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June 6, 2017 5:45 AM   Subscribe

Good morning! (and afternoon or evening!) fellow "fans" of U.S. politics! This week we wait in anticipation for the Thursday testimony of James Comey, a man who knows how to tell a story, and Wednesday's testimony of top intel officers like the NSA's Mike Rogers! Trump, against the advice of presumably every lawyer ever (hi George!!), spent the days after the London attacks rage tweeting about his TRAVEL BAN OH YES IT'S A TRAVEL BAN and insulting the mayor of London, who now rather sensibly supports canceling Trump's state visit. Also too! The Intercept got a major scoop about Russian election interference and their source, Reality Winner [real], was immediately arrested. More miscellaneous: Trump proposed privatizing air traffic control, sours on Sessions, and Congress wants to know if Kushner was seeking a Russian bailout for his hilariously-addressed building at 666 Fifth Avenue.
posted by lalex (3157 comments total) 128 users marked this as a favorite
 
i'm sure everything will be sorted out in the next two weeks [bloomberg]
From overhauling the tax code to releasing an infrastructure package to making decisions on Nafta and the Paris climate agreement, Trump has a common refrain: A big announcement is coming in just “two weeks.” It rarely does.

On Feb. 9, Trump boasted that his administration was “way ahead of schedule” on a tax overhaul.

“We’re going to be announcing something I would say over the next two or three weeks that will be phenomenal in terms of tax and developing our aviation infrastructure,” Trump said while meeting with airline executives.

Eleven weeks elapsed before the White House released a one-page outline of the tax plan.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:48 AM on June 6 [22 favorites]


Alright, now I'm certain they're just fucking with us ... "Reality Winner???"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:50 AM on June 6 [26 favorites]




Four top law firms turned down requests to represent Trump: Top lawyers with at least four major law firms rebuffed White House overtures to represent President Trump in the Russia investigations, in part over concerns that the president would be unwilling to listen to their advice, according to five sources familiar with discussions about the matter.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:52 AM on June 6 [99 favorites]


Over at kottke.org: Putin’s playbook for discrediting America and destabilizing the West. "The book in question is The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia by neo-fascist political scientist Aleksandr Dugin, whose nickname is “Putin’s Brain”. The book has been influential within Russian military & foreign policy circles and it appears to be the playbook for recent Russian foreign policy."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:53 AM on June 6 [23 favorites]


YAY lalex!

I had 2 questions while swimming in the last thread:

1. Are there any serious efforts underway to secure the voting systems? This Oct 2016 TechCrunch article touches on a bunch of things being tried, like blockchain, smartcards, man+machine combinations, etc. It just seems like a great gaping hole in the election system that should be better locked down before 2018 in the US especially. (Not sure what is being done in the UK ahead of their upcoming election.)

2. I forgot.
posted by yoga at 5:54 AM on June 6 [25 favorites]


in part over concerns that the president would be unwilling to listen to their advice

Gosh, whatever made them presume that? All that expensive law school education apparently being put to good use with this prognostication.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:54 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I remembered the 2nd question:
2. I don't get the Lombardi trophy with ketchup thing. :(

posted by yoga at 5:56 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Trump, against the advice of presumably every lawyer ever (hi George!!), spent the days after the London attacks rage tweeting about his TRAVEL BAN OH YES IT'S A TRAVEL BAN

It's not as if Trump actually gives a damn about the ban. He simply wants the attention that comes with "acting tough".
posted by gusottertrout at 5:57 AM on June 6 [13 favorites]


America was not shut down properly. Would you like to start America in safe mode, with free healthcare and without the guns? (Recommended)

I'd like to restart in Clinton mode, please.
posted by Dashy at 5:57 AM on June 6 [125 favorites]


It's a shame FPPs can't have soundtracks because reading this one just screams yakkity sax.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:59 AM on June 6 [37 favorites]


2. I don't get the Lombardi trophy with ketchup thing. :(

Pittsburgh is primarily famous for two things: Winning a lot of Super Bowls and Heinz condiments being produced here (though they aren't any more).
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:00 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Oh! I knew the super bowl thing but the ketchup threw me. Thanks soren_lorensen.
posted by yoga at 6:01 AM on June 6




The Cato institute points out that even if we take them at their word, the Trump administration travel ban rests on a false legal premise :
The executive order claims that it is suspending entries to give the Secretary of Homeland Security time to study “whether, and if so what, additional information will be needed from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that country for a visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual is not a security or public-safety threat.” It justified the specific countries by stating that their governments have shown less “willingness or ability to share or validate important information about individuals seeking to travel to the United States.”

Even if his claim about all six countries were true, this justification is entirely without merit because the applicant, not the government, has the burden to prove their eligibility under the law. In other words, the government has no obligation whatsoever to identify or gather information on the behalf of the applicant simply to “adjudicate” an application. 8 U.S.C. 1361 could not be clearer on this point:
posted by corb at 6:05 AM on June 6 [57 favorites]


My husband noted that Reality Winner is totally a Phillip K Dick name and that explains a lot about this timeline.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:05 AM on June 6 [119 favorites]


Here's to James Comey: the cause of, and solution to, all of America's problems.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 6:06 AM on June 6 [181 favorites]


Here's to James Comey: the cause of, and solution to, all of America's problems.

And, much like alcohol, his presence has often resulted in me drinking more than is probably healthy.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 6:09 AM on June 6 [24 favorites]


As I have for the last couple of threads, let me implore everyone to cite the names of reporters when you link to stories, and to link to the original publication website when possible, or to the reporters' own twitter feeds. They're doing the work and taking the risks so they deserve the credit.
posted by spitbull at 6:09 AM on June 6 [88 favorites]


From the stupidly obvious headline dept., courtesy of this morning's WaPo: "As Trump lashes out, Republicans worry it could put their agenda at risk." Ya think?? Haven't they said this a hundred times already?
posted by Melismata at 6:09 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Also, love the post title ; )
posted by spitbull at 6:15 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Spitbull - did anything come of Carter Page's PhD thesis viewing?
posted by Dashy at 6:15 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Matt Latimer, Politico: A Noun, a Verb and Vladimir Putin: Why the Democrats are making a big mistake by obsessing over Russia.
Nothing seems to have been done to reach out to those who almost upended the Clinton coronation. Are Bernie Sanders’ voters now OK with the Democratic Party establishment? Who knows? Do the Democrats have a tax cut plan to aid the middle class, a position on trade to respond to the woes of the manufacturing class, or a plan to fix health care? Uh, boring! By the way, who is leading the Democratic Party today? Obama? Clinton? Pelosi? Schumer? Warren? TBD? Who cares?

The real answer, of course, appears to be Vladimir Putin. Whatever rhetorical white rabbit he sends out into the atmosphere, the Democrats scamper after. For those who haven’t been following their evolving storyline: The Russians tampered with the vote tallies in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and then had proof Trump hired prostitutes at a hotel in Moscow for some X-rated sex acts and then worked with Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort to rig the election and then somehow Jared Kushner got involved while President Trump allegedly gave the Russians illegal intelligence and called the FBI director a nut job. Hard to follow? Well, don’t worry. It’s just bad, trust us, and we’ll prove it all, or part of it. Or move on to something else.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:16 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


My husband noted that Reality Winner is totally a Phillip K Dick name and that explains a lot about this timeline.

Give me three examples of Phillip K. Dick using a name that ridiculous. I'd name a child "Horselover" before I'd name it "Reality".
posted by thelonius at 6:17 AM on June 6 [16 favorites]


i'm sure everything will be sorted out in the next two weeks

Ah yes, "in the next two to three weeks," 45's policy equivalent of the Canadian girlfriend.
posted by Mayor West at 6:17 AM on June 6 [70 favorites]


My husband noted that Reality Winner is totally a Phillip K Dick name and that explains a lot about this timeline.

The Empire Never Ended. I will not be surprised if a beam of pink light shoots through my kitchen window and into my pineal gland to inform me that history is permanently paused in 70 AD and that the all-spirit of a mad roman emperor is forever ruling the Black Iron Prison and that my name is actually Catstroker Grumpy.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:19 AM on June 6 [42 favorites]


Thanks for the new thread (with the great title!), Lalex!

I was reading the Vox article on Nevada's proposed Medicaid for all this morning. Medicaid expansion via the ACA is popular with people across the political spectrum. So I hope the Nevada governor (Republican though he is) signs it. If Gov. Brown signs in healthcare for all in Cali, I hope this means a wave of states implementing their own healthcare for all programs, no matter what happens in Washington.

What is a not-dog-whistle term for "state's rights?" Local control? I'll run with that for now, and say that moderate to liberal states saying "to hell with Apricot Asswipe, Granny Starver and all of them, we're doing what's right by our people and our earth" I hope becomes a trend and a wave. I'm going to be optimistic (which might get me drummed out of Metafilter) and say that the Climate Alliance started a trend of positive, liberal local governance.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 6:20 AM on June 6 [26 favorites]


Carter Page's PhD thesis viewing?

It being summer and the U.K. being otherwise occupied means my peeps have yet to go to the damn library even though the fate of civilization hangs in the balance.
/academics
posted by spitbull at 6:22 AM on June 6 [19 favorites]


Please shoot me. I have abandoned my belief this was just an elaborate nightmare brought on by an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.
posted by tommasz at 6:23 AM on June 6 [34 favorites]


That poor kid, though. Just like Chelsea Manning, she's going to get the book thrown at her and she isn't going to be able to go to ground in Russia or get shelter in some embassy. I just cannot believe that the Intercept could have been so dumb. If there are going to be civilian/ordinary people leakers, whoever they leak to has to protect them better. At least she won't be in a military prison.

This is also bad because it tells people who may have other important information that if they share it with the obvious people, those people will just fuck it up and they'll go to jail.
posted by Frowner at 6:23 AM on June 6 [118 favorites]


Why the Democrats are making a big mistake by obsessing over Russia.

It's amazing how other people obsess over something while I see the real issue.
posted by Etrigan at 6:25 AM on June 6 [109 favorites]


an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.

Quit listing the president's judicial nominations.
posted by Rust Moranis at 6:26 AM on June 6 [49 favorites]


That poor Reality kid is an Air Force vet. I'd guess she's up to the challenge. Kids these days - they're all right.
posted by Dashy at 6:29 AM on June 6 [16 favorites]


Matt Latimer: So you're telling me one thing happened and then other things happened? Sure. Get your story straight, Dems.

By the way, who is leading the Democratic Party today?
As for me and my house, we will follow Maxine Waters.
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:32 AM on June 6 [48 favorites]


A typo fix: "the *fate* of Reality Winner."

Waiting for Trump to pardon her and the headline -- "Trump Lets Reality Go!"
posted by spitbull at 6:33 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


Isn't it pretty clear that Trump wants to lose the travel-ban case? Unless there are exactly zero terrorist attacks in the US during his term, he's a whole lot better off saying "I tried to protect us but the courts wouldn't let me" than defending a ban that failed to keep us safe.
posted by nicwolff at 6:34 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


Maybe enough with making fun of the woman's name? She's fluent in several foreign languages, which makes her a lot more talented than a lot of us American MeFites that are giving her so much shit.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:34 AM on June 6 [76 favorites]


If there's anyone on whom Trump is likely to go leniently, it's a Reality Winner.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:35 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Isn't it pretty clear that Trump wants to lose the travel-ban case? Unless there are exactly zero terrorist attacks in the US during his term, he's a whole lot better off saying "I tried to protect us but the courts wouldn't let me" than defending a ban that failed to keep us safe.

Well, we've already passed the "zero" threshold, but the terrorist attacks so far have been by white guys.

And no, I don't give Trump enough credit for looking for an excuse before he fails. I think he still believes he can fix everything, if people would just get out of his way.
posted by Etrigan at 6:36 AM on June 6 [16 favorites]


Just like Chelsea Manning, she's going to get the book thrown at her and she isn't going to be able to go to ground in Russia or get shelter in some embassy.

Just want to again remind people who are eligible to try to not avoid jury duty if you are at all able to serve. (Not saying you'd be picked for this case, or that it will even end up at a jury trial.) Beyond the option of jury nullification (which is legal), just being a person who is aware of systemic oppression and how that impacts the weighting of testimony and credibility of witnesses and evidence can make a huge difference and actually save someone's life. As far as I know, you can't volunteer for federal jury duty, but in many states/municipalities you can (though, again, it doesn't mean you'll be selected in voir dire).
posted by melissasaurus at 6:37 AM on June 6 [65 favorites]


Maybe enough with making fun of the woman's name? She's fluent in several foreign languages, which makes her a lot more talented than a lot of us American MeFites that are giving her so much shit.

I'm not making fun of her name so much as gobsmacked that it's so ridiculously apt for this trainwreck of a Presidency. Of course her name is Reality Winner.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:37 AM on June 6 [111 favorites]



By the way, who is leading the Democratic Party today?

