did they brief the governor, who also did not read the state constitution, and who therefore gave several incredibly stupid interviews wherein he parroted the 25-year-old frat boys and their moronic, impossible plan, and then was surprised to learn his entire strategy was flatly illegal. It took seriously three months for the governor's office to change direction and start introducing single-subject bills.

Anyway, yeah, Pence is dumb, his state-level advisors were led by dumb fratty kids without experience in the sort of bargain-brokering you have to do to govern, and now they're Indiana's chief export!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:09 PM on May 17 [156 favorites]


Spicer (he's doing a gaggle on AF1) just no commented on Erdogan's bodyguards

He also said re the Comey memo story "President has been very clear that this is not an accurate representation" of his conversation. Except the President hasn't said anything publicly about the story at all. As Glenn Thrush noted, Spicer isn't mounting a "personal defense" of Trump, presumably because he has no idea what actually happened in that room himself.

In other news: Immigration arrests up under Trump, including sharp rise for those without criminal records. What a surprise that those claims about deporting "bad ones" turned out to be a iie:
Federal immigration agents are arresting more than 400 immigrants a day, including violent offenders, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday. The sharpest increase in arrests is among immigrants who have never been convicted of any crime.

In President Trump’s first 100 days in office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has arrested 41,318 immigrants, up 37.6 percent over the same period last year, the agency said. More than three out of four of those arrested have criminal records.

Nearly 11,000 immigrants with no criminal convictions were arrested during that time period, compared with 4,242 during the same period last year.
And Margaret Sullivan: Trump’s wish to jail reporters is more than possible. Ask his international friends.
posted by zachlipton at 12:10 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


Given the way Trump operates I don't think I'd be surprised if the next leak was that he was interviewing David Duchovny, Jodie Foster, and Priyanka Chopra for head of the FBI next.
posted by Justinian at 12:10 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


Regarding the worries about Pence...as Eyebrows McGee noted, he's an empty suit, with little ability to think on his feet. Moreover, supposedly straight-laced Michael Pence was totes cool with:

- the pussy-grabbing tape
- the racism and xenophobia
- the impugning of federal judge's reputation based on his heritage
- his involvement in the Comey firing
- the repeated evidence of the campaign's collusion with Russia
- his boss asking the Russian government to hack Hillary Clinton's emails
- the many attacks on the free press
- the insults his boss hurled at torture survivor John McCain
- the sharing of highly classified, current intelligence with a hostile nation's top agents
- lying to cover for Mike Flynn
- the hate directed at LGBTQ+ people

Pence is so wrapped up in this affair that he can be hammered away at for years for his lack of principles and nearly total debasement and compliance with his boss' wishes and actions--especially if we can make sure he is in front of some aggressive interviewers willing to hold him accountable.

He's also weird and creepy in a way that his boss isn't--Pence is a robotic, dead-eyed soulless Christian Supremacist with less charisma than a rotten corpse. We can make his political life and fortunes completely miserable, even if he becomes an unelected President.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 12:11 PM on May 17 [68 favorites]


If Lieberman becomes FBI Director, I will begin building a giant electromagnet designed to attract civilization-ending-sized meteors because it will be another species's turn to give this planet a try.

Hey now! Don't take us non-USAians down with you! Sheesh! American exceptionalism indeed!
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:14 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


"Moreover, supposedly straight-laced Michael Pence was totes cool with: - the pussy-grabbing tape"

I mean, in Pence's defense, he was TOTALLY SURPRISED to find out that Trump was a sexual predator and adulterer because before agreeing to sign on as the VP candidate he obviously did very thorough vetting and it's nobody's fault that was literally no reporting ever before that Donald Trump had anything less that sterling sexual morality, Pence simply couldn't have been expected to know. And when he found out, HE CRIED BECAUSE HE WAS SO DISAPPOINTED IN TRUMP (I am not kidding, this was in the news), and then he prayed and Trump promised he was all done sexually assaulting people and Mike Pence thought really hard and decided "What would it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? I mean, probably millions, which is a lot of profit, so probably God's okay with it." That giant sucking sound you heard back in October was Mike Pence's soul being sucked out of his body and whisked straight to hell.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:16 PM on May 17 [85 favorites]


Red pill NH legislator Robert Fisher (previously) has resigned.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:17 PM on May 17 [116 favorites]


Jennifer Rubin, WaPo, with another take on why the 25th isn't a good idea: Let’s be clear about what the 25th Amendment does and doesn’t do
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:17 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I'm baffled about the upcoming Trump Trip.

If you've got a bellicose, homebound, senile, moron for President it seems that the last thing you'd want is to yank him out of his comfort zone for a nine day pressure cooker of a whirlwind tour where he has to try to remember not just his talking points for one leader, but many.

A quick day trip up to Canada to meet with Trudeau would seem like a smarter opening move to see how things work out and if he can be coached through even a single meeting with a foreign leader without fucking things up too badly.

Doing it the way they are seems, like so much else in Trump's presidency, like a totally unnecessary self inflicted wound in the making. No one was clamoring for Trump to visit their country, he wasn't pushing for it, WTF made them decide that his first foray into international politics should be all but designed to make him fail and enrage him at most of his most trusted advisers?

Is Kushner (who appears to be the architect of this humiliating meltdown in the making) secretly trying to sabotage Trump, or does he actually think he and Ivanka can pull this off, or what?
posted by sotonohito at 12:18 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


> Red pill NH legislator Robert Fisher (previously) has resigned.

How beta.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:18 PM on May 17 [50 favorites]


Hey now! Don't take us non-USAians down with you! Sheesh! American exceptionalism indeed!

If the US goes down it's taking the rest of the world with it. That's not a threat, it's a simple fact of life. Without the US providing its gluttonous consumption the rest of the world will enter a recession it will take decades if not centuries to come out of.
posted by Talez at 12:18 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


> Red pill NH legislator Robert Fisher (previously) has resigned.

How beta.


It's certainly beta than him not resigning.
posted by Etrigan at 12:18 PM on May 17 [69 favorites]


That said, the "Great America Committee" is a really stupid name.

Chairman of the Board
posted by lagomorphius at 12:20 PM on May 17


Excommunicated Cardinal: "Moreover, supposedly straight-laced Michael Pence was totes cool with:"

Pedantry: It's "straitlaced." Strait can mean narrow or strict, originally straitlaced would be applied to bodices made super tight, then came to mean personally uptight by extension.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:21 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


Regarding Pence's legendary stupidity: T.D. Strange came up with an apt analogy in the last megathread: a homeschooled bag of hammers on field trip to the creation museum.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:23 PM on May 17 [42 favorites]


MetaFilter: Pedantry:
posted by tonycpsu at 12:24 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


If it wasn't for some prior criticism of Trump's immigration idiocy, I guarantee he'd have nominated John Walsh of America's Most Wanted for FBI head. He's like the perfect fake-but-plays-one-on-tv law enforcement face for the deluded and tv-driven Trump.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:24 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Local news is reporting that Sheriff Clarke took a job as an Undersecretary in Homeland Security.
posted by drezdn at 12:25 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


If the US goes down it's taking the rest of the world with it. That's not a threat, it's a simple fact of life.

Pish. World did plenty fine for millennia before you guys came around. No reason for a suicide-murder.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:25 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


I am legitimately terrified that the President of the United States is about to give a speech on Islam written by Stephen Miller. People could die.
posted by zachlipton at 12:26 PM on May 17 [57 favorites]


This foreign trip really does seem beyond Donald's current abilities and I don't think it's impossible that it was designed to undermine him. But because he has no chain-of-command, no-one is able to stop it except Donald himself.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:27 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Local news is reporting that Sheriff Clarke took a job as an Undersecretary in Homeland Security.

please say [fake]?

isn't he like, under investigation for suspicious deaths in his jail?
posted by murphy slaw at 12:27 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Not fake, and he sort of is.
posted by drezdn at 12:28 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


The deaths aren't really "suspicious" as such, his staff didn't provide prisoners with food and water and they died because that's what happens to human beings who don't eat or drink for a prolonged period of time. We're just in the process of deciding, yet again, whether courts care if law-enforcement personnel commit murder.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:29 PM on May 17 [91 favorites]


Sheriff Clarke

Where'd you see it? I'm not finding that on the major outlets here in town.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:29 PM on May 17


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug, this reporter has it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:30 PM on May 17


Local news is reporting that Sheriff Clarke took a job as an Undersecretary in Homeland Security.

I've seen it a few places. Assistant Secretary.

Doesn't that require Senate confirmation? That could be a problem given that the jail he runs cut off a prisoner's water until he died of dehydration.
posted by zachlipton at 12:31 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


The problem is that the replacement is a Dominionist fascist who is far more shrewd and disciplined (though, to be fair, that's not a high bar). Impeaching Trump may be a case of slamming down the accelerator.

"More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." —Woody Allen
posted by non canadian guy at 12:31 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Pish. World did plenty fine for millennia before you guys came around. No reason for a suicide-murder.

There's a reason why the time after the Roman Empire was gutted was called the Dark Ages. When such a world center gets gutted its vast organization of societal knowledge gets scattered to the four winds and far reaches of the Earth every other entwined nation loses critical parts of its function.
posted by Talez at 12:31 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I work with some people who've survived civil conflict and the accelerationist stuff makes me both nervous and enraged. If you think a violent civil war is a great idea then perform this exercise: make a list of your twenty closest friends and family members. Cross off the names of any over sixty or under five. Of the remaining list cross off every other name. All those people are dead - at least, that's a pretty good analogy for what happened to the people I know.* So if you still think it would be a good idea to have a violent civil conflict in the US then you are a scary, scary person.

*famine, natural disaster, illness, lack of medical care, assassination by secret police, loss in combat, murder by militia.
posted by bq at 12:31 PM on May 17 [135 favorites]




Sheriff Clarke surely won't make the same mistake again when he is running the camps.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


also he TRAVELLED to MOSCOW on RT's DIME for the SAME GODDAMN EVENT that FLYNN was at.

either the administration thinks they're totally invulnerable or this nomination got in the pipeline weeks ago and they're too disorganized to stop it.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:35 PM on May 17 [50 favorites]


Doesn't that require Senate confirmation? That could be a problem given that the jail he runs cut off a prisoner's water until he died of dehydration.

I'm sure they can get bipartisan approval on this guy murdering us all.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


There's a reason why the time after the Roman Empire was gutted was called the Dark Ages.

Ah, but the Dark Ages were limited to the former Western Roman Empire, i.e. Europe. The rest of the world was doing fine during the European Dark Ages.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:35 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


Ah. I should have figured it be on WISN AM.


It'd be nice to get rid of him, but a promotion to federal office is outrageous.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:35 PM on May 17


Surely this?
posted by woof at 12:36 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


We say "Everything they accuse Obama of, Trump is actually doing", but could that include FEMA Camps?

I'm sorry for HAARPing on about this
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:36 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


4 people have actually died in his jail in the last year.
posted by drezdn at 12:36 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


sotonohito: A quick day trip up to Canada to meet with Trudeau would seem like a smarter opening move...

Hey now. No need for threats. It's been centuries since burned the White House. Water under the bridge, eh?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:38 PM on May 17 [20 favorites]


There's a reason why the time after the Roman Empire was gutted was called the Dark Ages. When such a world center gets gutted its vast organization of societal knowledge gets scattered to the four winds and far reaches of the Earth every other entwined nation loses critical parts of its function.

Pedantry: It's not really called the Dark Ages anymore, and what you describe wasn't really the reason.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:38 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


Whole country will be his jail next - with Clarke that have officially gone Full Nazi.
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


yoga: OMG I scrolled through the last 273 comments on the last thread faster than the rolling movie credits they show on TBS.

If you're on a proper computer (not a smart phone/ device/ tablet), GraphFi bookmarklet is a wonderful tool for skimming and following linked comments.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:38 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Anyway, yeah, Pence is dumb, his state-level advisors were led by dumb fratty kids without experience in the sort of bargain-brokering you have to do to govern, and now they're Indiana's chief export!

Indiana, Alabama...I feel like a lot of states are proving just how terrible their exports can be.

Better the New Jersey approach, where the export boomerangs right back.
posted by sgranade at 12:39 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]




@Jordanfabian: President Trump meeting with four candidates for FBI director: Andrew McCabe, Frank Keating, Joe Lieberman plus one other, per @PressSec

You did not read that wrong. Joe Lieberman's name really is on that list.


Press pool report:
Spicer also said: "The president will continue to meet with candidates for FBI director."

He said they are: Acting director Andrew McCabe, Frank Keating, Richard McFeely, and Joe Lieberman. Potus will meet with then this afternoon at the WH.
I presume that that Richard McFeely is this Richard McFeely (a long-time FBI agent), but the press pool report doesn't contain any details beyond the name so maybe it's someone else with the same name.
posted by cjelli at 12:39 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


"More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." —Woody Allen

A song!
posted by lagomorphius at 12:40 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


My unified theory of world history states that the Dark Ages began the very moment a hominid first stood on two legs and bashed another hominid's skull in with a rock, and they haven't ended yet.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:41 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]




One of the people who died under Clarke's care was a newborn. He is literally a baby killer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:43 PM on May 17 [52 favorites]


Pence is so wrapped up in this affair that he can be hammered away at for years for his lack of principles and nearly total debasement and compliance with his boss' wishes and actions--especially if we can make sure he is in front of some aggressive interviewers willing to hold him accountable.

Pence isn't just complicit to Trump's egregious behavior—he's thoroughly wrapped up in the Russian scandal. Bear in mind, Paul Manafort personally picked Pence for VP, convincing Trump to choose him over Christie, and then during the transition, he and Pence were in regular contact over the new administration. While Mike Flynn has been in the investigative spotlight all this time, Pence is due for his turn.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:43 PM on May 17 [49 favorites]


I believe you mean Joe "WTF" Lieberman.
posted by diogenes at 12:44 PM on May 17


There's a reason why the time after the Roman Empire was gutted was called the Dark Ages. When such a world center gets gutted its vast organization of societal knowledge gets scattered to the four winds and far reaches of the Earth every other entwined nation loses critical parts of its function.

I think Justinian might have some things to say about this when he comes along in the thread.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:44 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


Chrysostom: Red pill NH legislator Robert Fisher (previously) has resigned.
Fisher’s role in The Red Pill was first reported in two separate Daily Beast investigations which linked domain records for Red Pill websites to others for Fisher’s personal and campaign use.
Just another reminder that without a truly free press, this would not have happened. Hug (with their consent) a journalist, editor, publisher, photographer or other person in the industry today.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:46 PM on May 17 [62 favorites]


BetaFilter: Red pill NH legislator Robert Fisher (previously) has resigned.
posted by Rumple at 12:46 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Hmm. I'm looking at the Plum Book (236 page PDF file) and there are a couple of DHS Assistant Secretary positions that don't require Senate confirmation. Want to bet they're giving him one of those? I bet it's Assistant Secretary for State and Local Law Enforcement. Nobody can stop him.
posted by zachlipton at 12:46 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Consider though, that is not 50% R and 50% D, as it might have been in times past. Now it's more like 33%R / 33%D / 33%I, and it's the Is that everyone is trying to win over.

There are almost no true political independents. There are just people who don't like openly admitting their partisan identification.
When the partisan leanings of independents were taken into account, 48% either identified as Democrats or leaned Democratic; 39% identified as Republicans or leaned Republican....

Intense dislike of the opposing party has risen sharply among independents and others who lean toward a party. Today, 44% of Republican and Democratic leaners say they have a very unfavorable impression of the opposing party, up from just 10% and 11% respectively in 1994....

In 2015, 59% of Republicans – and 45% of Republican-leaning independents – expressed consistently conservative or mostly conservative attitudes across a series of 10 questions on political values that Pew Research Center has been asking since 1994. In 2004, just 35% of Republicans, and 24% of GOP leaners, had at least mostly conservative opinions on these issues, which include the environment, the role of government, national security and social issues.

The positions of those who identify as Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party are similar over this time period: In 2015, 62% of Democrats and 56% of Democratic leaners were consistently or mostly liberal. When the two groups diverged in 2004, Democratic leaners (58%) were actually somewhat more likely than Democrats (46%) to be to the left of center.
There's not a middle--not a big one, anyway. There are people who are pissed-off because their preferred party's leadership sucks or because their party isn't extreme enough for them. There are people who like to claim the cultural cachet of the pragmatic centrist even though they are going to hit the voting booth at 8:00 AM on election day and fill in the straight ticket bubble. But there are almost no actual "I could go either way; I vote for the person, not the party" folks out there, and the ones who do exist tend to be morons with wildly inconsistent policy preferences who aren't amenable to persuasion anyway. The independent label is very popular. True independence is not.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:49 PM on May 17 [38 favorites]


Bear in mind, Paul Manafort personally picked Pence for VP, convincing Trump to choose him over Christie, and then during the transition, he and Pence were in regular contact over the new administration.

i completely forgot about this and now everything … well i was going to say makes more sense but that would be a dirty lie
posted by murphy slaw at 12:50 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


@TheStalwart: Trump has decided to not move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Please add peace in the Middle East to the official list of things under the heading "nobody knew that could be so complicated."
posted by zachlipton at 12:50 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


I'm watching the Mister Rogers Marathon on Twitch as a 'chaser' for all this awfulness, but after Mr.R's umpteenth visit from his delivery man "Mr. McFeely", seeing the name "Richard McFeely" on the list of FBI Director candidates just makes me say "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO". You can destroy all of our American institutions, but DON'T FUCK WITH MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHNORHOOD.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:50 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


Lieberman becomes FBI Director,

I am beginning to believe he is less trying to piss off liberals and more trying to break all of our analytics, because he is just throwing darts at a goddamn dartboard and we are all basically going to die.
posted by corb at 12:51 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


If you have any spare cash and want to support investigative journalism, TPM is looking for more subscribers in order to hire.
posted by crocomancer at 12:52 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


politico says the position offered to clarke is assistant secretary at DHS’ Office of Partnership and Engagement
posted by murphy slaw at 12:52 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Regarding the 25th, while it would be in some ways delicious to have Trump not have to face consequences in an equivalent to the Right-bogeyman "by reason of insanity," it seems like a really bad idea. It would be much easier on Republican enablers. It would make it harder to pursue his crimes (if he can't do the job, can he testify about doing the job?).

Most worryingly, his hardcore base would treat this as a sneaky technicality, and they are heavily armed. While Impeachment might also trigger these poor souls, at least on that route the dirty laundry gets aired pretty thoroughly, and there is more time and reason for social consensus to gel around the idea.

Also, I don't believe for a second he has, for example, Alzheimers. He's a fucked up asshole who over the years has found it less and less necessary to keep his mouth shut. He's the angry, racist, immoral uncle not the loopy, clueless cousin.
posted by Rumple at 12:55 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Thanks, crocomancer. I just subscribed.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:55 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

posted by neroli at 12:56 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


politico says the position offered to clarke is assistant secretary at DHS’ Office of Partnership and Engagement

*Chortle*

Fun Clarke fact, as far as I know, he's currently still on a leave of absence from the Milwaukee Police Department.
posted by drezdn at 12:56 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I'm watching the Mister Rogers Marathon on Twitch as a 'chaser' for all this awfulness, but after Mr.R's umpteenth visit from his delivery man "Mr. McFeely", seeing the name "Richard McFeely" on the list of FBI Director candidates just makes me say "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO". You can destroy all of our American institutions, but DON'T FUCK WITH MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHNORHOOD.

McFeely was Fred Roger's middle name.
posted by lagomorphius at 12:57 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


It's almost like there are reasons the President tends to be an elite insider establishment type.

Well, sure, the first one elected from more humble beginnings got called a hick by the old Southern political elite and sparked a civil war. I've always wanted to see some scholarship on the role elitism and residual royalist sentiment played in fomenting violent sentiment against Lincoln, because he was one of our first self educated presidents from a non elite personal background and boy what a mistake that one was if all you care about is maintaining the stability of the status quo and law and order as those ideas are popularly conceived today (basically meaning as little restrictive regulatory reform as possible to keep gubmint out of the way of job creators).
posted by saulgoodman at 12:59 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Office of Partnership and Engagement

So now at least we know what the camps are going to be called.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


another fun fact is that clarke will be possibly the only member of the administration who is more bigoted against african-americans than jefferson beauregard sessions:
In a podcast on a conservative website, Clarke said African-Americans end up dealing drugs because they are "lazy" and "morally bankrupt."

"Let me tell you why blacks sell drugs and involve themselves in criminal behavior instead of a more socially acceptable lifestyle — because they're uneducated, they're lazy, and they're morally bankrupt," Clarke said. "That's why."
posted by murphy slaw at 1:03 PM on May 17 [33 favorites]


Regarding the 25th, while it would be in some ways delicious to have Trump not have to face consequences in an equivalent to the Right-bogeyman "by reason of insanity," it seems like a really bad idea. It would be much easier on Republican enablers.

There was some discussion of this in the tail end of the last thread, and without wanting to rehash that discussion at length, it's worth noting that it's not clear that it would be politically easier for anyone than impeachment would be: Trump, once removed, could object that he is fit to serve, at which point the House and Senate would both need to affirm, in two-third majorities each, that he really is not. And they'd have to do that on a short, twenty-one day clock or else Trump would resume the Presidency automatically. In other words, the removal might be easier -- but keeping Trump removed would be harder.

It seems likely that Trump would object. And in that case Congress would have to marshal a majority to oust him, without the benefit or political cover of investigations or impeachment proceedings, on a very tight schedule.
posted by cjelli at 1:03 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Thanks cjelli. My technology gave up on the other thread, maybe I'll try again. Interesting point.
posted by Rumple at 1:06 PM on May 17




oh, so smilin' joe lieberman is not just a random throw at the dartboard:
I REPEAT: Joe Lieberman is special counsel at the firm who represents Donald Trump.

I have not heard this fact uttered on my TV yet....

-- @ZerlinaMaxwell
posted by murphy slaw at 1:06 PM on May 17 [94 favorites]


wikipedia on lieberman's recent law work:
Following his retirement from the Senate, Lieberman became senior counsel of the white collar criminal defense and investigations practice at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, a law firm in New York City.


In early 2017, Lieberman introduced Pres.-elect Donald Trump's nominee as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee.

One report on Lieberman's involvement was critical of him for failing to disclose in his testimony the extensive legal work his Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman biglaw firm had done for Donald Trump since at least as long ago as 2001. The work included bankrupt casino restructuring and, during the 2016 campaign, threatening the New York Times over publication of a few 1995 Trump tax documents.
posted by murphy slaw at 1:10 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


" I've always wanted to see some scholarship on the role elitism and residual royalist sentiment played in fomenting violent sentiment against Lincoln, because he was one of our first self educated presidents from a non elite personal background"

There's quite a bit of it out there, especially if you read books on the newspaper coverage of Lincoln and -- especially -- his wife. They were made fun of for their accents, their clothes, their style of housekeeping and entertaining. (All of which was pretty unfair to Mary Todd, who was a Southern belle herself and very gently raised.) She was mocked as a "Prairie Princess," called a "squaw," and so forth.

It was easier for Abe to brush off, since his self-education was a point of pride and he was a man who excelled at gentle self-mockery to defuse tension, and the new Republican party at the time was so fiercely egalitarian and full of self-made new men. But Mary bore the brunt of a lot of ugly, ugly classist mocking as people vented their spleens on a safer target who was far less able to defend herself, both by personal temperament and by social strictures.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:11 PM on May 17 [42 favorites]


@Acosta: "DHS Sec. Kelly tells POTUS, holding ceremonial saber at USCG commencement to "use that on the press.""

Video now available
posted by zachlipton at 1:11 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


Pedantry: It's not really called the Dark Ages anymore, and what you describe wasn't really the reason.

True, but as a historical period it still sucked donkey dicks
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:14 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


> The thing about Pence triggering the 25th is that Pence is a very dumb man, [...]
Triggering the 25th is the sort of thing that requires a strong personality with a sense of duty


I don't think anybody assumes that Pence would attempt to trigger the 25th on his own and certainly not without a lot of assurances that the GOP leadership has his back.

What I have been assuming (from the way we know the GOP operates) is that there have been a series of meetings starting with the day he secured the Rep. nomination on How to Handle Trump. At some point they would have set a red line for forcing him out of office. It could be a polling number, it could be talk of a war with NK (they would not be opposed to a war per se but a NK war could involve nukes and it could end up being a war with China.) It could be a certain number of Republican big-money donors demanding they proceed.

I doubt they would go with the 25th--although it would be the fastest way and the least time spent slinging mud-- just because that leaves Trump to run for President again.

So it will have to be Impeachment. I guarantee that P. Ryan will not begin proceedings until M. McConnell has signaled he has enough Senate votes to deliver. The last thing on earth that Paul Ryan wants is a half-wounded and utterly maddened Trump using the powers of his office to take revenge on back-stabbers.

I was thinking that McConnell might approach Shumer to see how many Democratic Senators he can deliver. There will probably be some Republican Senators that will refuse to vote out a Republican President no matter how bad he makes them look.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:16 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


McFeely was Fred Rogers' middle name.
Wikipedia says he was "named for Fred Rogers' maternal grandfather", so this McFeely character could be a semi-distant relative. Let's just hope we don't hear about appointees named Daniel Tiger or Donkey Hotie.

[end derail. return to neighborhood]
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:16 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


I thought some legislative person promised to mention impeachment today? Nothing on that?
posted by agregoli at 1:17 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I was thinking that McConnell might approach Shumer to see how many Democratic Senators he can deliver.

Is there a reason to think it wouldn't be 48?
posted by Justinian at 1:17 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


True, but as a historical period it still sucked donkey dicks

that's it. franciscas at dawn
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:18 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


politico says the position offered to clarke is assistant secretary at DHS’ Office of Partnership and Engagement

I didn't think they could top making Rick Perry secretary of the department he wanted to eliminate (but couldn't remember), but they've done it. Slow clap.
posted by diogenes at 1:18 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


I'm starting to think no one should get too attached to this President.
posted by 4ster at 1:19 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


I thought some legislative person promised to mention impeachment today? Nothing on that?

Al Green (D-TX) did

Its way too early for this to actually do anything though.
posted by thefoxgod at 1:19 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Naberius: Meanwhile, in conservativeland, the greatest scandal to ever happen in the world is the Clintons' wanton murder of a former associate who knew too much, a brave American who saw evil and tired to warn us. A hero named Vince Foster Seth Rich.

Not only has that story completely collapsed, but it was clearly manufactured almost entirely by Fox News (with an assist from Julian Assange). I commented in detail at the end of the last thread, but here are the bullet points:

- the story started with a local DC Fox station reporting that Rod Wheeler, a PI for the Rich family, said that Rich sent thousands of emails to another guy who also died lately. Fox News and Breitbart trumpeted it.

- But last night, Wheeler told CNN he never said that; it came from the Fox reporter who asked him to repeat it as a promo for Fox's story

- Rich's family had said Wheeler was suggested (and paid for) by a Dallas businessman named Butowsky, a Fox and Breitbart commentator, but Butowsky flat out denied this to NBC News.

- Butowsky, however, told CNN that he did, and that he lied to NBC because "I didn't want to talk to NBC." Dispute whether B. is paying, or Wheeler is working for free.

- Also, the DC police say Wheeler lied about his work for them and was fired in 1995. And the family is planning to sue him because he promised not to make public statements without their permission, but obviously did here.
posted by msalt at 1:20 PM on May 17 [26 favorites]


Is there a reason to think it wouldn't be 48?

Well, you see the dissension even in this thread and the last one. People aren't sure they want to give up a 2018 landslide in exchange for just getting Trump out of office. Right now, the Resistance is hot and fired up about electing Democrats. That might not be the case under a Joe Republican administration.
posted by corb at 1:21 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


I was thinking that McConnell might approach Shumer to see how many Democratic Senators he can deliver.

Is there a reason to think it wouldn't be 48?


No except...you never know and they would not want to get their count wrong. Remember there was some talk here about how the Dems should not vote for his impeachment so that DJT remains a millstone around Republican Party's neck.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:24 PM on May 17


Remember there was some talk here about how the Dems should not vote for his impeachment so that DJT remains a millstone around Republican Party's neck.

But it also seems like not voting for the impeachment of 45 would be a heavy stone around a dem's neck.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:25 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


Considering Seth Rich was a DNC employee, why wouldn't any prime suspect in his murder be 100% Pro-Trump? We need to have his entire cabinet interrogated under oath as to their whereabouts the night of the shooting. Because, you know, Trump's Mirror.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:26 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Remember there was some talk here about how the Dems should not vote for his impeachment so that DJT remains a millstone around Republican Party's neck.

But it also seems like not voting for the impeachment of 45 would be a heavy stone around a dem's neck.


Leaving him in office is a noose around everyone's neck.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:26 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


> Right now, the Resistance is hot and fired up about electing Democrats. That might not be the case under a Joe Republican administration.

In my own local experience, any Republican who voted "Yes" on the AHCA might as well have a scarlet "T" on their foreheads. Again, in my area, the Resistance is usually less about Trump in general and more Republican representatives in particular.

And these reps know they're going to have a hard time.

In my neighboring district, for instance, the Rep has raised so much money that he was heavily rumored to be making a run for Senate. He announced this week that he's only running for Rep. That might be a lie, but I strongly suspect he knows the only way he can win is to outspend his opponent 10 to 1.
posted by Tevin at 1:27 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Is there a reason to think it wouldn't be 48?

I think it would have to be. 67 to remove, which still means 21 Republicans need to vote against. I wasn't around for the Nixon era but I think partisanship has gotten worse since then, so it's going to be comparatively harder to do this and Dems will need to not be playing political games. Priority one has to be getting this incompetent fool out of power.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:27 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Right now, the Resistance is hot and fired up about electing Democrats. That might not be the case under a Joe Republican administration.

As a member of the Resistance, I can assure you we're going to be fired up regardless. The Republican party and Trump are inextricably intertwined. The idea that you can remove Trump and return to the Republican party of yore is a fantasy.
posted by diogenes at 1:27 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


Impeachnment requires a simple majority vote in the more Republican House, and 2/3rds of the Senate to convict.
The 25th amendment, if challenged by the President, requires 2/3rds in both the House and Senate.

So it is actually harder to achieve, as well as sneaky and underhanded. Basically, it makes no sense unless the President is in a coma or literally unable to understand a cable TV news cast.
posted by msalt at 1:28 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


As a member of the Resistance, I can assure you we're going to be fired up regardless.

Sorry, I didn't meant to disparage anyone's honor! To clarify, I meant, "Democratic Senators might well think their jobs and positions are safer under a Trump administration than under a non-Trump administration."
posted by corb at 1:30 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Mike Pence != Joe Republican. Come on.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:31 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


but I think partisanship has gotten worse since then

This is an understatement. Remember when W nominated Harriet Miers and the Republicans came back and said they wouldn't even bother voting on her in the senate because she was so unqualified? That was only 12 years ago. Government was still kind of functioning that recently.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:31 PM on May 17 [71 favorites]


Remember there was some talk here about how the Dems should not vote for his impeachment so that DJT remains a millstone around Republican Party's neck.

I was going to say, actually, that this would make sense if only a bare majority were needed (then it'd be perilously easy for Republicans to decry this as a partisan witch hunt with a couple misguided moderates throwing in with the Democrats), but with the two-thirds bar it would take a good chunk of the Republican caucus to remove.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:31 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Genuine question: if Trump is removed from office and Pence becomes president, what happens to cabinet members like Sessions, Pruitt, etc.? Do they stay? Is there any chance they will be removed or will resign or something?
posted by StrawberryPie at 1:32 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


They stay.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:32 PM on May 17


Basically, it makes no sense unless the President is in a coma or literally unable to understand a cable TV news cast.

I think we've got the second one. Trump thinks his election crowds were bigger than Obama's and he claims to have invented the phrase "prime the pump." His advisors have to give him one page memos with pictures and NATO is already telling heads of state to keep their comments to 2-4 minutes when Trump is in the room, because that's all he can process. He's evil, yes, but he's also showing signs of cognitive decline.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:33 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


They stay. Gaahrrrh. Well, I guess it's still better to be rid of Trump while dealing with them, then have both Trump and them.
posted by StrawberryPie at 1:34 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, we now know Trump only wants to spend 15 minutes at Yad Vashem. That's just about enough time to walk from the entrance to the Hall of Remembrance (where the wreath-laying is done) and back, assuming they don't stop to look at anything. I just...what?
posted by SisterHavana at 1:34 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


People aren't sure they want to give up a 2018 landslide in exchange for just getting Trump out of office.

People need to cough up a number of loved ones they're comfortable with losing under this current administration for the sake of a perceived edge in 2018 or 2020.

As has been said above (and I said in the last thread), we haven't seen a serious disaster or emergency yet. All of this has been self-inflicted, and it has been harmful enough. This asshole is shredding our alliances and our intelligence sources. Refugee visa processing is at a complete stop. Executive orders and appointments are doing real harm. We've already had a SEAL team go shoot up a village and accidentally-or-not kill a lot of children. Those cuts to things like the EPA, the State Department, the Coast Guard? That's not a joke. Those are matters of safety. And we haven't had a serious hurricane or other disaster yet.

Real fucking people will die. So anyone who thinks it's somehow better to leave this incompetent racist sexual assailant asshole needs to decide the body count they're comfortable with because it is that fucking serious.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:34 PM on May 17 [79 favorites]


Bannon etc. get sent back to hell though?
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I didn't meant to disparage anyone's honor! To clarify, I meant, "Democratic Senators might well think their jobs and positions are safer under a Trump administration than under a non-Trump administration."

Maybe there are some Democratic Senators who are that gross. But I can't think of any offhand.
posted by tivalasvegas at 1:35 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


he's also showing signs of cognitive decline.

That's not the point though. If he has his wits about him enough to object, then the 25th requires a 2/3 majority in both houses to stick.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:35 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Genuine question: if Trump is removed from office and Pence becomes president, what happens to cabinet members like Sessions, Pruitt, etc.? Do they stay? Is there any chance they will be removed or will resign or something?

They serve at the pleasure of the president. Some may stay. Undoubtedly a good number will be shown the door.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:36 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


FFS.

Trump to lunch with network anchors
President Donald Trump is set to have an off-the-record lunch with network anchors on Thursday, two sources with knowledge of the plans and a White House official confirmed.

The lunch is expected to cover Trump's upcoming foreign trip. But with bombshell reports about the Trump White House dropping nearly every day this week, the lunch is sure to cover more ground.
Presumably, he's going to demand their loyalty and ask that they lay off the negative coverage. Maybe he'll threaten to put them in jail for it too.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 1:37 PM on May 17 [55 favorites]


Genuine question: if Trump is removed from office and Pence becomes president, what happens to cabinet members like Sessions, Pruitt, etc.? Do they stay? Is there any chance they will be removed or will resign or something?

It's up to the new President, who has to figure out whether he wants to get new nominees through the confirmation process. Ford left most of the Cabinet intact, but replaced some. The Chief of Staff and lots of other non-Senate confirmed positions would likely be replaced by Pence with people more loyal to him, etc. But considering that Pence led the transition, and likely chose most of the Senate-confirmed appointees himself, I suspect we'd have the same cabinet.
posted by dis_integration at 1:39 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


US News & World Report is saying Sheriff Clarke has accepted the position and they also report that no Senate confirmation is needed. So it is a done deal.

Meanwhile, we now know Trump only wants to spend 15 minutes at Yad Vashem.

I read that yesterday and I was so appalled I literally sputtered. 15 minutes is long enough for a quick photo-op and nothing more. It is so obviously not important to him.

They serve at the pleasure of the president. Some may stay. Undoubtedly a good number will be shown the door.


But don't forget that Pence's replacements would also have to be confirmed by the Senate.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:40 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


There's a famous photograph of Erdoğan’s adviser Yusuf Yerkel kicking a mourner who was being held down by security guys, in 2014 on the day after the Soma mine disaster in which more than 300 people died—the worst such disaster in Turkish history.

Googling appears to indicate that Yerkel never suffered any consequences and indeed even got a court to order the photo and related ones censored from the internet in Turkey because they negatively affected his reputation.

The video from Washington of guys in suits and ties kicking and stomping people lying on the ground is quite reminiscent of these earlier photos.
posted by XMLicious at 1:41 PM on May 17 [22 favorites]


In that news anchor luncheon, is Jake Tapper considered a news anchor? For the purposes of the luncheon, can he be? I would very much like to hear what from him what is done and said in that thing.
posted by Tevin at 1:41 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


President Donald Trump is set to have an off-the-record lunch with network anchors on Thursday, two sources with knowledge of the plans and a White House official confirmed.

uh does the administration understand that news anchors are not solely or even primarily in charge of the stories that they read on nightly news?
posted by murphy slaw at 1:41 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


It's probably just a bunch of Fox and Sinclair fucks.
posted by Artw at 1:42 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Way upthread already schroedinger asked for podcasts, so here goes from most left-y to center-ish:
Says Who? - mostly two people ranting about how crazy Trump and all the orbiting crazy is, with the occasional interview
The Weeds - Vox's podcast that's still semi-newsy, but with more of a policy/white paper focus
Slate's Political Gabfest - generally newsy unless it's a slow week (if only...)
Global Politico - interviews with an international political focus, usually with either Senators or foreign pols
Off Message - interviews from both sides of the aisle; they just had Rahm Emanuel

Between all those and the three Pod Save ___ podcasts, that should get you at least one a day.
posted by tautological at 1:42 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


Presumably, he's going to demand their loyalty and ask that they lay off the negative coverage. Maybe he'll threaten to put them in jail for it too.

Then he'll be utterly surprised when they report on it. He's like Ralph Wiggum on the Easter egg hunt, but angry.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:42 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump My lovely wife Melania will soon be moving to D.C. to take up the new position of Sturgeon General. Shad!

But seriously folks, Obi-Wan Zuckerberg .... weirdest Bar Mitzvah I ever worked!

Thanks, and don't forget to tip your mods!
posted by spitbull at 1:42 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


If the networks had the slightest bit of integrity, they'd insist that Trump be on the record and on tape. He's done absolutely nothing to deserve an off-the-record interview, and he asks about jailing journalists, so he certainly shouldn't get any favors.
posted by zachlipton at 1:43 PM on May 17 [32 favorites]


President Donald Trump is set to have an off-the-record lunch with network anchors on Thursday,

Do they know they should probably eat a real meal before they go?
posted by bibliowench at 1:44 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Considering Seth Rich was a DNC employee, why wouldn't any prime suspect in his murder be 100% Pro-Trump?