It sure doesn't seem to be Charismatic Hopeful or even Rational Self-Interest.
(Sorry, this Reality Winner thing has sent me into a cognitive land of contrasts).
posted by Chitownfats at 6:40 AM on June 6 [17 favorites]


Isn't it pretty clear that Trump wants to lose the travel-ban case? Unless there are exactly zero terrorist attacks in the US during his term, he's a whole lot better off saying "I tried to protect us but the courts wouldn't let me" than defending a ban that failed to keep us safe.

Not clear at all to me. What is much more clear is that Donald Trump has no ideology, no goals other than trying to fill the hole in his narcissistic soul, no superego, and hasn't assimilated new information since about 1986. This isn't nth-dimensional chess on his part. He just reacts. He's an input-output machine. Input narcissistic injury, output tweets. That's it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:40 AM on June 6 [104 favorites]


More King Maldonado tweeting: So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding...

Not sure what he means by paying off. It's unclear if he'll ever finish the tweet, as well, I guess.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:41 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


By the way, who is leading the Democratic Party today?

It sure doesn't seem to be Charismatic Hopeful or even Rational Self-Interest.


I'm pulling for Grizzled Streetfighter, but we'd need to take back the House before impeachment to get her.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:43 AM on June 6 [20 favorites]


Not sure what he means by paying off. It's unclear if he'll ever finish the tweet, as well, I guess.

I expect there's just a bird outside the oval office window and he's staring at it and making a weird chattering noise.

edit: the bird flew away and he finished it!

...extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!

posted by Rust Moranis at 6:44 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


That poor Reality kid is an Air Force vet. I'd guess she's up to the challenge. Kids these days - they're all right.

Yeah, you know, I'm sure she's not a delicate flower. But she's also going to jail, probably for a long time, under extreme media scrutiny, apparently without the political connections that many activists have. I assume she won't suffer as much as Chelsea Manning did in jail, but my bet is that she'll get an extra helping of harassment because she's a "traitor" or whatever.

Also, our prison system is a disgusting hell pit and I wouldn't wish it on anyone except the white collar criminals who get rich off taking people's heathcare and ginning up wars. Them, they can rot, but other methods should be found for everyone else.
posted by Frowner at 6:44 AM on June 6 [79 favorites]


As Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."
posted by Foosnark at 6:45 AM on June 6 [54 favorites]


More King Maldonado tweeting: So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding...

Oh God, is this idiot taking sides in the Saudi/Qatari kerfuffle? Against the country hosting the largest military base in the Middle East?! JFC.

His stupidity really is boundless.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:45 AM on June 6 [68 favorites]


Alright, now I'm certain they're just fucking with us ... "Reality Winner???"

Has anyone run with the headline “WE HAVE A WINNER” yet?
posted by acb at 6:46 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Isn't it pretty clear that Trump wants to lose the travel-ban case?

Again with attributing forethought and effort to Trump? I thought we'd accepted that he doesn't want to do anything except receive adulation. Bannon, however, would like the ban to fail.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:46 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Probably the most worthless of "news analysis" topics right now is "Which advisors have Donald Trump's ear?" The obvious answer is "only the weird little voices in his own head".
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:46 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


So how long does it take to airlift 10 000 troops?
posted by PenDevil at 6:47 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


I just cannot believe that the Intercept could have been so dumb.
I can.

Reality Winner is a funny name, but her twitter account is under the name "Sara."
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:47 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


It sure doesn't seem to be Charismatic Hopeful or even Rational Self-Interest.

I'm pulling for Grizzled Streetfighter, but we'd need to take back the House before impeachment to get her.


Maybe we can get Max Fightmaster or Rad Heroman.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:48 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I assume she won't suffer as much as Chelsea Manning did in jail, but my bet is that she'll get an extra helping of harassment because she's a "traitor" or whatever.

Manning was jailed under Obama. The new administration's personnel (Sessions, Pompeo, &c.) are much more hardline. If there is an option to have her sentenced to death, and preferably very publicly executed by military firing squad, pour encourager les autres, they'll push hard for it. Especially since Uncle Vlad is dragging his feet on Snowden.
posted by acb at 6:49 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Bannon, however, would like the ban to fail.

Bannon thinks he's running a Xanatos gambit ("a plan for which all foreseeable outcomes benefit the creator — including ones that superficially appear to be failure.") where either fewer Muslims / nonwhite people come to his white Christian America or he gets to blame any incident involving a Muslim / nonwhite person on the librul judges.
posted by Etrigan at 6:50 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


My husband noted that Reality Winner is totally a Phillip K Dick name and that explains a lot about this timeline.

Either that or we are all collectively dying of oxygen deprivation and hallucinating incoherently.
posted by acb at 6:50 AM on June 6 [14 favorites]


From the Steele Dossier to Reality Winner, I can't help but feel that the naming conventions are the attempt of some outside force to clue us in to the fact that we are living in a simulation.
posted by nubs at 6:51 AM on June 6 [55 favorites]


The Qatari thing is absolute madness. He's going to get people killed. Aside from the military base, Qatar owns Al-Jazeera.
posted by empath at 6:51 AM on June 6 [43 favorites]


It's the most "liberal" of the Gulf States, and the most cheesy and authoritarian one just spent millions buttering him up with gaudy shite, so clearly it's fucked.

Saudi having so little oil left they have to swipe other peoples is a bit weird though.
posted by Artw at 6:57 AM on June 6 [22 favorites]


Aren't the Democrats mostly doing the right thing right now? Finally taking it to the local level which they should have done 8 years ago, working for single payer and/or medicaid expansion on the state level, committing to the Paris agreement in states and cities. All American majors supporting London and the London major in a joint statement. And more.
If I were a political advisor, I'd warn against bringing up new brilliant leaders in public now because that will give the Rethugs more time to slander them.
Also, the Trump administration is only going one way, and it's far better political tactics to let that happen on its own than to meddle at this point. Having a strong democratic leader ridiculing Trump right now could backfire - negative messages are rarely good, even Trump promised to MAGA.
posted by mumimor at 6:57 AM on June 6 [41 favorites]


Ezra Klein/@ezraklein/Vox - Has anyone told Donald Trump that he runs the government?
Trump ran for office posing as a savvy corporate executive who would manage the government like a business. But since winning the presidency, he has proven alienated and confused by the government he runs. He criticizes it in public in ways that make clear he doesn’t understand how to manage it in private. Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk saying, “The buck stops here.” Trump isn’t sure where the buck stops, or how to find it, or even whom to ask about it. He doesn’t run the government so much as fight with it.

...

Among the many problems with Trump’s presidency is he appears to be treating it much as he treated his branding empire. He runs his White House, and feels responsibility for certain decisions he makes personally — like pulling out of the Paris agreement, or sending cruise missiles to Syria. But the further a decision gets from his core interests and nearby staffers, the less responsibility he feels for it.
Bad government and bad business skills all in one.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:00 AM on June 6 [52 favorites]


Isn't the fighting at the local level stuff not well funded by/mildly disapproved of by head Democrats? It seems like a more organic, roots lead thing. Which is good, but having the whole party playing would be better.
posted by Artw at 7:01 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


I suspect that the long-term plan of the national democratic party is silence the liberal base and steal the neo-conservatives from the GOP, because they really want to commit to losing elections while collecting a lot of money from corporations.
posted by empath at 7:04 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


yoga:(Not sure what is being done in the UK ahead of their upcoming election.)

UK election systems remain all paper. The count is done by hand on the night of the ballot.

Sometimes, low tech is good tech. Also, hand counts provide lots of drama on election night which everyone secretly enjoys immensely so I can't see them going away anytime soon.
posted by pharm at 7:05 AM on June 6 [30 favorites]


20 bucks to anyone who can brick Trump's twitter phone/ somehow disable it. The madness he comes out with is a problem. Thankfully (?) I think the only ones who are even paying attention to anything he says at this point are his own base. Europe thinks he's a big dummy they'll have to live through for the next few years, it would be surprising to find out the Middle East thought of him much differently.

Also, Spitbull's recommendation is great.

Also also I'm serious about the 20 bucks. I could maybe even go 25.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:05 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Maybe Trump is what it takes to drown the federal government in the bathtub, as it were, considering how many steps individual states/cities are taking to do things they want done in the face of Trump's administration, such as aligning to support the Paris Accord and Nevada trying to order full access to Medicaid.
posted by davejay at 7:05 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, and I actually broke down sobbing listening to FDR's radio prayer on the morning of June 6, 1944. I kept thinking to myself of how brutally bloody the Longest Day was, and the current state of the nation and the world that those soldiers gave their lives for, of how Trump is our President and instead of fighting Nazis, we're seeing their rise inside the United States. And the difference between a "President" who is a gaping maw of horror, and a President who fervently prayed for peace in the battle against monsters. And maybe, parts have relevance even for us now.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace, a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
posted by corb at 7:06 AM on June 6 [158 favorites]


Also, love the post title ; )

I'm glad you don't mind the bit of poetic license!
posted by lalex at 7:07 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Pittsburgh Mayor and two dozen other elected officials in the city, county and surrounding area are taking out a full page ad in the New York Times to protest Trump's pullout from the Paris Agreement.
posted by octothorpe at 7:07 AM on June 6 [63 favorites]


Thanks (from an atheist) for posting that, corb. Beautiful and deeply true. A peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men, indeed.
posted by Dashy at 7:10 AM on June 6 [20 favorites]


Isn't the fighting at the local level stuff not well funded by/mildly disapproved of by head Democrats?
I don't get the sense that they disapprove, but I think they're extremely hesitant to be seen to be coopting things like Indivisible, which seems to be doing an ok job of bringing together different factions who might not be able to get along if the party got involved. The Democrats are trying to organize something called "Resistance Summer" to tap into the grassroots activism, but I'm not convinced it's going to take off. We'll see, I guess.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:11 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert (formerly of Fox and Friends) will conduct her first briefing today, at 2pm.

This should be an interesting one.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:15 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I despise Greenwald and have no love of the Intercept, but here's a contrarian opinion on Reality. And Yashar Ali, who writes for New York mag and MoJo, isn't known to be a Greenwaldian in my experience.

@yashar
1. Some are accusing Intercept of outing their source/being sloppy in their interactions w/ the feds which led to their source being outed
2. The Intercept reporters and their editor(s) really had no options here, I don't believe they could have handled this any other way.
3. Let's go through the facts. Reality Winner printed out the NSA document at work, it's likely she used a system called JWICS
4. JWICS is a program run by the DIA and can track who prints documents and who accesses documents. More on JWICS in another thread.
5. She then mailed the document to the Intercept. The document was mailed anonymously, The Intercept had no idea who sent it.
6. The Intercept, like any news org, wanted to report on the contents of the document. Remember, they don't know who its from.
7. When you receive a document anonymously in the mail, as a reporter you are free to use it as you wish, by mailing it anonymously
8. The source has given you permission to use the document any way you wish, they are expected to have done the leg work to make sure
9. They won't be caught. A perfect example of this is when NYT @susannecraig received pages from Trump's tax returns last October.
10. Even though there were giveaways on the returns like a sig tab pointing to Marla Maple's sig, it wasn't up to Susanne to protect source
11. So the Intercept team sends the doc to the feds, people keep talking about the crease issue mentioned in the FBI affidavit.
12. Given that the NSA document came from JWICS it doesn't matter whether there was a crease or not. Once the feds got the doc they were...
13. They were going to check JWICS to see who accessed the document and who printed it. The feds were going to check JWICS regardless
14. And when they checked JWICS they would have seen her name as someone who accessed it and still noticed that she had
15. That she had emailed the Intercept about a totally unrelated issue: podcast related matter. And when they went to her home
16. She would have still confessed. The intercept sending a PDF of that document probably saved the Feds a few minutes at most.
posted by chris24 at 7:16 AM on June 6 [35 favorites]


My husband noted that Reality Winner is totally a Phillip K Dick name

My first thought was that it was even more unbelievable than "Chia Pet McKenzie."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:18 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


20 bucks to anyone who can brick Trump's twitter phone/ somehow disable it.

I believe he's using an iPhone now.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:19 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


By the way, who is leading the Democratic Party today? Obama? Clinton? Pelosi? Schumer? Warren? TBD? Who cares?

It's hard to take an article in good faith with lazy crap like this. The answer of who is leading an American opposition party is always "TBD" until they nominate the next presidential candidate. * I know you're a pundit and you've got to turn out contrarian stuff daily, and also remind your readers that you are superior to both parties in truth telling, but at least get it to a level that a 9th grader with a single civics class couldn't poke holes in.

*Who led the Republicans in 2015? Boehner? Ryan? McConnell? Hell, the number of governors they had the press liked--Jindal, Walker, Haley, etc.--was considered a sign of deep talent, not disorganization.