There's a conspiracy theory that Russia had Seth Rich killed, either because he was the leaker and they were covering their tracks, or to create a plausible alternative theory other than Russian hacking for the DNC leaks, and dead men can't refute.

It's noteworthy that on Russian-manipulated places like /r/The_Donald, people are explicity saying that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory proves Russia didn't do the hacking.
posted by msalt at 1:45 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


It's noteworthy that on Russian-manipulated places like /r/The_Donald, people are explicity saying that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory proves Russia didn't do the hacking.

The U.S. state news service working harder to give the Russians an alibi than the Russians are. Strongman leadership, ladies and gentlemen.
posted by XMLicious at 1:49 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


It's noteworthy that on Russian-manipulated places like /r/The_Donald, people are explicity saying that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory proves Russia didn't do the hacking.

What's most amazing about the Seth Rich fake news is that it *originated* in /r/The_Donald, as far as I can tell, and stewed in there throughout the election, along with pizza gate, and only this week has gotten the extra legitimacy of a Fox News propaganda-blast. It's madness. Literally the lunatics running the asylum.
posted by dis_integration at 1:50 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Not counting the PR stuff clearly posted by someone else, the President hasn't tweeted since that one yesterday morning that ended in an ellipsis, Trump's usual method for linking multi-part tweets. I think someone finally catapulted ol Samsung into the North Lawn fountain.
posted by theodolite at 1:50 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


If the networks had the slightest bit of integrity, they'd insist that Trump be on the record and on tape. He's done absolutely nothing to deserve an off-the-record interview, and he asks about jailing journalists, so he certainly shouldn't get any favors.

Some of these journalists have earned some limited trust from me. I'm confident that they're just going to exploit his misplaced comfort by leaking anything derogatory to their buddies.
posted by Coventry at 1:51 PM on May 17


He is an existential threat, not just to this nation, but all life on the planet.

I think you underestimate how robust and diverse Archaea are.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:51 PM on May 17 [19 favorites]


welp, here's today's profile in courage

GOP blocks House vote on independent Russia-Trump investigation
WASHINGTON — House Republicans blocked a vote Wednesday on legislation to create an independent commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A Democratic effort to force a vote failed, with only one Republican – Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina – joining them in a procedural vote that would have allowed them to bring up the bill. But Democrats also launched a petition Wednesday that would allow them to force a vote on the bill at a later date if they get a majority of lawmakers to sign on.

“Today is a courage call for our Republican colleagues,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell of Calif., who co-authored the bill with Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland. “Can they — as we have done with past attacks against our country — can they put party aside, put our country first and unite with Democrats to say that never again will we tolerate an attack like this?”
posted by murphy slaw at 1:51 PM on May 17 [80 favorites]


welp, here's today's profile in courage

GOP blocks House vote on independent Russia-Trump investigation


You beat me to the punch. My favorite pull:
The bill’s 199 cosponsors include two Republicans – Jones and Rep. Justin Amash, of Michigan. Amash voted with his party to block bringing up the bill.
Just in case you thought Amash had given up his face-eating ways.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:54 PM on May 17 [61 favorites]


GOP blocks House vote on independent Russia-Turnip investigation
They totally don't give a shit. Let's see if anything changes when the dollar freefalls over the next quarter.

Please please please someone tell me that no actual serious humans are taking the Seth Rich nonsense seriously.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:55 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Political Podcasts I listen to in addition to the ones mentioned above:

New Republic: Primary Concerns

The 45th (2 Dems, 1 Republican, all women and I think all minority religion.)

The Trump Scorecard (Just one guy but he does a quick sumary every Friday of everything Trump has done in a week.)

WaPo: Can He Do That?

HuffPo: So That Happened

The Relentless Picnic (Humor and deep, deep navel gazing. Not always politics.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:56 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Genuine question: if Trump is removed from office and Pence becomes president, what happens to cabinet members like Sessions, Pruitt, etc.? Do they stay? Is there any chance they will be removed or will resign or something?

We have some recent-ish precedent for this. Ford kept almost the entirety of Nixon's cabinet at first. He did put in a new attorney general within the first 6 months because Nixon had run through 4 or 5 of them and the DoJ was a mess. There was a pretty major shakeup another 6 months later, but for the first year or so there was almost total continuity.

I'm also not particularly under the impression that Pence gives enough of a shit about the work of most government departments to care that they're controlled by incompetents, idiots, and thieves.
posted by Copronymus at 1:58 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


aspersioncast, I don't know about at the national level, but I think it's telling that Rich was a local and my office skews quite conservative. I overhear plenty of idle talk around, and I haven't heard even a murmur of anybody talking about that in hallways or elevators or anywhere else. The politics talk has dried up pretty hard in the last few months, actually, which suggests to me that a lot of people kind of just want to bury their heads in the sand until this all goes away.
posted by Sequence at 1:59 PM on May 17


Someone walk me through why Amash would vote no on his own bill, other than him trying to play both sides?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 2:01 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Someone walk me through why Amash would vote no on his own bill, other than him trying to play both sides?

The explanation I saw on reddit was that Amash voted against because as a sponsor he can then re-introduce it at a later time, as opposed to the bill getting squashed entirely. I don't know the procedures well enough to explain why that works, or if that is the truth in any way.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:04 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


DHS really wants you to know that they have not announced (yet) that they are hiring Clarke or anyone.

In other news, it's after 5pm on the East Coast, and still no pee tape.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:06 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


In the House you can only bring a motion to reconsider a Bill if you were on the side which won the initial vote. The "no" side in this case.
posted by Justinian at 2:06 PM on May 17 [34 favorites]


Way upthread already schroedinger asked for podcasts

(Not all purely Trump, but he's been getting a lot of coverage on them...)


The Dig Jacobin magazine, so v. left.
Trumpcast Slate Magazine, I think the Trump tweets read at the start of the show are [real], and those at the end [fake]. Like 64% sure.
538 Politics
BBC Global News From the world service, reportage rather than commentary, but often good depth on latest developments.
Politico Playbook Audio Briefing< 5mins of "just the facts maam" of Washington politics.
Partly Political UK based, snark and insight by the boatload.

And a couple with Zero (0) Trump to offset the panic attacks and despair bingeing on the above can cause.

People Fixing the World BBC again. Documentaries about people who are the polar opposite of Trump.
Gardners' Question Time Basically the audio equivalent of the best beta-blocker you ever scored.
posted by Buntix at 2:12 PM on May 17 [19 favorites]


DHS really wants you to know that they have not announced (yet) that they are hiring Clarke or anyone.

i am going to laugh my ass off if clarke shot his own foot off by pre-announcing his offer
posted by murphy slaw at 2:13 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Dave Pell explains why there is relentless bias against Donald Trump.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:21 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


I don't see any bills or resolutions getting voted down in the House Floor Summary today. Do we know what the independent commission bill number is? Or are they trying to get a discharge petition? in which case they can try every week, I think.

I did see yesterday that Rep. Pascrell of NJ is going to introduce a privileged resolution, but I don't know what it is. He's been one of the tax return hunters.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:21 PM on May 17


Or are they trying to get a discharge petition? in which case they can try every week, I think.

The bill in question is HR 356. They are trying for a discharge petition. That process is complicated, as Chad Pergram just explained, except he hasn't learned how to thread his tweets.

The summary is that they need to wait until a committee has sat on the bill 30 days (done), then collect 218 signatures (so all Dems+25 Republicans would do it). Then it has to lay over for 7 legislative days before, and this is exactly the sort of absurd procedure only Congress could come up with, it is considered on the 2nd or 4th Monday of the month. What happens if the House is out on that day? Too bad, you have to wait. So that leaves June 12 or 26 or July 24th as the only dates in the next couple of months such a petition could be considered. Then, with all that somehow done, the Senate has to pass it and the President has to sign it.

In other words, don't hold your breath. If they can to 218 though, that will be a hell of a thing.
posted by zachlipton at 2:30 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Someone using a House of Representatives IP address deleted the Wikipedia blurb on @RepMarkWalker's duck ramp tweet
-- dailybeast white house correspondant Lachlan Markay
(screenshots included for extra lulz)
posted by murphy slaw at 2:33 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


Then, with all that somehow done, the Senate has to pass it and the President has to sign it.

given his unerring talent for taking the action with the worst possible optics, trump will veto this, right?
posted by murphy slaw at 2:34 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Michelle Kosinski, Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for CNN, just unloaded on Facebook (archive link) about RC Hammond, "communications advisor" at the State Department, who demanded to know her sources. And then:
Not sure what he was trying to accomplish here, but next came Hammond’s final attempt: threats.
That he would make sure NO ONE-- no one-- at the department would speak to me, EVER AGAIN, he proclaimed.
I asked Hammond to name one time he had ever shared information with me or responded to a single email I’ve ever sent him (this has been a problem here that has been discussed among journalists, and Hammond told me to my face two weeks ago a flat “no” when I asked him if he ever answered emails.)
“Well maybe there’s a reason for that,” he spat into the phone.
Me: “Ok and what would that be.”
Hammond: “WE don’t think you’re smart enough to HANDLE OUR information!!!!
So when you wonder why it seems information might be a bit—ahem—lacking, contradictory, or confusing coming from your own government, just recall the immortal words of RC Hammond:
“WE don’t think you’re SMART ENOUGH to HANDLE our information!!!!!”
And that should pretty much explain it.
posted by zachlipton at 2:37 PM on May 17 [93 favorites]


"The drip-drip of all this is beginning to pile on and a lot of folks are saying, even if nothing comes of it, does it take away the Trump agenda? Does it affect the foreign trip?"

Neil Cavuto said that. Neil Cavuto.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:39 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


more like SPLASH SPLASH SPLASH tho
posted by murphy slaw at 2:40 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


When Trump leaves the country can we revoke his passport?
posted by zippy at 2:41 PM on May 17 [26 favorites]


Was just idly wondering how those people who donated $7.2 million to Donald Trump from January through March are feeling right now.

Cheated, I hope.

PS: in case you're wondering who might have done that, you can browse ( a ton of pages) here. (I can't find an easy and current-cycle donations-by-name search, but there is an OK one on the FEC site here.)

PS: Bonus fun, since there seem to be a lot of deleted tweets today, a reminder of ProPublica's "Politwoops," the deleted tweet tracker.
posted by martin q blank at 2:43 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


“WE don’t think you’re SMART ENOUGH to HANDLE our information!!!!!”

"YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE ALTERNATIVE TRUTH!!!"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:44 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


He thought he was the King of America
Where they pour Coca Cola just like vintage wine
Now I try hard not to become hysterical
But I'm not sure if I am laughing or crying
I wish that I could push a button
And talk in the past and not the present tense
And watch this hurtin' feeling disappear
Like it was common sense
It was a fine idea at the time
Now it's a brilliant mistake

- Elvis Costello
posted by davebush at 2:44 PM on May 17 [20 favorites]


via Scott Sharkey
WaPo: The president shat himself.
White House: The president would never shit himself.
Trump: I SHAT MYSELF ON PURPOSE

Every. Fucking. Day.


To which I add:
RYAN: The President has every right to shit himself and we stand by his decision.
MCCAIN: It is worrisome that the President shat himself, but I will not vote for a change of pants.
CONWAY: Why aren't we talking about the time that Hillary Clinton went into a restroom and urinated?
PUTIN: Donald, have some more ex-lax or we release the pee tapes.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:45 PM on May 17 [135 favorites]


House Votes to Limit Powers of First Black Librarian of Congress
In a vote of 378 to 48, the House passed legislation to take power away from the current Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden.

The legislation, H.R. 1695, was authored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (D-Va.) and ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.), would limit the powers of the librarian. It is expected to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Trump. [...]

“This bill serves no purpose other than to take power away from the Librarian of Congress and give it to powerful lobbyists, who will have a major say in who runs the Copyright Office,” wrote Michael Masnick on TechDirt.com on April 26. “It’s a bad bill, and it’s a gift to Hollywood.”

The entertainment industry pushed hard for the passage of H.R. 1695. It’s likely that the selection of the Librarian of Congress will be the focus of attention of the power of the entertainment lobby moving forward now that senators will play a role in confirmation.
Bipartisanship! *spits*
posted by tonycpsu at 2:46 PM on May 17 [68 favorites]


more like SPLASH SPLASH SPLASH tho

sploosh?


Anyway maybe Cavuto is starting to buckle, but Tucker Carlson last night was running amazing interference.
posted by saturday_morning at 2:46 PM on May 17


Look, I've been having mini strokes or have some worse condition emerging that's already caused partial paralysis in my foot and may be about to get a lot worse--none of the candidate diagnoses are great, and a couple of them are terminal--so I may not have a whole lot of time left to see this one rich white guy finally get the kind of comeuppance so many of them probably deserve, so please hurry up and arrest or impeach him. It's not good for me stresswise to follow this news as closely or religiously as I'd like. Normally, I wouldn't make it all about me, but I might be dying here, so this once I feel entitled to make it about me, so please, please, please, let me get a chance to mark seeing Trump impeached/arrested off my bucket list. K thx. Bye.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:47 PM on May 17 [136 favorites]


About 4 hours ago, Fox News producer Meghan K. Welsh confirmed on Twitter that the Comey memo exists.
.@FoxNews now independently confirms existence of the Comey memo in which Trump asked him to end the Flynn investigation. H/t @JakeBGibson.
Also:
Sources close to Comey who are familiar with the memo, tell Fox's @JakeBGibson that yesterday's @nytimes reporting is accurate.
There's no sign of this on the actual Fox News website, but RedState has an article about it.
posted by msalt at 2:48 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


Montana House election: the GOP is dumping last-minute money into Gianforte, right after Erick Erickson's claim that Gianforte's internal polling looks bad.

Probably-meaningless local anecdote: was at the nearest 1-horse town today. In November I saw a half-dozen Trump yard signs and maybe one Hillary sign. Today I saw a half-dozen Quist signs and zero for Gianforte.

I still think Quist has worse odds than Gianforte because darkest timeline etc, but it'll be close and enthusiasm on the ground for Gianforte is nil.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:52 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


It's got to the point for me where, now at nearly 11pm, I'm anxious when I go to bed because, when I check the BBC or Facebook tomorrow morning there will be another "surely this" event that's happened while I've been asleep. I can't keep up any more.
posted by essexjan at 2:53 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


I go to sleep dreading the "N new comments" box on this thread. If I wake up and it's over 200, I hit things with my pillow.

Reports on twitter are that "big news" is coming shortly, so, *sigh*.
posted by zachlipton at 2:58 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


I could tweet that Big News was coming shortly every 8 hours on a timer and be right most of the time. It doesn't take the Amazing Kreskin.
posted by Justinian at 3:00 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]




Fiat justitia ruat caelum

Fiat justitia ruat cælum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.
posted by petebest at 3:01 PM on May 17 [19 favorites]


That does seem big news. If only I could go back in time and prevent myself from posting for 15 seconds.
posted by Justinian at 3:01 PM on May 17 [49 favorites]


someone please tell me quickly what opinion I should have about the Mueller news
posted by lalex at 3:02 PM on May 17 [27 favorites]


Deputy AG appointing special counsel to take over the Russia investigation; it's ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller

Somebody tell me how to feel about this, I've gone numb
posted by schadenfrau at 3:02 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


House majority leader to colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump
A month before Donald Trump clinched the Republican nomination, one of his closest allies in Congress — House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — made a politically explosive assertion in a private conversation on Capitol Hill with his fellow GOP leaders: that Trump could be the beneficiary of payments from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016 exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.
It's on tape. WTF? These people are complicit in treason.
posted by zachlipton at 3:03 PM on May 17 [185 favorites]


So, like three days from "I don't feel we need to explore the special counsel option at this point" to HERE'S YOUR FABULOUS NEW SPECIAL COUNSEL, AMERICA!

I think I need a tankard of wine to soothe my whiplash.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:03 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


I guess it's better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick.
posted by Talez at 3:03 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Holy shit.
posted by spitbull at 3:03 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


saulgoodman - that's horrible news, and please take care of yourself. I hope the best for you and that you get what you want.
posted by nubs at 3:03 PM on May 17 [120 favorites]


Ah. I see. That is the big news we were waiting for. I am too numb to manage anything other than my constant simmering background of howling rage.
posted by yasaman at 3:04 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Breathe, people, breathe. For me, because I can't right now.

Best wishes, saulgoodman.
posted by Dashy at 3:05 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

Ryan's in it to his eyeballs.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:05 PM on May 17 [76 favorites]


There are times when I take a break from the Mefi potus45 threads. And then there's Breaking News, so I come to find where it broke in the timeline here. It's fun seeing the scrollbar light up with mentions of [whatever]. "Ah, there's a big clump right there, that must be when Comey was fired."
posted by XtinaS at 3:05 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Good thoughts for saulgoodman.
posted by spitbull at 3:05 PM on May 17 [33 favorites]


House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

Great, more people for Mueller's burgeoning suspect list! Please give everyone a cell and a White Russian on me, bartender!
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:06 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


If you read on, Paul Ryan's spokesman denies that it happened, and McCarthy's spokesman calls it "absurd and false." Then they claim it was a joke after they were told that the Post has the receipts on tape. There's no shame.

I was sitting right there like a week ago when McCarthy was defending firing Comey and calling this all overblown. These people have been lying their asses off. They're all complicit.
posted by zachlipton at 3:07 PM on May 17 [110 favorites]


I'm gonna go with a tacit thumbs-up on Muller. He prosecuted Noriega and John Gotti, so he's got passing familiarity with gangster-type-people.

Both He and Comey threatened to resign if the domestic wiretapping stuff was found constitutional in 2004.

I think he's probably okay. He's at least probably on Comey's side, which seems to be at least "The enemy of my enemy..." territory.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 3:08 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


OK so -- Robert Mueller. Former US Attorney. Deputy AG briefly and then FBI head from 2001 to 2013. Obama asked him to stay on 2 years past his normal 10-year term. He took at least somewhat of a stand against domestic wiretapping excesses during the Bush years.

Don't know if we could expect anything better, really. I'm happy with this.

edit: jinx
posted by saturday_morning at 3:08 PM on May 17 [19 favorites]


popcorn futures are up, way up
posted by entropicamericana at 3:09 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Mueller served in a number of Justice Dept. positions for republican and democratic administrations back to the reagan era. he preceded comey at FBI, 2001-2013.

this looks pretty legit at first glance.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:09 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Egg is in the piece about the Putin payroll comment!
Evan McMullin, who in his role as policy director to the House Republican Conference participated in the June 15 conversation, said: “It’s true that Majority Leader McCarthy said that he thought candidate Trump was on the Kremlin’s payroll. Speaker Ryan was concerned about that leaking.”
posted by lalex at 3:09 PM on May 17 [91 favorites]


Surely, this.
posted by Tevin at 3:09 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Mueller's a very interesting choice. Part of his career as an AG was spent going after white collar criminals and mafiosi. And he was FBI director during 9/11 and for a decade afterward.
posted by zarq at 3:10 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Saulgoodman i am sending you positive vibes and best wishes for a good diagnosis and full recovery.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:10 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


Bad timing, Russia payroll tape. Bad timing.
posted by saturday_morning at 3:10 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

Holy Amazeballs! Does this make Impeachment proceedings less likely or more likely? I can't even process this.

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.)

I mean for fuck's sake. They knew that Trump might be getting paid by Putin but they closed their eyes to it.

Worst Congress majority leadership[? Or Worst Congress majority leadership EVER?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:11 PM on May 17 [27 favorites]


saulgoodman, hope things improve and that you'll be okay. Take care of yourself.
posted by zarq at 3:11 PM on May 17 [20 favorites]



someone please tell me quickly what opinion I should have about the Mueller news


he has the scariest FBI face of all the faces
posted by queenofbithynia at 3:11 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Here's Alex Jones apologizing to Chobani yogurt and Twin Falls, Idaho for 36 seconds to round out your wednesday.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:12 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


BREAKING: Deputy AG appointing special counsel to take over the Russia investigation; it's ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller

This seems to answer the earlier criticism about a Special Prosecutor forcing the investigation to start completely over, wasting a year. And it makes perfect sense -- why not just appoint someone not in the President's chain of command to take over the existing investigation?

I'm sure there are some technicalities about budget and such, but if Congress can zero out funding for programs they don't like (such as moving Guantanamo detainees to US prisons) they can certainly fund an independent guy appointed by the DOJ.
posted by msalt at 3:13 PM on May 17


There's a lot of very nervous WH staff making inquiries about legal representation right about now.
posted by chris24 at 3:13 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


this is where i sheepishly declare that i'm going to pay way more attention to who's in the top spots at justice and the fbi from here out.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:13 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Mueller is a great choice. He is untouchable. If Trump goes after him even the Rs will have to condemn his tweet bullshit.
posted by Justinian at 3:14 PM on May 17 [52 favorites]


Given the situation, I think Mueller was best case scenario. It seems reasonable that he'll actually be interested in investigating illegality.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:14 PM on May 17 [20 favorites]


Yep. Aside from dream choices of Sally Yates or Preet Bharara, this is absolutely as good as we could realistically get.
posted by chris24 at 3:15 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


They're going to say Comey and Mueller are deep-state cronies bent on keeping Trump from draining the swamp. Let's see if it works.
posted by theodolite at 3:16 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

The appointment of Mueller will take heat off of the White House for a moment, so now is the perfect time to demand the resignation of Paul Ryan (as Speaker, anyway) for obstruction of justice. Shouldn't be too hard to accomplish -- who actually likes that guy, anyway?
posted by msalt at 3:16 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


For a week I've been wanting to watch my Netflix movie. But no. Every night reading the Trump thread.
posted by acrasis at 3:17 PM on May 17 [63 favorites]


Holy Amazeballs! Does this make Impeachment proceedings less likely or more likely? I can't even process this.

I don't think it helps the leadership stall on impeachment, but similarly, further investigations seem likely to lead to more revelations like that one, so it seems likely that they will continue to stall. The Republican leadership know their executive is filth, and they've known the whole time. They are in this cesspool deep.

I wanna hear the tape. I also want to see the RNC's emails--I bet they are a whole lot more colorful than the DNC's, and I would not be surprised if they contain a whole lot of comments along the lines of McCarthy's.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 3:18 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


i guess that trump didn't manage to shatter rosenstein's dignity thoroughly enough.

wonder if trump's inner circle can clamp down on him hard enough to keep him from trying to fire him.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:18 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Aside from dream choices of Sally Yates or Preet Bharara, this is absolutely as good as we could realistically get.

Preet Bharara seems to agree:

Having known him for years, I believe special counsel Mueller is a very good thing. He is one of the best -- independent and no-nonsense.
posted by jammer at 3:18 PM on May 17 [78 favorites]


so now is the perfect time to demand the resignation of Paul Ryan (as Speaker, anyway) for obstruction of justice

there wasn't an ongoing investigation at the time and he wasn't materially impeding one. let's not get ahead of ourselves. this is scandalous but probably not illegal.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:19 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


When initially asked to comment on the exchange, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, said: “That never happened,” and Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, said: “The idea that McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false.”

After being told that The Post would cite a recording of the exchange, Buck, speaking for the GOP House leadership, said: “This entire year-old exchange was clearly an attempt at humor. No one believed the majority leader was seriously asserting that Donald Trump or any of our members were being paid by the Russians. What’s more, the speaker and leadership team have repeatedly spoken out against Russia’s interference in our election, and the House continues to investigate that activity.”


So, never happened and absurd and false to "it was just a joke" in 5 seconds, that may be a landspeed record.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:20 PM on May 17 [61 favorites]


Rep. Al Green (D-TX) calls for Impeachment of President Trump

Let's get it on...
posted by msalt at 3:20 PM on May 17 [20 favorites]


so when can expect leaks from the WH about the cursing and shouting and loud televisions? another fifteen minutes?
posted by entropicamericana at 3:20 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Chaffetz is saying this is a great choice, impeccable credentials. First a subpeona and now this? Not sure what made him do his job.

I'm now even more curious about Rosenstein's testimony on Thursday. Either this is him trying to make up for his part in firing Comey or could he testify that he was misled by Sessions as to the purpose of the memo? (Which would be incredibly foolish, but not implausible)
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:20 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Man the only way this day could get better is if we weren't living under an insane fascist dictator with the power to destroy humanity on a whim
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:20 PM on May 17 [75 favorites]


so when can expect leaks from the WH about the cursing and shouting and loud televisions? another fifteen minutes?

at this point if you're in the continental US you can probably just stick your head out the window and point your ears eastward.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:21 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Holy shit, Ryan and McCarthy denied the conversation, then changed their answers after being told about the tape.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:22 PM on May 17 [148 favorites]


There's a lot of very nervous WH staff making inquiries about legal representation right about now.

Hey, if they had listened to Lawrence O'Donnell, they'd have done it last night and beat the afternoon rush.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:22 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I am so happy right now about special counsel Former Obama FBI Director being in charge of this investigation!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:22 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


I honestly think the chances of Trump eventually resigning just went to 50%. An impeccable/untouchable SC investigating him? Trump's so dirty and knows it. He was willing to risk losing the election to avoid showing his taxes. He was willing to obstruct justice to hide what whatever connections or dirtiness he and/or Flynn have with Russia. He has a habit of going BK and walking away. He's miserable. He'll try to break Mueller and coopt the investigation, but assuming that fails, he'll try to slither away like the snake he is.
posted by chris24 at 3:23 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


this is honestly like watching a train wreck unfold in slow motion except you actually kind of want the people in the train to die
posted by lalex at 3:23 PM on May 17 [182 favorites]


this is good news for john mccain!
posted by murphy slaw at 3:24 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


wonder if trump's inner circle can clamp down on him hard enough to keep him from trying to fire [Rosenstein].

If Trump does that, boom, game over.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:26 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


All we need is Mitch McConnell and the entire Republican party leadership will be on tape covering up treason.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:26 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


So, never happened and absurd and false to "it was just a joke" in 5 seconds, that may be a landspeed record.

Follow-up question: Does Speaker Ryan find it necessary to stop the conversation and swear the room to secrecy after jokes regularly?
posted by nubs at 3:26 PM on May 17 [132 favorites]


Mueller looks like Sam The Eagle who's just been told a joke he doesn't quite get. In other words, he looks like Sam The Eagle.
posted by Optamystic at 3:27 PM on May 17 [48 favorites]


so now is the perfect time to demand the resignation of Paul Ryan (as Speaker, anyway) for obstruction of justice
there wasn't an ongoing investigation at the time and he wasn't materially impeding one. let's not get ahead of ourselves. this is scandalous but probably not illegal.
The standard for remaining as Speaker of the House is higher than "not indictable." It's a leadership position. Speaker Jim Wright was forced to resign over book sales (as backdoor political contributions) that weren't illegal either, but smelled bad.

And of course, if discussions like this hadn't been squelched, an investigation likely would have started.
posted by msalt at 3:28 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


Will Mueller get bodyguards? One can only hope.

These people are lucky. If it were up to me, the lot of them would be rounded up and horsewhipped live on worldwide television as it is, forget about impeachment or 25th-ing. I mean, look at this shit! We know how much of the entire WH and the cabinet are complicit, including the man's children; how many members of Congress are aiding and abetting this man also besides Ryan, Hatch, and McConnell? For how long would all the trials required last, FFS?

saulgoodman, I wish you healing and peace, even if the above paragraph isn't exactly peaceful.
posted by droplet at 3:28 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


The Washington Post is slapping the receipts down hard on the table. Here's a transcript.
posted by zachlipton at 3:28 PM on May 17 [105 favorites]


Who was taping that conversation with Ryan & Friends? And as glad as I am that the tape exists, I find myself wondering why people record potential criminal conspiracies so often.
posted by xyzzy at 3:28 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Follow-up question: Does Speaker Ryan find it necessary to stop the conversation and swear the room to secrecy after jokes regularly?

Only if Mike Pence is present. [Margaret Mead voice] The joke-telling rituals of this tribe are extremely intricate and arcane [/MMv].
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:28 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


T.D. Strange: "All we need is Mitch McConnell and the entire Republican party leadership will be on tape covering up treason."

At this rate, I would not be surprised to see something like that leak.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:29 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]




Will Mueller get bodyguards? One can only hope.

Don't forget the mandatory food taster.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:29 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


re: old scaryface Mueller: he didn't have the scary face ten years ago! he grew it after he left. he has those eyebrows to scare the truth out of a man, where Comey just has a smirk and the inherent laziness of a man ten feet tall. I still say Trump mainly fired Comey because he was just so mad at being talked down to literally as well as figuratively.
posted by queenofbithynia at 3:30 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


Jesus! I just had to drive home! How does this keep happening?
posted by Sophie1 at 3:30 PM on May 17 [38 favorites]


...and they broke out the "just joking" defense. Good lord, the end of the insanity keeps getting further away.
posted by azpenguin at 3:31 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Jesus! I just had to drive home! How does this keep happening?

Drive back so we can skip forward to the resignation.
posted by jaduncan at 3:32 PM on May 17 [68 favorites]


Mueller has a passing resemblance to Sam Waterson, so most of America will accept him as a tough-minded but fair old prosecutor who valiantly mentors a never ending succession of earnest supermodels who let their feelings get in the way of their judgment, and enjoys a late night Scotch with the ghost of Fred Thompson.

Perfect pick. Even Trump will admire the casting.
posted by spitbull at 3:32 PM on May 17 [105 favorites]


“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,”

As a former resident of the California 48th, may I just add: fuck Dana Rohrabacher forever. He is a crazy douchebag fascist. He has always been a crazy douchebag fascist. Everyone who votes for him is a moron.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:33 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


I'm really not understanding why the idea that the Russians hacked the DNC and pay Trump and Rohrabacher would be funny. I mean, the transcript says "laughter" a lot, but this is funny why?

At best, at absolute best, they were treating national security as a joke. At worst, they're complicit.
posted by zachlipton at 3:33 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


Ryan: What's said in the family stays in the family.

Quoted for schadenfreude.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:33 PM on May 17 [37 favorites]


I can't stop giggling.

Please be this, surely.

Please?
posted by Tevin at 3:34 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I really need to go to the grocery store but I'm legit concerned that in the half hour that I'm gone there'll be some kind of ridiculous catastrophe and I'll have 400 new comments to slog through.
posted by palomar at 3:34 PM on May 17 [43 favorites]


The scope of that letter appointing Mueller is expansive, any links between Russia and "individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump" plus, "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:35 PM on May 17 [62 favorites]


To the MeFites who napped this afternoon: you have the thanks of a grateful nation.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:36 PM on May 17 [102 favorites]


“No leaks, alright?,” Ryan said, adding: “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
“That’s how you know that we’re tight,” Scalise said.
“What’s said in the family stays in the family,” Ryan added.


Seriously, who the fuck do these guys think they are?
posted by H. Roark at 3:36 PM on May 17 [47 favorites]


But of course: "Robert Mueller, new special counsel on Russia, has been a law partner at WilmerHale of Jamie Gorelick, who represents Ivanka & Jared."

First Lieberman and now Mueller? Surely there are lawyers who aren't connected to the Trump family?
posted by zachlipton at 3:36 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


I keep wondering if I should be stocking up on canned goods, because the worst case scenario is that this ends with the government collapsing.
posted by zarq at 3:37 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Talking points for asking your Rep to come out against Ryan and McCarthy out:

- Paul Ryan and Keven McCarthy must resign their leadership positions and/or their House seats for dereliction of duty.

- The WaPo has heard a tape of them suggesting that Trump has been paid by Vladimir Putin

- They conspired to keep their inside knowledge from the American People in order to put a man compromised by a hostile nation into the Oval Office

- Representative must call for their immediate resignation for failing the American People in such a grotesque fashion

- Ryan and McCarthy are completely unfit to lead the House
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 3:37 PM on May 17 [80 favorites]


Mueller also rebuilt FBI post 9/11, so has a stake in the whole "seriously, stop fucking up national security" thing that Trump is doing.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:37 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Seriously, who the fuck do these guys think they are?

They think they're a cabal of low-level thugs and goons who somehow managed to seize control of the most powerful country in the world. And they are.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:37 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


The Washington Post is slapping the receipts down hard on the table. Here's a transcript.

Reading the transcript, it does in fact sound like they're joking (look for when Laughter happens), but its hard to parse whether they're laughing because they know its true, laughing because they think its an outrageous thing to say, or because of some combination of the two. Joking doesn't mean they didn't mean it. One of the main sources of comedy is identifying truth (which is why comedy leans progressive, frankly).

So its possible that they were joking AND that they were speaking their actual beliefs at the same time.

tl;dr - to quote Excommunicated Cardinal "Paul Ryan and Keven McCarthy must resign their leadership positions and/or their House seats dereliction of duty."
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:38 PM on May 17 [36 favorites]


WilmerHale has like a thousand attorneys or something. I think it's a thin connection. There are only so many law firms of that size.
posted by Sequence at 3:40 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


I keep wondering if I should be stocking up on canned goods, because the worst case scenario is that this ends with the government collapsing.

That's been the worst case scenario for a while now, so, you know, go for it.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:40 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


My wife points out that Mueller and Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox both went to elite prep school St. Paul's.

Connect the dots, people!
posted by Chrysostom at 3:42 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Can we start referring to the whole thing as the Russia Treason or something? Just so we smear them all with it? Most people won't look into more than the name, but that name will be stamped on every Republican forehead.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:42 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


“No leaks, alright?,” Ryan said, adding: “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
“That’s how you know that we’re tight,” Scalise said.
“What’s said in the family stays in the family,” Ryan added.

Seriously, who the fuck do these guys think they are?


Who was it who suggested the term should be Omerta?

10 points to their house, in any case.
posted by jaduncan at 3:43 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


They're going to say Comey and Mueller are deep-state cronies bent on keeping Trump from draining the swamp. Let's see if it works.

The 27% MAGAsshats would say this under any circumstances. That's one of many reasons why they're bugfuck nuts.
posted by delfin at 3:43 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I know I can't be the only one jinxing it, but surely this...?

I'm not even sure which this I'm talking about today - take your pick, but surely this...
posted by MattWPBS at 3:43 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


How are events unfolding in such a surreal way that the appointment of a Special Counsel shortly after the Deputy Attorney General in charge of appointing such a Special Counsel stated he would not do so, is the less significant news?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:44 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


It has been _0_ hours since the last Trump disaster
posted by oulipian at 3:44 PM on May 17 [104 favorites]


> “You cannot get the words ‘straight arrow’ out of your head. He didn’t try to be elegant or fancy; he just put the cards on the table.”

“He loved being on the ground,” says his colleague Lynn Leibovitz. “His only way of politicking was to be as decent, hard-working, and upstanding as he could be and let the work stand for itself.”


I'm really liking this Mueller fellow. "The Ultimate G-Man," indeed.
posted by porpoise at 3:44 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


CNN just reported: Mueller visited Rosenstein's office the day after Comey was fired.
posted by pjenks at 3:45 PM on May 17 [51 favorites]


The scope of that letter appointing Mueller is expansive

Yep! He's also specifically empowered to investigate "any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)," which means "federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses."

And he has discretionary authority to prosecute.
posted by Iridic at 3:45 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


[Folks, it's gonna be a long night, and I need to ask everyone to try not to overburden the thread with small talk. The best place to go flail helplessly is Chat. Thanks! ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:46 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


What I really want to know is who is holding on to incriminating tapes of Republicans saying stupid things, and do they have more? Because I think it's a fairly reasonable guess that this leak came from someone on the right.
posted by zachlipton at 3:46 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Bradd Jaffy, Senior News Editor of NBC:

DOJ tells NBC News the White House was informed of the special counsel decision after the order was already signed this afternoon



DAG going full Ozymandias on Trump's ass.

"Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago."
posted by Freon at 3:47 PM on May 17 [109 favorites]


I have to agree about the transcript of the Ryan recording. If I were to read it without bias, it does sound to me mostly like a bunch of douchebags who don't deserve their jobs "joking" around in the same way that frat bros joke about rape.

In other words, crass and shameful, and certainly not becoming of their office at all. But it doesn't seem like iron-clad evidence of complicity to me.

I'm sure it's out there somewhere. This just doesn't feel like it.
posted by jammer at 3:47 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


I wonder if we'll ever get a clear picture of whether Rosenstein was getting his ducks in a row and denying that he was seeking a special prosecutor so that Trump and Sessions wouldn't be able interfere or whether recent events genuinely made him change his mind.
posted by vathek at 3:47 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Chris Hayes pointed out on Twitter that the dateline in the WaPo piece was Kiev.
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:49 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


CNN just reported: Mueller visited Rosenstein's office the day after Comey was fired.

DOJ tells NBC News the White House was informed of the special counsel decision after the order was already signed this afternoon.


MSNBC just reported a bit ago that Paul Ryan was also told after the fact.

Not gonna lie, I'm starting to feel some love for Rod "Fuck Your Firing Justification" Rosenstein. I may send him an Edible Arrangement.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:50 PM on May 17 [38 favorites]


If I were to read it without bias, it does sound to me mostly like a bunch of douchebags who don't deserve their jobs "joking" around in the same way that frat bros joke about rape.

In the sense that they know that it's a huge problem that exists, that their own people are totally complicit, and that even if they don't do it personally (and they're not saying they don't) they're just joking so what's the big deal?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 3:50 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


"Hot" Rod Rosenstein, Ace Attorney
posted by theodolite at 3:51 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


But of course: "Robert Mueller, new special counsel on Russia, has been a law partner at WilmerHale of Jamie Gorelick, who represents Ivanka & Jared."

Ivanka Trump's expanded White House role raises ethical issues: "The ethics expert noted approvingly that Ivanka Trump engaged Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, the same legal services used by the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, former head of ExxonMobil, to handle issues of conflict of interest. Kushner also used the DC-based lawyers to manage his potential conflicts of interest with his family business after taking the role of adviser in the Trump administration."

WilmerHale is a big, big firm, so let's see if Mueller worked with Gorelick on the ethical conflicts *cough* of Ivanka, Jared, and Rexxon. My betting is that Rosenstein would have taken that into consideration and then some.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:52 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Seriously, who the fuck do these guys think they are?