And while I'm at it, Sanders supporters almost derailing the "coronation" wasn't a problem for Democrats. We would have been a party with a candidate who was further to the left. That this should somehow be view as equal in importance with the Russian interference is Politico style "obsessions" bubbling through.

posted by mark k at 7:22 AM on June 6 [35 favorites]


Bruce Riedel, Brookings Inst.: The $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia is fake news
I’ve spoken to contacts in the defense business and on the Hill, and all of them say the same thing: There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts. Many are offers that the defense industry thinks the Saudis will be interested in someday. So far nothing has been notified to the Senate for review. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arms sales wing of the Pentagon, calls them “intended sales.” None of the deals identified so far are new, all began in the Obama administration.
TPM: BREAKING: Trump’s Saudi Arms Deal Is Actually Fake, referring to the above:
What actually strikes me about this is not so much the Trump Team’s deception. That’s really expected at this point. What’s remarkable is that we’re only finding out about this, not from a news organization or reporter, but from a national security hand who did his own poking around. This isn’t a secret conversation or classified project. When you make a deal with a price tag over $100 billion it creates a trail. Why didn’t reporters on the national security beat figure this out?
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:26 AM on June 6 [85 favorites]


Anyone know what time Rogers-mas starts, and if it's going to be an open hearing (with a live feed?)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:28 AM on June 6


My husband noted that Reality Winner is totally a Phillip K Dick name and that explains a lot about this timeline.

It's the movie name. The original book is "Do Oligarchs Dream of Electric Votes?"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:29 AM on June 6 [25 favorites]


Isn't the fighting at the local level stuff not well funded by/mildly disapproved of by head Democrats? It seems like a more organic, roots lead thing. Which is good, but having the whole party playing would be better.

Depends what you mean by "head Democrats", I think. Here in Ohio the actual Dem party organization seems to be going full-bore organizing things like anti-gerrymanding ballot measures, training for activists, GOTV & registration efforts for the midterms, encouraging Dems to run for local offices, engaging with and training within the African-American and Latin-American and LGBTQ communities, pressuring Dem officials at the state and local level to openly speak up about resisting Trump and the Republican agenda, so on and so forth. (Possible disclaimer: I've never been on the Official Ohio Dem email list before HRC's campaign, so it's possible this is business as usual for the Ohio Dems. But I don't think so.) No idea how much funding the Ohio branch gets from the national org, but to kind of bounce off mark k's point, the next election is really a state-level election, so it may be more useful to dig into what state-level parties are doing to get a sense of how much "head Democrats" may or may not support local-level stuff.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:31 AM on June 6 [14 favorites]


NYT: Trump Defends Twitter Use as Aides Urge Him to Cut Back: On Monday night, Mr. Trump’s legislative affairs director, Marc Short, said that “many” of the president’s tweets were helpful in getting out his message of change to voters and legislators. But he also said that the president’s woes, especially ongoing Congressional investigations, were making it harder to stay “focused” on passing ambitious tax reform, health care and infrastructure bills.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:31 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Here's a contrarian opinion on Reality.


can you do this on your own comment?
posted by chris24 at 7:32 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


THURSDAY! THURSDAY! THURSDAY!
posted by asteria at 7:36 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


...extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!

Yep, picking sides. Idiot. Blithering Idiot.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:39 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Bruce Riedel, Brookings Inst.: The $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia is fake news

This is bad framing. It's a lie, it's a deception, it's bogus. But do not call it "fake news", a now-meaningless term.
posted by thelonius at 7:40 AM on June 6 [41 favorites]


Pittsburgh Mayor and two dozen other elected officials in the city, county and surrounding area are taking out a full page ad in the New York Times to protest Trump's pullout from the Paris Agreement.

Look at the colors. Man, they really do love the Steelers.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:41 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


(Possible disclaimer: I've never been on the Official Ohio Dem email list before HRC's campaign, so it's possible this is business as usual for the Ohio Dems. But I don't think so.)

I've been on every single official Ohio Dem email list since we moved here in 1996. This is way more than business as usual. I have never seen so much organization and so much activity. And that's why I'm hopeful.
posted by cooker girl at 7:44 AM on June 6 [19 favorites]


Look at the colors. Man, they really do love the Steelers.

Oh, you have no idea. (Those are the colors of all our sports teams, though, and our city flag.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:44 AM on June 6 [15 favorites]


Can the Ohio Dems please step next door and talk to our PA Dems?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:45 AM on June 6 [14 favorites]


Look at the colors. Man, they really do love the Steelers.

Nothing to do with the Steelers, The City of Pittsburgh had the colors black and gold first.
posted by octothorpe at 7:45 AM on June 6


Look at the colors. Man, they really do love the Steelers.

Nothing to do with the Steelers, The City of Pittsburgh had the colors black and gold first.


Name the colors of any other city in the world. The Steelers may have got the colors from Pittsburgh, but the team is why yellow and black are all over everything.
posted by Etrigan at 7:51 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


2. The Intercept reporters and their editor(s) really had no options here, I don't believe they could have handled this any other way.

They could have handled it like longstanding news organizations have done and reported on the content of the PDFs without actually publishing the PDFs.

6. The Intercept, like any news org, wanted to report on the contents of the document. Remember, they don't know who its from.
7. When you receive a document anonymously in the mail, as a reporter you are free to use it as you wish, by mailing it anonymously
8. The source has given you permission to use the document any way you wish, they are expected to have done the leg work to make sure
9. They won't be caught.


Reporting
on the contents of the documents doesn't require publishing the documents; and being 'free' to do something does not mean that one must do something, nor that one cannot go above and beyond in covering for a source that has obviously not done their leg work.

The JWICS vs. crease thing only matters because the underlying documents were published anyway -- had The Intercept simply reported that the contents of the documents existed, and not published the underlying documents, it's unclear that it would be so easily traced back to one person (or indeed possible). And the

...

But that's all predicated on The Intercept rejecting the basic premise of its approach, here, that minimally redacted original-source documents shared with the public was the best way to tell this story, rather than tweaking small things about it how it publishes such documents.

This is why 'we don't have the document in question, but a Senior Official read a copy to us on the phone' is A Thing: because putting the onus on individual sources to be absolutely perfect in covering their tracks when releasing documents makes individual sources disinclined to actually release documents. It's unreasonable, practically speaking, for professional journalists to ask amateur leakers to shoulder the entire burden of anonymity, and it's also self-defeating in the long run. The message this sends is that people shouldn't leak anything to The Intercept if they're worried about their safety.

That's leaving aside the ethics of this, which, absent more details on exactly what happened, it seems a bit premature to weigh in on. But as a matter of practice, The Intercept absolutely had a bunch of options here that would likely have not resulted in charges against Reality -- and they chose to not pursue those options, and instead pursued one that did.
posted by cjelli at 7:52 AM on June 6 [71 favorites]




Ugh, guys, as much as I love a good chat about Pittsburgh, this is a dumb argument.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:53 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


THURSDAY! THURSDAY! THURSDAY!

...is also the day of the UK General Election. Taking a break from compiling the FPP for that to work the other half of my brain by catching up on US politics. {looks around news, social media} Blimey. {makes tea}
posted by Wordshore at 7:54 AM on June 6 [14 favorites]


Something awful shitpost thread was "nevertheless, reality persisted"
posted by hleehowon at 7:55 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


Man, good job my hopes are super, super low or Thursday would have the potential to be devestating.
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Yep, picking sides. Idiot. Blithering Idiot.

I can't remember who it was now, but someone I read just yesterday predicted A) Donnie would start tweeting against Qatar and B) the next week would see a rise in anti-Qatar talking points over the broader mediasphere.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:00 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


The JWICS vs. crease thing only matters because the underlying documents were published anyway -- had The Intercept simply reported that the contents of the documents existed, and not published the underlying documents, it's unclear that it would be so easily traced back to one person (or indeed possible). And the

Whoops: that was supposed to be -- 'and the fact that they reported shared the underlying documents with NSA workers in the course of investigating the story -- workers who would be legally required to report seeing those documents -- compounds the error. This isn't just a question of what was published and in what form, but how The Intercept went about the investigative process.'
posted by cjelli at 8:00 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


After all the tweets about the travel ban, the fake arms deal, the announcement of Kushner being under investigation, and with Rogers and Comey testifying later in the week, Reince Priebus' cereal must be soggy with Bailey's.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:02 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Black and gold (not yellow). (Never mind Wiz Khalifa.)
posted by BentFranklin at 8:03 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!

This tweet seems problematic.
posted by diogenes at 8:05 AM on June 6 [21 favorites]


Today is the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, and I actually broke down sobbing listening to FDR's radio prayer on the morning of June 6, 1944.

I went and looked for this on Youtube because History Channel apparently likes to be a buggy piece of shit.

Watching conservative "patriots" try to claim ownership of his ideals in the comments just broke my fucking brain.
posted by Talez at 8:06 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


the next week would see a rise in anti-Qatar talking points over the broader mediasphere.

That orb that Trump laid hands on with the Saudi and Egyptian leaders? It was at an opening ceremony for a media war-room designed to do exactly that.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:08 AM on June 6 [27 favorites]


This tweet seems problematic.

Hi, my name is Don and I'm an assoholic.
posted by y2karl at 8:08 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


I went and looked for this on Youtube because History Channel apparently likes to be a buggy piece of shit.

Yeah, on the 100th anniversary of the US's entry into World War I they had one half-hour documentary at 7 a.m., then a Pawn Stars marathon literally all day until 8 p.m., and then a Swamp People marathon for the rest of the evening. They've hit bottom.
posted by Melismata at 8:10 AM on June 6 [31 favorites]


Reince Priebus' cereal must be soggy with Bailey's.
My favorite thing about being alive now is all the jokes about republicans and their booze-for-breakfast regimens. I also like the storyline where Boehner has been happily tanked all day every day since his resignation. My brain stopped developing in middle school.

Pittsburgh gets its colors from William Pitt's coat of arms. It is a gorgeous, smart, cultured city with a lovely long history, part of which is loving Primanti bros and pahndin beers and screaming and frothing about the stillers. Trump (and Romney before him) needs to keep Pittsburgh's name out of his vile mouth.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:11 AM on June 6 [20 favorites]


Today is also the anniversary of this speech of Robert F. Kennedy in Cape Town, South Africa in 1966.

"There is," said an Italian philosopher, "nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things." Yet this is the measure of the task of your generation, and the road is strewn with many dangers.

First, is the danger of futility: the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills-against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's greatest movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant Reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the thirty-two-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal.

"Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world." These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation....

The second danger is that of expediency; of those who say that hopes and beliefs must bend before immediate necessities. Of course, if we would act effectively we must deal with the world as it is. We must get things done. But if there was one thing President Kennedy stood for that touched the most profound feelings of young people around the world, it was the belief that idealism, high aspirations, and deep convictions are not incompatible with the most practical and efficient of programs-that there is no basic inconsistency between ideals and realistic possibilities, no separation between the deepest desires of heart and of mind and the rational application of human effort to human problems. It is not realistic or hardheaded to solve problems and take action unguided by ultimate moral aims and values, although we all know some who claim that it is so. In my judgment, it is thoughtless folly. For it ignores the realities of human faith and of passion and of belief-forces ultimately more powerful than all of the calculations of our economists or of our generals. Of course to adhere to standards, to idealism, to vision in the face of immediate dangers takes great courage and takes self-confidence. But we also know that only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.
posted by Sophie1 at 8:12 AM on June 6 [45 favorites]


In many very sensitive systems there are pre-built processes that tag specific searches/accesses. Even searching for some things might get you on a list to review. I used to work at a bank that had celebrities and other prominent people as customers. If you searched for accounts for people on that list you were immediately terminated unless you could be demonstrated to have needed to access their files for work.

I would be amazed if the government doesn't have search set up to evaluate need-to-know against user access but I suppose running government like a business by using contractors means that they don't actually have basic safeguards like that.
posted by winna at 8:13 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Jefferson Morley / AlterNet : Trump Is Selling a Privatization Scam, and Calling It an Infrastructure Plan
President Trump’s original proposal for a $1 trillion infrastructure jobs plan was, in principle, a worthy idea, a practical way to create jobs and improve the country’s highways, bridges, railways, and airports. In reality, Trump’s jobs agenda is a sham that does not involve a trillion dollars, won't do much for the country's infrastructure and won’t create many jobs.

...

Trump's still-vague proposal bears all the marks of a large-scale bait and switch sales pitch like the one Trump perfected in sellling fraudulent enterprises like the now-defunct Trump University to unsuspecting consumers.
The bait: a 'new' plan backed by a trillion dollars that promises cheaper, faster, safer travel.

The switch: using 'public-private partnerships' to rebuild infrastructure, where the upfront construction costs are borne by governments, and private companies manage them and charge tolls.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:15 AM on June 6 [64 favorites]


I would be amazed if the government doesn't have search set up to evaluate need-to-know against user access but I suppose running government like a business by using contractors means that they don't actually have basic safeguards like that.

There is such a system.
posted by Etrigan at 8:16 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Security and CBRN specialist Dan Kaszeta posted a tweetstorm about how Trump's attacking the Mayor of London a few months before an official visit is phenomenally stupid:
Speaking as someone who worked at the White House for 12 years in two relevant jobs and having done advances for foreign POTUS trips You do not want to deliberately antagonize the local authorities in the city where you are going to have a high profile POTUS visit. Safety, security, and efficiency of the visit rely heavily on a good working relationship with national, regional, and local authorities Someone like, say, the Mayor of London, has a million ways, some quite subtle, to make a POTUS visit to London quite awkward.

I've seen it first hand when local authorities want to make themselves difficult to work with, and it makes WH and USSS job terribly hard Picture a POTUS motorcade, without local police escort, chopped into bits of 5 cars each, ensnarled in central London traffic.... Imagine people somehow missing the coordination meetings. And the keys to the gate somehow being lost. These things can happen[.] On visits to the UK, USSS relies heavily on the Met Police for armed support. And the Mayor oversees the Met. Not to mention that there's ample scope for road works on whatever route they want to have POTUS take.... And suddenly Heathrow might not be able to take AF-1, and POTUS might have to do a lengthy motorcade from Lakenheath....
And isn't it interesting how Trump didn't attack Manchester's mayor (Andy Burnham) after that city's terrorist attack, but did London's (Sadiq Khan) - what's the most obvious difference between them?
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:17 AM on June 6 [136 favorites]


what's the most obvious difference between them?

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

(sorry couldn't resist)
posted by Sophie1 at 8:23 AM on June 6 [74 favorites]


An interesting walkthrough of how Reality Winner was burned by printer dots.
posted by msbutah at 8:25 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


I would be amazed if the government doesn't have search set up to evaluate need-to-know against user access but I suppose running government like a business by using contractors means that they don't actually have basic safeguards like that.

There is such a system.


Yes, but I guess my point is that does that system also extend to contractor access? In other words, do contractor companies have the same safeguards in place or is it just assumed that they do while in reality there are big gaping holes?

Not that I am on the side of the witch hunt, but it is good to remind everyone that if you are on a network run by your employer they can pull up anything that happens on that network and if you're going to be smart you need to consider that anything down to individual keystrokes could be tracked and you would have no way of knowing.
posted by winna at 8:34 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


> An interesting walkthrough of how Reality Winner was burned by printer dots.

Not sure I agree with the weird Third Amendment editorializing near the end, but otherwise this was a pretty good read.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 8:35 AM on June 6


[Couple comments deleted. Folks, as always, please try to minimize noise comments, chitchat, etc. If the thread has a quiet moment, you don't need to fill it.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:39 AM on June 6 [15 favorites]


It's blowing my mind that Reality Winner was outed the same way as the bully in the "To Catch a Creep" storyline of the classic PBS show "Ghostwriter". What is wrong with my brain that the first thing it goes to in situations like this is a detail from a TV show I saw when I was 6.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:43 AM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Yes, but I guess my point is that does that system also extend to contractor access?

The person who was caught in the linked article was a contractor. Most government contractors work on the actual government systems (I have), not their own cloned systems that contain duplicates of sensitive information.
posted by Etrigan at 8:44 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


You know how Trump is known to be a big cheater at golf (per Samuel L. Jackson no less)?

Well, he has quite the record at his golf club in Bedminster.

Somehow I'm reminded of Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom throwing the race at the company picnic so Teri Garr's asshole boss could win.
posted by chris24 at 8:49 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


UK election systems remain all paper. The count is done by hand on the night of the ballot.

pharm I wish we had that nationwide here. I'm all for the low tech solution if it works! Do you guys have security people watching the counters? Like do the ballots get escorted to the counting headquarters or how does that work? (serious question)

If you look at poll workers here in the US, they seem easily befuddled by anomalies of any kind. (I think most are volunteers, but I don't know what kind of training/certs they have to get.)

In my brain I see them treating the paper ballots as valuably as money, & moving them around in armoured cars.
posted by yoga at 8:49 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


A TV Hack Appears to Have Sparked the Middle East's Diplomatic Crisis (Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard):
On May 23, the state-owned Qatar News Agency (QNA) broadcast a report about the country's leader, the Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, making a speech at a military graduation ceremony. In a ticker, the TV news story showed a series of alleged remarks by Sheikh Tamim, calling Qatar's relations with Iran and Israel as "strong" and "good," according to the Washington Post. Around the same time, QNA started posting similar quotes on Twitter. [...]

Qatari government authorities denied the veracity of those quotes, calling the reports "fake videos" and saying the QNA was "hacked by an unknown entity." The Saudis didn't buy Qatar's explanation.
The closing quote is a chilling tweet by @SultanAlQassemi: "It's no longer about the hack [...] It's like in The Great War, by day two no one cared who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand."
posted by autopilot at 8:50 AM on June 6 [40 favorites]


UK election systems remain all paper. The count is done by hand on the night of the ballot.

If I'm not mistaken, it's a very focused ballot too, with just the one race for Parliamentary representation.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:53 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


There's also a tension between compartmentalization/granular determination of need-to-know and giving analysts enough information to do their jobs effectively. Many people working on these projects already believe overclassification is a problem, and if you try to a priori determine which specific documents everyone will need, you run the risk of epistemic closure that keeps dots from being connected. Determination of need-to-know mostly happens at the human level -- there's no magic bauble hanging from your badge that says you need the detailed plans for the green widgets, but only the high-level specifications for the red ones.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:53 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


I've seen it first hand when local authorities want to make themselves difficult to work with, and it makes WH and USSS job terribly hard Picture a POTUS motorcade, without local police escort, chopped into bits of 5 cars each, ensnarled in central London traffic.... Imagine people somehow missing the coordination meetings. And the keys to the gate somehow being lost. These things can happen[.] On visits to the UK, USSS relies heavily on the Met Police for armed support. And the Mayor oversees the Met. Not to mention that there's ample scope for road works on whatever route they want to have POTUS take.... And suddenly Heathrow might not be able to take AF-1, and POTUS might have to do a lengthy motorcade from Lakenheath....

He doesn't need to do any of this.

All he needs to do is dictate that the route go somewhere with lots of sidewalk space and every yob in England will come and drop trou. Probably lots of yobbos too since a big chunk of the wounded were members of London's antipodean pub mafia.
posted by srboisvert at 8:58 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


The NJ 2017 primary is today, and it includes the governor's race. The Dem frontrunner is Phil Murphy, a Goldman Sachs guy, and I would encourage y'all to go vote against him if you can.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 9:00 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


White House Will Battle Comey Without a War Room

As to why Donald cannot hire a top-level law firm: "The guy won't pay and he won't listen."
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:05 AM on June 6 [85 favorites]


pharm I wish we had [hand-counting] nationwide here. I'm all for the low tech solution if it works!

Hand counting is well suited to UK parliamentary elections as there's just the one race on the ballot. Hand-counting is not very well suited to counting American-style ballots with ballpark 50 races and issues on the same ballot, as it's very easy to look at one thing and count another. ISTR a study showing a 1-2\% error rate? Try grading a scantron exam by hand sometime to see what I mean; it's an infuriatingly terrible experience.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:06 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Russian jet intercepts US B-52 bomber: Russian fighter jet intercepted a US bomber over the Baltic Sea in international waters on Tuesday, according to a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry that was published on state news agency TASS.

"On June 6 Russia's airspace monitoring ... identified an air target flying along Russia's state border over the international waters of the Baltic Sea. A Sukhoi-27 fighter jet of the Baltic Sea Fleet's air defense force was dispatched to intercept the target," according to the statement, quoted by TASS.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:07 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]




Sometimes, low tech is good tech. Also, hand counts provide lots of drama on election night which everyone secretly enjoys immensely so I can't see them going away anytime soon.

I'm an American, and watching the UK general election results come in is one of my favorite televised rituals. The BBC cuts live to various community centers and gymnasia where strapping young students are rushing ballot boxes to the counters. An official from the local council takes the stage and all the local candidates, even the minor party ones, get up there wearing their party rosettes and listen as the winner is announced. It's such an adorably pure image of democracy, and I love it.
posted by zachlipton at 9:08 AM on June 6 [34 favorites]


Over the last couple of weeks, I was in a professional development class without access to the news for most of it, so it was very strange to come home and catch up on the totally bonkers news that came out nearly everyday.

I was, however, able to talk a bit of politics during that time. Mostly folks seemed to be extremely frustrated and angry with the administration's racist, sexist, xenophobic, and generally hateful policies and rhetoric. One woman, though, a Sanders supporter, insisted on multiple occasions that Hillary Clinton was super corrupt--I tried to gently push back, saying that I found her honest with actual plans on what to do both domestically and abroad. Didn't seem to get much traction though :(. She did seem to think that there was Russian interference in the election, though.

I also got together with my bestie and their mom, who is an ex-Republican* and mega-disgusted with that awful man. Friend's mom seemed convinced that the way to get him impeached and to change things was by pressuring moderate Republicans--which...I don't totally disagree with, but a) there are so few truly moderate Republicans left that they have little influence and b) they can't win elections with moderate policy appeals and rhetoric. She held up McCain as a moderate who is standing up to Trump, although I pointed out that he keeps voting to approve his policies and corrupt, unqualified nominees. I noted how Susan Collins (and Lisa Murkowski) allowed Betsy DeVos through committee, so they could vote against her on the Senate Floor.

In all the cases of talking deep in politics, though, I felt like a conspiracy theorist. I've been tuned strongly into domestic political news for nearly 2 straight years now (wtf), and the rabbit hole of corruption, nepotism, potential treason, and all-around levels of gross stupidity goes so deep that it's hard not to seem wild-eyed and frantic, just in trying to communicate about it. Plus, trying to remember timelines, dates, sources, and all that makes for conversations that are easy to derail or easy to dismiss.

There's so much information coming so fast that integrating it into a coherent narrative for folks not closely following it becomes exceedingly difficult. So many people are so disgusted and upset by our national politics that keeping up with this unending torrent of bullshit is bad for their health--and I can't blame them.

Anyway, I feel somewhat disconnected from peeps who aren't following this disaster closely because the topic is so large--the corruption, the terrible legislation, the hate, the rank incompetence, the complicity of the Republican party...it's all tied up so tightly that tugging on one string brings in three or four more, and then I'm back to sounding like I belong on the X-Files.

*I want friend's mother, corb, Jennifer Rubin, and Evan McMullin to start a new party that's actually puts up politicians loyal to our country. I would fight their policies probably, but uhh, at least I'd feel like we were playing for the same team...
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:10 AM on June 6 [62 favorites]


Trump Organization to Go Budget Friendly With ‘American Idea’ Hotel Chain
On Monday, the Trump Organization announced plans for a new three-star hotel chain with a patriotic flair, echoing President Trump’s campaign slogan about putting America first and reflecting the organization’s promise to enter into new deals only in the United States. The intention is to differentiate the chain, called American Idea, by featuring artifacts of American culture in the hotels, such as an old Coca-Cola machine in the lobby or American-made sundries in the rooms.
[real]

What's the chances the TV will only show reruns of Father Knows Best.
posted by Talez at 9:10 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


7. When you receive a document anonymously in the mail, as a reporter you are free to use it as you wish, by mailing it anonymously
8. The source has given you permission to use the document any way you wish, they are expected to have done the leg work to make sure


This is the point I hop off the train. There has to be some joint responsibility to protect the source here. And revealing unnecessary details like the postmark city to a person with a legal obligation to report a breech of classified information to their superiors is well over the line.

I get it. You receive these papers anonymously in the mail and have to somehow check them out, verify them, contextualize them, and you can't do that without talking to someone. There aren't a lot of good options here. But this can't all be on the source.
posted by zachlipton at 9:14 AM on June 6 [37 favorites]


Trump Organization to Go Budget Friendly With ‘American Idea’ Hotel Chain

For travelers who think La Quinta sounds too ethnic.
posted by peeedro at 9:14 AM on June 6 [63 favorites]


I can't think of a more darkly ironic and unwittingly self-damning name for it than "American Idea." We're talking Reality Winner levels of implausible writing.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:15 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]




The intention is to differentiate the chain, called American Idea, by featuring artifacts of American culture in the hotels, such as an old Coca-Cola machine in the lobby...

Odd. Every budget hotel I've ever stayed at in the States already had an old Coca-Cola machine in the lobby.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:15 AM on June 6 [41 favorites]


Robert Costa: Trump expected to tweet during Comey testimony

I feel like this matches up perfectly with the "why won't lawyers represent Trump?" story above.