Michael Corleone. But they're really just a bunch of Fredos.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:52 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Here's another really odd bit from that transcript of Ryan and McCarthy:
McCarthy: The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp research that they had on Trump.

McCarthy: laughs


[Crosstalk]

Ryan: The Russian’s hacked the DNC...

McHenry: ...to get oppo...

Ryan: ...on Trump and like delivered it to...to who?


[Unintelligible]

McCarthy: There’s...there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump...[laughter]...swear to God.

Ryan: This is an off the record...[laughter]...NO LEAKS...[laughter]...alright?!

[Laughter]

Ryan: This is how we know we’re a real family here.

Scalise: That’s how you know that we’re tight.

[Laughter]

Ryan: What’s said in the family stays in the family.
The bolded section is extremely disturbing--after discussing Russian propaganda and cyber disinfo ops in Ukraine, they start LAUGHING about the DNC being hacked and getting all shruggy about where that info went or why the hack took place.

They thought that Russian interference in our election was funny, at the time it was happening. Then proceeded, in jest or not, to suggest that Vladimir Putin was actively paying/intervening for their own candidate.

Ryan, McCarthy, Scalise, and the whole lot are so caught up in the Russian affair. I think they know that Trump will name names--their names--, if he goes down. Not one of these men is fit to be a leader in any part of our government.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 3:53 PM on May 17 [89 favorites]


As great as this news is, let's take a second to appreciate how carefully Rosenstein had to thread the needle to make it happen.

If Sessions hadn't been caught red-handed lying and forced to recuse himself, or if the White House had been less disorganized and appointed a new FBI director or deputy AG who ranked over Rosenstein or indeed a new AG, or if Trump hadn't openly admitted firing Comey because of the Russia probe in a tweet, or if he hadn't tried to talk Comey into dropping the Flynn probe, or if Comey hadn't carefully written memos and distributed them in such a way that even Fox News had to confirm their existence, while simultaneously hiding those memos from anyone at DOJ --

this wouldn't have been possible. We're still not out of the woods now, but it was a 1 in 10 shot that we even got to this point.
posted by msalt at 3:55 PM on May 17 [41 favorites]


OK, this isn't the bit in the transcript that is explosive, but jeezus it jumps out for me - they discuss the fact that what is happening in the Ukraine is a massive propaganda war designed to turn the country against itself and that Russia is extending that throughout Europe...but they don't really seem to connect the dots to the fact that the Russian hacking against the DNC might just be an extension of the same strategy. Or if they did connect the dots, they think it's funny rather than horrifying that Russia is doing this to the US:

Ryan: So he’s saying they’re doing this throughout Europe. So, uh…

[Unintelligible]

Ryan: This is, this isn’t just about Ukraine.

Rodgers: So, yeah, it is a, um…[unintelligible]…a way...it’s really a messaging…you
know…they are…it’s a propaganda war.

Ryan: Russia is trying to turn Ukraine against itself.

Rodgers: Yes. And that’s…it’s sophisticated and it’s, uh…

Ryan: Maniacal.

Rodgers: Yes.

Ryan: And guess…guess who’s the only one taking a strong stand up against it? We are.

Rodgers: We’re not…we’re not…but, we’re not…

McCarthy: [unintelligible]…I’ll GUARANTEE you that’s what it is.

[Unintelligible]

McCarthy: The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp research that they had on Trump.

McCarthy: laughs

posted by nubs at 3:56 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


We all assumed he was talking about Hillary last October, but it's now clear he was talking to himself in the mirror. Literally Trump's Mirror.

@realDonaldTrump
If I win-I am going to instruct my AG to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation bc there's never been anything like your lies.
posted by chris24 at 3:57 PM on May 17 [36 favorites]


New York Post reporter states (twitter) that the investigation will now go silent and will "take years."

Even if that's true, which it could be, Trump's not going to be able to handle any of this, I don't think. We're in for some bonkers, bonkers days ahead.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:57 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Chris Hayes pointed out on Twitter that the dateline in the WaPo piece was Kiev.

I'm skeptical here because isn't there just a simpler explanation? The reporter is in Kiev researching an unrelated story (possibly Trump-related, but not about this tape) and filed from there?

I can maybe believe that the bit about Putin paying Trump is funny-not-funny. The part that's an outright abdication of any responsibility for national security is what comes before, when they treat Russia hacking the DNC as a laugh line.
posted by zachlipton at 3:58 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


We've already had a SEAL team go shoot up a village and accidentally-or-not kill a lot of children.

"Tak[ing] out their families" is part of the MAGA promise.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:01 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


@arjunsethi81
Special. Prosecutor. Can. Subpoena. Trump's. Tax. Returns. #RobertMueller

@TheRickWilson
This is unspinnably bad for Trump.
Mueller is serious, and a good man. This also signals that the FBI isn't playing games.

@HeerJeet
The single biggest factor preserving American democracy in 2017? Donald Trump is a fucking moron.
posted by chris24 at 4:02 PM on May 17 [81 favorites]


Mueller reportedly has hiring authority. So, can he hire Preet Bharara as a top lieutenant to help him on this investigation?
posted by msalt at 4:02 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


So, can he hire Preet Bharara as a top lieutenant to help him on this investigation?

Please. And Sally Yates.
posted by chris24 at 4:03 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


This feels like the LOTR clip of the moment
posted by nubs at 4:04 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


No on Bharara and Yates. As qualified as they are, no one that can be accused or falsely accused of being out for revenge can be on the investigation.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:05 PM on May 17 [43 favorites]


Ryan: The Russian’s hacked the DNC...

McHenry: ...to get oppo...

Ryan: ...on Trump and like delivered it to...to who?


It's like Ryan thinks the only reason Russia would possibly hack the DNC is to get oppo on Trump and then give it to someone, but the only group he can think of to give it to would be the DNC, which is where Russia got it from, so he laughs like it's nonsense.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:06 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


"any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation".

Which could easily include RNC internal e-mails if, hypothetically, a taped conversation with Republican leadership hushing up a discussion about Russian election interference and payments to Trump should surface.
posted by Candleman at 4:08 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Politico: Conservatives begin to whisper: President Pence: The still-far-fetched proposition of removing Trump has increasing appeal to Republicans who are growing weary of defending Trump and are alarmed by his conduct in office. But such whispers are cringeworthy for Pence and his aides, who have made an art of not upstaging the mercurial president. Pence’s press secretary declined to comment for this article.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:08 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Politico: Trump turns to ex-campaign aides as scandals pile up
President Donald Trump, frustrated by his aides’ handling of the multiple scandals engulfing the White House, is turning to the comfort of his old campaign advisers.

Former officials including Jason Miller, David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski have slid back into the president’s group of advisers as Trump has chafed at the steady stream of damaging leaks and critical blind quotes that have flowed out of the West Wing.
...
And some wonder whether nostalgia is driving Trump’s contact with his former advisers.

"It's less about bringing back old campaign aides and more about missing the days when he trusted his staff," said one close adviser.
posted by zachlipton at 4:09 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Rereading the WaPo article, can't help noticing that the wording in this statement...
Ken Grubbs, a spokesman for Rohrabacher, said the congressman has been a consistent advocate of “working closer with the Russians to combat radical Islamism. The congressman doesn’t need to be paid to come to such a necessary conclusion.”
...doesn't say that Rohrabacher wasn't paid. He's better at his job than Ryan and McCarthy's spokespeople, who both went for the reflexive Trumpian lie only to be immediately caught by the "and we have tape" gotcha.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:12 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


Ryan: Russia is trying to turn Ukraine against itself.

Rodgers: Yes. And that’s...it’s sophisticated and it’s, uh...

Ryan: Maniacal.

Rodgers: Yes.

Ryan: And guess...guess who’s the only one taking a strong stand up against it? We are.

Rodgers: We’re not...we’re not...but, we’re not
It's the last line that sticks out to me. Ryan is trying to say they're taking a stand against Russia using propaganda to control popular sentiment . And Rodgers sounds a little sad-- as though he thinks the GOP should be taking a hard line against Russia's use of propaganda to further their agenda but the GOP really isn't. And in fact as we know the GOP would go on to use Russia's propaganda to win the election.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:12 PM on May 17 [29 favorites]


Two thoughts on this roller coaster of a week (yeah, it's only Wednesday… ):

1. Is this, like, the earliest an official investigation has been launched into a new presidential administration? I'm torn between: So much winning. And: Well oiled machine.

2. Everyone should be talking up the prospect of President Pence. Guaranteed to drive Trump to paroxysms of anger.
posted by RedOrGreen at 4:13 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Sounds like there's a little boy who needs an airplane hangar full of red hats.
posted by davebush at 4:13 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


I look forward to this time next week, when Trump fires Mueller and the GOP shrugs its shoulders and says "obviously not ideal if true but he is technically allowed to fire him and let's reserve judgement until we have all the facts"
posted by triggerfinger at 4:13 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Somebody should ask Rohrabacher if Ryan and McCarthy are still on his Christmas Card list.

---------------
Maybe I'll just ask him myself on Facebook.
posted by notyou at 4:14 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


2. Everyone should be talking up the prospect of President Pence.

I am certain I saw something somewhere in one of these threads that Pence is now complicit in something (maybe obstruction of justice?) and would also go down. Does anyone remember this, and even better, have some kind of citation? I'm thinking that in a normal world (where things happen the way they should), we would be looking at a President Hatch.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:17 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Politico: Republicans get radio silence from Trump amid growing crisis
Sen. John McCain stood up in front of the media Tuesday night and compared President Donald Trump's daily scandals to Watergate and Iran-Contra.

And no one from the White House bothered to call up the Arizona Republican afterward and check in with him.

"I'm going to wait by the phone," McCain said dryly Wednesday.
The White House isn't speaking to Congressional Republicans at all, and with nobody bothering to coordinate a message, they're not going to go out on a limb to defend him, not when Comey could testify soon and blow everything up.
posted by zachlipton at 4:17 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


Not gonna lie, I'm starting to feel some love for Rod "Fuck Your Firing Justification" Rosenstein. I may send him an Edible Arrangement.

We've been wondering who were the players who were going to step up and be the heroes. Yates led the way, but it's the dudes who will get the loudest accolades, probably.
posted by notyou at 4:18 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Rosenstein gave Mueller prosecutorial authority meaning he doesn't have to go through the AG. That means, as triggerfinger says, there is one and only one way left for Trump to stop the train; firing Mueller. He'd be impeached if he did that.
posted by Justinian at 4:19 PM on May 17 [32 favorites]


someone please tell me quickly what opinion I should have about the Mueller news

he has the scariest FBI face of all the faces


He looks more like Robert Stack than Robert Stack did.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:20 PM on May 17 [38 favorites]


MetaFilter: Pedantry:

MetaFilter: Pedantry: Informative

I'll be at the bar having a beer with my friend Norm.
posted by srboisvert at 4:23 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]




I'm thinking that in a normal world (where things happen the way they should), we would be looking at a President Hatch.

Be careful what you wish for, because the Presidential line of succession keeps going long after that.

President Mnuchin. President SESSIONS. President DEVOS.
posted by delfin at 4:25 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


“Say you sue me because you claim my dog bit you,” he said. “Well now, this is my defense: My dog doesn’t bite. And second, in the alternative, my dog was tied up that night. And third, I don’t believe you really got bit. And fourth, I don’t have a dog.”

- the late Racehorse Haynes, famed criminal defense attorney.

Sounds like that's what Ryan et al are trying for.
posted by orrnyereg at 4:25 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


I read that Trump can't fire Mueller and only the DAG can. So he would have to fire Rosenstein and find an DAG that would fir him
posted by Jalliah at 4:26 PM on May 17


I'll just be here crossing my fingers that splash damage from a hit to Rohrabacher's career nails his buddy Steve King too. Ever since they went palling around together to visit Le Pen I've had them both pegged as knee deep in the Russian mess (though not necessarily paid, King especially seems like he'd be a true believer in the Russia as shining white christian city on a hill line of thought).
posted by jason_steakums at 4:27 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Only the DAG can fire Mueller, and only for cause, with notice to Congress. Special Counsel regs have some teeth.

Right, he'd have to do it in a roundabout way. You know who tried to do that? Hint: He was (going to be) impeached for it!
posted by Justinian at 4:27 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


We've been wondering who were the players who were going to step up and be the heroes. Yates led the way, but it's the dudes who will get the loudest accolades, probably.

Sally Yates is and ever has been the biggest badass of them all because she stood up repeatedly and did the right thing with ZERO political pressure and NO media prodding to make her. And then she looked those Congressional bastards right in the eye and did not flinch while cutting them down to size. Why? Because it was her fucking job.

I've always been feeling the love for Yates. I'm starting to feel it for Rosenstein because until now, it was uncertain whether or not he'd be a weaselly little lickspittle pawn, but it's starting to seem like he's similar to the other good Justice Dept. people. This is really like the AG equivalent of the Comey Valentine. "I nod at you agreeably as you decide I'm your lapdog, all the while quietly sharpening my prosecutorial knives."
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:28 PM on May 17 [130 favorites]


The bigger story about the Ryan tape is that it was leaked now. Whoever had it has been sitting on it. So they now must feel that this is the right time to go after Ryan.

This is the bigger story.
posted by Jalliah at 4:29 PM on May 17 [137 favorites]


So I'm wondering how long the twitter silence from Trump will last. I'm sure he has been told how very bad this apt. of Mueller means for him trying to keep all of his dirty little secrets hidden from the public-- including his tax returns. He has tomorrow and then Friday he will be stuck on a plane with everyone babysitting him every moment. Don't forget that Friday nights when Ivanka and Jared took off were when he has had some of biggest tweet tantrums. So tonight he has all night to worry and stew and swear and rage. I wonder if he will be able to scare them into giving him his phone so he can "defend" himself?


President DEVOS.

Oh my god.


he would have to fire Rosenstein and find an DAG that would fir him


Just so we are clear-- that is exactly what Nixon did.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:30 PM on May 17 [30 favorites]


I'll just be here crossing my fingers that splash damage from a hit to Rohrabacher's career nails his buddy Steve King too.

Seriously, the fact that Rohrabacher has had his seat for so long is just revolting. It is not for nothing that McCarthy tarred him and Twitler with the same brush. And yeah, King is scum, too. Ugh.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:30 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


There is likely to be a great bond of trust between the FBI investigators and Mueller, and crucially no agency/investigation pissing match regarding sharing information as he's still essentially an agency man. He's also investigating Trump, a man who recently pissed off 99% of the FBI. Mueller also has a history of working with the CI team, the CIA and FinCEN, all of whom appear to have trusted him.

Mueller also presumably throught enough of Comey to endorse him as a successor (back when that kind of professional opinion mattered). Those memos are going to be taken extremely seriously.

It's all the basis of quite a robust investigation, and against people who are likely to be a lot easier to pressure than, say, organised crime. The basis of some of this is Flynn just taking directly bank transferred money from foreign governments, which isn't exactly the perfect crime. The principal keeps making self-incriminating statements. The staff would probably quite like immunity and a continued political career. For the first time since the election, I have some real hope that this will end with an impressive amount of criminal charges.
posted by jaduncan at 4:31 PM on May 17 [29 favorites]


I have a new favorite bureaucrat.

@philindc
I'm being replaced @DHSgov by #SheriffClarke. My job was to work with state and local officials. Clarke says he wants to strangle #Democrats
- So much for Sheriff Clarke's ability to work with #Democratic governors and mayors, he is too polarizing and calls critics #snowflakes
- His department is being investigated for an inmate death because they refused to give the inmate water, he died of #dehydration
- The job is massive, the issues are complex and nuanced, and requires political tact and ability to build relationships, he can't do that
- #SheriffClarke will take an entirely different approach to job than @juliettekayyem @BetsyMarkey and I ever did.
- I guess he's getting out of Milwaukee before the voters fire him. In recent polling 62% of votes disapproved of his job as #sheriff
- Asked about working with Democrats Clarke said he wants to grab them by their throats, I never said that about GOP electeds I worked with
- I feel bad for my career staff @DHSgov, also bad for groups like @NatlGovsAssoc @usmayors, will he really be their #advocate inside DHS?
- Also why did #SheriffClarke travel to #Russia in 2015 to meet with one of #putin's deputies? And who paid for trip?
- Well I can say that I've never been sued by the @ACLU and I've never traveled to Russia to meet with a Putin deputy
posted by chris24 at 4:31 PM on May 17 [197 favorites]


Ana Marie Cox had fun with this one—Don't Pity Paul Ryan:
If you look at Ryan’s résumé rather than his news clips, a necessarily drier and surprisingly tuneless narrative emerges: Ryan is kind of a fuck-up who has failed ever upward in government. We gasp at his capacity to eat Trump's shit and ask for more, but he's actually more like Trump than he is different. He is a beneficiary of media narrative over reporting, of the right's intellectual poverty, of the very low bar the GOP has set for its leadership. No wonder he refuses to hold Trump accountable; someone might start asking questions about him.
posted by zachlipton at 4:31 PM on May 17 [63 favorites]


This also signals that the FBI isn't playing games.

But we were told by Sarah Huckabee Sanders that everyone at the FBI was thrilled by Comey's ouster! I'm so confused!
posted by lalex at 4:32 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


The bigger story about the Ryan tape is that it was leaked now.

You're right. I forgot my first two questions after reading the news were:
1. Who did the taping and did everyone know they were being taped?
2. Why sit on it for a year?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:33 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Imagine going back in time like five or ten years and showing someone this sentence:

The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate possible collusion between President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign team and Russia as well as alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election.

I know a lot of people have been saying this in jest but I honestly do feel like I'm living in a dream world. How can this all be really happening?
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:33 PM on May 17 [55 favorites]


President DEVOS.
Oh my god.


It's Battlestar Galactica all over again before.
EdSec --> POTUS
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:34 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Trump statement.
posted by primethyme at 4:35 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Mueller also presumably throught enough of Comey to endorse him as a successor

Comey and Mueller worked side by side for years through some of the most trying times for the USA in recent memory (the years after 9/11). By all accounts the bond between them goes well beyond "thought enough of Comey to endorse him".

*If* the Trump camp ever decides they need to push back on Mueller because something is setting off alarms for them I would assume that's the tack they would take; that he is not and cannot be impartial because of his relationship with Comey.
posted by Justinian at 4:35 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Saulgoodman: I wish you the best, and I hope you get your wish. (I can understand wanting a break from the news! I wish I could stop with the rubbernecking...)

As for Pence: Let's not with the HURR DURR GILEAD fanfic, mmmkay? I would be a lot more scared if Pence was capable/intelligent/charismatic/pick two. As it is, he's dumb as a stump and has the charisma of a wet flounder, and IIRC he was extremely unpopular as Governor of Indiana. He might dream of a theocracy, but I don't think he's capable of putting it into practice. Tic-tac-toe, not chess. At least we won't have to worry about the nuclear button or yet another amazingly stupid remark to an important ally.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:35 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


It's gotta be Egg who leaked that tape.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:35 PM on May 17 [53 favorites]


You're right. I forgot my first two questions after reading the news were:
1. Who did the taping and did everyone know they were being taped?
2. Why sit on it for a year?


I've been pondering the possibility that it was leaked by someone in the intelligence community, and feeling like I need a wall o'crazy when I do it.
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 4:36 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


hey guys remember that huge, now-forgotten scandal about how Trump revealed highly classifed information to a hostile foreign government? That was 48 HOURS AGO.
posted by lalex at 4:37 PM on May 17 [132 favorites]


President DEVOS.
Oh my god.

It's Battlestar Galactica all over again before.
Sec of Ed --> POTUS


Bite your tongue. Mary McDonnell was an excellent fictional Secretary of Education. Indeed, she arguably did more positive things for the real world as fictional President of a fictional institution then Devos will ever do as an actual Secretary of Education.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:37 PM on May 17 [54 favorites]


is it too early to sing?

SPLOOSH! WHOOSH! THE DOUCHE IS DEAD...
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:37 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Trump statement.

Did they hire somebody new in the comm. office? Shockingly, that statement was written by someone competent.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:38 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


And for all we know, there won't be a President Pence, nor a President Ryan. It might just be pee tapes all the way down. One giant lake of Republican urine somewhere in St. Petersburg. It looks like so many of them are in it up to their eyeballs. And those who aren't, are feeling the heat of angry constituents. Hooray for angry constituents!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:38 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Hypothetically, his lawyer tells Trump it's a no-hoper. Trump quits (blames media, whatever). Does the investigation by Mueller continue?
posted by Rumple at 4:38 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Trump statement.

I have zero belief that Trump wrote or had anything to do with that statement.
posted by Mchelly at 4:38 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


Steve King is an absolute garbage person, but I would be surprised if he goes down for corruption. I think he comes by his garbage-ness 100% honestly. Sadly, I think the solution to the Steve King problem is going to have to come from the voters, and I don't have high hopes for that right now. But who the hell knows how this all is going to play out. I am done making political predictions until I'm living in a political world that I recognize even the slightest bit.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:39 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


That "Trump Statement" sounds like he not only didn't write it, but didn't know it existed. And probably still doesn't.
posted by saturday_morning at 4:39 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


I also have an utterly delicious feeling that this has occured primarily because the WH - and here I essentially mean Jeff Sessions telling Trump what to do - misjudged how much they could rely on Rosenstein.

Even the suspicion makes me delighted.
posted by jaduncan at 4:39 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Bite your tongue.

I should have! I agree with you. Mary McDonnell is a national treasure. Devos, not so much.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:39 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


He'd be impeached if he did that.

Please don't say that.
posted by jammer at 4:40 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]



You're right. I forgot my first two questions after reading the news were:
1. Who did the taping and did everyone know they were being taped?
2. Why sit on it for a year?


Speculation here: Someone in the GOP that doesn't hold a lot of power but for whatever reason decided to tape the conversations in order to maybe get dirt. Or maybe they were uncomfortable with what they were hearing before and taped it. Then they had it but didn't feel they could use it or were waiting for the perfect time to 'make a move'. Now is the time and they leaked because they feel that the leadership is blocking doing the right thing because they are complicit.

Or someone in the GOP taped it for whatever reason, realized eventually what they had and turned the tape over to the FBI or someone in the IC. It's being released now by IC because the GOP leadership is a significant block to moving forward with dealing with Trump and they are 'sowing discord'.

It could also be a warning from whomever to other GOP members that the need to get on the right side and not lash themselves to a sinking ship.

Or it was taped by someone else entirely and now it's just the right time to release it where they figure it will do the most damage.
posted by Jalliah at 4:41 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Did they hire somebody new in the comm. office? Shockingly, that statement was written by someone competent.

Trump was probably in a frothing rage shouting obscenities at the television while that was written. Who knows if he even saw the thing.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]




Likely other people have brought this up recently, but about a year ago I posted this (which I initially found via the SA forums):

Somebody made a joke that Trump was a Russian plant, and then because we were talking about it I started idly googling Russian spies, and what do you know:

The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia is a 1997 geopolitical book by Alexander Dugin. The book has had a large influence within the Russian military, police, and foreign policy elites and was allegedly used as a textbook in the General Staff Academy of Russian military.

...In the United States, Russia should use its special forces within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism. For instance, provoke "Afro-American racists". Russia should "introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics."

Um... you guys I think Trump might be a Russian plant

posted by showbiz_liz at 4:42 PM on May 17 [50 favorites]


His department is being investigated for an inmate death because they refused to give the inmate water, he died of #dehydration

Let's not forgot that a newborn baby died in his jail because the jailers ignored the woman going into labor. He is a baby killer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:42 PM on May 17 [42 favorites]


schadenfrau: Can we start referring to the whole thing as the Russia Treason or something? Just so we smear them all with it? Most people won't look into more than the name, but that name will be stamped on every Republican forehead.

How about 'The Russian Tea Party'?
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:43 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


One giant lake of Republican urine somewhere in St. Petersburg.

I think you just perfectly envisioned the Boschian afterlife most of these people are going to be spending eternity in
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:43 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


I'm just clicking on random items on the Jack Bauer soundboard right now.
posted by srboisvert at 4:43 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


Trump statement.

Did they hire somebody new in the comm. office? Shockingly, that statement was written by someone competent.

My personal guess would be that it had significant input from a lawyer, and that from now on statements are going to read very much more that way. The terseness and desire to avoid making any claims that have not already been made seem like a bit of a tell.
posted by jaduncan at 4:44 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


I also have an utterly delicious feeling that this has occured primarily because the WH - and here I essentially mean Jeff Sessions telling Trump what to do - misjudged how much they could rely on Rosenstein.

So wait. Are we thinking this appointment happened because Rosenstein was pissed about them abusing his name and his memo in the Comey firing justification? Because if so... *italian chef kissing fingers gesture* *fire emoji x 3*
posted by saturday_morning at 4:44 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]




Why is every GOP leader such a terrible, unfunny conversationalist that all of their scandalous comments can semi-plausibly be explained as jokes???
posted by acidic at 4:45 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Trump quits (blames media, whatever). Does the investigation by Mueller continue?

Yes, it should. "Individuals associated with the Trump campaign" and "any matters that arose or may arise directly from". That won't stop if Trump bolts, they're hopefully looking at criminal charges for everyone who touched anything about Russian connections, not just Trump.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:46 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


As a Californian, I feel that anything that could end the political careers of both Kevin (not Joe, closer to Charlie) McCarthy and Dana Rohr-louder makes this Good News Day, even without the Special Council announcement.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:46 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Trump statement.

It would be hilarious if the media asked about "that statement you wrote" and he had no idea it even existed.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:46 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


When Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein said he would not appoint a Special Counsel, I assumed he was a Trump stooge. Now I wonder if he may have been waiting until he was certain Mueller would agree to the position. He seems like a hero.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:47 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


So wait. Are we thinking this appointment happened because Rosenstein was pissed about them abusing his name and his memo in the Comey firing justification? Because if so... *italian chef kissing fingers gesture* *fire emoji x 3*

I have an odd (and based on nothing) feeling that it was on the merits. At some point, a careerist is going to choose to make the right decision because it's the right thing to do, and is also the only thing to do if a continued career is desired.

Crucially, he's one of the only people that isn't massively tied or beholden to Trump.
posted by jaduncan at 4:47 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Trump is fucked. The breadth of the Special Counsel order means that Mueller will have free rein to investigate any past financial dealings, legal or otherwise, with Russia, the mob, etc. to make sure there's no possibility of collusion or blackmail. So even if there's not recent collusion during the campaign or administration, there's no way Trump isn't dirty with Russia or the mob at some point in the past. His best case is Mueller only finds money laundering.
posted by chris24 at 4:48 PM on May 17 [63 favorites]


Just wondering - is there a bunker at Mar-a-Lago?
posted by davebush at 4:48 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Why is every GOP leader such a terrible, unfunny conversationalist that all of their scandalous comments can semi-plausibly be explained as jokes???

Because all of Conservative thought can semi-plausibly be explained as a joke.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:48 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


When Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein said he would not appoint a Special Counsel, I assumed he was a Trump stooge. Now I wonder if he may have been waiting until he was certain Mueller would agree to the position. He seems like a hero.

Smart to deny everything until it's fait accompli. Otherwise you tip your hand and Orangeaid axes you to put in a stooge.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:49 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


So wait. Are we thinking this appointment happened because Rosenstein was pissed about them abusing his name and his memo in the Comey firing justification? Because if so... *italian chef kissing fingers gesture* *fire emoji x 3*

I'm guessing it also has something to do with Rosenstein suspecting them of being criminals. You know, since they pretty much have dayglo Committing a Felony Right Now! signs suspended over their heads.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:49 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


So wait. Are we thinking this appointment happened because Rosenstein was pissed about them abusing his name and his memo in the Comey firing justification? Because if so... *italian chef kissing fingers gesture* *fire emoji x 3*

According to a journalist on twitter (I forget which one) Mueller was seen coming out of Rosenstein's office the day after Comey's firing. I think he had already decided to do this and was just waiting until he had Mueller's decision.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:50 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


CNN saying that since a Special Counsel has been appointed, Comey no longer wants to testify. His Work Is Done.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:50 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Trump is fucked. The breadth of the Special Counsel order means that Mueller will have free rein to investigate any past financial dealings, legal or otherwise, with Russia, the mob, etc. to make sure there's no possibility of collusion or blackmail. So even if there's not recent collusion during the campaign or administration, there's no way Trump isn't dirty with Russia or mob at some point in the past. His best case is Mueller only finds money laundering.

The real question is, how many Republican elected officials and campaign contributors go down with him? Are the Mercers implicated, or the DeVoses? Are the money laundering rumors based in reality?

I mean, I expect Keebler Klux Klan is going down.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:51 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


CNN saying that since a Special Counsel has been appointed, Comey no longer wants to testify.

In front of Congress, maybe. He knows he's getting a big fat subpoena from Mueller like tomorrow.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:51 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]



My thought is the GOP leader tape was put into play now in order to take advantage of the cracks that have appeared in both the Senate and the House because of the past couple of days. It's primarily meant for them. The point is to help break up the gang mentality and sow discord and mistrust.
If it ends up leading to any of them being brought down internally that's all bonus.
posted by Jalliah at 4:51 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


Soo tired of hoping for president Pence...
posted by kleinsteradikaleminderheit at 4:52 PM on May 17


Trump is fucked. The breadth of the Special Counsel order means that Mueller will have free rein to investigate any past financial dealings, legal or otherwise, with Russia, the mob, etc. to make sure there's no possibility of collusion or blackmail. So even if there's not recent collusion during the campaign or administration, there's no way Trump isn't dirty with Russia or mob at some point in the past. His best case is Mueller only finds money laundering.
Right. Remember how Ken Starr was appointed to investigate Whitewater, but Bill Clinton ended up being impeached for the Monica Lewinsky thing? Think that, but with someone who has actually done a lot of things that merit prosecution.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:52 PM on May 17 [58 favorites]


Mitch McConnell has released a statement saying that the Senate Intelligence comittee will continue to investigate as well. Seems unnecessary but maybe there is some other purpose?

I really think the suggestion made above that Evan McMullin released the tape might be a strong possibility. We know he has no love for Trump supporters and he was apparently at the meeting with Ryan and McCarthy and as a former CIA guy he would no doubt be used to taping everything.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:54 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


I know a lot of people have been saying this in jest but I honestly do feel like I'm living in a dream world. How can this all be really happening?

How can our president be real if our votes aren't real?
posted by Talez at 4:54 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


PBS Newshour, Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), (paraphrasing): now that a Special Counsel has been appointed, it will take him 60 days to get up to speed. So we can all take a deep breathe and calm down and get back to our legislatin'.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:55 PM on May 17


I mean, I expect Keebler Klux Klan is going down.

Is it wrong that I hope the fed who arrests him is a black woman?
posted by leotrotsky at 4:55 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


Just wondering - is there a bunker at Mar-a-Lago?

According to Wikipedia, it has three bomb shelters. Which is too bad, because I wanted to make a joke about marshland and a secret submarine base.
posted by notyou at 4:55 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


What if the issue isn't collusion between Trump's campaign and a foreign entity, though? The issue to me seems to be money laundering, specifically by people that have been part of Trump's organization (campaign or business). It's a good chance that a lot of dirty money has been parked in Trump properties. People like Flynn and Manafort helped facilitate that. It might seem like a small difference, but I don't think there's going to be evidence of Putin paying Trump or whatever. It's more complicated than that.
posted by My Dad at 4:55 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Whoever released the damn thing, if they had it before the election they are 1000% more craven and unpatriotic than the people who are still defending Trump, because they could have stopped this before it started.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:56 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


PBS Newshour, Rep Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), (paraphrasing): now that a Special Counsel has been appointed, it will take him 60 days to get up to speed. So we can all take a deep breathe and calm down and get back to our legislatin'.

NY Times: Hey, watch this!
Wash Post: Hold my beer.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:57 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


According to Wikipedia, it has three bomb shelters. Which is too bad, because I wanted to make a joke about marshland and a secret submarine base.

Something something Legion of Doom...
posted by Talez at 4:57 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


So we can all take a deep breathe and calm down and get back to our legislatin'.
Fuck. That. Shit. I don't think the quite realize how fired up people are. They are not going to have a moment's peace until Trump is out of office, and probably not after then either.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:57 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


What if the issue isn't collusion between Trump's campaign and a foreign entity, though?

Mueller has pretty much been given the go ahead to investigate anything he finds.
posted by Jalliah at 4:58 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


All these fucking Republicans going on TV and saying they support this decision, because they can no longer prevent this decision
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:58 PM on May 17 [43 favorites]


I gather Mueller has a fairly specific mandate. Where is it outlined, and how much does it confine him? Or does that only apply to the Nixon case?
The attorney general or Congress could seek appointment of a special counsel, but the ultimate selection was left up to a panel of federal judges who also determined the prosecutor’s mandate.
posted by Coventry at 4:58 PM on May 17


I don't think it would have made a difference pre-election. I don't think it'll make that big a difference now, tbh. It strikes me as more of a specific message to Ryan, et al., than something meant to fire up the public.
posted by yasaman at 4:58 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]



Whoever released the damn thing, if they had it before the election they are 1000% more craven and unpatriotic than the people who are still defending Trump, because they could have stopped this before it started.


I don't think it would have made one iota of difference and would have been swept under the rug way more easily then it can now.
posted by Jalliah at 4:59 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Adam Kinzinger is my Rep. He ran unopposed so there was no chance of him not being elected. I did the best thing I could which was write in someone else though.
posted by Green With You at 4:59 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Just wondering - is there a bunker at Mar-a-Lago?

According to Wikipedia, it has three bomb shelters. Which is too bad, because I wanted to make a joke about marshland and a secret submarine base.


Come on, unexpected Florida sinkhole!
posted by jason_steakums at 5:00 PM on May 17 [29 favorites]



I gather Mueller has a fairly specific mandate. Where is it outlined, and how much does it confine him? Or does that only apply to the Nixon case?


He has been given a really broad mandate.
posted by Jalliah at 5:00 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Republicans: if we can just have a few days to saddle this shit tornado, surely we can harness it's awesome power to get tax cuts for the rich passed!

Republicans, you can't saddle a shit twister. You can't control it or turn it's path. You can just get covered in shit. And may I say, couldn't happen to a nicer group of racist misogynist fascists.
posted by supercrayon at 5:01 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


CNN saying that since a Special Counsel has been appointed, Comey no longer wants to testify. His Work Is Done.

That's not great news, is it? I liked the idea of Comey being on TV next week and keeping the momentum going.
posted by saturday_morning at 5:01 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Soo tired of hoping for president Pence...

Pence was appointed by a Russian bagman, and is likely to be under investigation for having knowingly lied about Flynn whilst knowing that Flynn was a) the NSA and b) compromised by Russia. I find it hard to see how Pence stays clean in this investigation, and that's only based on what is a and known if you believe Yates' testimony.

Oh, and as a bonus, Flynn was c) being paid - directly! - by at least two governments to act as their agent in a quite impressive criminal breach. If Pence knew about that and then lied, that is quite impressively career limiting.
posted by jaduncan at 5:02 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


National Treasure Josh Marshall's Thoughts on the Special Counsel Appointment
First, this is a good pick.

Mueller has a strong reputation for professionalism. He was in DC for years. So people will have disagreements about this or that. He also headed the FBI for the whole post-9/11 era, during which the US pursued numerous highly controversial law enforcement and counter-terrorism policies. But with Mueller overseeing the investigation, I think that if anyone under scrutiny broke any laws they’re likely in pretty big trouble. For the purposes of this appointment, that’s what matters. I don’t think Mueller has any interest or willingness to cover for President Trump or any of his associates.[...]

But here’s the key. This is important and necessary but not sufficient.

There also needs to be an independent commission to investigate what happened in the 2016 election. These two options – special counsel or independent commission – are often bandied about as two separate options, one or the other, or as steps of escalation in a scandal. None of those things is true. [...]

People who committed crimes should be punished. Unquestionably. But the truest and deepest national interest is that the whole story be thoroughly investigated and the full story get a public airing. That is far more important to the health of the Republic and its safety than whether particular individuals spend time in prison. Again, it’s not either/or. But one is far more important than the other. A counter-intelligence probe or even a criminal investigation could wind up and the details and findings never be known. That can’t be allowed to happen. We need a fully empowered commission charged not with investigating and prosecuting criminal conduct but ascertaining, as far as possible, what happened and then bringing that information before the public.
Marshall is absolutely correct--people who have committed crimes against the United States must be punished. However, We the People must have a full airing of what exactly happened in the 2016 election with respect to Russian interference.

We have a special prosecutor--now, we collectively must pressure the legislature to have a fully open, independent, public commission on the circumstance of the 2016 election. It is our collective right to know what happened and to show Vladi that he can his antidemocratic nonsense and shove it.

We ain't moving the goalposts--we're just moving down the field, shining light on goalposts that have always been there.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 5:03 PM on May 17 [135 favorites]


Had to go back to this: "I nod at you agreeably as you decide I'm your lapdog, all the while quietly sharpening my prosecutorial knives."

Any other Vienna Teng fans who've had Whatever You Want stuck in your head?
posted by asteria at 5:03 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Whoever released the damn thing, if they had it before the election they are 1000% more craven and unpatriotic than the people who are still defending Trump, because they could have stopped this before it started.

If they had just witnessed candidate Trump suffer no consequences for bragging about sexual assault on tape, I understand why they might've sat on this one.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:03 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


It's been 37 hours since Trump tweeted. (There's been a few staff tweets.) The pressure must be building. Tick tock.
posted by chris24 at 5:03 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


How the fuck has the middle east trip not been canceled?
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:04 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


He has been given a really broad mandate.

Is it publicly available?
posted by Coventry at 5:05 PM on May 17


How the fuck has the middle east trip not been canceled?

White House staff really, really wants him gone for a few weeks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:06 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


Josh Marshall argues (correctly, I think) that this is all well and good, but we still need an independent commission, because there was wrong-doing that may not be technically illegal.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:06 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


How the fuck has the middle east trip not been canceled?

I'd wager his remaining inner circle is hoping to rally the base with a big "fix yourselves, gross muslims" speech in Saudi Arabia. I'm sure it'll go great.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:06 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I gather Mueller has a fairly specific mandate. Where is it outlined, and how much does it confine him?