Some DC bars are opening early for the hearing (with sound on), offering Russian vodka specials and covfefe cocktails.
posted by zachlipton at 9:18 AM on June 6 [50 favorites]


Every budget hotel I've ever stayed at in the States already had an old Coca-Cola machine in the lobby.

No but like a really old one. Or at least a brand new designed to look like a really old one except it takes credit cards and the Cokes are in plastic bottles and cost $3.
posted by contraption at 9:18 AM on June 6 [12 favorites]


Robert Costa: Trump expected to tweet during Comey testimony

Or as I like to call it; contemporaneous obstruction of justice.
posted by chris24 at 9:19 AM on June 6 [34 favorites]


Robert Costa: Trump expected to tweet during Comey testimony

Mr. President, let me introduce my new social media platform: SelfIncriminatr. It sounds perfect for your needs.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:19 AM on June 6 [31 favorites]




Robert Costa: Trump expected to tweet during Comey testimony.

... we're going to need a bigger thread.
posted by lydhre at 9:21 AM on June 6 [36 favorites]


Is someone putting together "Comey hearing Bingo" or at least a drinking game?
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:21 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


The stories of "potential vote hacking" remind me of the alarmist tales that arose in the Early '00s, and I was frankly pleasantly surprised when the Democrats won back Congress in '06, but in '08, I thought this Simpsons bit was going to be the story, but it wasn't. But after that, Obama and the D's took their eyes off the prize while the Republicans perfected their ratfucking just in time for the 2010 elections and subsequent reapportionment. It's possible that the combination of the 'new guard' at the DNC together with the rising independent Left & Liberal groups could repeat the successes of '06 in '18, and the Perez/Ellison DNC tag team seem closer to Howard Dean than anyone else in charge there since him, which raises hopes. The SuperPACs have given the Republicans in all the special elections an incredible $$$ edge (much like life was before the Clintons made the D's more 'business friendly' in the '90s), and it's not really going to be enough if Ossoff in Georgia "comes closer than anybody expected" but still loses.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:22 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


at least a drinking game?

Are you trying to kill Metafilter by alcohol poisoning?
posted by Talez at 9:23 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


Mr. President, let me introduce my new social media platform: SelfIncriminatr. It sounds perfect for your needs.

I'm giving even odds we get a "You're goddamn right I ordered the code red" tweet.
posted by chris24 at 9:23 AM on June 6 [25 favorites]


> Anyway, I feel somewhat disconnected from peeps who aren't following this disaster closely because the topic is so large--the corruption, the terrible legislation, the hate, the rank incompetence, the complicity of the Republican party...it's all tied up so tightly that tugging on one string brings in three or four more, and then I'm back to sounding like I belong on the X-Files.

We are all Charlie Kelly in the Pepe Silvia scene.

The key for me to avoid feeling like a conspiracy theorist has been to periodically re-check my assumptions and try to tie my beliefs about what's going on back to primary sources speaking on the record. That still leaves a lot of gaps, but the Comey testimony and the ripple effects that creates will fill some of those in, but there's a lot of information out there showing in great detail how corrupt this administration and the Trump family have been.

The Russia tie-ins rely more on connecting dots, but I think it's fine to say that, regardless of whether we can conclusively show quid pro quo, the quid is there, and that's enough to show that members of the administration have, at best, divided loyalties.

The atomic details know already are bad enough that I'm not as worried about settling on a unified Panghazi theory of Trumpist fuckery. It doesn't have to be a conspiracy -- maybe it's just a bunch of assholes being assholes.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:23 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Robert Costa: Trump expected to tweet during Comey testimony yt (MSNBC video)

FFS, I was half-joking about this last night with Mr. Cardinal.

Possible actions that The Douche Canoe might undertake:

-Admits to a crime accidentally
-Admits to a crime gleefully and on purpose
-Insults Comey
-Insults Comey and the whole Senate Intelligence Committee
-Whines about the courts and doubles down on the Travel Ban
-Explicitly calls the Travel Ban, "the Muslim Travel Ban"
-Insults allies
-Reveals current classified intelligence
-Praises Mike Flynn
-Praises Putin, Erdogan, Duerte, or other autocrat
-Says something antisemitic
-Retweets Russian Propaganda
-Admits to recent contact with Mike Flynn
-Has some sort of major vascular failure either in the heart or brain due to stress
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:25 AM on June 6 [35 favorites]


So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!

yet another way this administration is sui generis - has there ever in history been a head of state of any country who was this credulous to obvious propaganda?

apparently the "takes on the opinion of the last voice he heard" phenomenon works for leaders of other countries as long as you give him a medal first.

maybe the G7 summit would have gone better if they had given him a Climate Change Champion trophy at the beginning.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:27 AM on June 6 [29 favorites]


Robert Costa: Trump expected to tweet during Comey testimony

Trump is scheduled to speak at a conference during a portion of the testimony, which might cut into his live-tweeting somewhat.

But it also means we might get Trump going off-script and speaking about what he just saw Comey say on the television in the lobby, while Comey is still testifying.
posted by cjelli at 9:27 AM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Eh, the Intercept really fucked up here and they deserve all the blame they're getting, particularly given that they have experts on staff.

EDIT: always refresh before posting!
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:29 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


Just a thought about the wall-to-wall live coverage of the Comey Show on Thursday... since it's going to pre-empt The Price Is Right on CBS, it may be a good idea to set up a Plinko board in the hearing room.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:30 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


An aside that has little to do with news but something to do with resistance and hope. My kids just graduated from elementary school. Apparently there is such a thing as a national education achievement award, a ceremonial thing that comes from the White House. All the kids with an A average get it.

Before naming the winners, the principal read the official letter. It's first-person boilerplate: 'You have shown the value of hard work, I believe the country needs high-achievers like you... ' or some such thing. And then, the principal hesitates for just a second in reading one line: 'And Melania and I are proud to recognize you...'

The principal gets to the end, and then, when it would be natural to say, 'signed, President Donald J. Trump' and invoke the president's name as an honor-- well, nothing. The principal goes right into announcing the kids' names.

Afterward I approached the principal semi-privately and said, 'I'm going to let you take the fifth, here, but I noticed you didn't say the president's name at the end of the letter, and I thank you for not bringing that name into this day.' I got a quick but very real smile in return.

Little things, denying the usual recognitions, seeing the president's name not as an honor but as a diminishment, at least as something that shouldn't be said on a happy day. These things count.

(I do wish my kids had graduated last year and received a certificate signed by President Barack Obama. Or in the alt-universe, signed by President Hillary Clinton. Sigh.)
posted by martin q blank at 9:33 AM on June 6 [148 favorites]


The switch: using 'public-private partnerships' to rebuild infrastructure, where the upfront construction costs are borne by governments, and private companies manage them and charge tolls.

Oh, CHRIST. Ask anyone in Ontario how that works out.

(What time is Comey on Thursday? Asking for someone who foolishly booked a doctor's appointment that day.)
posted by maudlin at 9:35 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


Party starts at 9 am CST.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:38 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Sorry, guys. Comey is going to be more nothingburgers. It's nothingburgers all the way down. I'm not even convinced that he's the enemy of our enemy.
posted by jferg at 9:38 AM on June 6 [16 favorites]


Buzzfeed: Kids Are Quoting Trump To Bully Their Classmates And Teachers Don’t Know What To Do About It
At a time of thick political and racial tensions, and of heightened worries among people of color, what is a teacher to say when a student asks: Why can the president say it but I can’t?
...
[R]esponses to bullying sometimes brought a backlash.

After a white third-grade boy chanted “build the wall” at a Latina classmate at a Louisville elementary school, the teacher and principal gathered the class and told them the boy’s actions had been racist. Not everybody was pleased with this lecture.

“Parents got mad that the school said it was racist,” said the mother of another boy in the class.

Indeed, as some educators learned this past school year, “build the wall” is not an easy phrase to police. It is, after all, a campaign slogan of a major party candidate, chanted by millions of Americans at rallies across the country, and a primary policy objective of the person elected president. How does a teacher explain to a student why the phrase is unacceptable in the classroom without being accused of political partisanship?
(Buzzfeed's reporting is based on work done by ProPublica's Documenting Hate project; the stories are more illustrative than the the overall data would indicate, since that data almost certainly undercounts how big of an issue this is, because, as ProPublica points out, there's no good national-level tracking of these kinds of small-scale incidents.)
posted by cjelli at 9:39 AM on June 6 [74 favorites]


"a fragment of an underdone potato" , by that, you mean Jeff Sessions? I have been looking for a mascot to characterize the creature Jeff Sessions.
posted by Oyéah at 9:40 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


AP: Trump schedules speech during Comey testimony
President Donald Trump has scheduled a speech addressing religious conservatives around the same time that former FBI director James Comey is expected to testify before Congress.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference announced Tuesday that the president had agreed to address the annual gathering Thursday.

Faith and Freedom spokesman Lance Lemmonds says the president is expected to speak at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Comey is scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate intelligence committee beginning at 10 a.m. that day.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:40 AM on June 6


Comey has already previewed his testimony. It's definitely something.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:41 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


reality has few rules, but key among them is, nobody wins
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I also got together with my bestie and their mom, who is an ex-Republican* and mega-disgusted with that awful man.

MAGA-disgusted, perhaps?

I'm so sorry.
posted by jcreigh at 9:41 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


See, I read vornado as urnado which is joint venture then imagine the hilarity that ensues. Reality Winner. Very interesting. Sounds like a code name for something in Vegas, so I always ask myself, is this something the NSA is not too alarmed about because it leaked but of course they are VERY alarmed if anything
leaks.
posted by clavdivs at 9:42 AM on June 6


The closing quote is a chilling tweet by @SultanAlQassemi: "It's no longer about the hack [...] It's like in The Great War, by day two no one cared who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand."

I already worry that Comeygate is going to be our Caillaux trial. Reading this...doesn't help.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 9:42 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


You guys. Tomorrow is Mike Pence's birthday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:43 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Possible actions that The Douche Canoe might undertake:

-Admits to a crime accidentally
-Admits to a crime gleefully and on purpose
-Insults Comey
-Insults Comey and the whole Senate Intelligence Committee
-Whines about the courts and doubles down on the Travel Ban
-Explicitly calls the Travel Ban, "the Muslim Travel Ban"
-Insults allies
-Reveals current classified intelligence
-Praises Mike Flynn
-Praises Putin, Erdogan, Duerte, or other autocrat
-Says something antisemitic
-Retweets Russian Propaganda
-Admits to recent contact with Mike Flynn
-Has some sort of major vascular failure either in the heart or brain due to stress

Sounds like Douche Canoe Twitter Bingo, to me. Quick, someone make a bingo card.
posted by papercake at 9:43 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Some DC bars are opening early for the hearing (with sound on), offering Russian vodka specials and covfefe cocktails.

Joke's on you, Shaw's Tavern! Most of DC will be drinking at their desks.
posted by solotoro at 9:44 AM on June 6 [12 favorites]


Need to scream? Want to learn how to do it without hurting yourself? I was looking up a vocal technique question, and found this invitation from a singing teacher:
When painful feelings arise, it can be instinctive to shut down your breathing in order to diminish the unpleasant thoughts, impulses and sensations that accompany them. But in so doing, you also diminish your ability to express these feelings and reach out to others for help, compassion, and solidarity. Singing can teach you to tolerate and breathe through the initial discomfort of such feelings and then give voice to them.

If you’re reticent about expressing your opinion even when the stakes are high, a practice that exhorts you to engage in making loud or even ridiculous sounds can help you build the confidence and vocal coordination to speak up and stand your ground.

And should you find yourself in the grip of a primal scream, unleashing it through a relaxed and well-primed throat will protect you from becoming hoarse and your listeners from feeling assaulted. Screaming is generally only painful and assaultive when the impulse to vent is met with chronic or habitual muscular tension in your throat. The relative calm and coordination developed through singing technique can prepare you to vent in comfort and safety.

It is now more important than ever for people to feel as though their individual voices can have an impact. So here is the contribution I would like to make: If you have felt like screaming uncontrollably lately and would like to learn some strategies to make your utterances helpful for yourself and others, I invite you to see me for a free 30-minute session, either in person or online via Skype or FaceTime. It is not necessary that you have any singing training or musical ambition, just that you feel a need for some support in expressing yourself at this crucial moment in our nation’s history.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:45 AM on June 6 [58 favorites]


My husband noted that Reality Winner is totally a Phillip K Dick name and that explains a lot about this timeline.


I keep thinking we’re living in a simulation. Then I stub my toe and that thought goes away.

But things like this make it persist. Not just this – all of it, I mean, stuff like Limbaugh – a loudmouth propagandist that is also DEAF. Or the Oscars ( “La La Land” vs. “Moonlight”). Trumps election – not just improbable, all this stuff is so implausible. The Superbowl – all razzle dazzle, reversal of fortune, and didn’t you have the feeling beforehand it was going to be an exceptional game? Like we all knew the guy playing the Patriots would just button mash and somehow pull off a bizarre win. (It helps that this didn’t occur apart from the political polarity – Trump predicted an 8 point win by the Patriots, and the Super Bowl became a sort of political focal point with the Patriots, most recently accused of cheating, and most certainly a sort of winning machine vs. the Falcons from a majority black city. And the Pats down 27-3 suddenly come up with a miracle and win by 6)

Like we’re living in one of the Nick Bostrum universes where people are simulating “what if Trump won…hm. Ok, what if it got worse and worse? How bizarre can we make this before people start freaking out?”

And they keep changing things but not quite perfectly. Mandela didn’t die in jail, the Berenstein Bears are Berenstain Bears, Sinbad wasn’t a genie in the 90’s
You know, you look at history and the apocalypse and one laughs at how stupid those people must have been to think the world was coming to an end. And yet, doesn’t it sort of map over to our world view? That things have gotten so damn weird it must be some sort of snafu or glitch in the universe?

To be fair, she seems to be of the generation of AF members who named their kids odd things. Buddy of mine was dating an AF girl named “Free.”
But did that really happen in my past? Or was that fact retro-inserted into my past to make this more plausible? *chuckle*

I think Trump is causing a glitch by creating a recursive loop in reality. The whole “fake news” thing. The “attacks in Sweden” and/or Kellyanne Conway’s “Bowling Green massacre” and ““alternative facts.”etc, where he tries to assert a new reality and then comments on the new reality and it reiterates into this whole other thing that becomes the new reality. We all know it’s a distortion from the outset, but we get trapped into talking about that instead of actual reality.

Yeah, it’s kind of a joke. I mean, he’s just an evil bastard doing a poor front man job for other evil bastards. But what if it’s not just mundane lying?

Thinking about Jungian synchronicity, the collective unconsciousness...

If Trump, and others, are engaging in a sort of Orwellian Reality Control (“The Party said that Oceania had never been in alliance with Eurasia. He, Winston Smith, knew that Oceania had been in alliance with Eurasia as short a time as four years ago. But where did that knowledge exist? Only in his own consciousness, which in any case must soon be annihilated. And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’”)
Isn’t it possible that reality – or at least those who appreciate reality, push back?

E.O. Wilson uses the term biophilia for the innate tendency or urge to affiliate with other forms of life and lifelike processes.

“Biophilia, like other patterns of complex learning behavior, is likely to be mediated by rules of prepared and counterprepared learning – the tendency to learn or to resist learning responses as opposed to others – the feelings molded by the learning rules fall along several emotional spectra: from attraction to aversion, from awe to indifference, from peacefulness to fear-driven anxiety.”

What is Trump and people like him if not biophobic? Preferring the artifice over the natural.
I think Reality Winner’s name is an indication that this process, the complex learned behavior based on the appreciation of life and lifelike processes, is in conflict with the process of fear-driven anxiety in opposition to life processes.

It sounds more complex than it is.

Some shitheads hate life and nature and try to distort and twist it to their own ends (typically artifices like money) and people who like connecting with other people and life resist them because things like the acquisition of wealth is meaningless while making connections and understanding are meaningful.

"The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it." - Jung

The phobic tends to regress into diminishing possible responses. Less and less freedom. Which leads to self-destruction. Plenty of collateral damage in the meantime though.

"The man who promises everything is sure to fulfill nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition." - Jung

So the best way to speed this process (their self-destruction) is to augment our commitment to connections, life, meaningful interaction all that. Any support Reality Winner (or any whistleblower) needs, in this case (there's a gofundme out there too).
posted by Smedleyman at 9:46 AM on June 6 [45 favorites]


I think Trump is causing a glitch by creating a recursive loop in reality.

I've had enough of journalistic flabgabble about Trump "undermining the concept of objective reality" or what have you. He's an ignorant man and a chronic liar with a following who believe him, or who pretend to. No fancy metaphysics are needed to explain this.
posted by thelonius at 9:50 AM on June 6 [21 favorites]


US Representative Clay Higgins called for Americans to "kill them all" with regards to those he considers terrorists. Yesterday two honor students were shot in a car in Maryland, just before their graduation day. I see a connection between his words, and this event.
posted by Oyéah at 9:53 AM on June 6 [20 favorites]




I don't envy the job of the next Democratic administration as far as having to rebuild our international standing (as much as that can be possible, anyway) and to return the government back to something resembling functional.
posted by azpenguin at 9:56 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


Sorry, guys. Comey is going to be more nothingburgers. It's nothingburgers all the way down. I'm not even convinced that he's the enemy of our enemy.

Disagree. I watched Comey give his testimony about racing to the hospital to prevent Alberto Gonzales getting the doped up John Ashcroft to sign on to illegal warrantless wiretapping. He's an effective storyteller, who comes across as very sober, detail-oriented, and credible.

All these stories coming from Comey's associates are unlikely to be completely unauthorized disclosures, so there's decent reason to believe that he's ready to drop a big one. Even if we--the close followers of national politics--know most of those details, the major news orgs are going to carry the testimony live. What Comey talks about is likely going to be all over television, digital, and print news sources all over the weekend.

As to whether he's "the enemy of our enemy"...I think that last year demonstrated that Comey's primary loyalty is to his brand as a serious, independent, non-partisan government official. While there are reasons to doubt that reputation, I do think he feels it very important to preserve that reputational brand. It would be...out of character, a in certain respect, for Comey to start carrying water for the administration at this point, especially given his reports to friends and documentation of inappropriate WH contacts. I think he's pissed that the WH tried to use his reputation to cover up their crimes, so I think he's going to go after them.

I could be wrong, though.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:56 AM on June 6 [37 favorites]


I don't envy the job of the next Democratic administration as far as having to rebuild our international standing (as much as that can be possible, anyway) and to return the government back to something resembling functional.

They're going to have to bring Obama people in to assist in the transition because the Trump administration people will be less than worthless, if they even agree to help at all.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:02 AM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Comey could say Trump directly ordered him to stop investigating, and also admitted to coordinating directly with Putin himself with smoking gun emails offering to lift sanctions in exchange for hacking Democratic campaigns, and Republicans will still do nothing. Nothing Comey can say will move Republicans to act in any way. Nothing. Every single Republican, Every. One. is 100% behind everything Trump does, regardless of their faux statements of "concern" or "troubles" in public. They're all 100% complicit in the collusion, the coverup, and the ultimate goal of turning the US into a one party fascist dictatorship.

The only good Comey can do is to reveal more details of Trump's lawlessness, and only indirectly affect the probability of Democrats regaining some control in 2018, assuming we are able to have free elections by then. That's it. No bombshell will lead to impeachment. No wrongdoing will be punished.

Because Republicans are the only ones who can exercise any oversight, and every Republican is actively involved in the same conspiracy. We no longer have the rule of law while Republicans are an organized force.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:04 AM on June 6 [38 favorites]


Major insurer Anthem to withdraw from Ohio health care exchange: Anthem will pull out of Ohio's health insurance exchange as of Jan. 1, 2018, so it won't be a choice for people buying individual insurance later this year. The major player in the state's health insurance exchange made the decision as Republicans in Congress worked to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

In 18 counties, including Muskingum and Coshocton, Anthem is currently the only option for 10,500 Ohioans who have insurance purchased on the exchange. The 18 counties are concentrated in Appalachia and include some of the poorest in the state.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:05 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


You guys. Tomorrow is Mike Pence's birthday.

Let's give him our warmest birthday wishes by donating to Planned Parenthood in his honor. Happy Birthday, Mike!
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:09 AM on June 6 [44 favorites]


At least she won't be in a military prison.

Instead she will be in a Jeff Sessions newly privatized federal prison run by the lowest corporate bidder.
posted by JackFlash at 10:09 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


I am REALLY getting tired of the frequent "everything has gone to hell, nothing can change, we are all doomed" comments from more than a few participants in these threads.

If you have said that once, you DON'T need to ever say it again, okay?
posted by yhbc at 10:10 AM on June 6 [87 favorites]


Dafna Linzer, NBC/MSNBC - Trump is hosting @marcorubio @TomCottonAR for dinner tonight - two members of senate intel who will question Comey in 2 days (no additional content)

I'm sure* that has a totally innocent explanation wholly separate from the upcoming testimony, but...it will be interesting to watch Rubio/Cotton on Thursday and see where their questions lead (or don't lead).

*I'm not really sure, and even if it's happening for innocent reasons, I would not be shocked if Trump tried to pressure them into pushing a particular angle when questioning Comey.
posted by cjelli at 10:13 AM on June 6 [42 favorites]


Good analysis from The Washington Post on how Trump's goal seems to be only the appearance of effective governance to low information voters, The Daily 202: Trump signals to his base that he is a man of action.
posted by peeedro at 10:14 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


I really feel bad for Comey.

As others have noted, he is a civil servant who values his integrity.

Last summer/fall, he discovered he was in a no-win situation, in that he had to adhere to two different sets of rules. He had to repeatedly point out when Clinton was under investigation, when she wasn't and when she was back under it. Otherwise, he'd be hiding information to enable Clinton to take the presidency. He and his agency would be accused of acting in a partisan way.

At the same time, he knew something was fishy with the Trump campaign with respect to Russian. But, he had to keep it under wraps like any other (non-Democrat-candidate-related) investigation. To do otherwise, he'd be exposing information defaming Trump, enabling Clinton to take the presidency. He and his agency would be accused of acting in a partisan way.

He threaded the needed as best he could. Given how things played out, his actions likely cost Clinton the election (at least among the factors that tipped the balance).

...and it is becoming increasingly clear that the Russians likely acted to put Trump in the White House, and members of the Trump campaign were in communication with those agents, if not directly coordinating with them.

He wakes up every morning thinking about the cluster fuck we're living in, knowing he helped put a man who has demonstrated himself to be unfit and unqualified for the presidency into office, and that he did so in concert with a foreign actor. Had he not been in the no-win situation above, or willing to take a bit heat to either disclose both investigations, or keep them confidential, we collectively might not be here. He wakes up thinking this may be all his fault.

(That said, had Clinton won but everything else more-or-less the same, we'd be in month four of another round of email server hearings.)
posted by MrGuilt at 10:16 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


cjelli: *I'm not really sure, and even if it's happening for innocent reasons, I would not be shocked if Trump tried to pressure them into pushing a particular angle when questioning Comey.

I guess we will get to hear more about email servers after all.
posted by MrGuilt at 10:18 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


USA Today - Sen. Mark Warner: More state election systems were targeted by Russians
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee told USA TODAY on Tuesday that Russian attacks on election systems were broader and targeted more states than those detailed in an explosive intelligence report leaked to the website The Intercept.

"I don't believe they got into changing actual voting outcomes," Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said in an interview. "But the extent of the attacks is much broader than has been reported so far." He said he was pushing intelligence agencies to declassify the names of those states hit to help put electoral systems on notice before the midterm voting in 2018.

"None of these actions from the Russians stopped on Election Day," he warned.
...
Most of the states involved are now aware they were targeted, the senator said, though the number of states remain classified.

"Some folks say the states are victims, so they have to agree to release that information," he said. "I really want to press the case. This is not an attempt to embarrass any state. This is a case to make sure that the American public writ large realizes that if we don’t get ahead of this, this same kind of intervention could take place in 2018 and definitely will take place in 2020."
Emphasis mine, because that strongly implies that at least several states were targeted and remain unaware, which does seem concerning
posted by cjelli at 10:24 AM on June 6 [54 favorites]


Dan Alexander: How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business. In which Eric Trump ran around talking about how his father donated the use of the golf course for free for his charity golf tournament, but that seems not to have been true and a considerable amount of money was being funneled around, including self-dealing between the Trump foundations and Organization:
But in 2011, things took a turn. Costs for Eric Trump's tournament jumped from $46,000 to $142,000, according to the foundation's IRS filings. Why would the price of the tournament suddenly triple in one year? "In the early years, they weren't being billed [for the club]--the bills would just disappear," says Ian Gillule, who served as membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester during two stints from 2006 to 2015 and witnessed how Donald Trump reacted to the tournament's economics. "Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, 'We're donating all of this stuff, and there's no paper trail? No credit?' And he went nuts. He said, 'I don't care if it's my son or not--everybody gets billed.' "

Katrina Kaupp, who served on the board of directors at the Eric Trump Foundation in 2010 and 2011, also remembers Donald Trump insisting the charity start paying its own way, despite Eric's public claims to the contrary. "We did have to cover the expenses," she says. "The charity had grown so much that the Trump Organization couldn't absorb all of those costs anymore." The Trump Organization declined to answer detailed questions about the payments. But it seems that for the future president, who Forbes estimates is worth $3.5 billion, a freebie to help his son directly fight kids' cancer took a backseat to revenue.
Politico: How Trump is stalling his own nominees. It's taking them months to put together the paperwork, including financial information for OGE review, before nominations are even sent to the Senate. The Obama Administration, or Gallant, didn't announce nominations until the paperwork was complete and OGE signed off, while Goofus here announces names and sits on them while whining about how slow the process is.