His specified mandate is amazingly broad, actually.

Here's the memo.

Key bit:
  1. any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump
  2. any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation
  3. any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)
As noted above that bit of code covers "federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel's investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses."
posted by jammer at 5:06 PM on May 17 [33 favorites]


That's not great news, is it? I liked the idea of Comey being on TV next week and keeping the momentum going. (re: Comey not testifying publicly).

Great news for whom? It may be good news for eventually finding out the truth. It's certainly not good news for the life savings I pumped into popcorn futures in anticipation.

I think it's an open question as to whether to torrent of leaks we've seen continues. Do members of the intelligence community keep it up or do they trust Mueller enough that they'll sit on it and see what happens?
posted by Justinian at 5:07 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Wapo “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump’’ as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation’

Bolded is the key line. It means start with Russia and then wherever else it takes you. As people commented already with Clinton it meant start with Whitewater and wow end up with blow jobs.
posted by Jalliah at 5:08 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


That memo fills my heart with joy. Hope it pays off.
posted by Coventry at 5:08 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Jim Costa on CNN: "It's hard to imagine a worse seventy-two hours in Donald Trump's life."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:08 PM on May 17 [53 favorites]


I'm imagining Thursday through Saturday.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:09 PM on May 17 [76 favorites]


- the repeated evidence of the campaign's collusion with Russia

I, for one, am desperately hoping that this is part of the findings of the investigation. It would form the basis of a lawsuit to throw out the results of the 2016 election, the only reasonable remedy for the losers. If, in the event of solid evidence, the DNC doesn't mount such a lawsuit, they will be dead to me.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:10 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Archibald Cox was asked to be Special Prosecutor on May 16th, 1973. For perhaps the first time, Trump is trailing Nixon in the impeachment timeline. By one day.
posted by chris24 at 5:11 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


Jim Costa on CNN: "It's hard to imagine a worse seventy-two hours in Donald Trump's life."

Oh, I can imagine plenty.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:11 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


It's gotta be Egg who leaked that tape.

Given the surgical precision of its release? Yeah. I think he's trying for the replacement to start at Hatch.
posted by corb at 5:11 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


It would form the basis of a lawsuit to throw out the results of the 2016 election

I'm pretty sure this is Constitutionally impossible.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:12 PM on May 17 [28 favorites]


Well shit, finally some good news.
posted by INFJ at 5:12 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


He has to at least be considering resignation before he has to go on his big scary overseas trip.
posted by contraption at 5:13 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


An independent commission is also super-important if anybody wants to understand what Russia did and how to stop them from doing it again. Not just the hacking, but the propaganda, the social media bots, etc... By all means, there should be an investigation into whether Trump or his people broke the law and/or colluded with Russia, but we also need an independent public reckoning with what happened, and that's going to be beyond the scope of Mueller's investigation.

It would form the basis of a lawsuit to throw out the results of the 2016 election, the only reasonable remedy for the losers.

There is no legal basis for this. It does not appear in the Constitution.
posted by zachlipton at 5:13 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump
any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation
any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a)


One of the primary things I'm curious about is quite how screwed Manafort might be. Given that he essentially operated as a Kremlin fixer in EE for a while, there's quite a lot to uncover. Crucially that memo doesn't limit the coordination to the campaign period or campaign related activities, so anything he got up to in Ukraine is officially open for investigation.
posted by jaduncan at 5:14 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Now I'm kind of counting the minutes until the always delightful Daily Beast and Politico "Welcome to Hell" round-ups of the mood in the White House. Only on this particular afternoon/evening, the entire West Wing may be too busy Calling Saul to leak like cheesecloth.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:14 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


I think the radio silence from Trump is because someone, maybe Ivanka, sat him down and said "this is serious you're looking at jail time if you don't shut up and give me your phone." And that's why he was whining about being treated unfairly today.
posted by gofargogo at 5:15 PM on May 17 [44 favorites]


Jim Costa on CNN: "It's hard to imagine a worse seventy-two hours in Donald Trump's life."

Donald J. Trump: Hold my borscht!
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:16 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


Archibald Cox was asked to be Special Prosecutor on May 16th, 1973. For perhaps the first time, Trump is trailing Nixon in the impeachment timeline. By one day.

If we're on the Nixon timeline (gods help us), that means 450 or so days until Trump resigns. 450 days from now is the second week of August, 2018, just months away from the midterms.

Tick tock.
posted by nathan_teske at 5:16 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Can I make a small appeal for people to please if not read the links, at least scan back like 50 comments before posting one liner questions that have already been answered? This thread still has new thread smell and it's not going to last long if we have to rehash the Mueller memo and the difference between special counsel and the expired independent prosecutor statute every 30mins.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:18 PM on May 17 [32 favorites]


How long until Jared makes a deal to give evidence in exchange for avoiding prison time? I imagine that he has a more acute sense than the rest of them that going to federal prison is an actual possibility.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:18 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


I'm pretty sure this is Constitutionally impossible.
There is no legal basis for this. It does not appear in the Constitution.

Yes, I've read others who said that, but note that SCOTUS intervened in the 2000 election and the courts have overturned other elections, without either of those being mentioned in the Constitution. And if the courts have no jurisdiction over Presidential elections, how did SCOTUS decide the 2000 election?
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:19 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


WaPo: The worst job in Washington right now: Working for Trump
Some White House staffers have turned to impeachment gallows humor. Other mid-level aides have started reaching out to consultants, shopping their resumes. And at least one senior staffer has begun privately talking to friends about what a post-White House job would look like, according to two people close the staffer.

Trump, for his part, largely believes his recent string of mishaps are not substantive but simply errors of branding and public relations, according to people close to him and the White House. Indeed, as he faced a wave of criticism following the disclosure he had leaked “code-word” intelligence material to Russian officials during an Oval Office meeting last week, the president took to Twitter to claim he had “the absolute right” to do so.
...
One Republican operative in frequent contact with White House officials described them as “going through the stages of grief.” Another said some aides have “moved to angry,” frustrated with a president who demands absolute loyalty but in recent days has publicly tarnished the credibility of his team by sending them out with one message, only to personally undercut it later with a contradicting tweet or public comment.
...
The Trump White House has always been full of leaks to the news media. But the latest waves of anonymous griping have subtly shifted from warring aides bickering among themselves to staffers training their frustrations on the president, as well. Those who remain fully loyal to Trump report a growing sense of isolation.
posted by zachlipton at 5:19 PM on May 17 [29 favorites]


How long until Jared makes a deal to give evidence in exchange for avoiding prison time? I imagine that he has a more acute sense than the rest of them that going to federal prison is an actual possibility.

Yep. 50 Nixon staffers went to jail. Nixon didn't. People are going to be selling out to save their asses.
posted by chris24 at 5:20 PM on May 17 [41 favorites]


I think the radio silence from Trump is because someone, maybe Ivanka, sat him down and said "this is serious you're looking at jail time if you don't shut up and give me your phone.

Well, that would be hilariously awkward since the reporting is that Trump is furious with Kushner for encouraging him to fire Comey in the first place, the effect of which was akin to pouring gasoline on this whole hilarious tragic trashfire.
posted by lalex at 5:20 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Spicer's remembering the safety he found in the shade of the bushes on the day that now seems so long ago. He looks down at his hands and thinks of the claws of a mole, strong and purposeful. When he closes his eyes he sees himself crouching there under the bushes, digging into the cool loamy earth, its dampness permeating his jacket and mingling with his own flopsweat as he wriggles and squirms into the silent protection of his burrow
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:20 PM on May 17 [133 favorites]


Here is tonight's first Welcome to Hell round up of White House staff leaking. Though I get the impression WaPo has been working on this one for a couple days.
posted by yasaman at 5:20 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


@pattonoswalt: 'IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTINUE VIEWING "TRUMP PRESIDENCY IMPLODES" PLEASE HIT "REFRESH" ON TWITTER'
posted by zippy at 5:20 PM on May 17 [88 favorites]


He has to at least be considering resignation before he has to go on his big scary overseas trip.

Part of me seriously wonders whether the overseas trip is a way to get Trump out of the country and into hiding as soon as possible.
posted by naju at 5:21 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Live Glen Greenwald interview on the events of today Single link The intercept facebook link.....
posted by bluesky43 at 5:22 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Well, that would be hilariously awkward since the reporting is that Trump is furious with Kushner for encouraging him to fire Comey in the first place, the effect of which was akin to pouring gasoline on this whole hilarious tragic trashfire.

I think they expected to be able to shake the next shiny object in the face of the press and move on quickly. It seems to be an extreme miscalculation.
posted by Talez at 5:22 PM on May 17


Y'all know what is really funny about today?

Robert Mueller was appointed as Special Prosecutor on what would have been Archibald Cox's 105th birthday!

I wonder if this was DAG Rosenstein making a subtly clever joke at the executive's expense.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 5:23 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


from one of the WaPo articles but I already lost track of which one: That report sent senators into a frenzy during Tuesday’s round of votes, when they could be seen anxiously chatting among themselves. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) saw them too — and realized she had missed out on something.

“What now?” she screamed across the chamber.


just imagine if you were a senator, you wouldn't have to spend all day reading this thread, you would just raise your head up to the sky periodically and scream WHAT NOW? and somebody would come over and tell you.
posted by queenofbithynia at 5:23 PM on May 17 [92 favorites]


Trump is fucked.

Soooo, perhaps the smartest thing to do from Trump's perspective is to actually fire Mueller (via firing Rosenstein) and take the chance that the GOP will do nothing about it. Doesn't he have a better chance that the GOP will continue to be useless than he does of surviving an actual investigation?
posted by triggerfinger at 5:23 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Seen elsewhere: watching Trump collapse is like seeing a bad Nixon cover band.
posted by spitbull at 5:24 PM on May 17 [30 favorites]



Part of me seriously wonders whether the overseas trip is a way to get Trump out of the country and into hiding as soon as possible.
posted by naju at 19:21 on May 17 [+] [!]


We'll have some cake while they're in exile palace Trump Tower Baku, Azerbaijan.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:26 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


From Trump's perspective, maybe. I assume if that happens though that the howling, unstoppable fury of the intelligence community will be fully unleashed and it will be leaks leaks leaks all day, all night, favors called in, threats made, etc etc.
posted by yasaman at 5:26 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Trump is trailing Nixon in the impeachment timeline. By one day.
This is happening in "Internet Time". Remember that Nixon's (first) Special Prosecutor was named after one full term so Trump is way ahead of him. But if he's not out the door in a lot less than 450 days, he is going to bring the entire Republican Party with him. Think of it as a much better version of "drain the swamp".

How long until Jared makes a deal
He saw his father go to jail over political shenanigans for 14 months... and that was AFTER a lot of deal making. Put him high on the list of "unhappy campers at Camp Crystal Lake*".

*pop culture reference, but remember, the next Friday the 13th will be in October.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:28 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


Mental Wimp: "And if the courts have no jurisdiction over Presidential elections, how did SCOTUS decide the 2000 election?"

They didn't decide the presidential election directly - they didn't say, "W wins." They ruled that different Florida counties using different vote counting standards was an Equal Protection clause violation. It's obvious what was driving the decision, but there was an underlying constitutional rationale.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:30 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Live Glen Greenwald interview on the events of today Single link The intercept facebook link.....

This is what he's said so far:
  • You all think removing Trump is good, but it will actually be bad!
  • You shouldn't remove him unless he's committed a really bad crime (and he hasn't guys he hasn't)
  • You can't remove him because his voters are angry and it will make them sad and then they'll get angrier
then I closed the windows because the force of my eye rolling had popped one of my eyeballs out and sent it across the floor and I had to go get it before my cats did
posted by schroedinger at 5:31 PM on May 17 [124 favorites]


Soooo, perhaps the smartest thing to do from Trump's perspective is to actually fire Mueller (via firing Rosenstein) and take the chance that the GOP will do nothing about it. Doesn't he have a better chance that the GOP will continue to be useless than he does of surviving an actual investigation?

It's less subtle than that. Fire Rosenstein, find replacement, get replacement to agree that the first item on the agenda is the fire the special counsel, fire special counsel, bet that nobody votes to impeach.

That's just a full constitutional crisis, and the compromise option (assuming that isn't just immediate impeachment) is to reauthorise the SC via congress.
posted by jaduncan at 5:32 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I don't see how trump won't fire Mueller.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:32 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


So this line of succession thing. Surely most of the cabinet picks are compromised. But is there any possibility that anyone appointed by Trump when he goes down is automatically fired or something? I understand this is extremely wishful thinking, but if Trump is completely dirty from every angle, how do his appointments get to stand?
posted by Glinn at 5:33 PM on May 17


OK who took down the wards and summoned Glegrinof
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:34 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I bet Rosenstein has been writing some killer memos tonight.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:34 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


how do his appointments get to stand?

Presumably because they were well vetted (sic) by the Senate.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:35 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


a nine-day foreign trip starting Friday that many [staffers] hope will provide a stabilizing reboot

Oh yes, I'm sure that nine days of travel, jet lag, foreigners, limited access to ketchup, all sorts of timezones that fuck up the circadian rhythms and make it impossible to watch Fox and Friends on schedule, and the entire set of high profile White House wackazoids all being trapped in a sardine can together where they can get to know one another's foibles and acrid stress perspiration intimately will be SO VERY RELAXING AND RESTORATIVE for all involved, especially President MyOwnBed HomePooper.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:37 PM on May 17 [115 favorites]


I don't see how trump won't fire Mueller.

He doesn't have the power to.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:37 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Trump could presumably use this for a soft landing if he follows the Nixon playbook, and maybe avoid impeachment/conviction.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:39 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Soooo how's that full control of Congress and the White House and Scalia's seat working out?
posted by jason_steakums at 5:40 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Maybe let's not get cocky yet.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:42 PM on May 17 [97 favorites]


I don't see how trump won't fire Mueller.

He doesn't have the power to.


Doesn't mean he won't try.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:42 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't envy Obama if he had to handle the high amount of stress and developing-by-the-hour news over the next few days, and Obama is someone who can handle himself under pressure. Trump? I assume he's just going to have a full on screaming glossolalic nervous breakdown, if he's not having one already.
posted by naju at 5:42 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's Pivot or Impeachment time for the President, which doesn't auger well for his future.
posted by notyou at 5:43 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Oh yes, I'm sure that nine days of travel, jet lag, foreigners, limited access to ketchup, all sorts of timezones that fuck up the circadian rhythms and make it impossible to watch Fox and Friends on schedule, and the entire set of high profile White House wackazoids all being trapped in a sardine can together where they can get to know one another's foibles and acrid stress perspiration intimately will be SO VERY RELAXING AND RESTORATIVE for all involved, especially President MyOwnBed HomePooper.

And he is going to be told what to do a lot just from a logistics perspective. He will be shuttled and directed here and there tons. He hates that. Add in all of his people trying to give him advice on this to say and not say and he's going to hate it. Plus now add in the paranoia of what in the hell is going on back in the US behind his back.
posted by Jalliah at 5:43 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


Yeah, it's Pivot or Impeachment time for the President, which doesn't auger well for his future.

Or just stay the course and count on congress doing nothing to stop him. I wouldn't rule that out.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:44 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Maybe let's not get cocky yet.

Yea, this. This is a good development, but it's not enough. Trump could fire Mueller somehow and the Reoublciand do nothing. Mueller could exonerate him. The investigation could bog down and take the rest of the first term without public findings. Mueller could produce the most damning report in history, charge a bunch of underlings, and Republicans still may not impeach. The House could impeach and the Senate could still fail to remove him after everything, because they'll need to have at least 19 Republicans vote to remove.

Today is better. It's not time for crowing or confidence. Nothing has changed at all regarding the need for massive public pressure about all of this directly to elected officials.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:47 PM on May 17 [39 favorites]


My prophecy, for all the good it will do because I might as well be Cassandra: at some point on this trip, if it even goes forward at all because ahahaha tomorrow may yet bring a fresh hell, Trump will go AWOL and/or on communications blackout. The press pool will not know where he is, there'll be a lot of low-key, barely hidden panic from White House staff. Someone will leak about how Trump is having a meltdown or is "unwell." He will return to the US early. Further prognostication seems pointless, though obviously I think we can all agree that the speech on Islam will go poorly at best or start a war at worst.
posted by yasaman at 5:48 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


Or just stay the course and count on congress doing nothing to stop him. I wouldn't rule that out.

I don't think Trump can do that. One of the best things you can do when there is no good solution is to wait, to endure the unpleasantness, and look for opportunities as time changes the geography of your situation. But it is excruciating for people like Trump. It takes a level of calm most people don't have. Obama could have done it. But all this must feel to Trump like fire ants having a barbecue on his scalp.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:48 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Republicans are definitely going to have to face up to some political realities before too long.

Backing Trump while also trying to push the incredibly unpopular Trumpcare bill through the Senate is going to be increasingly challenging. Yes Trump has high levels of support among Republican voters (who often get their news filtered through a Fox News lens) and in general it's hard for anyone to keep up with the breakneck pace of scandals unfolding but at a certain point in time Trump's sheer incompetence threatens to derail the Republican's attempt to shove through some massive tax cuts for their donor base.

Assuming that every Republican in congress will shift into election mode around November or December of this year time is running out for Republicans in terms of getting shit done.

Right now they must still think that staying the course and not forcing Trump out of office is preferable to the possible consequence of upsetting the base but each day of new scandals seems like it's getting closer and closer to a break even point in terms of the political calculus.

At the end of the day I don't think that Trump will actually get impeached but I do think that someone will make him a compelling deal in return for his resignation.
posted by vuron at 5:50 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


He doesn't have the power to.

Sure he does, indirectly. He can fire Rosenstein and tell the new DAG to fire Mueller. And keep going until someone acquiesces. If he does it on a Saturday Night we could call it something catchy like the "Saturday Night Massacre."
posted by Justinian at 5:50 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


Remind me again, how many major scandals did the Obama administration bring us over their eight years?
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:54 PM on May 17 [43 favorites]


I don't expect Trump to try to get rid of Mueller, as much as he might want to. What I do expect him to do is melt the fuck down, even worse than he has been for the last couple weeks.
posted by uosuaq at 5:54 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


A coworker inspired me to create this.
posted by tonycpsu at 5:54 PM on May 17 [32 favorites]


Well, there was the mustard thing
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:54 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


A timely report as the Trump Administration looks to pour money into school vouchers: NYT—In Some States, Donating to Private Schools Can Earn You a Profit

Some states offer dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to private schools. The catch is that the IRS also allows you to take a tax deduction for the contribution on your federal return. If you make enough money enough to take advantage of this, you can double-dip and actually make a profit from your donation, undercutting funding for public schools and handing out taxpayer funds to the comparatively wealthy all at the same time.

The article cites this report from the public school superintendents association.
posted by zachlipton at 5:56 PM on May 17 [27 favorites]



Remind me again, how many major scandals did the Obama administration bring us over their eight years?


Republicans: BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI
posted by axiom at 5:56 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Or just stay the course and count on congress doing nothing to stop him. I wouldn't rule that out.

I'm hoping that the almost-clockwork schedule of leaks these past few days is the IC signaling to Congress to take their fucking time because they have buckets of scandals they can dole out as long as they need to.
posted by bibliowench at 5:58 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Tomorrow when I contact Chuck Grassley, I'm going to say that it would be irresponsible to bring any major legislation for Trump to sign while he's being investigated for very serious crimes, and I think the only reasonable thing for the Senate to do is to pass only those bills that are necessary to keep the government going until the investigation concludes. It's a silly suggestion, but I want that asshole to know that we will not tolerate business as usual.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:58 PM on May 17 [45 favorites]


Assuming he is removed, what kind of future awaits him? Some sort of alt-right Johnny Appleseed? I doubt it. With his brand in ruins, he's probably facing a very Howard Hughes-like existence.
posted by davebush at 5:59 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


especially President MyOwnBed HomePooper.

I know I should be worrying, but somehow now I can only giggle.
posted by corb at 6:02 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Of all the things that puzzle me about Trump, the latest is his aversion to the trip. Travel is fun! If you have special needs (burnt steaks with ketchup) you make arrangements for that! If it stresses you out, take an Ativan!
posted by angrycat at 6:06 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Remind me again, how many major scandals did the Obama administration bring us over their eight years?

Republicans: BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI

I asked it half in jest, but how many actual scandals—not Republican fever-dreams like Benghazi—were there? Looking back, it feels like his administration was perhaps the most scandal-free I can recall in my lifetime. Man, I just miss the sheer normalcy of his administration, even in the face of the endless Republican freakout.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 6:07 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


What are the chances Trump goes to Russia and just refuses to come back?
posted by asteria at 6:07 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


tonycpsu, that would be an awesome cross-stitch.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:08 PM on May 17


Oh Hi! *throws jacket over shoulder, steps one foot on rock, leans on knee*
I'm MetaFilter's petebest. Y'know we have a lot of fun in these threads, but let's remember why we're all really here. I'm referring, of course, to cake. The best chocolate cake you've ever seen, or the semi-stale slice of carrot cake from the restaurant last week you forgot on top of the toaster. Any of it is mighty fine. Let's all have some, right now.

And don't forget, looking up arcane federal regulations or digging around for the names of holy crap fifty Nixon staffers who went to jail - hydration is key. So wash that cake down with a tall glass of refreshing, clean, water. Mmmm-mmm! That's the stuff.

And we'll see you - in _0_ days!
posted by petebest at 6:08 PM on May 17 [96 favorites]


Assuming he is removed, what kind of future awaits him?

Naming names for forever and ever, we can only hope. If/when he goes down I want it to be in the biggest (non-nuclear) blaze of glory in history. I want alll the tapes to come out, and I want him to make it utterly undeniable that the entire Republican party, every last man woman and wastrel failchild, knowingly suborned treason to steal an election. I want him on every channel still, naming them all.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:10 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


It would form the basis of a lawsuit to throw out the results of the 2016 election

I'm pretty sure this is Constitutionally impossible.


What about the Supreme Court seat? Could this be grounds for impeaching that Gilead fuck?
posted by schadenfrau at 6:10 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


There's no telling what might happen, but resignation or impeachment are now much more likely. People will go to jail. Donnie thinks he can bully, scam, and fire his way to victory because that is what has worked throughout his so-called career. Trouble is, his opponents up till now have not had the kind of resources and power a special counsel has. Investigating attempts to hamper the investigation is on the table, and we've all been watching that on tv for the last week or so.
posted by vrakatar at 6:11 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I asked it half in jest, but how many actual scandals—not Republican fever-dreams like Benghazi—were there?

Obama's Katrina happened like two dozen times.

Even if Trump is impeached before this term is out, I'm sure he'll be able to squeeze in another Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Saturday Night Massacre or two.
posted by peeedro at 6:13 PM on May 17


Obama's Katrina

The Atlantic hurricane season is arriving.
posted by spitbull at 6:13 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I assume that any Trump resignation would have a Presidential Pardon from (Pence/Ryan/Hatch) attached to it. Right now considering he and his family are in full on kleptocrat mode (Mar-a-lago memberships, DC hotel bookings, charging the government for his protection, influence peddling, etc) it seems like staying in office has a better return than resigning.

Hell he might even think he can wait until late 2020 to keep up the increased cash flow and get an 11th hour pardon from Pence. I don't even think he's delusional enough to imagine he'd get re-elected at this point. Not that it will stop him from campaigning for re-election because grifters gonna grift.
posted by vuron at 6:15 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


I don't even think he's delusional enough to imagine he'd get re-elected at this point.

Hold my gold-encrusted unicorn chalice.
posted by spitbull at 6:16 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


Again with the breaking news. NYT: Before He Came to White House, Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation
Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case.

Despite this warning, which came about a month after the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry, Mr. Trump made Mr. Flynn his national security adviser. The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.

Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel. That conversation, and another one two days later between Mr. Flynn’s lawyer and transition lawyers, shows that the Trump team knew about the investigation of Mr. Flynn far earlier than has been previously reported.
posted by zachlipton at 6:16 PM on May 17 [106 favorites]


angrycat: "Of all the things that puzzle me about Trump, the latest is his aversion to the trip. Travel is fun! If you have special needs (burnt steaks with ketchup) you make arrangements for that! If it stresses you out, take an Ativan!"

I can actually sympathize a bit. Travel's generally more stressful than fun for me. Of course the things that freaks me out about traveling are mostly stuff that he's never had to deal with on his private planes, limos and luxury resorts.
posted by octothorpe at 6:17 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Y'know we have a lot of fun in these threads, but let's remember why we're all really here. I'm referring, of course, to cake.

Lingering over a slice of delicious cake, as we watch the bombs drop and the explosions follow. Now that would be downright poetic.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:19 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


Just for those who are not totally clear on the Saturday Night Massacre:

After like a year of coverup and slowly building pressure to investigate the Watergate break-in, Nixon's new AG, Eliot Richardson, appointed Archibald Cox as special counsel. When it became known that Nixon had been taping conversations in the WH, Cox subpoenaed the tapes. Nixon refused, citing executive privilege.

On Friday, Oct 19, 1973, Nixon offered to have near-deaf Senator Stennis transcribe and summarize the tapes, instead. (This really happened) Cox said that wouldn't suffice.

On Saturday, Nixon directed AG Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. Nixon then ordered Deputy AG William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; he also refused and resigned. Third in command was Solicitor General, Robert Bork, who agreed to fire Cox.

A federal district judge later found the Cox firing to be illegal.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:20 PM on May 17 [61 favorites]


Way to go, NYT. That puts Trump's "let it go, he's a good guy" in even better perspective.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:21 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


The job gave Mr. Flynn access to the president and nearly every secret held by American intelligence agencies.

This is fucking chilling.
posted by lalex at 6:21 PM on May 17 [33 favorites]


So Bork borked it. I love american politics.
posted by vrakatar at 6:22 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


And McClatchy finally picked up on the underreported story I've been whining about for months, on the Raqqa plan: Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed – after being paid as its agent. They fail to cite the Washington Post's reporting on this from February, which would have been nice, but anything that draws attention to Flynn's conflict of interest is good.

To recap the timeline as to why this is a big deal:
Flynn works as a foreign agent for Turkey, fails to register
Flynn immediately scuttles anti-ISIS military plans that would have severely angered the Turks, who were just paying him
Flynn gets fired
The plan to arm the Kurds is back on
posted by zachlipton at 6:25 PM on May 17 [70 favorites]


That's treason.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:28 PM on May 17 [27 favorites]


It has been _13_ minutes since the last Trump disaster.

Just thought we should give some of the other numbers a chance.
posted by Behemoth at 6:29 PM on May 17 [61 favorites]


The fact that Reagan thought that nominating Bork to the Supreme Court after Bork's part in the Watergate crisis is still pretty astounding. It's remarkable that Nixon basically promised Bork that he'd be a selection for the SCOTUS as a reward for firing Cox.

I wonder what Trump will offer someone to fire Mueller.
posted by vuron at 6:30 PM on May 17 [19 favorites]


On Saturday, Nixon directed AG Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused and resigned. Nixon then ordered Deputy AG William Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; he also refused and resigned. Third in command was Solicitor General, Robert Bork, who agreed to fire Cox.

Worth noting that Ronald Reagan later nominated Bork to the Supreme Court, and 40 Republican Senators voted to confirm him. In case you were thinking that the Republican party has any shame at all.
posted by galaxy rise at 6:30 PM on May 17 [67 favorites]


Judging from Reagan's presidency, I'm gonna go with "no".
posted by Autumnheart at 6:33 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


There's a straight line of Republican resentment from Bork firing Cox through Bork not being confirmed to Justice Gorsuch.
posted by Rumple at 6:33 PM on May 17 [37 favorites]


Again with the breaking news. NYT: Before He Came to White House, Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation

Sweet fancy Moses. I swear that seconds before that link appeared, I was in the midst of typing this:
The thing is, no matter who did or didn't collude with Russia, at this point two things are certain: Mike Flynn AT MINIMUM lied to the FBI, which is a felony. And Donald Trump knowingly tried to get James Comey to cover that up or not investigate it, which is a felony. Crimes were committed regardless of who did what with/for Russia.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:33 PM on May 17 [34 favorites]


I was seriously thinking it was going to be a quiet news day after the whirlwind earlier this week. Whew.
posted by TwoWordReview at 6:34 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


The National Enquirer is great for getting insight into what Trump wants people to think (or Trump friends think Trump wants people to think). The most recent headline was about how Trump has a plan for world peace that he revealed to Putin.
posted by drezdn at 6:34 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


From the WaPo "worst job is working for Trump" roundup:
And a third said that others are now sticking around purely for self-interest, hoping to juice their future earning potential. This Republican added that any savvy White House staffer should be keeping a diary. “The real question is: How long do you put up with it?,” this person said. “Every one of those people could get a better paying job and work less hours.”
Sticking around now would seem to me purely against self-interest: does Spicer, for example, become more employable the longer he flop-sweats and lies for Trump?

"Keeping a diary" feels loaded with "because you may all go down unless you can point fingers at who was responsible" subtext.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:35 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


The two Flynn stories together paint an even stronger picture: The Administration knew that Flynn had a massive conflict of interest as he gave advised them on the first major military decision they would face, and they did nothing about it.
posted by zachlipton at 6:36 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


Fun Fact: Nixon wrote a flattering letter to Trump encouraging him to go into politics.
posted by Rumple at 6:38 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


I'm guessing part of the logic behind keeping a diary is for that sweet sweet advance from a tell-all book.
posted by OHenryPacey at 6:38 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


The National Enquirer is great for getting insight into what Trump wants people to think (or Trump friends think Trump wants people to think). The most recent headline was about how Trump has a plan for world peace that he revealed to Putin.

That man has spent too much time around beauty contest judges.
posted by jaduncan at 6:38 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Mr. Flynn’s disclosure, on Jan. 4, was first made to the transition team’s chief lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, who is now the White House counsel.
So, not a complete surprise, when Sally Yates walked through the door.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:40 PM on May 17 [40 favorites]


'The Russian Tea Party'

Please no. This just insults the Boston Tea Party.

My vote is currently Trumpyre, but I'm entertaining other options.
posted by greermahoney at 6:42 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Tell all book, major motion picture, evidence, blackmail material, leverage... this is like a corruption scandal on cocaine.
posted by vrakatar at 6:42 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Oh yes, I'm sure that nine days of travel, jet lag, foreigners, limited access to ketchup, all sorts of timezones that fuck up the circadian rhythms and make it impossible to watch Fox and Friends on schedule....

My worst fear is he drops dead of a heart attack while overseas and the Republicans and MAGA hats will blame the media and the democrats of hounding him to death. There isn't a single scenario of Trump leaving office early that doesn't terrify me. It's going to take 18+ months to get to impeachment if his heart doesn't give out and the economy will likely crater about the same time.
posted by photoslob at 6:42 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Sticking around now would seem to me purely against self-interest: does Spicer, for example, become more employable the longer he flop-sweats and lies for Trump?

It's a matter of record that Trump only cares about loyalty. The reason for that is that if you strip everything else away from someone -- every asset, every talent, everything they can offer their next employer -- and all that's left is loyalty, then that person can never quit, because that proves they don't actually have loyalty and they have nothing to offer.

So Spicer et al are incentivized to stick around, especially if they don't think they'll get caught up in the prosecutions.
posted by Etrigan at 6:42 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


The same transition team being run by Pence, correct?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:43 PM on May 17 [30 favorites]


My husband thinks Hillary should have a bunch of T-shirts printed up that say, "I told you fuckers to vote for me." And wear one every day.

50 Nixon staffers...anybody else's mouth watering? What are the chances Jared and Ivanka both get brought up on charges?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:44 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]




That second Flynn article is bad enough it devotes an entire section to "Is it treason?" [spoiler alert: not really.] Even so, that's very much not a question you want a newspaper to be asking about you.
posted by zachlipton at 6:45 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


The same transition team being run by Pence, correct?

Good point. If the White House knew about this shit in early January, it starts to look much more doubtful that Pence, dumb and excluded from the loop as he is, knew nothing and was unknowingly repeating Flynn's lies.

I wish I could find the (WaPo?) link/story from an earlier thread in which somebody or other claimed Pence was at some of these Flynn Problem meetings.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:48 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


What are the biggest-ever scandals in American politics? Iran-Contra? Watergate? Teapot Dome? All this feels worse than all of those, even without the Russia crap.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:50 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]




Trumpyre

Trumpyre Trumpestival
posted by OverlappingElvis at 6:51 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


We all know Trump been colluding with Russia. They shovel weapons to the Taliban.

(pretty important read if you haven’t seen it,* lots more lately, this is better reporting)
The UAE gives them money and guns. And he cut a deal to give the UAE more weapons and build up more troops to go into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban. It’d be treasonous if it wasn’t SOP.

(You know SecDef “If you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition, ultimately” Mattis is too honest for this admin if not his job (and as much as I like him, I mean that as an insult. A “gosh that’s peculiarl” reaction to weapons being funneled to people killing your troops, probably an understatement)

Of course
he's sharing information on ISIS with the Russians. He's as much a racketeer as Putin. And it's the same dance.
Create instability. Sell weapons, buy resources, cut out/kill those not on board.

ISIS is like what, 53 guys and a van? (Ok, not literally…) But you need a $16 million dollar chunk of hardware to take out 36 of them?

When there’s blood in the street, buy land.
When there’s no blood in the street, get others to spill some.

The Trump admin stands out because it’s so blatant

IDK man, I keep thinking people will wake up. But shit, I thought you couldn't get away with just invading a country and not even trying to cover up the lies that formed the basis for it.

I remember now why I bought into Hobbes' Leviathan. ("For such is the nature of men, that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned; Yet they will hardly believe there be many so wise as themselves: For they see their own wit at hand, and other men's at a distance....Hereby it is manifest, that during the time men live without a common Power to keep them all in awe, they are in that conditions called Warre; and such a warre, as is of every man, against every man.")

I mean, "It can't happen here"?

Hell, it already did. We're well beyond that. We just haven't had the bill come due yet. And therein lay the Devil's art of conceal and delay.

Buuuut shit, giraffe gets half it's ass eaten off by a lion, it keeps going. I suppose we gotta have more pride than a giraffe.

I mean, yeah Hobbes. But if we're no better than that, no better than nasty, brutish, and short, we're at least better than the people in this administration.

I'd just like to not see Trump become the "elder statesman" Nixon had going on or the crazy crap throwing monkey he was before this.

...*Got tons more open source stuff but no time or energy.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:54 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Mitch McConnell has released a statement saying that the Senate Intelligence comittee will continue to investigate as well. Seems unnecessary but maybe there is some other purpose?

At some point the right thing to do will also become the politically smart thing to do. If it looks like Trump's going down McConnell wants to say he was investigating too.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:56 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


And if the courts have no jurisdiction over Presidential elections, how did SCOTUS decide the 2000 election?

Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:56 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


@fordm: It's less of a "news cycle" these days and more of that BSG episode where the Cylons attack every 33 minutes.

Oh god he said that in February LOL
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:58 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


'The Russian Tea Party'

Russiapublicans?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:59 PM on May 17


I've been thinking a lot about R.A. Lafferty's story "Slow Tuesday Night" lately. It's from 1965, but it's starting to feel mighty prescient. Go read it - it's only a few pages long.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:03 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Grab em by the Putinzie?
posted by vrakatar at 7:03 PM on May 17


Tonight I learned that Sean Hannity introduces his opening monologue by saying "coming up: tonight's opening monologue"?!?! What a hack!
posted by lalex at 7:03 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


The chances that Pence can maintain a firewall between himself and Trump are basically zero at this point. Same with the Keebler Elf.

2018 is going to be very interesting because if the Democrats can take control of the house (which seems quite likely at this point) presumably Nancy Pelosi would become third in line of succession to the Presidency. Democrats in charge of the house would be all scandal all day even if the Senate would be unlikely to ever follow through with a conviction based upon the articles of impeachment. Saddling Pence with Trump baggage now would be extremely useful in limiting Pence's effectiveness in the possibility that Trump resigns at some point.
posted by vuron at 7:04 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Mueller, a Princeton grad, volunteered for Marine service in Vietnam, where he won a Bronze Star and Purple Heart and Gallantry medal for genuine heroism under fire.

The more one looks the smarter this choice is. Those generals around Grandpa Grumpy know what Mueller is and what he stands for and is capable of, and they know who they have to defend.
posted by spitbull at 7:04 PM on May 17 [27 favorites]


kushner. flip kushner. this doesn't have to be some ambiguous 'what is treason' or 'is it impeachable' discussion. dude straight-up lied on his sf-86 (pdf) about high-level russian contacts.
5.4.11 Section 19 – Foreign Contacts
A foreign national is defined as any person
who is not a citizen or national of the U.S.
You must indicate whether you have, or
have had, close and/or continuing contact
with a foreign national within the last
seven years with whom you, or your
spouse, or cohabitant are bound by
affection, influence, common interests,
and/or obligation.
If you have, you will be prompted to provide additional information.
Include associates as well as
relatives not previously listed in
Section 18 (Relatives).
5.4.12 Section 20a – Foreign Activities
You must indicate whether you, your
spouse, your cohabitant, or any of your
dependent children have EVER had any
foreign financial interests such as stocks,
property, bank accounts, businesses or
investments.
Exclude financial interests in
companies or diversified mutual funds
that are publicly traded on a U.S.
exchange.
If you answer “Yes,” you will be
prompted to provide additional
information...
...

I certify that the above information includes all changes to my most recent SF 86 or since my last investigation. Changes, if any, are
explained under Block 3. My statements on this form, and on any attachments to it, are true, complete, and correct to the best of my
knowledge and belief and are made in good faith. I understand that a knowing and willful false statement on this form can be punished
by fine or imprisonment or both (18 U.S.C. 1001). I understand that intentionally withholding, misrepresenting, or falsifying information will
have a negative affect on my security clearance, employment prospects, or job status up to and including denial or revocation of my
security clearance, or my removal and debarment from Federal service.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:05 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


For a long time I wondered how Trumpite lies would ever come home to haunt them. There were so many and so freely offered.

But today the WaPo story on the GOP leadership giggling over the thought of Putin paying off Trump amid acknowledgement of what Russia was already doing to manipulate the Ukrainian process came out.

Both Ryan and McCarthy's offices flatly denied it. Never happened, didn't exist.