A new WaPo/ABC poll from after Trump's announcement shows 59% oppose withdrawal from the Paris Accord, 28% support. It's crazification factor time.

In AHCA news, Lindsey Graham says that Rand Paul is "irretrievably gone" because he won't support anything involving refundable tax credits. That means they can only afford to lose one other Senator with whatever their plan is now. However, Bill Cassidy now says he is on board. They still don't have any actual legislative language or anything though, but I'm sure we'll hear a lot of shouting about the bare counties in Ohio that now have no insurer on the exchange.
posted by zachlipton at 10:28 AM on June 6 [34 favorites]


Comey has been trying to bring down the Clintons for years. To act like he was caught between a rock and a hard place, and stewing about what to do during the election, does not make sense.
posted by agregoli at 10:29 AM on June 6 [31 favorites]


he discovered he was in a no-win situation, in that he had to adhere to two different sets of rules.

No, there was only one set of rules. Department policy says that you don't interfere in elections -- full stop. You don't make indictments, you don't issue subpoenas, you don't make press statements in the lead up to an election. There was nothing compelling Comey to make the statements to the press he made. He simply feared Republican backlash more than he feared Democratic backlash. He was a coward worried about himself.
posted by JackFlash at 10:29 AM on June 6 [78 favorites]


You have to be kidding me. In Washington, Trump Is Roasted. At His Winery, He’s Toasted.
A year later, the [Trump] winery was among the sponsors of a Russian-American cultural group’s event honoring Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, according to documents recently posted on Twitter by Scott Dworkin, a Democratic activist.

A spokeswoman for the winery declined to comment. But in an email, Alexander Potemkin, the executive director of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation, said the event, held in 2012, had been to celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary.

“Perhaps someone asked for a few bottles of wine from them,” Mr. Potemkin wrote. “But it certainly was not their initiative.”
Here's those documents. It's one name among many sponsors (Vnesheconombank is one too), but I mean, come on.
posted by zachlipton at 10:33 AM on June 6 [29 favorites]


Aren't Murkowski and Collins also confirmed NOs too?

Vox are saying that McConnell might force a vote he knows will fail to put Obamacare repeal to bed and move on to tax reform. Kind of astonishing that a humiliating defeat on the floor is the least bad option for them, but I have absolutely no sympathy. If they want to "show 'em a body" of this failed bill, then we should keep calling and give them more ammunition to kill it.
posted by TwoWordReview at 10:33 AM on June 6 [21 favorites]


yoga: Do you guys have security people watching the counters? Like do the ballots get escorted to the counting headquarters or how does that work? (serious question)

Yes, the ballots are sealed in locked boxes & taken to the count which is held in public under the watchful eyes of representatives of all candidates. The whole process is under the aegis of the Electoral Commission & described in this pdf. Anyone can attend the count if they wish - it’s open to the public.

ROU_Xenophobe: Hand-counting is not very well suited to counting American-style ballots with ballpark 50 races and issues on the same ballot

The UK splits each race into individual ballots which are counted separately. Although we don’t usually have 50 different races all happening at the same time which sounds slightly nuts.
posted by pharm at 10:33 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


JackFlash He simply feared Republican backlash more than he feared Democratic backlash. He was a coward worried about himself.

I suppose that's the two sets of "rules" I speak of. Not disclosing renewed interest in Clinton's email would have been seen, by the GOP, as interfering with the election. There would have been more than a reasonable amount of hearings. Revealing an investigation with Trump would be interfering with the election--what happened to not making statements?

It's like the long-standing "tradition" of not having hearings on Supreme Court justices during an election year.
posted by MrGuilt at 10:34 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


tired of the frequent "everything has gone to hell, nothing can change, we are all doomed" comments from more than a few participants in these threads.

There is a very helpful MeTa Of Dispair:

What the fucking fuck
In the interest of not cluttering up the massive political thread with expressions of disbelief, let's have a Metatalk thread about how unbelievable all this shit is..

On preview: A year later, the [Trump] winery was among the sponsors of a Russian-American cultural group’s event honoring Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, according to documents recently posted on Twitter by Scott Dworkin, a Democratic activist.

Come on!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:37 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


Although we don’t usually have 50 different races all happening at the same time which sounds slightly nuts.

I took an index card cheat-sheet with me when I voted in our DEM primary last month. We elect freaking everyone. Judges, magistrates, district attorneys, county council, city council, sheriffs, police chiefs, and and and and and. And then some states have oodles of direct-democracy ballot measures (mine doesn't ,but California is notorious for this).
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:38 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


yoga: You can see the count in process in Leeds for the last general election in this YouTube video. This kind of footage is a familiar sight to anyone in the UK keen enough on politics to stay up to watch the election night coverage.
posted by pharm at 10:39 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Not to mention that often our local elections include things like "justice of the peace" vote for no more than eleven of the following with a list of 27 names. Counting totals, over and under on that one item by hand would be nuts.

But, scantron works, is simple and creates a paper trail. It's a great solution for 99.5% of use cases. I'd like disability aid machines that simply mark scantron ballots themselves to handle the rest.
posted by meinvt at 10:42 AM on June 6 [12 favorites]


Truth. Scantron is the way to go, my peeps.
posted by en forme de poire at 10:44 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


You can see some typical UK ballot papers better in this YT video.
posted by pharm at 10:45 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


WPost: Trump is now raging at Jeff Sessions. This hints at a deeply unsettling pattern.
Both Comey and Sessions enraged Trump because in some manner or other, they failed to show a level of loyalty to Trump that would have trumped (as it were) legitimate processes. Comey kept publicly validating the Russia investigation (which Trump dismisses as nothing but “Fake News”) and would not make it disappear by stopping leaks about it. Sessions recused himself to display (nominal) independence, which Trump somehow interpreted as a lapse into weakness that led to the special counsel, further affirming the probe’s weightiness.{...}

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a professor of history at New York University who writes extensively on authoritarianism and Italian fascism, told me that a discernible trait of authoritarian and autocratic rulers is ongoing “frustration” with the “inability to make others do their bidding” and with “institutional and bureaucratic procedures and checks and balances.”{...}

Trump expects independent officials “to behave according to personal loyalty, as opposed to following the rules,” added Timothy Snyder, a history professor at Yale University who wrote “On Tyranny,” a book of lessons from the 20th century. “For Trump, that is how the world is supposed to work. Trump doesn’t understand that in the world there might truly be laws and rules that constrain a leader.”
When Trump promised to run the government like a business, he meant his privately held one, which was dedicated solely to his enrichment and in which everyone was accountable solely to him.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:45 AM on June 6 [79 favorites]


> Department policy says that you don't interfere in elections -- full stop. You don't make indictments, you don't issue subpoenas, you don't make press statements in the lead up to an election. There was nothing compelling Comey to make the statements to the press he made.

And let's pretend that there is some "ticking time bomb" scenario that would require the FBI Director to act in contrary to the established rules and practices. Under what logical / moral framework does one arrive at "ZOMG, there are emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop!" as clearing that bar?

> I suppose that's the two sets of "rules" I speak of. Not disclosing renewed interest in Clinton's email would have been seen, by the GOP, as interfering with the election. There would have been more than a reasonable amount of hearings.

This extreme level of good faith you're assigning to his actions is very strange. The prospect of Republicans holding hearings later on is not an excuse to abandon established rules and norms. Remember how the GOP spent eleventy billion hours on BENGHAZI!!!? If Trump had lost a close election, they would be holding hearings either way. The name Clinton means any minimum standards of evidence for assuming foul play are out the window. So if there was going to be political fallout for him either way, shouldn't he default to doing his job?
posted by tonycpsu at 10:50 AM on June 6 [20 favorites]


Alexander Potemkin, the executive director of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation

Really??
posted by orrnyereg at 10:51 AM on June 6 [51 favorites]


Not disclosing renewed interest in Clinton's email would have been seen, by the GOP, as interfering with the election.

That isn't the rule. The rule is that you don't comment on either side. That someone will scream after the election makes no difference. It comes with the job. If you can't stand the heat, you shouldn't have the job. Comey made a political choice to appease the Republicans because he feared their anger more than he feared Democrats.
posted by JackFlash at 10:52 AM on June 6 [24 favorites]


biogeo and I voted in the Philadelphia primary last month. So many judges. We looked up the bar recommendations and then still had to narrow it down based on...things? Eventually I just voted for the women and anyone with an interesting name. I feel like this is not a good system.
posted by cui bono at 10:52 AM on June 6 [27 favorites]


Look I haven't read all the links but where's the god damn donate to Reality Winner's defense fund? Because if that's NOT a thing yet, we're failing at America.
posted by saysthis at 10:53 AM on June 6 [12 favorites]


I was reading the Vox article on Nevada's proposed Medicaid for all this morning. Medicaid expansion via the ACA is popular with people across the political spectrum. So I hope the Nevada governor (Republican though he is) signs it. If Gov. Brown signs in healthcare for all in Cali, I hope this means a wave of states implementing their own healthcare for all programs, no matter what happens in Washington.

What is a not-dog-whistle term for "state's rights?" Local control? I'll run with that for now, and say that moderate to liberal states saying "to hell with Apricot Asswipe, Granny Starver and all of them, we're doing what's right by our people and our earth" I hope becomes a trend and a wave. I'm going to be optimistic (which might get me drummed out of Metafilter) and say that the Climate Alliance started a trend of positive, liberal local governance.


I mean, way back in civics class we always talked about the whole 'states as laboratories of democracy' thing, and it is a good idea - it's how we got gay marriage and it's how we're getting legal weed and bail reform. The fact that states can use their powers of autonomy for evil as well as for good has made the term "state's rights" go down pretty poorly, but really, this is nothing new. It's how the federal system is designed to work. It's just surprising these days when it, well, works as designed.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:54 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


WPost: Trump is now raging at Jeff Sessions. This hints at a deeply unsettling pattern

Now that WaPo is reporting it, can I give it credence?
posted by Room 641-A at 10:57 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Alexander Potemkin, the executive director of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation

Really??


The Potemkin Village was created under Grigory. Alexander was his father. But yeah, that surname.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:58 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Looking forward to (and sideways at) 2020, Mark Zuckerberg for President?!?
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:00 AM on June 6


Now that WaPo is reporting it, can I give it credence?

Since the WPost opinion piece is based on the NYT's reporting and doesn't have an independent sources to confirm it, skepticism about its seriousness is still warranted. If Sessions resigns, that would be surprising, frankly, as this kind of story has previously been run about Bannon, Preibus, and Gorka, all of whom weathered out whatever tempest was brewing in Trump's teapot.

That said, the WPost's analysis about why this seems to keep happening to Team Trump is worth reading.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:02 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Looking forward to (and sideways at) 2020, Mark Zuckerberg for President?!?

God help us he apparently plans to run as an independent. If he splits the youth and left votes we'll have four more years of Trump.
posted by Talez at 11:09 AM on June 6 [14 favorites]




If Sessions resigns, that would be surprising, frankly, as this kind of story has previously been run about Bannon, Preibus, and Gorka, all of whom weathered out whatever tempest was brewing in Trump's teapot.

I think that's likely true on both counts, but on the other hand, I don't think that means that he wasn't pissed off. I think he's getting angry at people and then getting distracted before anything actually comes of it--and that the target of this anger keeps shifting. I think this kind of thing is worth noting aside from the imminence of any resignations; it's an indicator of his mental state and the actual chaos going on behind closed doors.
posted by Sequence at 11:11 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Looking forward to (and sideways at) 2020, Mark Zuckerberg for President?!?

I said this a few threads ago, but I'll say it again: my god, man, just go away. Focus on Facebook or retire to an island or donate your fortune to charity or whatever else you want to do, but stay the hell out of politics. We don't need more "leaders" like you.
posted by Servo5678 at 11:13 AM on June 6 [40 favorites]


I think America needs to do with Zuckerberg what we should have done with Trump. Ignore the fucker and he'll go away.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:13 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


(MetaTalk about thread rollover and whatever else)
posted by lalex at 11:15 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Vox are saying that McConnell might force a vote he knows will fail to put Obamacare repeal to bed and move on to tax reform.

"Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:15 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


If he splits the youth and left votes we'll have four more years of Trump.

I have my doubts about how popular he is among the youth, but in any case anyone who would consider voting for Mark fucking Zuckerberg without even the excuse that you have to vote for the Democrat is not in any way on the political left, not even in the skewed version of the political spectrum that exists in the US. If you're looking for someone to pre-emptively blame, the center and NeverTrump right await your scorn.
posted by Copronymus at 11:16 AM on June 6 [10 favorites]


I think America needs to do with Zuckerberg what we should have done with Trump.