Confronted with proof, they turned out to be lying. OK we were kidding, they said.

Nobody batted an eye. Why? Because when it comes to GOP vs the mainstream press?

No contest, anymore.

Next up: executive order creating prosecutorial task force to hunt and jail leakers.
posted by sacre_bleu at 7:09 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


When Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein said he would not appoint a Special Counsel, I assumed he was a Trump stooge. Now I wonder if he may have been waiting until he was certain Mueller would agree to the position. He seems like a hero.

Trump could have fired Rosenstein at any point, right? He had to adopt extreme camoflauge to appear safe to leave in place, without surrendering his integrity. If he exaggerated his disinclination to hire a special counsel, it was the menialest of menial sins.
posted by msalt at 7:09 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Good lawfare blog post on the special counsel satute and Muller
posted by shothotbot at 7:13 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Pence was head of the transition team. He's implicated in basically everything just from that.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:13 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


How can it possibly be that the head of the DHS telling the President to use a ceremonial saber on the press is basically the least significant news story of the day?
posted by zachlipton at 7:13 PM on May 17 [56 favorites]


it was the menialest of menial sins.

*cough*
posted by leotrotsky at 7:14 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


if the Democrats can take control of the house (which seems quite likely at this point)

Clinton's election was quite likely too
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:15 PM on May 17 [42 favorites]


telling the President to use a ceremonial saber on the press

Jake Tapper on CNN remarked today that perhaps Trump should be careful handling that saber given his propensity for self-inflicted wounds. Good shade.
posted by spitbull at 7:15 PM on May 17 [53 favorites]


Ok, how does all this trump-fire impact the Senate and Republican agenda? Is it so far out there that the third rail of American politics, social security and Medicare, is moot?
posted by jadepearl at 7:17 PM on May 17


As for Pence: Let's not with the HURR DURR GILEAD fanfic, mmmkay? I would be a lot more scared if Pence was capable/intelligent/charismatic/pick two.


It's probably a breach of MeFi potus45 thread etiquette to respond to something so far upthread, but this is just an incredibly gross and presumptive statement, because Pence has done quite a bit to make Indiana into a Midwestern Gilead. I see the original poster making this claim has a location very far from the Midwest, so as a neighbor of Indiana, let me break down what Pence did to destroy the rights of women and poor folks just a few dozen miles from where I live.

Recall the following things have happened to Hoosiers under his governorship:
Pence cut off funds to Planned Parenthood which led to one of the worst HIV outbreaks in state history

During his governorship, a woman was charged with feticide for having a miscarriage hospital officials thought she couldn't adequately explain

Pence signed multiple anti-choice bills while in office, including some of the most restrictive abortion bills in the US.

So yeah, please knock it off with the "stop freaking out about Pence" fake comfort. I have signed a card to be sent to Purvi Patel's jail cell. I know Indiana healthcare workers who've treated addicts who shutter at Pence's name. Pence is not the relief valve some people in this thread are making him out to be, at least if you have a uterus.

Reproductive rights are basically to pre-Roe state in many Midwestern states, so please kindly educate yourself before you think those of us terrified of Gilead under Pence are simply melting down. Unlike you, we've actually seen what it looks like up close and are suffering the consequences.
posted by mostly vowels at 7:18 PM on May 17 [156 favorites]


There's no chance the network anchors have lunch tomorrow with him, is there?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:19 PM on May 17


what impresses me most about the last couple of days is what an amazing job the times and the post did keeping their powder dry. they've obviously been working these angles for months and they dropped the first bombs at a vulnerable moment. and as far as i can see, the hits keep coming.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:19 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


leotrotsky: "*cough*"

You have to use the PEDANTRY: prefix on these things.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:20 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


There's no chance the network anchors have lunch tomorrow with him, is there?

They will. Even the most feckless anchor can smell news.

What it won't be is "off-the-record".
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:21 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]



Here's some spin: I just read that this appointment is all part of Trump's plan. He fired Comey on purpose. Russia meeting all planned and said what he said and tweeted as a tactic in order to force a proper investigation which will obviously prove his innocence. This is all part of his master plan to show how the media and liberals are wrong and out to get him, once and for all. And ha ha we're all falling for it hook line and sinker.
MAGA
posted by Jalliah at 7:22 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


Last time Trump had an "off-the-record" lunch with network folks, it wasn't on background, so everyone just attributed quotes that only Donald Trump could have said to a Senior Administration Official for a few hours until the White House allowed them to use it on the record. When an anchor who just had lunch with Trump is reporting on a a word salad quote from an SAO, it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to figure out who said it.
posted by zachlipton at 7:24 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I just read that this appointment is all part of Trump's plan. He fired Comey on purpose. Russia meeting all planned and said what he said and tweeted as a tactic in order to force a proper investigation which will obviously prove his innocence. This is all part of his master plan to show how the media and liberals are wrong and out to get him, once and for all. And ha ha we're all falling for it hook line and sinker.

Please proceed, Donald.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:25 PM on May 17 [32 favorites]


I just read that this appointment is all part of Trump's plan. He fired Comey on purpose. Russia meeting all planned and said what he said and tweeted as a tactic in order to force a proper investigation which will obviously prove his innocence. This is all part of his master plan to show how the media and liberals are wrong and out to get him, once and for all. And ha ha we're all falling for it hook line and sinker.

I have to know. T_D?
posted by jaduncan at 7:27 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


you know, from the current vantage point
it seems like sweeping into washington with a paper-thin mandate, a cloud of suspicion, and no friends
and then proceeding to alienate the intelligence community, the press, and finally the FBI
may not have been 11-dimensional chess after all
posted by murphy slaw at 7:28 PM on May 17 [116 favorites]


Can we start referring to the whole thing as the Russia Treason or something?

Remember, remember the ninth of November,
The Putin-Trump treason and plot.
I know of no reason the Putin-Trump treason
Should ever be forgot.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:31 PM on May 17 [48 favorites]


I have to know. T_D?

No. It was on Reddit though so quite possible it came from there. I have read a few similar comments on Twitter. "It's all part of his brilliant plan! Ha ha you're falling for it." It's really sad.
posted by Jalliah at 7:32 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


> you know, from the current vantage point it seems like sweeping into washington with a paper-thin mandate, a cloud of suspicion, and no friends and then proceeding to alienate the intelligence community, the press, and finally the FBI may not have been 11-dimensional chess after all.

Huh. You don't say. And all those people screaming about how Trump wasn't fit to serve as President? Next thing you'll be telling me that they turned out to be right beyond their wildest surmising.

I mean, really. Who could have known? Surely the American public will agree to let bygones be bygones and let this administration settle down to the business of MAGA.
posted by RedOrGreen at 7:32 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


What is a T_D?
posted by lalex at 7:33 PM on May 17


My worst fear is he drops dead of a heart attack while overseas

While I don't wish the further consequences you fear...for this part, all I can say is, "From your lips to God's ears."
posted by corb at 7:34 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I want alll the tapes to come out, and I want him to make it utterly undeniable that the entire Republican party, every last man woman and wastrel failchild, knowingly suborned treason to steal an election. I want him on every channel still, naming them all.

Remember like eight months ago when we all reckoned that the rationale for Trump's run was so that he could launch Trump TV?

Dun't seem so bad now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:34 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


What is a T_D?

r/the_donald on reddit
posted by murphy slaw at 7:34 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


ohhhhhh thank you!
posted by lalex at 7:35 PM on May 17


The President knew Flynn was working for Turkey and illegally failing to register before he hired him. Then Flynn did this. Trump kept him employed for weeks.

If this is not treason, then what is treason?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:37 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


what is treason?

Doing something like that with a country we are actually at war with.
posted by spitbull at 7:38 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]



Nothing else is going to happen tonight right?
posted by Jalliah at 7:38 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Actually what I want most in life is for Trump to be struck by a lightning bolt at Vad Yashem, after which he is left unable to speak or type, and must depend on the kindness of those he has given no kindness to.
posted by corb at 7:38 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


Nothing else is going to happen tonight right?

other than the ragehol-fueled tweetstorm at 3am?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:39 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


I saw my first TV ads for the 2018 election cycle today.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:39 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Another very disturbing point to make about McCarthy's remark's:
In May 2016, McCarthy signed up to serve as a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention, breaking ranks with Ryan who said he still wasn’t ready to endorse the candidate. McCarthy’s relationship with Trump became so close that the president would sometimes refer to him as “my Kevin.”
So to recap:

- May 2016, McCarthy volunteers to serve as a Trump Delegate at the RNC
- June 15th, 2016, McCarthy makes his comments about Putin paying Trump and Rohrabacher, after discussing Russian meddling in Ukraine and the hack of the DNC

Let that sink in for a minute.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 7:45 PM on May 17 [46 favorites]


Dennis Kucinich (with Mike Huckabee) is on Hannity right now, going to bat for Trump, saying how he's under attack by the Deep State and the real problem is the leakers. My god. Breakin' my heart here, Dennis.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:47 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Neal Katyal (who helped write the special counsel regs): Trump could fire Mueller if he really wants, because the President has the Constitutional power to do so. The regulation says only the Attorney General can fire a special counsel, but the President could direct the repeal of the regulation. It would have to be a public process though, so we'd know if that started to happen.
posted by zachlipton at 7:48 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I'm not affiliated with r/The_Donald. I had these initials back in the beforetimes.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:48 PM on May 17 [28 favorites]


Trump = Chaotic Evil
Pence = Lawful Evil

Both can be defeated, but you do need a different bag of spells for each.
posted by vverse23 at 7:48 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


I was up all night long with an upset stomach so I've been home sleeping all day. Every like hour or two I wake up and check Mefi, blearily scroll through the thread, and there's like a new bombshell. And then another. And another. It's been a surreal day. I want it to end. I want it to never ever end.
posted by supercrayon at 7:49 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


Dennis Kucinich is still on planet earth?

Dude is a true wack job.
posted by spitbull at 7:49 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


- May 2016, McCarthy volunteers to serve as a Trump Delegate at the RNC
- June 15th, 2016, McCarthy makes his comments about Putin paying Trump and Rohrabacher, after discussing Russian meddling in Ukraine and the hack of the DNC


So the question is: What did the entire Congressional GOP know, and when did they know it?
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:50 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


[Folks, I'm trying to keep the thread length manageable - as above, please try to refrain from extended jokey riffs/off-topic chatter. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:54 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


What are the chances Jared and Ivanka both get brought up on charges?

I don't know why but this triggered a very sad revelation. I would accept the idea of a straight up stupidity defense for most of these people. They are so fucking stupid that a small part of me doesn't believe they're culpable. It's a very small part but god damn if these aren't some of the stupidest mother fuckers I've ever heard of.
posted by Uncle at 7:57 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Pride trumps buyer's remorse. That will change.
posted by davebush at 8:01 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Turkish Embassy has released a statement about yesterday's (it was yesterday right? time is getting weird) violent encounter with Kurdish protesters and it's a DOOZY.
Groups affiliated with the PKK, which the U.S. and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization, gathered yesterday without permit in Sheridan Circle in the immediate vicinity of the Ambassador’s Residence, while the President of Turkey was visiting the Residence. The demonstrators began aggressively provoking Turkish-American citizens who had peacefully assembled to greet the President. The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured. The violence and injuries were the result of this unpermitted, provocative demonstration. We hope that, in the future, appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that similar provocative actions causing harm and violence do not occur.
posted by murphy slaw at 8:02 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


I would accept the idea of a straight up stupidity defense for most of these people.

Criminalize stupidity.
posted by winna at 8:06 PM on May 17




220? How do you get by on two hours of sleep a night?

I have woken up to the thousands. My book reading average is totally fucked this year.

On-topic: Trump has done so many impeachable things. Why is this thing not like the other things? Is it that he's dropped sufficiently in the polls for Republicans to also see their angry town halls and worry? Is it just too, too Watergate-y?

For awhile I thought: his earlier offenses were their deepest wishes. The Muslim Ban, for instance, fit right in their xenophobic hearts. And could be passed off as "subjective" - "Oh, he doesn't sexually assault women, it's locker room talk. Oh, he doesn't hate People of Color, he wants to enforce the law. Oh, he doesn't violate the Constitution, it's for American safety." And this scandal was just too objective, too clearly wrong for even the non-MF obsessed.

But I admit: I thought alongside that, maybe the GOP was fine with treason in order to commit their dark arts. But it wasn't on their wish-list like the rest of the earth-breaking humanity-denying and class warfare for the rich.

Now, with this latest scandal, I am once again proved that I am not yet too cyncial no matter how cynical I think I am.

Note for historians: the latest scandal at the time of this writing was the Republicans chortling into their caviar at treason. The author realizes you will be reading seven-to-eight scandals from now in an hour, including the felony of hiring a know felon and giving him all our state secrets.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 8:08 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


The Washington Post is slapping the receipts down hard on the table. Here's a transcript.

Given that McCarthy's and Ryan's comments have "[Laughter]" strewn throughout them, their claim that they were joking seems pretty reasonable.
posted by Coventry at 8:08 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


oh god, what if he gets up to give miller's address on islam and the entire crowd boos or turns their backs on him. he hasn't had to address a hostile crowd at any point so far, has he?
posted by murphy slaw at 8:09 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


One needs a permit to protest? That seems anti First AMendment
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:12 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I 'm going to say thoughtless rather than stupid. Incurious, uninterested in anything other than amassing riches or pursuing power. This inability to think beyond their own interests is what got them into this position. Jared, for example, probably never for a moment thought there was anything wrong with seizing what looked like a golden opportunity to run the White House and play at politics. His father-in-law pulled off this amazing coup and why should Jared fear anything after that? After all, who fucks with the President of the United States? Didn't winning mean that Trump was the most popular man in America?

So what if Jared glossed over a few details on his security clearance? He was the son-in-law of the most powerful man on Earth.

Or so it must have seemed.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:12 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


oh god, what if he gets up to give miller's address on islam and the entire crowd boos or turns their backs on him. he hasn't had to address a hostile crowd at any point so far, has he?

The chances of that happening in KSA are really astonishingly low. It is a dictatorship, and Trump is the head of a major geopolitical ally.
posted by jaduncan at 8:13 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Surely the American public will agree to let bygones be bygones and let this administration settle down to the business of MAGA.

Prepare yourself for all the conservatives with no shame who will lecture us that we must put recent "difficulties" behind us, and join together to support President Pence, and why are we little snowflakes STILL whining, just run along now, the lines for the fetus funerals and conversion therapy form over there.

I said it in the last thread, get ready for the NEXT engagement with the enemy, cos Vice President Handmaid's Tale is really the one some of them would've wanted as #1all along.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:13 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


Given that McCarthy's and Ryan's comments have "[Laughter]" strewn throughout them, their claim that they were joking seems pretty reasonable.

Yeah: if evil villains cackle while discussing their deeds and schemes, that means they're just joking.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:13 PM on May 17 [30 favorites]


I think the worries about the Islam speech are baseless. Trump will be in Saudi Arabia. Money and the collective desire to cling to power speak louder than religion.
posted by Behemoth at 8:14 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Welcome to Hell (Jon Cooper version):
White House sources say Trump is cursing up a storm - ranting and raving. Yelling at staffers & using the "F" word. He's losing it tonight.

There's total confusion and panic in the WH tonight. Not just among Trump's staff but Pence's too. Real concern Pence will go down w/ Trump.
sadtrombone.mp3
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:15 PM on May 17 [35 favorites]


It is very unlikely anything like impeachment would happen before the 2018 elections, so worries about Pence-vs-Trump are likely moot for some time now, and we can both pursue impeachment as hard as we like, while being fairly sure to still benefit from the electoral drag of Trump at least until 2018.

I may be naive but I think the difference is that both Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were disciplined adults (at least, relative to Trump). Since Trump is willfully ignorant, undisciplined, and is under increasing pressure, and perhaps even more importantly, republicans thoroughly understand this, I'm hopeful things will turn out different than those 3 instances. I think he'll be forced to resign, or I think Mueller may move very quickly and decisively with the investigation, because every single extra day of Trump is a clear danger in international affairs.

Even with Nixon and Reagan, I think most people in government felt that it's almost guaranteed that they won't try to do something similar or worse as the respective scandals unfolded, so the goal was to slowly and steadily get to the bottom of it.

I think I'm not the only one to whom it occurred that if the investigation proceeded faster, Trump may not have been in a position to divulge high level classified info to Lavrov et al.
posted by rainy at 8:15 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Seriously, what is Pence up to? I haven't heard a peep from him for about three months back when some articles ran saying he was the brains behind the White House.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:16 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Where is Flynn through all of this anyway? Holed up, in Ankara, Moscow?
posted by Rumple at 8:17 PM on May 17


some articles ran saying he was the brains behind the White House

i think those articles were actually dissing him on the sly?
posted by murphy slaw at 8:17 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I gotta point out that polling for the national popular vote was within normal bounds of accuracy, and 538 gave Trump a 29% chance of victory, which is not very unlikely at all.


I think many people thought, 29% means he's got one chance in a million. It's actually more like 29 chances in a hundred.
posted by rainy at 8:18 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


Whoops, this one was actually last night (which doesn't necessarily mean it's not tonight as well): "White House sources say Trump is cursing up a storm - ranting and raving. Yelling at staffers & using the "F" word. He's losing it tonight."
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:18 PM on May 17



Welcome to Hell (Jon Cooper version):

The best thing is that this is from last night. He was already at DEFCON RAGEMONSTER even before the events of this afternoon and evening.

As I've said in previous threads: the only consolation I have had in all of this is that Trump is fucking miserable.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:18 PM on May 17 [49 favorites]


White House staffers would do well to heed the the classic AskMefi/AskReddit advice for people getting a divorce: lawyer up, hit the gym, and delete your Facebook.
posted by long haired child at 8:18 PM on May 17 [14 favorites]


There's total confusion and panic in the WH tonight. Not just among Trump's staff but Pence's too. Real concern Pence will go down w/ Trump.

You knew damn well he was a snake before you took him in.
posted by jaduncan at 8:18 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


some headline writer at huffpo deserves … well to be paid, probably

Donald Trump's Advice For Coast Guard Graduates: I'm Doing A Tremendous Job As President
posted by murphy slaw at 8:19 PM on May 17 [72 favorites]


I mean, the transcript says "laughter" a lot, but this is funny why?

Funny from their perspective due to a rarely observed mentality around these parts: schadenfreude.
posted by Coventry at 8:20 PM on May 17


Seriously, what is Pence up to? I haven't heard a peep from him for about three months back when some articles ran saying he was the brains behind the White House.

He was out and about lying like a rug re: Comey firing last Tuesday. I suspect right now it's just him, Mother, and Jesus in the holy bunker.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:20 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Yelling at staffers & using the "F" word

Flynn?
posted by davebush at 8:21 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


I think many people thought, 29% means he's got one chance in a million. It's actually more like 29 chances in a hundred.

A distressingly large number of people seem to think that a 29% chance of Trump winning meant Silver was predicting that the popular vote would be 71% Clinton, 29% Trump. People don't understand probability at all.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:22 PM on May 17 [18 favorites]


Live shot of NYT & WaPo reporters. [SL Twitter, humor]
posted by suelac at 8:22 PM on May 17 [13 favorites]


Completely unsurprised that Kucinch is going full conspiracy theory.

There is this weird space where right wing conspiracy theory meets left wing conspiracy theory, a very tin foil covered space.

What's also interesting is that the alt-right also seem to be leaping onto a Trump vs the Deep State conspiracy. Of course for them Deep State is roughly synonymous with generic Jewish conspiracy.
posted by vuron at 8:23 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Strange Inderlude:
So the question is: What did the entire Congressional GOP know, and when did they know it?

Exactly. The joke angle is not really much better because it implies a couple things. First, that the suggestion of Putin paying Trump and Rohrabacher was plausible enough to be tittering about. Second, that the fact that the Russian Government hacked the DNC, in the context of a discussion about disinformation campaigns to bring down allied governments, was funny.

All this, while they're simultaneously making Very Serious Faces on international TV about the hacking and stonewalling any investigation into how Russian disinformation campaigns might be affecting our own elections.

So even stipulating that McCarthy's remarks on this matter were in jest, it suggests that several members of the Republican leadership team:

- Did not understand that the Russian regime's practice of using propaganda to influence elections was really happening in this country, but found the proposition amusing nonetheless

or

- Knew that the Russian Government was hacking fellow Americans, but actively chose not to investigate because the campaign was helping them, and then laughing up their sleeves at a hostile nation sabotaging a political opponent

I mean, this is McCarthy's idea of humor? They want to push this story as the "innocent" explanation? His communication team either did not think this one through or they are covering for something really fetid. Ignorance or malice hardly matters at this point because the effects have been devastating.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:24 PM on May 17 [38 favorites]


Given that McCarthy's and Ryan's comments have "[Laughter]" strewn throughout them, their claim that they were joking seems pretty reasonable.

Laughing that the candidate they're supporting is so obviously in Putin's pocket that he might as well be paid by him is not the defense they think it is.
posted by chris24 at 8:24 PM on May 17 [44 favorites]


Putin better roll those tanks into the rest of the Ukraine right quick. It's late spring, the fields are dry enough to support armor now.

Bonus points for Republicans: idiots will rally behind the king idiot so we don't look weak in the face of the blatant power grab.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:25 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


holy crap

pence is in it up to his eyeballs

new york post, 10/30/2016
Christie “said all the BS that Trump likes to hear, and Trump said, ‘Yeah, sure I’m giving it to you.’ ”

That didn’t sit well with Manafort, who had arranged for Trump to meet Pence in Indianapolis on July 13, and fly back together to New York the next day for a formal announcement.

After Trump tentatively decided on Christie, Manafort told Trump his plane had a mechanical problem, campaign sources said, forcing Trump to spend another night in the Hoosier State. Pence then made his case to be Trump’s No. 2 over dinner as Trump’s advisers argued that Christie’s Bridgegate troubles would sink the campaign.
(emphasis mine)

pence is manafort's man. manafort is putin's man.

(tip from @dansinker)
posted by murphy slaw at 8:25 PM on May 17 [114 favorites]


The best thing is that this is from last night. He was already at DEFCON RAGEMONSTER even before the events of this afternoon and evening.

The "oh shit, Pence is also fucked" stuff is from tonight, though. Advent of Mueller + new Flynn revelations = increasing likelihood of Pence perp walk.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:26 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


There's always a conspiracy against Your Guy, especially when Your Guy is an old white dude, because nothing is ever the fault of old white dudes, why, it's the conspiracy don't you see? People are so unused to seeing old white dudes not win at absolutely everything that they concoct elaborate fantasies to protect Your Guy rather than admit maybe Your Guy is fucking mediocre at best like so many old white dudes. Maybe Your Guy isn't winning because they fucking suck.
posted by supercrayon at 8:26 PM on May 17 [22 favorites]


And Pence's ass being headed for a sling leads me to predict that Paul "Loyal to the End" Ryan oh-so-subtly and totally not-at-all-self-servingly changes his tune tomorrow morning and starts expressing "concerns" about the White House.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:28 PM on May 17


The Seth Rich conspiracy theory is infecting more Bernie-wing media. First Adomian, now Jimmy Dore.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:29 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I bet the next bombshell is Trump's resignation. He hates being POTUS - he hasn't even been allowed to blow anything up , it's not fair - and the grift opportunities are drying up. If he resigns, and he could use his health or Melania's or, hell, even Barron's as an excuse to gain sympathy, than he can stay in the spotlight by singing like a canary from his gilded tower. None of it was his fault, it was all the mean horrible other people who made him do it. He has a history of skating away from his failures and leaving others holding the bag. I bet he tries it again: resignation, in his mind, is just like declaring another bankruptcy and leaving the army of lawyers to clean up the mess.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:30 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


I am surprised Kucinich doesn't have his own show on Russia Today, now that I am over the surprise that he remains in the public eye. Apparently he was also a regular guest on O'Reilly in recent years. When a guy is a regular on Pacifica and O'Reilly, you know it's a double barreled version of holy shit what was that.
posted by spitbull at 8:31 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


I can't believe it's taken me this long to realise that the Snake also has a little thrill of misogyny for the audience.

"Oh shut up, silly woman," said the reptile with a grin
You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in"

All those readings and every time they got to tell a woman to shut up during the racism!
posted by jaduncan at 8:33 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Seriously, what is Pence up to?

Meeting with lobbyists, per this article.

In other news, a source told Peter Alexander that the Trump family had a "blind spot when it came to Flynn" and that Jared and Ivanka are directly implicated in the decision to make him NSA.
posted by zachlipton at 8:38 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


In other news, a source told Peter Alexander that the Trump family had a "blind spot when it came to Flynn" and that Jared and Ivanka are directly implicated in the decision to make him NSA.

Does anyone know where this actual article is? I keep clicking on the tweet like a madwoman and it's upsetting the cats.
posted by lalex at 8:42 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


And Pence's ass being headed for a sling leads me to predict that Paul "Loyal to the End" Ryan oh-so-subtly and totally not-at-all-self-servingly changes his tune tomorrow morning and starts expressing "concerns" about the White House.

I haven't called a damn thing correctly so far in all this mess, but I'm hoping the one I get right is that this all ends with President Ryan's "Time Enough At Last" moment as he sits waiting to sign his pet bills into law only to realize that nobody in Congress is interested in passing them.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:43 PM on May 17 [15 favorites]


Does anyone know where this actual article is? I keep clicking on the tweet like a madwoman and it's upsetting the cats.

I don't believe there is one, at least not yet. The tweet is it. Keep the cats calm.
posted by zachlipton at 8:47 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


From the Republican perspective the daily Trumpfire might be useful as long as it starves the oxygen that is the growing anger about Trumpcare long enough to get the AHCA in some sort of form through the Senate. However if Trump becomes so radioactive that a few more Republican senators are actually willing to go rogue instead of just posturing like they independent then things get really interesting because Ryan can barely pass stuff in the House and McConnell can only do so many magic tricks with reconciliation.
posted by vuron at 8:51 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


infecting more Bernie-wing media. First Adomian, now Jimmy Dore.

So I never heard of either of these people and went and looked them up. Both are as bad as any alt.right bedroom video blogger, and have the throughly minor careers as standup comedians to prove it.
posted by spitbull at 8:52 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


So Jared was deeply involved in both the Flynn hiring and Comey firing? Uh oh.

Ivanka may want to get working on a Conjugal Visit fashion line. Or accessories for accessories before-the-fact.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:53 PM on May 17 [23 favorites]


And here I thought the misogyny was the only fig leaf of an excuse for him reading The Snake at all.
posted by threeturtles at 8:55 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Special Counsel Mueller has a broad remit which will presumably take a very long time to explore. My question is, how plausible is it that he can prioritize and recommend charges before his investigation has fully concluded? If the President has likely commited a crime, it is important for Congress to be informed as soon as possible.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:55 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


So I never heard of either of these people and went and looked them up. Both are as bad as any alt.right bedroom video blogger, and have the throughly minor careers as standup comedians to prove it.

Adomian is actually a great comedian and improv actor on things like Comedy Bang Bang and it super bums me out that he's gone down this road.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:56 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Trump has done so many impeachable things. Why is this thing not like the other things? Is it that he's dropped sufficiently in the polls for Republicans to also see their angry town halls and worry? Is it just too, too Watergate-y?

For the congressional GOP, the constant turmoil is starting to get in the way of their legislative agenda: tax cuts for the wealthy and selling off the social safety net to the highest bidder.

On the other hand, Trump's still popular with the GOP base. I think that if there's one thing we can learn from Milo Yiannopoulos, it's that movement conservatives will put up with anything short of pedophilia as long as you're making the liberals cry.
posted by joedan at 9:00 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


The way I see Trump vs. Pence is that damage from Pence can be controlled and slowed down and eventually rolled back. Damage from Trump is essentially the same damage from Pence + an unkown scary chaotic factor (worse than o'reilly factor!)
posted by rainy at 9:01 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Betsy DeVos Wants to Kill a Major Student Loan Forgiveness Program
As part of its plan to slash the Department of Education's budget by some $10.6 billion, the Washington Post reports that the White House will propose ending the federal student loan forgiveness program for public sector and nonprofit workers
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:02 PM on May 17 [26 favorites]


I think that if there's one thing we can learn from Milo Yiannopoulos, it's that movement conservatives will put up with anything short of pedophilia as long as you're making the liberals cry.

*Gay* paedophilia. I'm still not sure a comment about how a little underage sex with a girl is OK wouldn't be locker room talk, etc.
posted by jaduncan at 9:02 PM on May 17 [16 favorites]


Trump has done so many impeachable things.

While impeachment doesn't have to involve a statutory crime, it would seem to be very helpful. Otherwise his actions can be categorized as "making America great again" in some way.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:03 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Flynn, Page and Manafort are basically screwed at this point, it just depends on how actively Mueller will apply the screws to them and how many additional people they can implicate. It's hard to imagine that Pence, Bannon and Preibus had no idea what Flynn and company were doing and it's only going to take a handful of emails or other documents to confirm that.

If the FBI was the only thing that they had to worry about it seems like they could contain the investigation but being that Trump seems to have pissed off every intelligence agency in the US government as well as made almost every allied nation's intelligence agency an potential enemy the number of potential sources that mysteriously find their way into Mueller's hands is significant.

And that's of course assuming that Putin doesn't decide at some point in time that it's more destructive to the US to reveal the extent of Trump-Russia ties. He'd be able to go "look how corrupt the US is" how dare they accuse us of corruption and his domestic approval would go up even more.
posted by vuron at 9:08 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Adomian is a world-class impressionist, which apparently carries some of the same dangers as being an Animorph. You spend too much time as Jesse Ventura, and one day you're not able to change back.
posted by Iridic at 9:14 PM on May 17 [27 favorites]


Is there any reason to hope a net wide enough to catch Pence would also get Ryan too? Or am I stuck worrying about the possibility of a President Ryan?
posted by straight at 9:15 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Adomian is a world-class impressionist, which apparently carries some of the same dangers as being an Animorph.

See also, Jeff Dunham, who went off the deep end after 9/11.
posted by yhbc at 9:16 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


How could Dunham go further off the deep end since he was already a purveyor of racist unfunny jokes well before then.
posted by winna at 9:19 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Conspiracy theories aside, I will not see Adomian's name alongside Dunham's. Adomian's a great, great performer and seemingly a good dude and I hope he comes to his senses.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:20 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]


A giant narcissistic crab monster who aspires to be more than a bottom feeder and overcompensates for his shortcomings by adorning himself with treasures.

Just saw Moana and thought I could get a break from Dumpsterfire2017 on its TVTropes page but noooo.

Also: wise political analysis and Animorphs references, I could not love MetaFilter more. I wish I could donate financially equivalent to the time I spend in these threads.
posted by hapaxes.legomenon at 9:21 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


The Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin:

Editorial: House Speaker Paul Ryan needs to be replaced with an adult
It was once imagined by conservative pundits that Ryan might be the “adult in the room” as the Trump presidency unfolded. But there is nothing adult about Ryan’s absolute subservience to Trump. Ryan holds one of the most important positions in Washington, yet he is so subservient to the president that NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” portrays the congressman as a soda jerk scrambling to get the billionaire his two scoops of ice cream.

Ryan has brought this ridicule on himself.

If he had any self-respect, the congressman would step aside as speaker. He is not up to the job.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:23 PM on May 17 [37 favorites]


I think the Republicans are coming around to the idea that they need to get rid of Trump now, install Pence as prez and then try to eke out 20 months or so of semi-rational governance ahead of the 2018 elections.

Fuck that. We need to remind Pence and the Republicans every day that they knew full well what they were selling to the American public.

They have made the mistake of thinking they won the last election and trying to act like they have a strong mandate for governing. Which is utter bullshit. The reality is they didn't win the last election, they were just too arrogant/blind/stupid to realize they just lost less than the Democrats. Think about it -- they lost House seats, they lost Senate seats, and their presidential candidate came in second.

We need to remind them how badly they overplayed a weak hand and force them to deal with the Democrats and actually, you know, fucking govern the country.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 9:27 PM on May 17 [47 favorites]


Hatch is in business with Russia right now, trying to turf the Bears Ears Monument to make way for a Uranium mine. A Russian subdivision of a Canadian mining company. No Hatch. Though the Mormons have something called the Whitehorse prophecy, where a Mormon saves the US as the Constitution hangs by a thread. If he saves it like he saves wilderness then we are toast.
posted by Oyéah at 9:30 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Scenes from the Trumperbunker: How Trump learned about the special prosecutor

Trump handled it better than anyone expected, according to a person in the room. His reaction was “extremely measured,” another said. He didn't yell or scream. [...] Aides are now urging Trump to tweet and speak cautiously. "I think he actually understands what a mess this is," one person said. "He has lawyers telling him nonstop what the stakes are here." [...] One of the things Trump is most looking forward to about his upcoming trip, according to a White House aide, is a reprieve from the daily press briefings. [...] On Wednesday night, a person close to him said, Trump was in the White House residence talking to friends and associates about how it was playing on TV.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:31 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


His reaction was “extremely measured,” another said. He didn't yell or scream.

yeah, well, i figure after three days of this shit your adrenal glands are suckin' mud
posted by murphy slaw at 9:34 PM on May 17 [33 favorites]


Adding a few items to the timeline-in-progress:

Aug 9 -- Flynn signs lobbying contract with Turkish-owned Dutch firm Inovo
Nov 10 -- Flynn meets with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump at Trump Tower, expresses interest in national security advisor position, is assured he'll get the job
Nov 18 -- Trump names Flynn as his national security advisor
Nov 30 -- Justice Dept. notifies Flynn it is investigating his lobbying work for Turkey
Dec -- Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner meet with Kislyak at Trump Tower
Jan 4 -- Flynn informs transition attorney (future WH counsel) McGahn of the Justice Dept. investigation of his work as a paid agent of Turkey
Jan 10 -- Flynn instructs Obama national security advisor Susan Rice to postpone any action on the Pentagon plan to retake Raqqa using Syrian Kurdish forces, a move serving Turkey's interests and contrary to US interests
Jan 24 -- Flynn interviewed by FBI
Jan 25 -- Yates briefed by FBI about interview
Jan 26 -- Yates meets with McGahn
Jan 27 -- Yates meets with McGahn again to discuss his topics of concern
Jan 27 -- Trump has dinner with Comey, tries to get loyalty pledge, inquires about Trump/Russia investigation
Jan 30 -- Yates fired
Feb 10 -- Asked about reports Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak, Trump replies, "I don't know about that."
Feb 13 -- Flynn resigns
Feb 14 -- Trump asks Comey to shut down the FBI investigation into Flynn
Mar 20 -- Comey testifies to Congress that the FBI has been investigating possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials since July
Apr 12 -- Trump says "it's not too late" to fire Comey. "But, you know, I have confidence in him. We'll see what happens. You know, it's going to be interesting."
May ? -- NYT claims sometime around here Comey asked for additional resources for Trump/Russia investigation. DoJ denies the story.
May 8 -- Yates testifies to Senate investigators
May 9 -- Trump fires Comey
May 10 -- Trump meets with Kislyak and Lavrov, leaks intel.
May 11 -- Trump says he had been intending to fire Comey for months, would have fired Comey “regardless” of the Justice department advice.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:36 PM on May 17 [50 favorites]


Don't bet on a Pivot to sanity.

Cripes, tho, its leaks every second of the day. This is nuts.
posted by notyou at 9:37 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


His reaction was “extremely measured,” another said. He didn't yell or scream

He's fooling 'em. He wants the twitter phone back.
posted by yasaman at 9:38 PM on May 17 [37 favorites]


Seth Meyers is ON tonight ... when Hillary heard Trump thought he'd been treated worse by the media than anyone in history, "She laughed so hard the moon cracked." When Paul Ryan heard about the latest scandal breaking, "a chill ran up his nothing."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:39 PM on May 17 [140 favorites]


I step away for a couple hours to get some work done and now I'm Tehhund
posted by salix at 9:39 PM on May 17 [92 favorites]


i totally heard this as the voice-over to the opening montage of the-future-movie-about-dt-impeachment. no lie.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:40 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Pence really isn't getting out of this if things are at all as they appear to be.

The timeline on Flynn [source]:
December 2015: Flynn attends Russia Today dinner. He is seated next to Putin. Receives $33k for his appearance
April 2016: Flynn has DIA security clearance renewed. He does not disclose any payments from Russia
July 2016: FBI begins to investigate any ties between Trump campaign and Russia
August 2016: Flynn begins lobbying for Turkey. Ultimately receives $530k over course of his work
November 8th: Flynn writes Op-ed advocating better relations with Turkey

November 8th: Donald Trump wins election
November 10th: In first meeting between Trump and Obama, Obama raises concern over Flynn
November 8-17th: At some point in November, Flynn informs transition team of intent to register as foreign agent
November 17th: Flynn is named for National Security Adviser.

November 18th: Elijah Cumming sends letter to VP-elect Pence, including notification of Flynn lobbying company's work with Turkey
November 30: The Justice Department sends a letter to Flynn notifying him they were scrutinizing his lobbying work.
December 2016: Michael Flynn has undisclosed conversation with Sergei Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States. Around the time Obama put new sanctions on Russia
January 4th: Flynn informs White House he was under investigation for Turkey lobbying
January ~10th: Flynn reportedly delays ISIS attack plan that Turkey objected to.

January 15th: Pence says Flynn phonecall was unrelated to sanctions
January 20th: Donald Trump’s inauguration
January 24th: Flynn has interview with FBI
January 26th: Sally Yates informs the WH that reports about Flynn’s conversations were untrue and Flynn was susceptible to compromise.
January 27th: Donald Trump has dinner with Comey. Trump asks him for loyalty.
January 30th: Sally Yates is fired. Administration & Trump cite refusal to defend travel ban
February 9th: Washington Post reports that Flynn discussed sanctions
February 13th: Washington Post reports that Yates warned WH
February 13th: Flynn resigns

February 14th: Trump asks Comey to end Flynn probe. “I hope you can let this go”
March 1st: Media reports surface that Sessions had met with Kislyak, contradicting confirmation hearing testimony
March 2nd: Jeff Sessions recuses himself from any investigations/probes involving Russian interference.
March 9th: Flynn registers as foreign agent under FARA
March 9th: Pence says story that Flynn registering earlier in day as foreign agent is first he heard of it. Calls it affirmation of Flynn resignation
March 10th: Story breaks that Flynn had informed transition team of intent to register as foreign agent before inauguration

March 20th: Comey discloses Trump-Russia investigation by FBI. Rebuts Trump claims of Obama ‘wiretapp’
March 31st: Flynn requests immunity. Request rejected next day
May 3rd: Comey testifies to Senate about his decisions in Email investigation
May 8th: Sally Yates testifies that Flynn was at risk for blackmail and that she had warned the WH, confirming media reports
May 8th: Trump asks Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General to write justifications for firing Comey
May 9th: Trump fires Comey. WH claims that it was because of handling of Hillary Clinton email investigation
May 11th: Senate intelligence committee subpoenas Michael Flynn for documents
May 16th: Trump has meeting with Erdogan in White House
Impressively, Flynn isn't even the only issue. There's also knowledge of DNC hacks, any financial issues, if anyone else had contact with Russia, if the Carter Page allegations of a cut from the Rosneft sale are true, to what extent Kislak was tipping them off, the reason that Eric Prince went to the Seychelles, if anyone else save for Trump put pressure on Comey and/or the House and Senate investigations, if kompromat exists in either pee tape or money laundering form, and to what extent Ryan and McConnell had knowledge of any and all of the above.

I'm sure there's more, but those are the things that immediately come to mind. Oh yes, and the extent to which Manafort may still have been working for the Kremlin, and the extent to which Jeff Sessions had knowledge of that. Oh, and what Roger Stone knew about the DNC hacks and why he could discuss them in advance.

But I think that's it, so long as we are excluding issues that preceeded the campaign by campaign people.

On reading this back, I'm frankly unsurprised that few people have any remaining evens.
posted by jaduncan at 9:41 PM on May 17 [92 favorites]


I wonder if Flynn was flipped from a turkish agent to a russian one by one of the trump associates (or trump himself)
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 9:44 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Has Sessions been fired for perjury yet?
posted by Yowser at 9:45 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Hi, you must be new to this timeline. Right this way.
posted by EarBucket at 9:46 PM on May 17 [33 favorites]


we have had to tap the Strategic Even Reserve but if we are unable to replenish it from the global market soon we may be looking at a Peak Even scenario
posted by murphy slaw at 9:47 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


Y'all I really cannot stop watching the video of McConnell getting the Mueller news. His face gives me hope. Or at least some schadenfreude.
posted by Gaz Errant at 9:53 PM on May 17 [28 favorites]


Interesting bit from the Salt Lake Tribune: Chaffetz’s resignation expected soon, Legislature-governor tiff escalates over how to replace him (emphasis added):
The Utah House GOP Caucus signaled Wednesday that it might sue fellow Republican Gov. Gary Herbert if he will not call legislators into special session to enact rules on how to replace Chaffetz, who House Speaker Greg Hughes said is expected to resign within a few days, effective by the end of June.
posted by zachlipton at 10:02 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Y'all I really cannot stop watching the video of McConnell getting the Mueller news. His face gives me hope. Or at least some schadenfreude.

link?
posted by murphy slaw at 10:03 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]




When Mitch McConnell smiles, my blood runs cold, the sight of it is horrific and always means the American people have just lost something vital.
posted by Oyéah at 10:07 PM on May 17 [17 favorites]


> If this is not treason, then what is treason?

Doing something like that with a country we are actually at war with.


Espionage, rather?

wikipedia: The Espionage Act of 1917
Enactment

The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed, along with the Trading with the Enemy Act, just after the United States entered World War I in April 1917. It was based on the Defense Secrets Act of 1911, especially the notions of obtaining or delivering information relating to "national defense" to a person who was not "entitled to have it", itself based on an earlier British Official Secrets Act. The Espionage Act law imposed much stiffer penalties than the 1911 law, including the death penalty.[3]
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:08 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


The alleged reason for Flynn's resignation on February 13th was that he had failed to tell Pence about his communication with Russian officials before the inauguration. That didn't make much sense even before we knew the Trump team had been told about it in early January, but now we know that it's either a lie - Pence knew and was keeping quiet - or Trump was let his VP embarrass himself with false denials on Flynn's behalf for nearly a month before the facts came out. Sadly, either story is plausible.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:13 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


Former FBI Director James Comey “most definitely” wants to testify before Congress — and wrote other memos in addition to the one claiming President Trump asked him to drop an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a source familiar with Comey’s thinking told CBS News.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:14 PM on May 17


Here we see the turtle withdrawing into its shell

Satisfying. Watched it on silent the first time through to see if I could pinpoint the second the words hit and was not disappointed.
posted by EatTheWeak at 10:14 PM on May 17 [31 favorites]


The alleged reason for Flynn's resignation on February 13th was that he had failed to tell Pence about his communication with Russian officials before the inauguration. That didn't make much sense even before we knew the Trump team had been told about it in early January, but now we know that it's either a lie - Pence knew and was keeping quiet - or Trump was let his VP embarrass himself with false denials on Flynn's behalf for nearly a month before the facts came out. Sadly, either story is plausible.

November 18th: Elijah Cumming sends letter to VP-elect Pence, including notification of Flynn lobbying company's work with Turkey
posted by jaduncan at 10:15 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


a source familiar with Comey’s thinking

A source also known as Comey's brain.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:16 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


infecting more Bernie-wing media. First Adomian, now Jimmy Dore.
So I never heard of either of these people
Jimmy Dore is a highly respected comedian, too. Of course, there are plenty of talented and/or smart people with foolish political ideas.
posted by msalt at 10:17 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


I think the Republicans are coming around to the idea that they need to get rid of Trump now, install Pence as prez and then try to eke out 20 months or so of semi-rational governance ahead of the 2018 elections.

I think we're all getting way ahead of ourselves if we expect things to start moving and changing quickly. (I will be so glad if I'm wrong. I will be SO GLAD if I'm wrong.) McConnell and Ryan still have a shit-ton of leverage on their buddies and they're laser-focused on their bullshit tax cuts and their anti-Obama vendetta. They aren't going to give up on that.

Additionally: Let's say Mueller really is the awesome guy for the job we believe he is (and I do, but I've been disappointed so many times already). It's going to take him time to sort through all this. Honestly, my first worry was that he'd turn out to be another shitshow, but my second and even more realistic worry is that there will be so much illegal bullshit it will take him months just to gather it all up. He's not going to jump the gun on stuff.

Don't count on this moving fast.

God I will be so glad if I'm wrong.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:23 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


2018 is going to be very interesting because if the Democrats can take control of the house (which seems quite likely at this point)

Can we stop this, please? This is not going to happen. Count the seats, look at the gerrymandered districts, and stop saying this. It's painful to read.
posted by tzikeh at 10:23 PM on May 17 [38 favorites]


I bet the next bombshell is Trump's resignation. He hates being POTUS -

When he resigns, it will surely be with a "I don't need this in my life, and I really tried to help you people" attitude, but it's going to take something he can pin the blame on before he does it. Getting pilloried in the press isn't enough. Maybe when the House Republicans turn on him he can claim they were always against him, but the way his ego works, he can't just quit like Sarah Palin, he needs proof he's been a victim.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:27 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Democrats now have a 49% to 38% lead overall on the generic congressional ballot.

“Even more notable though is that among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to turn out in the 2018 election, the Democratic lead balloons to 27 points at 61% to 34%. The outcome of lower turnout midterm elections often hinges on which side is more engaged, and Democrats have the clear advantage at this point on that front — 63% of their voters say they’re ‘very excited’ about voting in next year’s election, compared to only 52% of Republicans who say the same.”

posted by Chrysostom at 10:27 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Trümperdämmerung
posted by kirkaracha at 10:30 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Interesting bit from the Salt Lake Tribune: Chaffetz’s resignation expected soon, Legislature-governor tiff escalates over how to replace him

Wait, so that coy tweet about having his subpoena pen ready from yesterday was a total load of horseshit? Gosh, and here I was ready to rail against any Democrats who would have tried to rehabilitate him. Luckily, Chaffetz is such an incredible shitbag that he can't wait even that long to get on the Fox News gravy train. Fuck off forever, asshole.
posted by Copronymus at 10:31 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


I think we're all getting way ahead of ourselves if we expect things to start moving and changing quickly.

This is the scariest tweet I read tonight: "This is good for Trump in short term. Mueller won't leak. Investigation will go silent. Will take a few years." - @jpodhoretz
posted by lalex at 10:31 PM on May 17 [12 favorites]


At this point I have to wonder if Chris Christie is saying, "I know my political career is in the toilet, but at least I'm not mixed up in THAT shit. I dodged a hell of a bullet."
posted by mephron at 10:32 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


Hatch is in business with Russia right now, trying to turf the Bears Ears Monument to make way for a Uranium mine. A Russian subdivision of a Canadian mining company. No Hatch. Though the Mormons have something called the Whitehorse prophecy, where a Mormon saves the US as the Constitution hangs by a thread. If he saves it like he saves wilderness then we are toast.

Unlike someone like Romney, I've never been able to discern much in the way of signals from Hatch that he takes his faith seriously (then again, I'm sure there are orthodox mormons who'd say the same thing about me).

I'd be willing to bet Romney had the Whitehorse prophecy in his head both when he took his NeverTrump stand and when he offered to serve on the cabinet. I wouldn't be surprised if it figured in McMullin's various motivations.
posted by weston at 10:33 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


MUELLER may not leak. Everyone the investigation touches will, though.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:33 PM on May 17 [9 favorites]


A new Public Policy Polling survey shows Democrats now have a 49% to 38% lead overall on the generic congressional ballot.

I don't know if this is in response to my comment asking people to stop saying the Dems will retake the House, but if so, look at the numbers again, and count them against how gerrymandering works. How it takes an average of three D votes for every one R vote to elect a Dem in a gerrymandered district -- and there aren't three D votes for every one R vote in a gerrymandered district. That's how gerrymandering works.
posted by tzikeh at 10:34 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I am aware of how gerrymandering works. I am also aware that at some point, the swing becomes large enough that gerrymandering is overcome - it merely reduces how many seats flip. And the conventional wisdom among pollsters is that an overall lead of maybe 12-15 points is where it would flip. It's currently 11 points.

I am by no means guaranteeing Dem control of the House, but saying it is impossible is not correct.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:39 PM on May 17 [29 favorites]


How it takes an average of three D votes for every one R vote to elect a Dem in a gerrymandered district -- and there aren't three D votes for every one R vote in a gerrymandered district. That's how gerrymandering works.

I'm assuming your precise numbers are just misspoken. Gerrymandering is the art of spreading out a 5% advantage and then losing by 60% in one or two districts. Gerrymandered districts are really very vulnerable to wave elections, because you want to be winning 55/45, but are super vulnerable to an overall swing. That's why it works, but that's also the drawback.
posted by jaduncan at 10:40 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


the conventional wisdom among pollsters is

Not something anyone should ever rely on again. Have none of us learned?
posted by tzikeh at 10:42 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Well, they forecasted the popular vote within 2%. I'd call that pretty accurate.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:43 PM on May 17 [38 favorites]


In regard to Adomian/Dore/Bernie-or-Bust types promoting the Seth Rich conspiracy: I feel like it's honestly their way of negating a sense of guilt. They know they helped screw over the country by refusing to support Hillary when it became obvious it was her or Trump, so now they're doubling down on the notion that Hillary was not only unelectable, but truly evil.

If your story is that Hillary was not only wholly and completely responsible for her loss, but the kind of person who would have one of her own staffers murdered...then it's a lot easier to absolve yourself of any nagging suspicion that you helped put the entire country (if not the entire world) in jeopardy.
posted by prosopagnosia at 10:45 PM on May 17 [48 favorites]


Also not every candidate is Trump. With an opponent like HRC. Polls and conventional wisdom should always be treated as estimations, but there's no reason to dismiss all of them because of one gigantic outlier.
posted by flaterik at 10:45 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


For light relief if/when you need it, step over to the SNL Alternative White House timeline as described in the Hollywood Reporter, May 15th: SNL's Yuuuge Year and tweet showing the print cover.
posted by valetta at 10:46 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


it takes an average of three D votes for every one R vote to elect a Dem in a gerrymandered district -- and there aren't three D votes for every one R vote in a gerrymandered district.

You're not at all wrong to state the severity of the problem here, because unless Democrats assume we are going to lose exactly that badly and are still willing to work like hell to maybe have a chance of not losing, we are totally going to lose.

But: nobody knows how many votes there are going to be, particularly in a time like this. There's statistics about voters, and their registration and likely leanings and all that, and they're probably good and we should be daunted and Republicans should be confident that along with their other tactics they may well get to continue to hold power even if they're criminals and everyone knows it.

But the votes aren't already cast, some people might stay home, others might turn out, and some people might even change their mind.
posted by wildblueyonder at 10:47 PM on May 17 [10 favorites]


While there are definitely 75-25 partisan split districts out there there are also plenty of ones that are ones that the Republicans held the house seat while also voting for Clinton. Add in demographic shifts making what were solid lean Republican districts into toss-ups.

Unpopular president + unpopular legislation and AHCA is incredibly unpopular is a recipe for disaster for Republicans.

Yes huge sections of the country are effectively red no matter what happens in Washington but there are some areas where the Democrats can make up some significant challenges. And that's assuming that none of the lawsuits that are currently moving forward in various states concerning the partisan nature of the congressional maps forces a major rewrite of districts prior to 2018.

Granted 2018 is a long way away and there is a possibility that the Republicans will actually try to pass something other than screw over the working and middle class bills in order to garner some votes but if Republicans are panicking about MT-AL then things are going really badly for them.
posted by vuron at 10:47 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]


This is not going to happen. Count the seats, look at the gerrymandered districts, and stop saying this. It's painful to read.

Can you point to a good, recent analysis of this? There seem to be lots of informed people talking about a wave election to retake the House as a very real possibility, and I'd be interested to see a breakdown by someone who has taken the details of each potentially competitive district into account. Ballotpedia calls a flip "unlikely" but then their district-by-district listing makes it look pretty competitive, and they note that 23 districts with R incumbents were won by Clinton in 2016, which sounds pretty good to me as a starting point if Trump continues to implode as he is.
posted by contraption at 10:49 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not saying a Democratic takeover is going to happen, but things change. Remember when we thought Wisconsin and Michigan were part of a blue firewall?
posted by lalex at 10:56 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


> look at the gerrymandered districts,

Gerrymandering giveth and gerrymandering taketh away. No matter how creative you get, you can't get too far from the natural distribution of seats without having some of your "safe" seats be 60/40 splits that can snap back the other way. It's an advantage for the GOP, but it's not an insurmountable one, and given that pretty much everyone reading this can remember when Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was a thing, it's foolish to say there's no chance for Democrats to take the House given all that's happened already to Trump and his GOP enablers (and all that will happen to them between now and 2018.)
posted by tonycpsu at 10:56 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


I've been holding out on you folks because I thought this was posted already, and now I feel sad I've been keeping this quote to myself. Putin paid Trump? Republicans think McCarthy’s statement has to be a joke.
Rohrabacher agreed and compared the situation to a lunge at humor that had haunted him for years.

“You have to be very careful when you’re using humor,” Rohrabacher said in a short interview Wednesday evening. “I remember that I was trying to make fun of the scientists who claimed that cow farts make global warming. So at a hearing, I said, ‘Oh, do you think the dinosaurs disappeared because of dinosaur flatulence?’ ”

“To this day, you have these environmental wackos saying ‘Dana Rohrabacher believes that flatulence killed the dinosaurs,’ ” he added. “It was humor, but you’ve got to watch out for it. Kevin didn’t mean any harm.”
I still maintain that even if you accept that it was a joke, they turned a serious discussion of Russian hacking and propaganda operations, major threats to national security, into a joke. And they thought that Republicans acting as if they were being paid by Putin was funny. That's really not much better.
posted by zachlipton at 10:59 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Apparently Erdogan's security beating up protesters on US soil has happened before under Obama. :(
posted by R343L at 11:00 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]




Democrats need to capture 24 seats to regain the majority. The party that controls the presidency loses 23 seats on average during their midterm election.

Trump is already in the 80s in terms of Republican support, dropping below 80% partisan support is radioactive. Trump support by Democrats is single digit and his overall support numbers are deeply underwater and this is extremely early in his first term.

This is before the Republican try to slam through AHCA taking away insurance from a huge number of Americans and possibly tanking the individual insurance market as well as destroying rural hospital viability. Yes lots of people hate parts of the ACA particularly the individual mandate but they'll hate the Republican alternative even more.

Ryan can't govern the House with the majority he has now because the Freedom Caucus wants to burn it all down.

I do think Democrats need to develop a stronger message than NOT TRUMP but even then that's becoming a pretty compelling platform.
posted by vuron at 11:02 PM on May 17 [25 favorites]


This is the scariest tweet I read tonight: "This is good for Trump in short term. Mueller won't leak. Investigation will go silent. Will take a few years."

OR it might be a blessing in disguise! Here's my current vision for the future:

1. Investigation stretches on for months, while dissatisfaction with Trump and the Republican party grows by the day
2. Wave election in 2018 --> Democrats gain control of both House and Senate
3. Investigation is completed; Trump is impeached and removed from office
4. So is Pence
5. Nancy Pelosi becomes president; appoints Hillary as VP
6. Pelosi steps down to reclaim her previous role
7. President Hillary!
8. Healthcare and kittens for everyone!!

(admittedly there is a weak point in the plan in that it depends on Trump not killing most of us between steps 1 and 2 through, say, a war or lack of healthcare.)
posted by Meow Face at 11:02 PM on May 17 [37 favorites]


“You have to be very careful when you’re using humor,” Rohrabacher said in a short interview Wednesday evening. “I remember that I was trying to make fun of the scientists who claimed that cow farts make global warming. So at a hearing, I said, ‘Oh, do you think the dinosaurs disappeared because of dinosaur flatulence?’ ”

“To this day, you have these environmental wackos saying ‘Dana Rohrabacher believes that flatulence killed the dinosaurs,’ ” he added. “It was humor, but you’ve got to watch out for it. Kevin didn’t mean any harm.”
...this story also revolves around him taking a real issue and using an idiotic joke to minimise it because he couldn't have an honest discussion on the merits.
posted by jaduncan at 11:03 PM on May 17 [11 favorites]


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi mostly predates the Redistricting Fuckery of 2010, though.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:03 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was part of the Democratic Party leadership that failed miserably in preventing the Republicans from doing the Redistricting Fuckery of 2010. But then, so was President Barack Obama. One hopes for better/smarter/stronger leadership going into 2020.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:10 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


I don't think people are thinking through how gerrymandering works. Maybe I'm out to lunch, please correct me if I'm wrong.But the basic technique of gerrymandering is moving voters out of your safe districts into more competitive ones, reducing your 65-35 districts to 55-45 while changing your opponents' 55-45 districts to 45-55 losers in the same process.

Works great, in a normal year. But what if a big tide (based on an insane, corrupt, asshole president, for example) shifts the vote total 12% in your opponent's favor? Then you lose all the districts, because you don't have any safe districts any more. You pillaged them to take over the competitive ones.

That's an oversimplification, because some entire states are safe, and gerrymandering only works at the state level in smaller-than-state districts. It doesn't affect Senate or Governor races, for example, and it won't change results in Alabama or Mississippi appreciably. But tonycpsu is right, it's a two edged sword. (As opposed to voter suppression, which is just evil.)
posted by msalt at 11:16 PM on May 17 [24 favorites]


Anyway, I really doubt we'll take the House or Senate in 2018, but that doesn't mean Democratic gains wouldn't help us in 2020, if incumbency is such a big advantage.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:17 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


Can we stop this, please? This is not going to happen. Count the seats, look at the gerrymandered districts, and stop saying this. It's painful to read.

This has been fairly thoroughly discussed already, but since it may be been triggered by my post upthread, I'd just reiterate that, as others have pointed out, (a) the polling was quite accurate in 2016, and predicted the popular vote share quite closely; (b) the vast majority of new-president midterm elections have been waves against the party of the president since WWII; (c) gerrymandering makes seats more secure during steady times, but actually increases the size of the waves when they come because it deliberately creates a lot of low-margin seats; (d) the fact that we got Trump wrong on a butterfly-flap doesn't mean that we should throw all statistical models out the window. Political scientists have been studying this stuff for decades before Silver, and none of them think that gerrymandering means that Democrats will never win the House again -- most in fact think that gerrymandering's effects have been vastly overstated in popular media. All of this doesn't mean we shouldn't take every prediction with a large dollop of uncertainty, but whether we think it's 30% or 70%, there's a good chance Democrats can retake the House, and very good reasons to try to do so on the assumption that it can indeed be done.
posted by chortly at 11:20 PM on May 17 [37 favorites]


Re: 2018 and gerrymandering

Can't we just...iono, move a lot of folks from the deep blue areas to the swing areas so they turn bluer? Like a sponsored homesteading or colonization program...

This has been a daydream of mine since [before] the election--and yes, I am so painfully aware that this is merely a daydream. So wish I were a crazy billionaire who could actually pull this off.
posted by Sockin'inthefreeworld at 11:24 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Congress: GA-6 is next month, Trump is in a nosedive, and electing Jon Ossoff means two House Republicans fewer need to be convinced to vote for articles of impeachment, should the opportunity arise.
posted by contraption at 11:26 PM on May 17 [29 favorites]


Regarding voter suppression, there is the known unknown of the Elections Commission that was executive-ordered in last week. When/if it convenes.
posted by valetta at 11:27 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


Mueller looks like Sam Waterston so we're in good hands. He's an honest and trustworthy attorney who will see the case through with an honest hand and sure judgement and....

OH DEAR GOD WHAT IF THIS IS THE UNIVERSE WHERE THE CHUNG CHUNG SOUND COMES BEFORE THE VERDICT?!
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:30 PM on May 17 [21 favorites]


Aaron Blake interviews Matthew Miller for WaPo: The guy who predicted Comey’s memos thinks Comey may be trying to take down Trump
News broke Tuesday evening that then-FBI Director James B. Comey had written notes in February indicating that President Trump had asked him to end an investigation of former White House national security adviser Michael T. Flynn. It was big news to the rest of us. To Matthew Miller, it was as predicted.
[…]
Given that foresight — and Miller's experience in the DOJ during the Obama administration — I thought it worthwhile to find out what else he saw coming down the pike. As you'll see below, he thinks that this is the tip of the spear and that Comey's actions suggest he may have been building a legal case against the president of the United States.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:30 PM on May 17 [8 favorites]


Depending on the prior distribution of voters, gerrymandering can simultaneously increase the number of safe seats and reduce the vulnerability to wave elections. There's not necessarily a tradeoff.
posted by LarsC at 11:32 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]


If the attackers at the Turkish embassy where Ergogan's bodyguards, does anyone know where on the scale of diplomatic immunity they will lie? Could they possibly be arrested or charged for those acts?
posted by flug at 11:33 PM on May 17


(As a quick codicil, for those who want to learn more about Congressional elections, I'd recommend Gary Jacobson's short textbook, which is a great intro to quantitative political science research on things like gerrymandering, waves, midterms, campaign money, etc., and is nicely written but also has tons of footnotes to the voluminous literature on this stuff.)
posted by chortly at 11:38 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


immunity upthread:

http://www.metafilter.com/167031/It-has-been-0-days-since-the-last-Trump-disaster#7031494

I'm guessing we can't charge them, but can expel them and with non-authoritarian countries would expect them to be charged back home.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:40 PM on May 17


RE: Democratic Party chances in 2018 . . . the House is at least a remote possibility.

But the Senators up for re-election in 2018 were most recently elected in 2012, a presidential election year and a bit of a Democratic wave.

That means, if I recall, that there are 9-10 vulnerable Democratic seats and maybe just 1-2 vulnerable Republican seats.

So absolutely best possible scenario is Ds picking up just one seat (not enough to change anything) and a decently strong Democratic showing would still have them losing 2 or 3 seats, which obviously is going to put them in a weaker position in the Senate, not stronger.

You can take a gander at the map and play with the possibilities here.

Vulnerable Rs are in Arizona and Nevada.

Vulnerable Ds are in Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine, and Florida.

That is not a happy map for Democrats . . .
posted by flug at 11:40 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Latest Breitbart spin is "How to Plug Leaks? Trump Under Siege: More than 60 Percent of NSC Employees Placed by Obama Administration"

Yep, that's why Trump keeps stumbling.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:42 PM on May 17 [6 favorites]


For a week I've been wanting to watch my Netflix movie. But no. Every night reading the Trump thread.

Dude. I used to go to improv classes and craft classes and writing groups and knitting groups at night. I had hobbies. I had plans. I kinda sorta had goals related to those things.. I caught up on a lot of television.

But nooooooooooo. Now every fucking night I stay in reading horrible politics stories. I'm so not keeping up with the peak TV. I'm not taking too many classes because that would mean I wasn't home all night. I've hardly been to writing group (twice all year) and I'm not writing anything except obsessive politics blog posts.

GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR I miss who I used to be.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:48 PM on May 17 [53 favorites]


I wanted to write a book.
posted by rainy at 11:49 PM on May 17 [7 favorites]


Yeah, just wait until NaNoWriMo comes around. Last year I was writing a book on presidents.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:54 PM on May 17 [5 favorites]


Erick Erickson explains why this is a Good Thing over at Fox News (no link, fuck them):

Mueller returns and Republicans should rejoice
Most importantly, however, it allows some breathing room between scandals. Now, the White House can say they cannot discuss the matter because of the Mueller investigation. Likewise, they can claim that any leaks must be false because Mueller would never leak. They can dismiss a large part of the story out of hand.

All that makes the appointment of Robert Mueller a no brainer, but there is something more important going on as well. The odds are that the Department of Justice would not launch this sort of investigation if they did not already have an inkling of there being no real issues with the president. If they were really concerned about the president, they would keep this in house where they could exercise greater damage control.

Democrats have been railing on about the president, convinced he worked in collaboration with the Russians to steal the election. There is no evidence of this, but Democrats cannot acknowledge what a terrible candidate Hillary Clinton really was. So they bitterly cling to Russia, which is the Democrats’ version of birtherism.

posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:59 PM on May 17 [3 favorites]


So the thing about McCarthy's comments being a joke... he follows them up with "Swear to God!" Now, maybe it's different in Republican Swinebag but whenever I've ever heard someone say "swear to God" they mean...yanno, "I really am being serious here, even if it sounds like a joke, I mean that's really the truth."

So in order for the GOP spin to be correct, it means he has to be completely and utterly blaspheming, right? Like we are supposed to understand that when he swears to his God, that automatically means it's bullshit.
posted by threeturtles at 12:31 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]


That line from Fox News would make their point a lot more clearly if birtherism wasn't a thing that majority of their audience believes in and that the network itself aggressively pushed. Right now, it reads as "So they bitterly cling to Russia, which is the Democrats' version of a thing that we insisted is definitely true."
posted by IAmUnaware at 12:35 AM on May 18 [20 favorites]


The odds are that the Department of Justice would not launch this sort of investigation if they did not already have an inkling of there being no real issues with the president. If they were really concerned about the president, they would keep this in house where they could exercise greater damage control.

If they were really concerned about the president, they would react strongly to the firing of the FBI director, in order to exercise damage control and maintain integrity, which is what happened.

Because how the fuck could they exercise damage control while Director Joe Lieberman is purging the investigators?
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:42 AM on May 18


it's just him, Mother, and Jesus in the holy bunker.

i doubt that - it's probably been years since Mother allowed him anywhere near the holy bunker.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:46 AM on May 18 [24 favorites]


All that makes the appointment of Robert Mueller a no brainer, but there is something more important going on as well. The odds are that the Department of Justice would not launch this sort of investigation if they did not already have an inkling of there being no real issues with the president. If they were really concerned about the president, they would keep this in house where they could exercise greater damage control.

It's very telling that Erick Erickson thinks (or thinks that Fox readers think) that the job of the DOJ is to protect the President rather than independently protect the rule of law. Not everyone is as corrupt as he apparently envisages.
posted by jaduncan at 12:53 AM on May 18 [54 favorites]


I have much more confidence in Pence not to get into a nuclear conflict.

After seeing these few months of Burn After Reading levels of clusterfucked idiocy, I am less and less worried about this League of Morons. All of the state organs that actually do stuff are treating this administration more and more with the contempt they fully deserve - IC routing around the damage, military leaders being thrown under the bus so rapidly that I have no question they are forming their own contingency plans as well...

If Fucko tries to launch a nuclear strike, there will not just be one Arkhipov standing in the way. It will be the entire chain of command, openly laughing in his face and leaking immediately to the press...

"Go to bed, old man, sleepy time."
posted by Meatbomb at 1:00 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


My wants (in this sphere, anyway) are twofold:

* Get rid of these garbage humans, as many as possible. President, VP, appointees, elected reps who attached themselves to this abhorrent scumbag and his scumbag crew. Jail, resignations (why not both?) whatever.

* Jesus, democrats, please don't fuck this up. There is enough material here to create approximately 70 cajillion hugely damaging ads, there are endless awful talking points, the reshitstains have done that work for you. All you have to do is take advantage, and not even in a republican under-handed way. Just be strong and be relentless and fuck any meeting of the minds or compromise. Get that damn overton window back to where you can see it from the center.
posted by maxwelton at 1:02 AM on May 18 [11 favorites]


It's been three months since Flynn resigned.

It's 18 months to the elections in November 2018.

Have you got any idea what's going to happen between now and then? Me neither.
posted by Devonian at 1:42 AM on May 18 [22 favorites]


Trump, jetlag, and foreign accents should make for an interesting.... disaster.
posted by tillermo at 1:43 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Didn’t Ryan basically end up as Speaker because it was a thankless, impossible job that no-one wanted to do? Whereas now it might give you a good chance of becoming president. So, if you were a Republican congressman who definitely wasn’t connected to Russia and fancied getting in the line of succession… is there any political manoeuvring you could do to replace him?
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:14 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I have almost no hope for the House in 2018 and none for the Senate. As long as vermin like the Koch brothers are willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into controlling the government I think the Yellowstone caldera could explode, Trump could completely ignore it and the GOP would still do ok.

Tom Cotton is a vile human being and should never have even been considered as a viable candidate but the channels were flooded with idiotic ads and thus the little shitstain got elected. This will continue to work indefinitely. As for Orange Puppet himself, McTurtle and crew are practically Daleks already, so why the hell would any of them do ANYTHING to obstruct him? Unless he causes a market freefall, then someone might start caring. The fucker could go on Twitter tonight and say he is considering nuking Las Angeles and they would stick up for him.

Hell I'm not sure he can't make it until 2020 and then get reelected. He'll just keep lying, the memes will keep coming, the media will do the same shit it did last year and he will be fine.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 2:41 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry folks, I know it's childish but I just can't keep it in any longer:

LOCK HIM UP!
ⓁⓄⒸⓀ ⒽⒾⓂ ⓊⓅ!
🅛🅞🅒🅚 🅗🅘🅜 🅤🅟!
LOCK HIM UP!
𝐋𝐎𝐂𝐊 𝐇𝐈𝐌 𝐔𝐏!
𝕷𝕺𝕮𝕶 𝕳𝕴𝕸 𝖀𝕻!
𝑳𝑶𝑪𝑲 𝑯𝑰𝑴 𝑼𝑷!
𝓛𝓞𝓒𝓚 𝓗𝓘𝓜 𝓤𝓟!
𝕃𝕆ℂ𝕂 ℍ𝕀𝕄 𝕌ℙ!
𝙻𝙾𝙲𝙺 𝙷𝙸𝙼 𝚄𝙿!
𝖫𝖮𝖢𝖪 𝖧𝖨𝖬 𝖴𝖯!
𝗟𝗢𝗖𝗞 𝗛𝗜𝗠 𝗨𝗣!
🅻🅾🅲🅺 🅷🅸🅼 🆄🅿!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:53 AM on May 18 [19 favorites]


Barring other staggering relevations of facets of the Trump-Russia scandal, it looks like the investigators fed tidbits to reuters to try to control the narrative for today.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-contacts-idUSKCN18E106
Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians - sources
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, Trump’s first national security adviser, three current and former officials said.

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.

In January, the Trump White House initially denied any contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. The White House and advisers to the campaign have since confirmed four meetings between Kislyak and Trump advisers during that time.

The people who described the contacts to Reuters said they had seen no evidence of wrongdoing or collusion between the campaign and Russia in the communications reviewed so far. But the disclosure could increase the pressure on Trump and his aides to provide the FBI and Congress with a full account of interactions with Russian officials and others with links to the Kremlin during and immediately after the 2016 election.

...
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:08 AM on May 18 [37 favorites]


It's reuters's story, I prefer the Independent.co.uk's title and framing:

Donald Trump campaign repeatedly met with Russia to set up secret communications channel and reported nothing
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:13 AM on May 18 [64 favorites]


RawStory/McClatchy: ‘People are in meltdown mode’: Inside the Republican donor class panic about Trump: Asked which of those developments tripping up Trump was most troubling, one major GOP donor and fundraiser replied, "It's hard to choose."

The source, who described the GOP donor community as "shell-shocked" and more inclined to focus on the House and Senate right now, ultimately pointed to the reports of pressuring Comey. If true, it "meets a broad definition of obstruction of justice," the donor said, adding that it's likely that Democrats would "go forward, at some point," with impeachment proceedings.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:26 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


this is espionage, pure and simple. which, of course, can carry the death penalty. we may be looking at the first president to be executed for espionage.
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 3:37 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I have almost no hope for the House in 2018 and none for the Senate. As long as vermin like the Koch brothers are willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into controlling the government I think the Yellowstone caldera could explode, Trump could completely ignore it and the GOP would still do ok.

Then we beat that by implying that the Koch brothers may also have had business interests in Russia as well. Or at least threatening to investigate.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:49 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


this is espionage, pure and simple. which, of course, can carry the death penalty. we may be looking at the first president to be executed for espionage.

Of all the things that will not happen, this is the thing that most will not happen.
posted by jaduncan at 3:53 AM on May 18 [134 favorites]


well, probably not. i assume it sets a very bad precedent to execute the president. i expect Robert Mueller will be sending a lot of other people in the trump administration to hang though.
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 3:55 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


i expect Robert Mueller will be sending a lot of other people in the trump administration to hang though.

I expect that Robert Mueller will uncover some "improprieties", for which the administration will get a stern talking to, but nothing so serious that it would "warrant" an indictment.
posted by sour cream at 4:00 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I expect the former head of our domestic counterintelligence agency doesn't fuck around with folks who commit espionage.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:08 AM on May 18 [19 favorites]


Just to follow up on this, because I want to be clear I am not judging his comedy skills. James Adomian may be hilariously funny or not, I wouldn't know or care. But if Wikipedia is right he hasn't even been *on* TV since 2012 and his list of upcoming gigs is minor league stuff at best (the Austin Sketch Festival, the Bloomington Comedy Attic). My point is that if he represents the "Bernie Wing Media," I'm not sure that's a thing. He's about as influential as Dennis Kucinich and a lot less famous. When I think of "Bernie Wing Media," I assume the commentator in question at least has a gig on Russia Today.

/inhales on vape, revs Subaru WrX, adjusts fedora, checks Reddit.
posted by spitbull at 4:09 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


wikipedia isn't right
posted by edeezy at 4:23 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


During the campaign, when it came out that the DNC "leaks " were actually coming from Russian hackers and I started freaking out about that on Facebook, my Republican cousin reacted with incredulity. "Who cares where they came from? Don't you care about the content?"

I told him I cared far more about the fact that Russian hackers were breaking into DNC files. Like Watergate, but with added Russian espionage.

He maintained that whoever was leaking the emails was doing America a favor, and that he didn't care who it was.

It's just funny to me how much the shoe is on the other foot now... Elected Republicans are so desperate to stop the "leaks" and furiously pointing fingers and I'm like "Don't you care about the content? Whoever is leaking this stuff is doing America a favor."

...but I think I would still be just as concerned as I was last summer, if I suddenly found out the "anonymous sources" for WaPo, NYT, CNN etc were Russian agents rather than American tattle tales.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:27 AM on May 18 [32 favorites]


I step away for the evening, and now I know what a tesseract feels like, we got here so suddenly. A special prosecutor didn't even seem likely a few hours ago.

Death & Taxes with another great headline:

Murderer claims Trump tapped him for Homeland Ssecurity position
posted by Room 641-A at 4:41 AM on May 18 [11 favorites]


New cover of Time

And Donald has his phone back! @realDonaldTrump: With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!

Councel? Really?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:42 AM on May 18 [41 favorites]


"It would be really really hard to retake the House" does not automatically imply "so let's just throw our hands up and not fucking bother," and in fact that attitude of ignoring potentially hard races helped get us into this situation in the first place.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:44 AM on May 18 [29 favorites]


Councel? Really?

He even disables autocorrect because he won't have some goddamn robot telling him how to wryt.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:46 AM on May 18 [30 favorites]


What illegal things is Obama supposed to have done? I keep seeing this talking point from the right. I know they're delusional, but what are they even talking about?
posted by wabbittwax at 4:52 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Being President while being born outside of the US?
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:53 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


He's tweeting again? Now? I mean, at least Nixon was drunk.
posted by tillermo at 4:55 AM on May 18 [16 favorites]


I'm also very interested in his new tweet which states that "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

Because I'm pretty certain the Salem witch trials might be, where they hunted witches.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:56 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


I have almost no hope for the House in 2018 and none for the Senate. As long as vermin like the Koch brothers are willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into controlling the government I think the Yellowstone caldera could explode, Trump could completely ignore it and the GOP would still do ok.

This is not helpful. Should the Democrats just give up and cease to exist except as a minority party in certain deep-blue areas? By that standard, we should give up the donkey as the emblem of our party and use the shrug emoticon instead.

This attitude is toxic and corroding to the future of our democracy. The solution is to fight for every single seat, "winnable" ones or not, "electable" candidates or not. There is a definite problem with too much outsider money in politics (and not just in the US these days either...look at the talk surrounding Mercer money and British elections), but "give up" is not, and is never, the solution.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 4:56 AM on May 18 [86 favorites]


"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" - DJT via Twitter just now
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:58 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

I guess he might be right. It's pretty great.
posted by solarion at 5:01 AM on May 18 [167 favorites]


Isn't there a fair chance that a lot of Rs stay home while a lot of Ds come out to vote? Specially if the Democratic party does the work. Now, once of all it has been proved that no, both sides aren't equal, and that should help.

I think the biggest challenge for the Democrats is to be up to this opportunity, to have a strong party, a strong leadership and a strong vision and be in 50 states. Whining about gerrymandering isn't that
posted by mumimor at 5:01 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I hope he feels SOOOOO victimized. That always goes well for him.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:01 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Make witch hunting great again!
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:04 AM on May 18 [17 favorites]


What illegal things is Obama supposed to have done?

Presidenting while black.
posted by chris24 at 5:04 AM on May 18 [44 favorites]


Vox has a great piece...
Russian President Vladimir Putin loves to troll the United States. But he took it to new heights during a press conference in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday morning.
...
"If the US administration finds it necessary, we are ready to provide the record of the conversation between Trump and Lavrov to the Senate and Congress.”
[Me - Oh, that's what this is... Trolling! That's why his denials are so fake sounding and he doesn't even try to hide the evidence... This whole thing was like a prank to him, and now he can't stop giggling when he says "Nah man, wasn't me!"]
Putin’s gloating tone in all of this is palpable. And for good reason: The chaos in the US political system right now, featuring an understaffed and incompetent government riven by division and scandal, is exactly what Putin was aiming for.
...
Russian strategic doctrine suggests that it sees hacking as a very specific kind of warfare. In an influential 2013 article, Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery V. Gerasimov argued that “non-military means,” including “new information technologies,” have eclipsed traditional weaponry in their strategic importance.

“In the 21st century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace,” he wrote. "The role of non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals has grown, and, in many cases, they have exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness.”

The goal of Gerasimov-style interventions isn’t solely to elect leaders who will pursue Kremlin-friendly policies. It’s also to exacerbate internal divisions in hostile countries — to distract them with paralyzing infighting that makes it difficult for them to counter Russian strategic moves internationally.
..
what is absolutely unquestionable is that Russia’s intervention in the election created chaos in the US political system.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:06 AM on May 18 [31 favorites]


"With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel appointed!"

...Mister President, might I suggest something more like, "I have not committed any illegal acts"?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:09 AM on May 18 [41 favorites]


WaPo: If you work for Trump, it’s time to quit (by Republican consultant Rick Wilson): You already know you can’t save the president because he doesn’t want to be saved. You already know there’s not another, better version of Trump getting ready to show up. You’re smart. You’re loyal. You’re sniffing the wind like a gazelle, nose filled with the scents of predators. You don’t want to break from the pack too soon, but there’s greater risk in waiting too long.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:09 AM on May 18 [21 favorites]


Putin, czar of trolls

It's been rather obvious since the election that he is trolling big league and having a party
posted by mumimor at 5:11 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Obama's "crimes" (National Review, not the Breitbart version which is much more lurid and less fact based, I'm sure.)
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:14 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Trump isn’t a toddler — he’s a product of America’s culture of impunity for the rich

FWIW, this is something even NeverTrumpers are going to have to (1) accept responsibility for, and (2) confront in their own ethical and moral space. They helped feed this, especially in their whining in 2012 through today about how people like Romney were "mistreated" by the press and liberals, and it's high time they realize just positing themselves as opposition to Trump when they worship the same sacred cows as he does essentially nullifies anything else they say or do.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:16 AM on May 18 [58 favorites]


The Tea Party wave took people by surprise and realigned Congress, and it happened mostly because the opposition really fucking hated the president who had been elected two years before. Just saying.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:18 AM on May 18 [34 favorites]


My current fantasy:
November 2018: Dems win the House.
January 2019: Knowing that the new Speaker has a possibility of becoming President, Pelosi steps aside and lets someone younger become Speaker. (It doesn't even have to be a member of the House!)
2019: Investigations conclude with clear evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of Trump and Pence. Republicans in Congress are obligated to impeach and convict, regardless of who controls the Senate. The Democratic Speaker becomes President.
2020 & 2024: Because they are not Nancy Pelosi, the new Democratic President goes on to win their first presidential election, and then a second, for a maximum of two-and-a-bit terms.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:20 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


A witch hunt is, y'know, hunting for witches. You don't hunt for _a_ witch; you round up the suspects and then you try to prove which ones are witches. If there's just one person accused of being a witch, you haul them in, prick them or whatever, decide whether they're a witch or not, and so on. You don't hunt them.

So 'a witch hunt of a politician' makes no sense. You can persecute a singular person. You can only hunt them if they're on the run, or in hiding. Once you've identified them, located them and started investigating them, hunt's over, man. You're into prosecution.

I know it's hard to credit that the President of the United States can't handle a simple metaphor,

Now, let's see if he weighs the same as a duck... hey, wait a minute, haven't they been installing duck ramps in Washington? And his first name... oh. my. gawd.

Heck, even his doctor's a quack.
posted by Devonian at 5:20 AM on May 18 [26 favorites]


If laughter signaled that Republicans were just joking then the Obamacare repeal was also a joke because they laughed during and after than.
posted by srboisvert at 5:22 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Wasn't one of the "back channel" meetings set up thanks to DeVos' brother?
posted by emjaybee at 5:24 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


Councel? Really?

Not only does he ignore auto-complete, he ignores spell-check. Either that or he is hedging his bets because he didn't know if the word he wanted was "council" or "counsel."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:25 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


The person he is accusing of a partisan witch hunt is the guy he just hand-picked to be Deputy Attorney General and who won the support of the entire Republican Senate Caucus. Go ahead and fire him, Mister President. Go ahead and fire the Special Counquelle too. Dig a hole.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:28 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


I gotta believe his breakfast is a line of coke.
posted by spitbull at 5:29 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]


Witch hunt? But- but- but- I thought you welcomed a "thorough investigation"!
posted by Westringia F. at 5:30 AM on May 18 [11 favorites]


Doesn't he have a button to request coke?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:30 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


it happened mostly because the opposition really fucking hated the president

That's different. They were mostly white people.
posted by spitbull at 5:31 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Whiner-in-chief. It's not that no one's pointed this out before, but, I mean, really? I don't understand how his fans aren't embarrassed by so much goddamn motherfucking whining.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:32 AM on May 18 [48 favorites]


I don't understand how his fans aren't embarrassed by so much goddamn motherfucking whining.

Because they're whiners, too?
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:36 AM on May 18 [24 favorites]


Drudge Report is saying Roger Ailes is dead.
posted by drezdn at 5:37 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


FWIW Drudge Report has the alert sirens up saying that Roger Ailes is dead.

! if true
posted by zombieflanders at 5:37 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Trump: "I'm not a witch... I'm yuge."
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:38 AM on May 18


well, its a start.
posted by localhuman at 5:38 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Alright, I need a bit of a reality check. I'll try to keep this short, but MetaFilter please help.

The last two years have been, mildly, fucking bonkers. We've seen everything we know about political norms and behaviors in America completely thrown out the window. Up is down/black is white/"M"'s are "W"'S and that most public political actions do not have the consequences they have traditionally carried. I don't need to relitigate the reality of this, you all have seen it, you know what I'm talking about. Right?

Does it feel like, just a little, the appointment of a special prosecutor is just the very smallest bump in the needle tilting back to "public political actions receiving the the consequences we would expect?" Note that I'm not talking about a return to "normalcy" because we're going to be figuring "normal" out for a long time. But I feel, ever so slightly, that the system is starting to work just a little bit?

It might not end in Trump doing a forgmarch out of the Oval Office, but the immune system the constitution built into our government to protect against extreme corruption and treason is finally, at long, long last starting to catch fever to kill the disease?

Just a little? Or am I now completely fucking bonkers and only imagining the potential of justice where none exists actually?
posted by Tevin at 5:38 AM on May 18 [17 favorites]


Damn. When it rains, it motherfuckin' pours.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:39 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Either that or he is hedging his bets because he didn't know if the word he wanted was "council" or "counsel."

Tweet from OhNoSheTwitnt: "Trump was given 2 options, counsel & council, and somehow managed to pick a third, even more wrong than the wrong option, option. Inspiring."

Also a pretty apt metaphor for his entire presidency...
posted by Buntix at 5:39 AM on May 18 [45 favorites]


...Mister President, might I suggest something more like, "I have not committed any illegal acts"?

Yeah, "Unfair! They got away with their crimes, so I should get away with mine too" may not be the best defense approach.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:39 AM on May 18 [14 favorites]


I was obsessing over the whining earlier today.

Think of what FDR went through in his appearances as he propped himself up so people wouldn't know he was disabled. As a paraplegic, I know how fucking hard that would be.

Think of Kennedy's chronic back pain.

I read in Chernow someplace that Washington had a migraine that lasted for a month.

These people, and others, served their country despite their chronic health concerns. That's honorable.

What has this fucker ever done but be born rich and bullshit and whine and be a fucking demagogue.
posted by angrycat at 5:39 AM on May 18 [90 favorites]


That's different. They were mostly white people.

Ok, cool, I guess I'll just go ahead and get my red gown ready then because god forbid we do anything but complain about how we've already lost and are fucked forever
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:40 AM on May 18 [20 favorites]


The death of Roger Ailes must be very sad for his family. This is a sad day for them, I would imagine. They have my sympathy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:41 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


They literally can't stop him from live-tweeting Fox & Friends.

@davidmackau
7.26 - Fox News: "There was no calls for impeachment, no calls investigations" over IRS/Fast & Furious scandals, Clinton

7.39 - Trump: [screenshots of 'councel' tweet and F&F]
posted by chris24 at 5:41 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Whiner-in-chief.

I know I said I wanted to bring law and order back to the USA, but not that much law and order!
posted by XMLicious at 5:43 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


FWIW Drudge Report has the alert sirens up saying that Roger Ailes is dead.

Dead by gunshot in his bunker?
posted by Artw at 5:43 AM on May 18 [23 favorites]


I enjoyed reading the 2011 Rolling Stones article until I ragequit in disgust:
How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory

The onetime Nixon operative has created the most profitable propaganda machine in history. Inside America's Unfair and Imbalanced Network

...
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:44 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


The death of Roger Ailes must be very sad for his family. This is a sad day for them, I would imagine. They have my sympathy.

This is a day that I will wish every indignity that can be wrought upon a corpse to happen simultaneously. Pissing on his grave should be a grave insult to both the urine and toxins it contains.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:46 AM on May 18 [20 favorites]


Roger ailed.
posted by spitbull at 5:46 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


Roger Ailes was a person.

He deserves no respect and no pity.

I will not rejoice in his death, but neither will I pretend his passing is worth more than a vague sense of relief that the world is a little less evil.
posted by Tevin at 5:47 AM on May 18 [46 favorites]


He's not dead. He just went home.

via a chasm opening beneath his feet and skeletal hands pulling him into a lake of fire while sulfurous clouds fill the air and a sepulchral chorus sings Nickelback songs
posted by delfin at 5:47 AM on May 18 [38 favorites]


I'm probably gonna rejoice a little.
posted by Artw at 5:48 AM on May 18 [25 favorites]


What was he wearing and who was he with?>
posted by spitbull at 5:48 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I don't care how his family feels and I'm glad he's dead.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:49 AM on May 18 [54 favorites]


Sorry, when evil leaves this world, I celebrate.
posted by chris24 at 5:49 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


> What was he wearing and who was he with?

Answer to both questions: an 18yo prostitute.
posted by Tevin at 5:50 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Looks like he is dead. Maybe make it's own thread so this one doesn't get derailed into a defacto obit thread.
posted by Jalliah at 5:53 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


How many of these evil fucks are also unhealthy dudes in their late 70s?
posted by Artw at 5:53 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


The person I was who would feel bad when he couldn't stop smiling because some asshole who made the world worst died does not exist anymore. I'd like to say he died on November 8, 2016, but I'm pretty sure it was when the GOP had a big "We took your insurance" victory lap and busted open cans of Budweiser because it was a step towards rich people getting tax cuts and poor people dying more easily. Roger Ailes is probably one of the top 10 people in the world who made this (and every other shitty thing we're living through now) happen and my only sadness is that he didn't die 40 years ago.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:53 AM on May 18 [71 favorites]



WaPo: If you work for Trump, it’s time to quit (by Republican consultant Rick Wilson): You already know you can’t save the president because he doesn’t want to be saved. You already know there’s not another, better version of Trump getting ready to show up. You’re smart. You’re loyal. You’re sniffing the wind like a gazelle, nose filled with the scents of predators. You don’t want to break from the pack too soon, but there’s greater risk in waiting too long.

A strategy which works for those as quick and gracile as the gazelle, but other humble creatures have their own little ways.

For example, when threatened, Spicer retreats to the sanctity of the nearest bush and expresses debilitatingly potent bioaccumulated cinnamaldehyde from special skin patches around his neck and back.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:55 AM on May 18 [21 favorites]


[Folks, please hold off a bit until an Ailes obit post. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 5:55 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


Seriously, Ailes's death is bound to be incredibly upsetting for Trump. He was a longtime friend, even though they went through a rough patch in the run-up to the election. Add this to the current Kremlingate developments and his upcoming international trip, and we have a recipe for unstable behavior, even by his standards.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:01 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


Wow, he just can't keep from digging the hole deeper.
posted by yhbc at 6:02 AM on May 18


(Trump, not the late Roger Ailes, although that might work too)
posted by yhbc at 6:03 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Ailes' death will be the excuse not to go on the trip.
posted by yoga at 6:04 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


Conversations between members of Trump's team and high-ranking officials including setting up a special backchannel for communications between the President and Putin, Reuters reported. That would allow the two talk without involving US national security officials.

It's a special day when this paragraph is just part of the noise.
posted by diogenes at 6:05 AM on May 18 [46 favorites]


If you work for Trump, it’s time to quit

Oh please no. We need the leaks. Hold off a while.
posted by Miko at 6:05 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


@JesseRodriguez
.@jwpetersNYT on @Morning_Joe says GOPers on Capitol Hill are starting to send around #PresidentPence memes


@Sarah_Boxer
"I've been worse treated than President Trump has" says @SenJohnMcCain, former POW, on @Morning_Joe
posted by chris24 at 6:06 AM on May 18 [48 favorites]


Ailes' death will be the excuse not to go on the trip.
when is the trip anyway? when does he actually depart? is it before or after the 100 senators meeting at 2:30?
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 6:06 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


having fond visions of Satan chasing Ailes around his Infernal Office.

Somewhere a while back I saw someone comment that we are all just apparitions in Sean Spicer's personal hell. Made me pause for a moment.
posted by spitbull at 6:07 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


I drove to work and when I got here, Roger Ailes died. Yesterday, I drove home and a special counsel was named. I think I need to go live in my car...
posted by Sophie1 at 6:07 AM on May 18 [88 favorites]


@Sarah_Boxer
"I've been worse treated than President Trump has" says @SenJohnMcCain, former POW, on @Morning_Joe


Yeah. By Trump.
posted by lydhre at 6:08 AM on May 18 [28 favorites]


Just keep driving back and forth. Get a taxi medallion or something. There are ways to make this work.
posted by Jpfed at 6:10 AM on May 18 [61 favorites]


Conversations between members of Trump's team and high-ranking officials including setting up a special backchannel for communications between the President and Putin, Reuters reported. That would allow the two talk without involving US national security officials.
Awwww, that's cute.
posted by fullerine at 6:11 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


@Sarah_Boxer. "I've been worse treated than President Trump has" says @SenJohnMcCain, former POW, on @Morning_Joe

Next: "Tiger cages are no big deal" - Trump [fake, probably]
posted by corb at 6:12 AM on May 18


The only negative feeling I have about Ailes' death is "but now he can't testify about Russia."
posted by schadenfrau at 6:13 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


BREAKING: Deputy AG appointing special counsel to take over the Russia investigation; it's ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller

I would imagine at the very least that Team Trump gets the message that anything they do to help cover up whatever Trump is trying to cover up carries a very real risk of criminal prosecution. They can't count on complicit Congressional Republicans to bury the matter.

Speaking of criminal charges, since I am confident they will have Flynn dead to rights, I wonder what kind of information he might give up in order to make a deal? This investigation could have serious leverage, and it appears Mueller has experience rolling up witnesses for Mafia trials.
posted by Gelatin at 6:14 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I drove to work and when I got here, Roger Ailes died. Yesterday, I drove home and a special counsel was named. I think I need to go live in my car...

here's fifty bucks, go fill your tank.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:14 AM on May 18 [61 favorites]


"I've been worse treated than President Trump has" says @SenJohnMcCain, former POW, on @Morning_Joe

Doesn't count if you enjoy it.
posted by Artw at 6:14 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I don't think people are thinking through how gerrymandering works. Maybe I'm out to lunch, please correct me if I'm wrong.But the basic technique of gerrymandering is moving voters out of your safe districts into more competitive ones, reducing your 65-35 districts to 55-45 while changing your opponents' 55-45 districts to 45-55 losers in the same process.

This is correct for the kind of gerrymandering we're talking about.

But there's other kinds too, which is I think where people get understandably a little mixed up. Gerrymandering is just drawing district lines to help someone, and/or hurt someone else. That's it.

One way gerrymandering really does happen, especially in states with divided government that haven't gained or lost a seat, is basically incumbent protection. Districts get tweaked to, mostly, favor existing incumbents, so most seats get a little bit safer. The targets here are individual districts -- we'll make Alice's district a little more friendly to Alice and Bob's a little more friendly to Bob. This is the kind of gerrymandering that makes people think it's been causing polarization, which it hasn't.

Partisan (and racial) gerrymandering look very different -- the goals there are not to do anything in particular to any given district, but to more-or-less maximize the seat share of the local in-party (or whites). This is the kind of gerrymandering where you seek as many slim majorities as you can, and if you have to give the local out-party any seats you pack those districts full to make it easier to create more 55/45 districts. This is the NY Senate, NC, PA, etc.

So anyway it's understandable that people would think gerrymandering does X and not-X at the same time, because just "gerrymandering" as a general idea does. But a few things are absolutely inescapable.

(1) If you see a bunch of Democratic safe seats, that's a Republican gerrymander, not a Democratic one. And the reverse.

(2) Maximizing the number of competitive districts is the same thing as a partisan gerrymander in favor of the local minority party -- this seems to be more or less what happened to NY's US House delegation when districting got thrown to a judge.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:15 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


Trump is probably sad that he hasn't got around to having a sex scandal yet.
posted by drezdn at 6:17 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


He probably hasn't gotten laid since Russia.
posted by Artw at 6:18 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]


I'm giving 4.5 stars to the writers/leakers of this narrative. They're doing a great job of setting the stage, revealing just enough to create some good plot tension and adding a few twists and turns to keep people engaged.
posted by Jalliah at 6:20 AM on May 18 [27 favorites]


Do you think each person in line for presidential succession is having a staffer go through their files to figure out what dirt they have on the person above them?
posted by drezdn at 6:21 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


[Folks, please hold off a bit until an Ailes obit post. Thanks.]

I concur. Let's make sure the brain stem is gone.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:23 AM on May 18 [24 favorites]


Do you think each person in line for presidential succession is having a staffer go through their files to figure out what dirt they have on the person above them?

I wouldn't lay odds on half of Trump's Cabinet knowing they're in the succession.
posted by Etrigan at 6:27 AM on May 18 [16 favorites]


I drove to work and when I got here, Roger Ailes died. Yesterday, I drove home and a special counsel was named. I think I need to go live in my car...

MeFites: Please avoid doing your Magical Driving and Magical Napping at the same time.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:31 AM on May 18 [27 favorites]


Shockingly, I sort of agree with Trump - not that this is the biggest witch hunt in history - but he's correct in that people are out to get him. There are thousands, if not millions, of people scrutinizing his every move, every second, every day. His past actions all but dared us to do so. This is a situation of his own making - karma is a bitch, as they say. It really wouldn't have been that difficult to orchestrate his first 100 days in a more restrained manner and still achieve his goals. Major fail, dude.
posted by double bubble at 6:31 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


Obama and Clinton should respond to Trump's "Witch hunt" comment with the Kermit sipping tea meme. (This is where we are in 2017)
posted by drezdn at 6:32 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


I am 1000% out to get him. I want him gone from my life, the sooner the better. Humiliation and imprisonment would be a nice bonus.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:36 AM on May 18 [40 favorites]


Pence Creates PAC ahead of 2018, 2020 Elections:

Vice President Mike Pence is launching his own PAC — the "Great America Committee" — to aid his own future political interests, including helping Republican candidates ahead of the 2018 midterms.

The group, which filed paperwork with the FEC on Wednesday, will be able to use the funds to cover the costs of the vice president's travels on Air Force Two to campaign on behalf of GOP candidates across the country.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:39 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


[Let's keep the Ailes discussion in here for now.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:40 AM on May 18


Let's see:

1. Mueller appointed Special Counsel
2. Republican house leaders on tape discussing Russian funding of Trump (and then lying about it)
3. Roger Ailes dead

...and they say Christmas comes but once a year!
posted by leotrotsky at 6:41 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Tiger cages are no big deal
tiger cages were our side
posted by thelonius at 6:41 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!

Remember when elected members of Congress refused to state that the sitting President of the United States was an actual citizen?
posted by PenDevil at 6:41 AM on May 18 [39 favorites]


I wonder whether Trump thinks that anything that happens to him is the biggest version of that thing ever because he's so important, or whether he thinks that he's so important because of all of these biggest versions of things that have happened to him.
posted by Etrigan at 6:43 AM on May 18


[Let's keep the Ailes discussion in here for now.]

Great! I've been holding this in since I heard:

lol he ded
posted by entropicamericana at 6:45 AM on May 18 [24 favorites]


And not just a Trump fail...really, Bannon? Aren't you supposed to be an evil genius? You didn't see all this coming?!?!
posted by double bubble at 6:45 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


MeFites: Please avoid doing your Magical Driving and Magical Napping at the same time.

No way, if half of us drive around, each with a napping Mefite in the passenger seat, there's a good chance we'll come back to news of first contact with aliens who bring us Fully Automated Luxury Communism.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:45 AM on May 18 [30 favorites]


[Let's keep the Ailes discussion in here for now.]

🍾
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 6:46 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]




I wonder whether Trump thinks that anything that happens to him is the biggest version of that thing ever because he's so important, or whether he thinks that he's so important because of all of these biggest versions of things that have happened to him.

I'm not sure he's capable of even the most basic nuance.
posted by double bubble at 6:47 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Absolutely inarguably true that the birther bullshit was the biggest organized political witch hunt in modern American history, followed very closely by Bill Clinton's affair with/harassment of an intern as an excuse to pry open every other fake scandal they could add (demoted because it was based on actual and gross misconduct) and matched by Benghazi/ButHerEmails, downgraded only because Hillary wasn't actually president. Likewise, the Swiftboat attack on Kerry.

One can identify periods of witch huntery from the left, but nothing that gets close to any of those four interlocked examples in which the hunters knowingly and cynically made shit up and had their narrative advanced both by office holders and major media outlets treating blatant falsehoods as credible sides of an ideological argument. And here we fucking are. Payback is a hell of a drug.
posted by spitbull at 6:48 AM on May 18 [50 favorites]


It's been 37 hours since Trump tweeted. (There's been a few staff tweets.) The pressure must be building. Tick tock.

He made it 47.5 hours before the siren call of Fox & Friends got him. Maybe someday he'll go a full two days.
posted by chris24 at 6:48 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


And I want a hit.
posted by spitbull at 6:48 AM on May 18


Remember when elected members of Congress refused to state that the sitting President of the United States was an actual citizen?
posted by PenDevil at 8:41 AM on 5/18


If you want Donald J Trump to connect the dots there you're going to have to use his full name.
posted by that's how you get ants at 6:48 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]




Also let's not forget Ailes giving us Willie Horton.
posted by spitbull at 6:49 AM on May 18 [14 favorites]


A word on the Presidential succession order:

It's irrelevant, outside of a single catastrophic event. What happens if the VP takes over or quits? A new VP gets appointed, and takes office when confirmed by Congress. That may take a couple of weeks.

OK, so that might take awhile. Things can move fast when impeachment trials are ongoing. So who's next? The Speaker of the House. What happens if the Speaker takes over? The very next thing the House does is elect a new Speaker.

OK, but Speaker elections have dragged on before (like in 1855). Next up is the President pro tem of the Senate. What happens if he takes over? The President pro tem of the Senate is the longest-serving member of the majority party. They would actually have to vote on a new one, but that would take no more than a couple of days to formalize it (Thad Cochran of Mississippi, then Chuck Grassley.)

It will never get to the Cabinet. Don't worry about those guys.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:49 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


I was at a happy hour enjoying some delicious tacos and a margarita when the special counsel news broke, so clearly that's what I need to do every day.
posted by emjaybee at 6:49 AM on May 18 [19 favorites]


This is a situation of his own making - karma is a bitch, as they say. It really wouldn't have been that difficult to orchestrate his first 100 days in a more restrained manner and still achieve his goals. Major fail, dude.

Dude's been running around sowing chaos, screwing people, making enemies, and generally fucking things up his entire life (70 years!), and has only managed to avoid any consequences so far by throwing his father's money at all his disasters.

Money won't fix this one.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:50 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Remember when elected members of Congress refused to state that the sitting President of the United States was an actual citizen?
posted by PenDevil at 8:41 AM on 5/18

If you want Donald J Trump to connect the dots there you're going to have to use his full name.


...and short sentences. ...with small words. ...and lots of pictures.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:52 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


> has only managed to avoid any consequences so far by throwing his father's money at all his disasters.

And forcing his employees to sign NDAs to silence them if/when they see something crooked.

Notably, you can't force federal employees to sign an NDA (right?).

I like to imagine at one point Trump realized this and thought "Well, they'll be loyal to me, it won't be a problem I'm sure. I'm great! Everyone loves me!"

Meanwhile the staff who hate him are leaking to any Tom, Dick, or Henrietta holding a pen who might have a third-party connection to a newspaper.
posted by Tevin at 6:53 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


the thing that keeps going around in my head is
if he was just slightly smarter this could have worked
but then
if he was slightly smarter, would he have been able to speak the language of low-information american bigotry so well?
posted by murphy slaw at 6:54 AM on May 18 [23 favorites]


It will never get to the Cabinet. Don't worry about those guys.

This is an administration and a Congressional leadership that campaigned on one thing for six years and then took 106 days and two tries to pass it through one house. If someone popped their head over my cubicle and said "I've traveled back from 2021 to tell you to put money on President Eleanor Holmes Norton winning re-election," I would ask them where I could get the best odds.
posted by Etrigan at 6:56 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]




Money can get you into the White House, but it can't make your presidency a success. I guess there is a message of hope in there? Sorta?
posted by double bubble at 6:57 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


I guess there is a message of hope in there? Sorta?

Nope. Not one.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:59 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


the thing that keeps going around in my head is
if he was just slightly smarter this could have worked
but then
if he was slightly smarter, would he have been able to speak the language of low-information american bigotry so well?


The Republican party has been threading that needle since the Southern Strategy. The trick will be to brand Trump's whole message (white nationalism, know-nothingism, etc.) as the product of treasonous interference by foreign dictators, and so to pollute any Trump 2.0 folks with the taint of treason.

"Oh, you don't like immigrants, like Trump? Sounds like someone might fond of a little light treason. You want some borscht?"

Republicans painted the social justice movements of the Left as 'pinko communism' for two generations. Now it's time to turn the tables.

...and that's why I would like to see some death penalties handed down. Pour encourager les autres.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 AM on May 18 [30 favorites]


The hits keep coming!

Politico: Trump weighs downsizing Spicer’s public role : One senior White House official said deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will likely appear at the podium more often going forward, while Spicer will keep a senior role in the administration. Another official said to expect fewer on-camera briefings in general — something that the administration has been toying with since Trump entered office.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:03 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


...and that's why I would like to see some death penalties handed down. Pour encourager les autres.

Do you want icepicks? Because this is how you get icepicks.
posted by Dr Dracator at 7:05 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


The latest Intercepted podcast is pretty spot on on.
It raises a few good points. Don't attribute to a complicated conspiracy with russia what could easily be explained by gross incompetence, and good old fashioned idiocy.
posted by _Synesthesia_ at 7:06 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


if he was slightly smarter, would he have been able to speak the language of low-information american bigotry so well?

You name the greatest weakness exposed in the American system of governance by this election and presidency. Hell yeah, plenty of very smart demagogues speak the language of their respective rabbles perfectly. Putin and Erdogan and Duterte are only the examples in the news as friends of Trump.

Our biggest fear needs to be of Trump 2.0 The Brightening.

I do agree that some people are so crazy and/or stupid and/or mean that they look for authenticity in their heroes' display of sociopathy and ignorance and cruelty like some of us look for empathy and wit and thoughtfulness. For sure. But the people that voted for Trump in the upper Midwest don't like to think of themselves as stupid or racist and are perfectly open to an appeal to their self-interest that flatters them more directly that they aren't. See the Pauls, Ron, Rand, and Ryan.

A smoother Nazi is a more dangerous Nazi. Our biggest stroke of luck is that Trump's Razor is a correct metric. He succeeded by playing an evil clown and turned out to actually be one. His winks to the audience ("I love the poorly educated") turned out to be more authentic than theatrical.

Somewhere out there is something much more dangerous.
posted by spitbull at 7:06 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


I'm worried about what MAGAs will do if he's impeached. I have no idea what they do if he resigns.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:07 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Reports that Ailes died peacefully in his sleep, decapitated by roving lesbian gangs
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:07 AM on May 18 [82 favorites]


The biggest witch hunt in American history! he bleats. Except for the witch hunt for commies in the fifties? or the actual witch hunts where they were looking for witches in colonial America?

I'm reminded of when he said Nafta was the worst trade deal in American history, forgetting the slave trade.
posted by adept256 at 7:08 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


I'm worried about what MAGAs will do if he's impeached.

There's already nazis marching everywhere from him winning, I'm less worried that kicking him out will make them worse.
posted by Artw at 7:09 AM on May 18 [18 favorites]


In my wildest fantasies, the MAGAs will blame "the swamp" just as much as they blame the libural media, and will refuse to participate in the upcoming elections(and especially the midterms) as they become disillusioned with their hopes and dreams of the 4(5th)chan Commander-in-Chief.
posted by Twain Device at 7:09 AM on May 18 [7 favorites]


And I just heard roger ailes is dead. also I should probably toss that coleslaw in my fridge.
posted by adept256 at 7:09 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


If they could refuse to take any government money that would be great too.
posted by Artw at 7:10 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


I'm worried about what MAGAs will do if he's impeached. I have no idea what they do if he resigns.

my gut tells me that the vast majority of MAGAhats are cosplaying as the fascist militia and will go back to writing facebook screeds in their underwear when this all collapses

i hope i'm right
posted by murphy slaw at 7:12 AM on May 18 [39 favorites]


roger ailes died as he lived, making america worse by simply existing.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:13 AM on May 18 [14 favorites]


Somewhere out there is something much more dangerous.

I wonder if Trump has provoked an healthy immune response in the bureaucratic state of the US Government. Depending upon how deep this goes (and how many folks get arrested, convicted, imprisoned), it could be that Republicans have less ability to 1. disenfranchise voters 2. racially gerrymander 3. push back on (for example) FBI investigations of white nationalist terrorism going forward.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:13 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


Don't attribute to a complicated conspiracy with russia what could easily be explained by gross incompetence, and good old fashioned idiocy.

Greenwald discovers Trump's Razor. Glad to see he is backing away slowly from his CT "deep state invented Russia connection, the Intelligence Community is the real enemy, what about the leaaaaks?" pro-Trump positioning, I guess. Still ain't clicking a link to his site. You burn your journalistic credibility but once with me.
posted by spitbull at 7:13 AM on May 18 [19 favorites]


I also wonder about the future of the Supreme Court.

I would bet Kennedy is much less likely to retire this summer than he previously signaled. Who wants your successor appointed by a likely traitor?

...and what about Gorsuch? Is he going to have an asterisk next to his appointment for the rest of his term? Is he going to be seen as illegitimate? Depending upon how deep the rabbit hole goes regarding the outcome of the 2016 election, there may be serious questions regarding the legitimacy of the result.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:16 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


The people grieving right now, I suppose, are those who will never see ailes held to justice. Not earthly justice at least. maybe he's getting familiar with goebbels right now.
posted by adept256 at 7:17 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


and what about Gorsuch? Is he going to have an asterisk next to his appointment for the rest of his term? Is he going to be seen as illegitimate?

No matter what we discover about Trumpian skulduggery, it's likely that we won't find out that he actually stole the election. Trump's the legit Pres, until he's not, so Gorsuch is a legit Supreme.
posted by dis_integration at 7:18 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


I'm worried about what MAGAs will do if he's impeached. I have no idea what they do if he resign

If and when he goes down, a small (single digit percentage) portion of his base will flip their shit and there will be some violence. Expect a few Malheurs at the very least and probably some overt terrorism. How bad it is will depend on luck, whatever organization they've already put together, how functional the FBI still is, and whether Alex Jones is still on the air.

Seriously though: if there's any chaos following Trumperdämmerung and I suddenly stop posting, y'all should presume I was murdered by my neighbors. There's a small but real militia/extremist presence in my neck of the woods and they know who I am. Here's hoping they continue to be as cowardly as they've been under the rule of Daddy.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:19 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


I'm worried about what MAGAs will do if he's impeached. I have no idea what they do if he resigns.

Pretty much what you would expect. Blame everyone but them for everything, lament how corrupt America is when Trump the Patriot gets railroaded while doing nothing wrong while Hillary, Obama and Soros continue to avoid prosecution for their many capital crimes, rant against Fake News and The Swamp and The Establishment and The Clintons, and howl on newspaper letter pages and blog comment sections.

Also some people somewhere will get shot for no good reason. But this is America so that was going to happen anyway.
posted by delfin at 7:19 AM on May 18 [13 favorites]


...and that's why I would like to see some death penalties handed down. Pour encourager les autres.

Do you want icepicks? Because this is how you get icepicks.


Hey, we executed the Rosenbergs. This is far worse. These people swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. There is no greater crime against this country.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:20 AM on May 18 [17 favorites]


I'm worried about what MAGAs will do if he's impeached. I have no idea what they do if he resigns.

99.999% of them will do jack shit
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 7:20 AM on May 18 [36 favorites]


...and what about Gorsuch? Is he going to have an asterisk next to his appointment for the rest of his term? Is he going to be seen as illegitimate? Depending upon how deep the rabbit hole goes regarding the outcome of the 2016 election, there may be serious questions regarding the legitimacy of the result.

Questions among Democrats. No republicans will ever question Gorsuch's legitimacy. Look at the illegitimate things they were willing to do to get him in that seat.
posted by saturday_morning at 7:21 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


as an atheist, i understand the desire to see evil unpunished in this life receive justice in the next. it's the same impulse that makes me dream that Roger Ailes was a desperately unhappy person who got no joy from anything.

he probably had a grand old time.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:21 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


No matter what we discover about Trumpian skulduggery, it's likely that we won't find out that he actually stole the election. Trump's the legit Pres, until he's not, so Gorsuch is a legit Supreme.

You really don't think that a party-line appointment in the Senate over a filibuster by a President (potentially) convicted of espionage during the election campaign will color Gorsuch's seat? I think every time he's mentioned until he retires, resigns, or is impeached this should be brought up.

"Justice Gorsuch, whose seat was stolen by Republican President Donald Trump's electoral treason, was the deciding vote on the court"
posted by leotrotsky at 7:22 AM on May 18 [26 favorites]


What do we make of the fact that numerous people were pointing out that Rosenstein's Comey firing memo didn't sound like it was written by him or written by a lawyer at all in light of him now appointing a special counsel? I wonder if it was like the codes undercover cops use through the wire to signal that he wasn't really on board, knowing Trump wouldn't know the difference.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 7:22 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


Someone's putting warding runes around delivery rooms so Ailes can't slither back in to our world, right?
posted by jason_steakums at 7:23 AM on May 18 [43 favorites]


a filibuster broken by a vice president who did nothing during the transition when he was fully aware that the incoming national security adviser was a foreign agent?
posted by murphy slaw at 7:23 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


Don't attribute to a complicated conspiracy with russia what could easily be explained by gross incompetence, and good old fashioned idiocy.

And don't attribute to gross incompetence and idiocy what could easily be attributed to greed.

This is about the money (which happens to originate in Russia and end in the pockets of our executive branch). The goal was personal enrichment, and they didn't care where it came from or what they would have to give in return. Russia--->money--->Trump-Associates is not a "complicated conspiracy"; it's a pretty simple conspiracy that even a "good old fashioned idiot" could participate in.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:24 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Reports that Ailes died peacefully in his sleep, decapitated by roving lesbian gangs

So this is what FOMO feels like
posted by schadenfrau at 7:24 AM on May 18 [22 favorites]


I mean, we don't know what an investigation is going to find about Gorsuch. But it's a political question, and there is already enough staining that appointment to go after it if the political will is there.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:26 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


The people who would believe that Gorsuch's appointment was illegitimate already believe that his appointment was illegitimate. I honestly don't believe many people will be dissuaded from what they already believe (this is all a mockery of our system, or, the president can do that because he's president*) on that.

*regardless of the nature of that presidency. You really believe people will be willing to believe that they were played by a foreign government?
posted by R a c h e l at 7:27 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


this morning's tweets make me think that earlier reports that trump's reaction to the special counsel announcement was "extremely measured" were perhaps indulgences in a bit of image management.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:27 AM on May 18 [21 favorites]


You really don't think that a party-line appointment in the Senate over a filibuster by a President convicted of espionage during the election campaign will color Gorsuch's seat?

You know what they call the guy who graduated last in his class in medical school?

Doctor.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:27 AM on May 18 [24 favorites]


If Trump is impeached or resigns, it will be following a long process that erodes the will of the MAGA types and discredits him. The Republicans will try to keep a lid on their people so as not to damage Pence any more than necessary.

I think it's very realistic to worry about one or two MAGA violence incidents, and those could be bad, but I don't think that the country will erupt into riots. Part of this is because the MAGA types are most concentrated in the suburbs, small cities and small towns, and it's a lot harder to have mass riots when everyone is spread out in places that lack city-like town centers. Also, MAGA types tend not to live in diverse areas, so it's going to be harder to find people to turn on. I'm not trying to minimize the hate crime spike since Trump has been elected - it's just that I (like a lot of people) feared that it would be far worse.

And it hasn't been very long, and this is a large country. There are not paramilitary Trumpist organizations with some discipline and habits. If we're only talking about things getting worse, as opposed to the steady state of violence against immigrants and people of color, we are not looking at years of state tolerance for political or openly ideologically motivated murder of immigrants.

What has happened under US-backed regimes in Central America hasn't yet happened here - state-sponsored or paramilitary systematic murder of the homeless, of marginalized street children, of union activists, etc. We have a standard level of police violence in this country, but we do not have (although we have had in the past) widespread networks of civilians organized to commit violence in the interests of a rightist state and with the expectation of impunity. That's the stuff Bannon has been aiming for and that Trump would have supported via Sessions, etc. It hasn't happened yet, and if we can get Trump out and discredit many of the top criminals now, it won't.

Me? I don't think it's too late to rebottle the genie (and seal the bottle with the Seal of Solomon and throw it in the deepest part of the ocean). I'm not saying "la la everything will be fine", but I think that the process of getting Trump out of office is going to weaken and discredit the Republicans, fracture and demoralize their base and energize non-Republicans. Victory breeds victory. This isn't the nineties - middle class people can't just roll along with rich Third Way Democrats while ignoring working people anymore, because all that's come home to roost.
posted by Frowner at 7:27 AM on May 18 [52 favorites]


and they trembled before her fury: this is espionage, pure and simple. which, of course, can carry the death penalty. we may be looking at the first president to be executed for espionage.

jaduncan: Of all the things that will not happen, this is the thing that most will not happen.

I know, this is really a pipe dream. Haven't you heard how hard it is for states to find sources of drugs for lethal injections?
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on May 18


Has Breitbart or Alex Jones reported yet that Hillary had Ailes killed strangled Ailes in his sleep with her bare hands?
posted by zakur at 7:29 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!

@susie_meister Retweeted Donald J. Trump
You might say we're moving on you like a bitch. When you're a democracy, they let you do it.
posted by chris24 at 7:31 AM on May 18 [168 favorites]


I just want to warn everyone I may be taking a nap on a long bus ride today on my way to a doctor's appointment.
posted by loquacious at 7:31 AM on May 18 [22 favorites]


as much as it would warm the darkest corners of my heart to see the administration face a firing squad, i'm not tossing aside my stringent opposition to the death penalty for a bit of fun
posted by murphy slaw at 7:32 AM on May 18 [11 favorites]


...and what about Gorsuch? Is he going to have an asterisk next to his appointment for the rest of his term? Is he going to be seen as illegitimate?

He already does, to some people, because of the blocking of Garland; whether more people do will depend on whether the investigation turns up anything directly bearing on his appointment that's somehow incriminating of Gorsuch (I have no idea what that would even be) rather than of Trump & Co. in appointing him. That's an unlikely hypothetical.
posted by cjelli at 7:33 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


And you know what? Witch hunt?

This is from the guy who encouraged Russian hackers to hack her emails. Her emails!
posted by adept256 at 7:33 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


i would shed nary a tear if any of these treasonous fucks were to stretch a rope
posted by entropicamericana at 7:34 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I've read a mere half of the 1000+ comments here, but want to make a few points because I have other stuff to do (bollocks):

- Mueller is a perfect choice for special counsel. Someone on the Twitterz pointed out "when the hackers agree with the FBI in being against you, you're in deep shit." That's pretty much correct. Mueller is the definition of a patriot.

- TPM is largely aligned with Metafilter values, at least when it comes to the Trump admin. (I've been supporting The Atlantic (because David Frum decided long ago to put country over party) and the NYT (because they're good at investigative journalism)).

- I'm sad to see Comey be treated this way. I never thought I'd say this about an FBI chief, but the man has done the right thing, at personal cost, and deserves respect. I await the forecoming public testimony.

- Trump's antagonizing of the IC - for no reason - might bring about his downfall. He doesn't seem to understand that as President, the IC is your best friend and your worst (potential) enemy.

saulgoodman, you'll be in my prayers.
posted by iffthen at 7:34 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]


Washington Post Editorial Board: Trump’s commission on voter fraud is, well, fraudulent
Mr. Kobach is notorious for erecting impediments to the ballot box — specifically, ones that would disproportionately discourage and deter minority and other Democratic-leaning voters. His presence as the commission’s vice chair — Mr. Pence’s other responsibilities make it likely that Mr. Kobach will be the panel’s driving force — makes a farce of the idea that the commission’s work will be dispassionate, fair and clear-eyed.

More likely, given Mr. Kobach’s record, is that it will endeavor to create further pretexts for GOP-dominated state legislatures determined to throw up barriers to minority turnout with laws such as North Carolina’s, which was struck down by a federal appeals court as an unconstitutional effort to “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” The Supreme Court, citing a dispute over who represents the state, on Monday declined to review that decision, but its conservative majority may not block future such legislation.

The fix was in from the moment Mr. Trump promised, in January, that he would establish a commission on fraudulent voting, a nonissue that has been almost entirely conjured from thin air by Republicans seeking to enhance their electoral chances. Multiple studies have shown, and the overwhelming consensus of both Republican and Democratic voting officials at the state and local levels has been, that fraudulent voting, particularly of the in-person variety, is all but nonexistent in the United States. A thorough survey three years ago came up with 31 credible instances of voter impersonation that could have been prevented by ID laws, out of more than 1 billion votes cast in elections from 2000 to 2014.

Republicans are quick to conflate their baseless allegations of widespread fraud with real — and inconsequential — instances of duplicative voter-registration rolls owing mainly to individuals who have moved from one state to another. That hardly ever translates into multiple or illegal votes cast.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:35 AM on May 18 [50 favorites]


Roger Ailes' first job was working on the Mike Douglas show when it was just a local talk/variety program in Cleveland. Ailes worked his way up from being a property manager for the show, until he was eventually made its Executive Producer when the show went national. In 1968, Vice President Richard Nixon was a guest and that's where he met Ailes, who would eventually be tapped to run Nixon's Presidential campaign.

There's been a lot written about Watergate over the years, and many people have noted that the scandal's most lasting legacy has been a growing distrust of politicians, politics and government by the American people. The only time that distrust tends to fade is during times of war, but when those conflicts end, distrust reliably rises.

There's a thread here worth following. A theme. A recurring motif. Ailes helped elect a President who was paranoid, obsessed with his image, kept enemies lists and maniacal about information leaks. When his Presidency fell apart, Nixon destroyed America's (mostly blind faith and) trust in our leaders. That and his prolongation of the Vietnam War are most of Nixon's legacy. A mistrust of government and politicians which has lasted for 40 years. In no small part thanks to Roger Ailes.

After Nixon left office in disgrace, Ailes became a political consultant. But in '96, he took over FoxNewschannel and he turned that network into a Republican propaganda arm for the Murdochs. Fox promoted a Republican worldview and stirred up as much mistrust of Democrats and specifically of the Clinton administration as it possibly could. Under Ailes, Fox News fed off the sentiment that Nixon had triggered, broadcasting conspiracy theories and lies about anyone who opposed Republicans, all while proclaiming themselves to be fair and balanced. Playing their part, Republicans have done everything they can to play the "heel" to their constituents.

The end result of 20 years of Fox broadcasting an endless flood of propaganda and attacks is of course the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the rise of Donald Trump. Our current President is a corrupt, paranoid, racist, narcissistic liar who is obsessed with leaks, punishing his enemies, desperate to control every aspect of his image and equally demanding of people's unwavering loyalty. Sounds familiar.

Ailes made a Trump Presidency possible. He helped create the modern GOP. Now we're all paying the price.
posted by zarq at 7:35 AM on May 18 [129 favorites]


ha ha jason chaffetz is the most feckless idiot in a congress overflowing with feckless idiots

Chaffetz: ‘I Question’ Whether Comey Memos Are ‘Actually There’
Two days after threatening to use his “subpoena pen” to get his hands on James Comey’s reported memos describing his encounters with President Donald Trump, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Thursday expressed skepticism as to whether they actually existed.

“I do think in the light of day in a public setting he should be able to tell us about not only the materials, if they’re there, and I question whether or not they’re actually there, but if they’re there, and then how did he take them?” Chaffetz told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
posted by murphy slaw at 7:37 AM on May 18 [13 favorites]


What illegal things is Obama supposed to have done?
i never really got over extra-judicial drone execution of american citizens. due process fan, yo.
posted by j_curiouser at 7:39 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Next SNL I really want Tina Fey as Palin to walk in on Trump and say "what a week" and then Alec Baldwin as Trump say "it's Wednesday, Lemon" and then Fey retort with "it's actually Saturday, Orange".
posted by Talez at 7:39 AM on May 18 [50 favorites]


[fake] Trump gets all of his staff for a meeting. He goes around greeting everyone, shaking hands and asking everyone how their families our doing. "Let's get down to business. I have one question for all of you... Any of you who weren't spying for another country, a secret lobbyist, or running a grift raise your hand."

After a pause a few hands go up.

"You're fired. Show some initiative next time."
posted by drezdn at 7:40 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Are we done with SNL until the fall now, though?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:41 AM on May 18


Are we done with SNL until the fall now, though?

One more. The Rock joins the Five-Timers Club this weekend.
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Ryan and McCarthy denied the conversation, then changed their answers after being told about the tape.

I am not plugged very much into the news at the moment, but I hope that this fact is extremely prominent in the coverage, if not the leading aspect. The Speaker of the House overtly and shamelessly lying to the press should be news.
posted by Gelatin at 7:43 AM on May 18 [14 favorites]


Two days after threatening to use his “subpoena pen” to get his hands on James Comey’s reported memos describing his encounters with President Donald Trump, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) on Thursday expressed skepticism as to whether they actually existed.

“I do think in the light of day in a public setting he should be able to tell us about not only the materials, if they’re there, and I question whether or not they’re actually there, but if they’re there, and then how did he take them?” Chaffetz told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”


If only there were some way for Chaffetz to check. Some kind of document he could issue that would compel someone to tell him! I'm glad there isn't, because otherwise this would sound like transparently duplicious statements for the benefit of idiots.

It'll play on Fox without that context, though.
posted by jaduncan at 7:44 AM on May 18 [19 favorites]


I think it's an open question as to whether to torrent of leaks we've seen continues. Do members of the intelligence community keep it up or do they trust Mueller enough that they'll sit on it and see what happens?

Replying in general to this line of questioning: remember that the leaks have come from everywhere. High-ranking officials, White House staffers, and the IC community have all provided damning information in drips and drabs, often in response to lies from Trump and Co.

So I think that as long as the Trumpiteers are lying about something related to the investigation, or related items, there's going to be "correcting" leaks with enough information to refute other claims made in the public spheres.

Jalliah: The bigger story about the Ryan tape is that it was leaked now. Whoever had it has been sitting on it. So they now must feel that this is the right time to go after Ryan.

Exactly: there are enough politicians who are mired in this mess that there's always something to leak and potentially expand the scope of the investigation.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


FWIW, this is something even NeverTrumpers are going to have to (1) accept responsibility for, and (2) confront in their own ethical and moral space.

No it's not.

The Venn Diagram of Republican NeverTrumpers and Iraq war hawks is nearly a perfect circle and hundreds of thousands of lives later they regret absolutely nothing. They spent eight years absolutely breaking the Senate and were awarded a majority that could steal a Supreme Court seat and likely destroy health care as we know it in this country. "Never Trump" started on the cover of the National Review, a magazine that championed the cause of racial segregation and now writes daily pieces about how Democrats are the real racists. They day they "confront their own ethical and moral space" is the day Jesus comes back and sets them all on fire. You may as well hope a tornado considers if it's gone too far.

NeverTrumpism is the latest manifestation of how these fuckers truly and unflinchingly do believe in the deepest part of their black hearts that conservatism can never fail, only be failed. Like always, few if any will suffer repercussions and all will still get booked on talk shows next week.

It would be healthy for the left to accept this and stop waiting for a Great Pumpkin of righteous comeuppance. Such time would be better spent knocking on doors.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:47 AM on May 18 [45 favorites]


Re-posting, from the end of the last thread: Impeachment: A Handbook, by Charles Lund Black, may be of interest. "In a classic guide to presidential impeachment, Charles L. Black clarifies the issues and questions that surround this controversial subject. With a new foreword by constitutional expert Akhil Reed Amar, this authoritative book is essential reading for every concerned citizen."
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:47 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


What illegal things is Obama supposed to have done? I keep seeing this talking point from the right. I know they're delusional, but what are they even talking about?

I'm guessing Benghazi is probably their biggest complaint. They also claim that he was running an illegal war by supplying guns to Syrian rebels.

Republicans also attacked him for chewing gum. They're completely unhinged.
posted by zarq at 7:47 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Is Kushner (who appears to be the architect of this humiliating meltdown in the making) secretly trying to sabotage Trump, or does he actually think he and Ivanka can pull this off, or what?

From the NYT's insider account of How Trump Learned About the Special Counsel on Russia:
Most of those gathered recommended that the president adopt a conciliatory stance, and release a statement accepting Mr. Rosenstein’s decision and embracing a swift investigation that would clear the cloud of suspicion hovering over the West Wing.

Mr. Kushner — who had urged Mr. Trump to fire James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director — 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, asserting the president’s innocence and determination to move on.
The sabotage hypothesis appears less unlikely by the day, though the odds remain better that Kushner is only not quite as thick than his father-in-law.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:47 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


Is Kushner (who appears to be the architect of this humiliating meltdown in the making) secretly trying to sabotage Trump, or does he actually think he and Ivanka can pull this off, or what?

TPM: Wake Up: Kushner’s a Baddie Too
posted by PenDevil at 7:49 AM on May 18 [13 favorites]


the odds remain better that Kushner is only not quite as thick than his father-in-law.

few are
posted by entropicamericana at 7:50 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Has Breitbart or Alex Jones reported yet that Hillary had Ailes killed strangled Ailes in his sleep with her bare hands?

We need to counter with the competing narrative that it's Putin tying up loose ends. The real explanation, of course, is that one of the terms of Ailes' satanic pact required constant sexual harassment to sustain his life force. Deprived of this lifeblood, he swiftly expired.
posted by Behemoth at 7:50 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Damn. Mueller really does look like Edward R Murrow crossed with Sam Waterston. Dude just exudes gravitas.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:51 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


We need to counter with the competing narrative that it's Putin tying up loose ends.

One thing that we need more than anything right now is for Trump to stay alive until the end of his term, whether it's by impeachment, elections, or term limits.

Otherwise, could you imagine the conspiracies that would pop up no matter how he died?
posted by drezdn at 7:53 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


We need to counter with the competing narrative that it's Putin tying up loose ends.

This is why both-sideism is a thing.
posted by Talez at 7:54 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Ben Sasse and Chuck Schumer are clearly feeling a little punchy (slTwitter).
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:55 AM on May 18 [15 favorites]


Shockingly, I sort of agree with Trump - not that this is the biggest witch hunt in history - but he's correct in that people are out to get him. There are thousands, if not millions, of people scrutinizing his every move, every second, every day. His past actions all but dared us to do so.

And also, ya know, being President. Scrutiny comes with the job and the man who championed birtherism should know better than anyone.
posted by phearlez at 7:56 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


My main concern at this point is that all of this stuff feeds the sense of persecution Republicans seem to feel in this country. I can sort of understand it. Republicans haven't fielded a decent President since Eisenhower, who warned of the military-industrial complex. Nixon was Nixon. (Ford was ok, but he didn't run for President.) Reagan is revered today but everyone knows the dirty little secrets of the Reagan White House--he was increasingly demented and not particularly bright, but was lucky enough to be surrounded by competent advisers. He managed to get past Iran-Contra by the skin of his teeth. Bush, Sr. was destroyed by his own party for raising taxes despite the fact that it was the right thing for the economy and the country. The glorious boom attributed to Clinton was seeded by Bush's economic policies. And Bush, Jr. was disastrously unpopular, staggering from one scandal to the next, relentlessly pilloried by the media and opposition party.

By contrast, despite various controversies that occurred during the Obama administration, not many in the MSM or general public really tie those scandals to Obama the President, deservedly or undeservedly. And Clinton was better for Republicans than Democrats, policy wise. All of his most memorable scandals are related to sex, not political corruption or policy missteps.

If I were a conservative, I'd be pretty upset that it seems impossible to get an intellectual, politically savvy, scandal-free Republican into the White House. I'd say that such Republicans don't exist, but I see plenty of decent conservative analysts and writers running around. None of them run for office, though.
posted by xyzzy at 7:57 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


FWIW, this is something even NeverTrumpers are going to have to (1) accept responsibility for, and (2) confront in their own ethical and moral space.

A reminder: The vast majority of NeverTrumpers, at the time, were not concerned that he was an inexperienced corrupt buffoon who would start WW3. They were concerned that he was an inexperienced corrupt buffoon who would lose to Clinton. Their ethical and moral space was purged clean when he won.
posted by Etrigan at 7:57 AM on May 18 [33 favorites]


Republicans also attacked him for chewing gum

And wearing a tan suit, and not wearing a suit jacket in the Oval Office, and...
posted by SisterHavana at 8:05 AM on May 18 [9 favorites]


Has anyone from the Trump admin condemned the attack on US protesters committed by Edrogan's security detail?
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:06 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


As investigators circled Flynn, he got a message from Trump: Stay strong: Flynn left little doubt about the answer. Not only did he remain loyal to President Trump, he indicated he and the president were still in communication. “I just got a message from the president to stay strong,” Flynn said after the meal was over, according to two sources who are close to Flynn and are familiar with the conversation, which took place on April 25.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:06 AM on May 18 [17 favorites]


I'd be pretty upset that it seems impossible to get an intellectual, politically savvy, scandal-free Republican into the White House.

They'd have to stop being racist misogynistic dirtbags first.
posted by INFJ at 8:07 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


Eating dijon mustard, which I'm SURE Sean Hannity doesn't have in his fridge. He's incapable of hypocrisy, after all.
posted by Yowser at 8:07 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]




Is it just me, or is all this talk of "leaking" bringing to mind dirty diapers? This administration is so full of shit I hope it leaks itself to death.

To add on to Frowner's comment above (and I really need a "flag Frowner's comment as fantastic" bot!), especially this: There are not paramilitary Trumpist organizations with some discipline and habits. - that is something that Timothy Snyder touches on in his paper on resistance: if there are strong, visible paramilitaries, that would be a clear sign that Things Are Very Very Bad. But, while a lone MAGA gunman can still do damage, there are not any signs that there's a bunch of organized, disciplined MAGA paramilitaries around, instead of Internet Tough Guys.

I was keeping an eye on whether there would be a surge of young white men signing up for ICE (which would have, IMO, been very worrisome) and there doesn't seem to have been. And it's worth noting that the percentage of US men who are veterans has gone way down: from 45% of men having been in the military in 1970 to 15% today - so far fewer with actual experience in a real world military unit and the know-how to teach others. How many people are going to want the sloggy hard work of drill and discipline when they could get their jollies from LARPing and talking about how they're totally going to help Make America Great Again in between bong hits?

I'm more worried about inchoate anger on one side (which helped propel Trump into office) and apathy on the other slowly corroding trust in one another and our democracy.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 8:10 AM on May 18 [16 favorites]


Has anyone from the Trump admin condemned the attack on US protesters committed by Edrogan's security detail?

I do not believe Trump has actually praised them yet.
posted by Artw at 8:10 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]




Has anyone from the Trump admin condemned the attack on US protesters committed by Edrogan's security detail?

Via Politico:
“We are concerned by the violent incidents involving protestors and Turkish security personnel Tuesday evening. Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest,” the State Department said in a statement. “We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms.”
I think Spicer was asked about it and briefly condemned it, then referred reporters to the State Department for any followup, but I don't have the text of what he said at hand. Trump has not commented.
posted by cjelli at 8:11 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


That Chaffetz Politico story contains this:

"He recently subpoenaed James Comey's memos, and invited the fired FBI director to testify next week before his panel."

When did he subpoena the memos?! I don't remember seeing that. I saw that he was OPEN TO IT but not that he'd done it. Is it forthcoming?
posted by Tevin at 8:13 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


My main concern at this point is that all of this stuff feeds the sense of persecution Republicans seem to feel in this country.

That sense of persecution is almost entirely manufactured. Much of the reasoning behind it is based in misogyny, racism and hatred of the poor.

Republicans -- much like the Christians who complain about the nonexistent "War on Christmas" -- are upset because they have to share the country with the rest of us. There's not much more to it than that.
posted by zarq at 8:13 AM on May 18 [68 favorites]


Republicans also attacked him for chewing gum

And wearing a tan suit, and not wearing a suit jacket in the Oval Office, and...


This is all the bitch eating crackers phenomenon. The same thing when we criticize Trump's tie or double ice cream scoops or well cooked steaks. I think it's good to be cognizant of that.
posted by INFJ at 8:15 AM on May 18 [45 favorites]


I completely agree with you that Republicans shouldn't feel persecuted. But they do. And in this feelings are facts era, a sense of persecution felt by a privileged subset of the population scares the shit out of me.
posted by xyzzy at 8:16 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Chaffetz will step announce that he is stepping down early today.

I will wager a crisp sock-puppet-ready $5 that he's elbows-deep in some political/ethical/sexual cookie jar or another, and gittin' while the gittin's good.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:17 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


Ryan and McCarthy denied the conversation, then changed their answers after being told about the tape.
Minor point here, but the Post reported it was their spokespersons, not the jerks themselves:
When initially asked to comment on the exchange, Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Ryan, said: “That never happened,” and Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, said: “The idea that McCarthy would assert this is absurd and false.”
posted by MtDewd at 8:17 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


When did he subpoena the memos?! I don't remember seeing that. I saw that he was OPEN TO IT but not that he'd done it. Is it forthcoming?

Yesterday, but before the independent prosecutor appointment. Otherwise known in News Time as five years ago.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:17 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


The double ice cream scoops thing is actually a dick move, if you're going out of your way to give everyone else one scoop.
posted by Yowser at 8:18 AM on May 18 [40 favorites]


If you want Donald J Trump to connect the dots there you're going to have to use his full name.

And the "J" stands for "Jagoff."
posted by kirkaracha at 8:18 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


When did he subpoena the memos?! I don't remember seeing that. I saw that he was OPEN TO IT but not that he'd done it. Is it forthcoming?

I think this (PDF) is what that's referring to.
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:18 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


The vast majority of NeverTrumpers, at the time, were not concerned that he was an inexperienced corrupt buffoon who would start WW3

This was not my experience, at least among the contingent who fought with me in Cleveland. I mean, we may have focused more on "he's dangerously insane and will destroy America", but it wasn't "oh no, he might lose." Republicans have lost before. If it were just about a Republican losing, none of us would have even bothered to spring for the plane ticket.
posted by corb at 8:19 AM on May 18 [36 favorites]


the sense of persecution Republicans seem to feel

is not going anywhere because it is what the party is entirely based on. They have a black and white, winners and losers view of the world. If someone wins, that means someone else must lose. They see other people who aren't them winning in any capacity, and it means that they must be losing. To them, the greater good is literally impossible. You can only have good for some. If someone else has something good, that means you have lost out on it. If someone else has religious freedom, that must mean you have less. If someone else has prosperity, that must mean you have less. If young black children have a better education, that must mean that your middle class white kid has a worse one than before. Their entire worldview is grievance based on this winners and losers mindset. It's not going anywhere.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:19 AM on May 18 [46 favorites]


Chaffetz's Let Them Eat Cake moments leave him vulnerable to guillotines. (him scooting in from paid sick leave to take away other people's health care was a crowning moment of evil)
posted by Yowser at 8:20 AM on May 18 [17 favorites]


The Republicans wrote this ticket when they embraced the southern strategy and ceded the moral high ground to Democrats when it came to racism.* And then eventually, to everything else, up to and including facts and objective reality.

A better scenario would be the Republican party dissolving and then the Democrats splitting into "moderate but still not insane" and "actually pushing for near socialism because c'mon people it's time" while the kind of people who wore MAGA hats would be left with the choice of choosing a moderate or being unrepresented.


*asterisk because, yes, Dems are far from perfect on this, still too many white ppl in charge, etc. etc.
posted by emjaybee at 8:20 AM on May 18 [8 favorites]


WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Republican on Senate intelligence panel says Michael Flynn's lawyers say he won't honor subpoena.
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:20 AM on May 18 [30 favorites]


Top Republican on Senate intelligence panel says Michael Flynn's lawyers say he won't honor subpoena.

I don't even know what to do with that. I mean, does he go to jail then?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:21 AM on May 18 [20 favorites]


I think he goes to jail for contempt of Congress? That's just bizarre.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:21 AM on May 18 [10 favorites]


he won't honor subpoena

Is that... uh... legal?
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:22 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Does Flynn want to be in jail because it's...safest? Help me out here, what the hell is the reasoning here?
posted by yasaman at 8:23 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I'm sure he's not refusing a subpoena to protect someone else.
posted by Tevin at 8:23 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


It's something you do when your options are jail or polonium stroganoff.
posted by delfin at 8:24 AM on May 18 [56 favorites]


What a time to be alive! These are, like, Watergate-level shenanigans.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:24 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


Politico claims that Congressional subpoenas are weaksauce and are frequently unsuccessful.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:24 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Banking on a presidential pardon, maybe? But I don't see how Trump could get away with that politically.
posted by cjelli at 8:24 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Politico claims that Congressional subpoenas are weaksauce and are frequently unsuccessful.

That was three days ago, though. Basically a lifetime.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:26 AM on May 18 [2 favorites]


Have they picked their hill to die (or achieve full autocracy) on? If he refuses to honor the subpoena and doesn't wind up in jail, that's the end of Congress and the judiciary as co-equal branches of government, isn't it?
posted by contraption at 8:26 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


This is all the bitch eating crackers phenomenon. The same thing when we criticize Trump's tie or double ice cream scoops or well cooked steaks.

The double ice cream scoops thing is actually a dick move, if you're going out of your way to give everyone else one scoop.

Same deal with the tie and well-done steaks. The guy supposedly has all the money in the world, and he can't get dress himself properly? He can spend $100 on a steak and have it prepared like something that you'd pull out of a Ponderosa buffet tray?

They're both synedoches for his long-documented cultivation of millimeters-thin surface glamour to cover a deep void of inner substance. They are aesthetic reflections on his character, or lack of it.

With Obama, they just didn't like the way the guy breathed, so they gaslit people into thinking there was something wrong with mustard, or tan suits, or whatever.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:26 AM on May 18 [18 favorites]


Politico claims that Congressional subpoenas are weaksauce and are frequently unsuccessful.

Oh. Or that. That would make sense: if he declines and stalls for time, maybe he's hoping to be able to testify later in better circumstances (or avoid it entirely). That's reasonable (if unfortunate).
posted by cjelli at 8:26 AM on May 18


It looks like the worst possible penalty for contempt of Congress is a year in jail and a thousand dollar fine, and yeah, I suspect that beats the alternative. On the other hand, it's hard to explain other than that he's guilty of something. His own party is in charge of the proceedings!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:26 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


Chaffetz will step announce that he is stepping down early today.

WTF with this guy. He's in the House, so he just got re-elected last fall, and now he's bailing out? Can his constituents sue for misrepresentation and fraud?
posted by dnash at 8:26 AM on May 18 [5 favorites]


What it is telling me is that the truth is worse than jail time.
posted by jaduncan at 8:27 AM on May 18 [49 favorites]


It's stupid grandstanding because Flynn doesn't even have to answer anything. He just gets up there and pleads the 5th to every question and either walks away or waits for his immunity.

There are better ways to stonewall than martyring yourself on the altar of contempt of congress.
posted by Talez at 8:28 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Chelsea Manning just vacated a federal prison cell. I'll chip in five bucks for a plaque with her name on it, positioned so it's the first thing General Flynn sees when he wakes up every morning.
posted by Etrigan at 8:29 AM on May 18 [21 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen: Chaffetz will step announce that he is stepping down early today.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is expected to announce Thursday that he is resigning before the end of this congressional term, according to three sources familiar with his plans.

Just to clarify what he's stepping down from. And from the end of that short Politico piece:
Chaffetz told POLITICO last month he had begun exploring employment outside Congress. Several sources in the Capitol say Chaffetz has told his colleagues he will appear on Fox News.
It's nice when the rats jumping from a sinking wreck can land on a comfy cruise liner that just happened to be in the vicinity.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:30 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Congratulations, Saudi citizens, after an hour of incoherent rambling by an idiot about how America is great and Islam is bad, you will be treated to the same experience in musical form in the accompanying musical performance by Toby Keith.

Everything about this is going to be the stupidest thing in the world. I'm not sure they could find a quicker way to generate an international incident if they were trying.
posted by Copronymus at 8:30 AM on May 18 [37 favorites]


Hmm, I'm sure he's not refusing a subpoena to protect someone else.

And it's definitely not because the president sent him a message to "stay strong."
Not only did he remain loyal to President Trump, he indicated he and the president were still in communication. “I just got a message from the president to stay strong,” Flynn said after the meal was over, according to two sources who are close to Flynn and are familiar with the conversation, which took place on April 25.

The comment came at the end of an especially difficult day for Flynn when his legal woes had appeared to deepen: two congressmen, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings, D-Md., after reviewing classified Pentagon documents, had just accused Flynn of failing to disclose foreign income from Russia and Turkey when he sought to renew his security clearance.

The sources who spoke to Yahoo News say Flynn did not indicate how Trump had sent the message—whether a written note, a text message, a phone call or some other method. (The White House did not respond to a request for comment.) But the fact that the two men have stayed in contact could raise additional questions about the president’s reported request to former FBI Director James Comey to shut down a federal investigation into the retired Army general.
posted by gladly at 8:31 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


I guess he has already publicly begged for immunity, so he's not too concerned about what does or does not make him look guilty of something.
posted by contraption at 8:31 AM on May 18


I'm more worried about the Democratic Party failing to come up with a meaningful and productive response to all of this than I am about how Trump's loyal supporters will respond to an impeachment.

Kicking Trump out of office will stabilize our international relations (a good thing) but I haven't seen any compelling arguments about how it'll help the domestic situation. There's nobody in the chain of command that I'd want at the top. And with all of the mythologizing about the rise of facism, "this. is. not. normal."s and "THE RUSSIANS!!" I've seen very little national conversations about a way forward for the left and Democratic Party.

The Republican Party's agenda and vision for the future of this country is horrible and terrifying, with or without Trump. There's plenty wrong with this country without Russian influence. An example: All Presidents have the ability to instigate nuclear war, I doesnt make much of a difference if the planet is destroyed after rational, reasonable consideration. If we're afraid of nukes we should work to get rid of the weapons.

There's a real opportunity to take advantage of how exposed the Republican Party's fraudulent ideology is. Passively watching this all implode, taking moral high grounds that consist of little more than insisting on the maintenance of political norms, and letting the Russian scandal (a very real thing that needs to be talked about and investigated) bury the idealogical conflicts within the Democratic Party, is not going to be enough.
posted by AtoBtoA at 8:31 AM on May 18 [6 favorites]


WTF with this guy. He's in the House, so he just got re-elected last fall, and now he's bailing out? Can his constituents sue for misrepresentation and fraud?

They got exactly what they paid for- this is who they elected. They knew, or should have known, he only cared about fame & glory, and he can't get that now, so he's bailing. It's not terrible to announce he won't run again this early, though- House reps are constantly fundraising for the next election (a 2-year term is nothing), so the next guy in his place needs to start campaigning yesterday.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:31 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


it's hard to explain other than that he's guilty of something. His own party is in charge of the proceedings!

He might be worried that it would be more politically expedient for them to blame him, and only him, and then call it a day, than to absolve him. I do think he's guilty of several things, but even if he was innocent he would have good reason to be reluctant to testify here. I also think he owes it to the country to do so, but I don't personally blame him for not wanting to incriminate himself.

I blame him for all the corruption (& etc) he's (probably) guilty of.
posted by cjelli at 8:31 AM on May 18


Well the logical next move for a cornered Trump gang is to throw Flynn under the bus, or appear to. Depending on what kind of soldier he is, Flynn might be willing to take a bullet and spend a few months in Club Fed followed by a commutation to avoid an immediate pardon controversy, for the right price. Dude clearly has bills to pay. And leverage. And food tasters are expensive.
posted by spitbull at 8:32 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Have they picked their hill to die (or achieve full autocracy) on? If he refuses to honor the subpoena and doesn't wind up in jail, that's the end of Congress and the judiciary as co-equal branches of government, isn't it?

I don't know what Flynn's refusal means, or what happens now, but I was thinking on the way into work this morning that it's pretty easy to fall into a trap of thinking the events of the past 10 days (the rough equivalent of a millenium, in current political time) mean things are going to be ok, that the system still works after a fashion. And the reality is that it feels like the system has only worked like this after a heck of a lot of pressure and screaming and resistance, and that now is the time to actual strengthen those efforts - to ratchet up the pressure again and again and again, because they want us to go back to sleep.
posted by nubs at 8:33 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


I completely agree with you that Republicans shouldn't feel persecuted. But they do. And in this feelings are facts era, a sense of persecution felt by a privileged subset of the population scares the shit out of me.

They deserve our mocking laughter. Not our fear.

The ludicrous idea that Republicans are being persecuted is a lie. They're using that lie as an excuse to oppress, disenfranchise and do actual, measurable harm to anyone they disagree with. It should be called out as a lie at every available opportunity and they should be denied any possible power that false claims of persecution would give them.

This isn't not hard. They're in the majority. They literally run this country. They own the Presidency, the House of Representatives, the Senate and will soon also run the Supreme Court. They have a lock on a majority of state legislatures and governorships. They're literally passing laws to help keep themselves in power and denying others the right to live in freedom.

They can claim whatever they want. Doesn't mean their feelings are valid. We don't have to pretend they are, either.
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on May 18 [57 favorites]


This "Know Your Rights" thing [pdf] from Mayer Brown has some more info on Congressional subpoena enforcement (from the perspective of someone receiving the subpoena):
As a practical matter, however, the mechanisms that Congress must use to enforce a subpoena or to sanction a party for contempt are time-consuming and cumbersome, with each escalating step in the process requiring a greater level of political commitment. For example, most committees’ rules authorize their subcommittees or chairpersons (occasionally in consultation with the ranking members) to issue subpoenas requesting documents or information. If a responding party fails to comply with the subpoena, committee rules then typically require a majority vote of the full committee before a resolution of noncompliance may be reported to the parent chamber. This additional requirement operates as a political brake on any committee or subcommittee hastily citing a party for contempt.

If there are insufficient votes in committee to report a resolution of noncompliance to the full chamber, the committee may simply reject the resolution and pursue no further action. If there are sufficient votes in favor, the report must typically then pass from the committee to the parent chamber (either the House or the Senate) to face a floor vote before a resolution of contempt may be issued. The level of support necessary to pass a resolution of contempt by chamber vote is obviously significantly greater than that needed to issue the subpoena in the first instance. In many cases, there will be insufficient interest in the chamber for a resolution of contempt to pass. One wild card in this equation, however, is press coverage. Issues garnering substantial media attention and public interest are much more likely to capture the interest of members and to move quickly through the enforcement process. [emphasis added]
posted by melissasaurus at 8:33 AM on May 18 [13 favorites]


Chaffetz is cashing out before his optioned shares of Benghazi.com tank.
posted by spitbull at 8:34 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


I'm 100% certain that triggering NAFTA re-negotiation today has nothing at all with trying to re-focus attention away from trump's current dumpster fire problems.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:35 AM on May 18 [4 favorites]


Contempt of congress I belived requires a floor motion and referral to the US Attorney, and Sessions would have to recuse. No idea who would be up next, Rosenstein or Mueller or other. Flynn can definitely stall congress and very well might get away with it, at least until he's subpoenaed by Muellers investigation.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:36 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Dear America: We're going to sell our oil to China. Fuck you.

Sincerely,

-Canada
posted by Yowser at 8:36 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


Contempt of congress I belived requires a floor motion and referral to the US Attorney

Nah, it just requires listening to them for a few minutes.
posted by Etrigan at 8:37 AM on May 18 [46 favorites]


Copronymus: Congratulations, Saudi citizens, after an hour of incoherent rambling by an idiot about how America is great and Islam is bad, you will be treated to the same experience in musical form in the accompanying musical performance by Toby Keith.

I think you mean Toby "we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way" Keith.

And as a reminder, Keith did indeed perform that song, "Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue (The Angry American)" (lyrics) at Trump's inaugural concert.

Stellar optics, there, Team Trump.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:37 AM on May 18 [12 favorites]


Has anyone from the Trump admin condemned the attack on US protesters committed by [Erdogan's] security detail?

he did the same shit last year and Obama just let it happen, so i wouldn't expect anything out of Trump any time soon.
posted by indubitable at 8:37 AM on May 18


It seems insane that Chaffetz will announce his resignation today. There's blood in the water, it looks sketchy as hell with this week's news. The investigation is going to take time, it's not going to result in anything immediately. Why not wait a week or two until Trump starts some international drama and people won't immediately connect his resignation with the appointment of a special counsel?
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:39 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


Also, with Chaffetz's resignation... Since the term just started, doesn't that mean it's a special election, not that a replacement is appointed?
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:42 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]


Contempt of congress I belived requires a floor motion and referral to the US Attorney, and Sessions would have to recuse.

From the doc I posted above, once the contempt citation has been voted on by the full congressional body at issue, they can either have the sergeant-at-arms arrest the person and hold them in Capitol jail until the end of the legislative session (never happens), or refer the case to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia (currently Channing Phillips, an Obama appointee). If the subpoena was issued in the Senate, the Senate can initiate a civil action for an injunction (which would then be enforceable under normal judicial processes).
posted by melissasaurus at 8:42 AM on May 18 [3 favorites]


> Why not wait a week or two until Trump starts some international drama and people won't immediately connect his resignation with the appointment of a special counsel?

My guess is because "shit's about to get real " and in a week or two there won't be any other story, period.

If I was a Republican who was even adjacent to Trump's campaign or his surrogates I'd be pulling my collar and asking "who turned up the heat, is it hot in here or is it just me? Right?"
posted by Tevin at 8:42 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]