YES

Ignore the fucker and he'll go away.

oh

well I have a lot of stuff to return to Home Depot if the build-a-trebuchet-to-hurl-him-into-the-ocean plan isn't what you were talking about
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:16 AM on June 6 [104 favorites]


>Looking forward to (and sideways at) 2020, Mark Zuckerberg for President?!?

I said this a few threads ago, but I'll say it again: my god, man, just go away.


Or at least maybe run for Congress first. I don't object to Zuckerberg getting involved in politics, in general, but the thought of another person with zero experience in office playing spoiler in either a primary or a general presidential run is aggravating.
posted by cjelli at 11:16 AM on June 6 [16 favorites]


retire to an island

Or, in the case of Zuckerberg specifically, try to colonize an island.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:18 AM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Jim Acosta: Corey/Bossie chatter about joining WH was theatrics and media misdirection, Trump-world source tells me: "Something we enjoy doing."

Is there ever a point where sources who repeatedly lie to the press maybe aren't listened to anymore? Is that really too much to ask?
posted by zachlipton at 11:20 AM on June 6 [25 favorites]


anyone who would consider voting for Mark fucking Zuckerberg without even the excuse that you have to vote for the Democrat is not in any way on the political left

So they'd be an SNP voter?
posted by Talez at 11:23 AM on June 6


I know it's been noted here a zillion times already, probably, but I want to reiterate that I'm pleased as the proverbial punch to know that the public face of the vague "deep state" that various people, on the right and the left, have been going on to me about for the past six months is a 25-year-old woman named "Reality Winner" from Augusta GA (which has a military base and federal nuclear rervation nearby, but doesn't exactly have a high level of Bourne movie-ish exoticism).
posted by raysmj at 11:24 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Public Service Announcement - National Treasure Alexandra Petri will be be on the next Lovett or Leave It podcast (this weekend).
posted by zakur at 11:25 AM on June 6 [11 favorites]


California (or at least Santa Clara County) went back to scantron after briefly going electronic. I always requested the scantron ballot even during the period where electronic was the default. Your ballot should be your receipt. If you can't confirm the honesty of the vote by returning to the original voter's work, then you are simply handing elections to the cleverest hackers or the most corrupt officials.
posted by tavella at 11:27 AM on June 6 [14 favorites]


I think all these stories about 'palace intrigue', as it were, are meant to echo overblown, staged reality television "feuds". The advantage to leaking such information is that opponents get distracted about their alleged internecine fighting, and crucially, may be more inclined to let up on the target of their ire.

In conclusion, I don't give too much of a shit if they are fighting amongst themselves--keep screaming for Sessions, Gorka, and Bannon's dismissals.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 11:28 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I think all these stories about 'palace intrigue', as it were, are meant to echo overblown, staged reality television "feuds".

Can we vote them all off the island?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:31 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


I'm seeing reports on Twitter that the US Coalition has struck pro-Assad regime forces in Southern Syria, so that may be the delay on the presser.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:31 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


If this has been mentioned apologies I'm behind and skimmed the thread:

Just to add to the potential weirdness of the whole Qatar thing, Qatar is in the Steele dossier regarding that whole 19.5 % investment in Roseneft oil privatization thing.

I just looked it up because I kept bugging that I had heard something about Qatar and Trump before. And well, here yah go. And Carter Page appears to be caught up in this whole part of it.

Does this mean anything regarding what he is doing now? No freaking idea but the cooincidence that it's all about Qatar is pretty damn strange.

Memos: CEO of Russia's state oil company offered Trump adviser, allies a cut of huge deal if sanctions were lifted

After mid-October, the dossier said, Sechin predicted that it would no longer be possible for Trump to win the presidency, so he "put feelers out to other business and political contacts" to purchase a stake in Rosneft.

Rosneft then scrambled to find a foreign investor, holding talks with more than 30 potential buyers from Europe, the US, Asia, and the Middle East. The company signed a deal on December 7 to sell 19.5% of shares, or roughly $11 billion, to the multinational commodity trader Glencore Plc and Qatar's state-owned wealth fund. Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is Glencore's largest shareholder.

The "11th hour deal" was "so last minute," Reuters reported, "that it appeared it would not close in time to meet the government's deadline for booking money in the budget from the sale."

The purchase amounted to the biggest foreign investment in Russia since US sanctions took effect in 2014. It showed that "there are some forces in the world that are ready to help Russia to circumvent the [West's] sanction regime," said Lilia Shevtsova, an associate fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House.

posted by Jalliah at 11:33 AM on June 6 [30 favorites]




US Coalition has struck pro-Assad regime forces in Southern Syria

What the fuck are we even doing. What. We're friends with Turkey's autocrat, we're arming the YPG, we're bombing Isis, we're friends with Assad and the Russians, we're bombing Assad, we're arming the Free Syrian Army, which includes the al-Nusra Front. Are we arming everyone AND bombing them all? Do we have any coherent strategy beyond arms sales for dollars coming back to Raytheon et al?
posted by Existential Dread at 11:36 AM on June 6 [55 favorites]


Are we arming everyone AND bombing them all? Do we have any coherent strategy beyond arms sales for dollars coming back to Raytheon et al?

To be fair, this was kind of an issue before Trump took over. But it certainly hasn't gotten better since the soft-coup of 2016.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:39 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I'm seeing reports on Twitter that the US Coalition has struck pro-Assad regime forces in Southern Syria, so that may be the delay on the presser.

Seemingly confirmed by the AP, but no details yet:

WASHINGTON (AP) - US-led coalition strikes what it calls pro-government forces in Syria after they entered area near coalition base.


That sounds like it wasn't a premeditated strike, but, again, no details.
posted by cjelli at 11:39 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Today I'm listening to Sean Spicer with a Detroit Techno soundtrack, highly recommended
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:41 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I've got to say, it would be the devil's own choice if Zuckerberg were the Democratic candidate, and thinking about this gave me a lot of understanding of "I will NOT vote for Hillary even if we go to the devil" voters. I...don't even know what I'd do. Hope and pray that something during the campaign made matters clearer to me, I guess.
posted by Frowner at 11:44 AM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Glad we could clear this up:

Q: Are the President's tweets official White House Statements?
Spicer: "The President is the President of the United States so they are considered official statements by the President of the United States"
posted by zachlipton at 11:48 AM on June 6 [54 favorites]


Q: Follow-up, what if he passes out and starts mumbling?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:49 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


I think all these stories about 'palace intrigue', as it were, are meant to echo overblown, staged reality television "feuds".

I think it's impossible for many of us to say one way or another. Could be staged drama, could be real drama of which the reporters reporting on it have incorrect or inadequate knowledge. Could be both. In general, I'm disinclined to credit this administration with a real keen grasp of strategy and given the number of malignant egos involved, I would be surprised not to see perpetual falling-outs and falling-back-ins. Everything seems to suggest that it's The Lord of the Flies up there. I tend to just note it and file it away.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:50 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


from the "yes that is an actual headline" dept:

Reuters: U.S. military praises Qatar, despite Trump tweet
The Pentagon on Tuesday renewed praise of Qatar for hosting a vital U.S. air base and for its "enduring commitment to regional security," sticking to a message of reassurance even as President Donald Trump, via Twitter, applauded a decision by Arab powers to cut ties to the Gulf ally.

It was the latest example of the tightrope that U.S. officials are walking as Trump's tweets raise questions about existing U.S. policy and the carefully scripted talking points used to explain it.

In the case of Qatar, the stakes are high. More than 11,000 U.S. and coalition forces are deployed to or assigned to al Udeid Air Base, from which more than 100 aircraft operate.

Of those 11,000, nearly 1,000 work in a combined air operations center that helps oversee missions for campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the military says.

U.S. officials had said on Monday that the United States would quietly try to calm the waters between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, arguing that the small Gulf state was too important to U.S. military and diplomatic interests to be isolated.

But Trump, wading into the worst split between powerful Arab states in decades, said on Tuesday his trip to the Middle East was "already paying off" with leaders there taking a hard new line in accusing Qatar of funding of militant groups.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:51 AM on June 6 [25 favorites]


Michael Flynn turns over 600 pages of documents to Senate Intel: The source says the documents are mostly business records, but they also include some personal documents "based on the narrowed requests from the committee."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:52 AM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Is "covfefe" official policy and can it be passed with 51 votes under the Byrd Rule?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:52 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Knight First Amendment Institute declares @RealDonaldTrump account a designated public forum, and that he must unblock everyone (even those who critique him).
posted by MrGuilt at 11:54 AM on June 6 [25 favorites]


Spicer currently saying that it's silly to ask why Trump didn't mention NATO Article 5 at a NATO Article 5 commemoration
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:55 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Sean hasn't had a chance to discuss with Trump whether Trump has confidence in Sessions. Cute.
posted by prefpara at 11:56 AM on June 6 [2 favorites]


So they'd be an SNP voter?

The difference being that the SNP has left-wing policies while Zuckerberg is almost certain to run on a bunch of middle-of-the-road garbage about Disruption!!!, saving Silicon Valley from itself, public-private partnerships, the appification of government, and giving himself a tax cut/making it easier for him to do business in the future. His voting base would be people who respect billionaires by default, people who think the government should be run like a business, and people who are plotting to turn Silicon Valley into an arcology fueled by the blood of the young. These groups are almost definitionally not on the left, even in the US.

I'm not trying to get into the merits of tactical voting vs. voting for the party that best represents your views (across multiple different voting systems and in very different contexts to boot), but it should be acknowledged that the SNP occupies a different place in the political landscape than Mark Zuckerberg. An argument about whether an SNP voter should think about voting for Labour is essentially a non sequitur to one about whether a democratic socialist in New York would inevitably vote Zuckerberg for America because people on the left and teens just fucking love Facebook billionaires so much.
posted by Copronymus at 11:56 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


HEY! Good news: North Carolina has stated a commitment to "continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement." Not sure how much wearestillin.com is the same as the United States Climate Alliance, but our governor seems excited (and the haters in the comments seem mad).
posted by witchen at 11:57 AM on June 6 [18 favorites]


Spicer currently saying that it's silly to ask why Trump didn't mention NATO Article 5 at a NATO Article 5 commemoration.

Spicer is this decade's Bagdad Bob.
posted by MrGuilt at 11:57 AM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Everything seems to suggest that it's The Lord of the Flies up there.

And at some point Trump is going to think the R's are throwing him under the bus, and they probably will but that's not essential to his thinking it, and he's going to go ballistic and try and burn them all. And you think the R's have to know this, so...
posted by bongo_x at 11:59 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Something that's been bugging me for a while and just became clear: why is it accepted that saying "the President has been very clear" is the same thing as saying "the President has said something that makes sense"?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 11:59 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


Hey MeFi, mind if I drop this thing I wrote in here? It's just I want as much help as possible with combatting the lies/propaganda that I believe got us here, and I think this is useful list.
---
These are the lies that are threatening America. I now have a zero tolerance policy for these lies. I call them out EVERY time I hear them.

1) "Creeping sharia" - refugees are just people fleeing terrorism. And we have no reason to go to war with Iran.

2) "Criminal aliens" - immigrants are just normal people, whether or not all their paperwork is in order. They come here for a better life, just like our ancestors.

3) "lazy/thuggish/welfare queens" - the list of lies told about black people is long and shameful. Black Lives Matter is a civil rights group who have done nothing but organize peaceful protests.

4) Clinton Foundation/e-mails/Death List/Pizzagate/whatever - these are all just elaborate lies to make people vote for Trump. Agree or disagree with them, the Clintons are just normal politicians. Bill was president for 8 years, and nothing really bad happened.

5) Obama birth certificate/FEMA camps/"Jade Helm"/secret Muslim/whatever. Same thing. Notice that Obama was president for 8 years and the country is still here? None of the crazy predictions came true? People still have their guns? There are no death panels?

6) Seth Rich - this is an especially blatant lie to cover the tracks of Russian hackers who were actually caught in the act.

7) NATO/UN vs American sovereignty - the ONLY way to prevent wars is to be able to work with, and compromise with, other countries. (The real threat to our sovereignty is foreign governments interfering in our elections and bribing our politicians!)

8) The "enemy" press - the press is not one voice but a cacophony. By listening carefully, though, you can make out the voices of some journalists who are careful, methodical, and courageous. They are absolutely necessary for a functioning democracy. This lie is now getting journalists jailed and body-slammed.

9) Climate change - being a scientist, I know scientists are telling the truth about this. Why wouldn't we? Why don't you make an effort to learn a little science so you can follow the argument we are making? If we are wrong and a bunch of money gets invested in solar energy, is that so bad? At least there is less smog, right? But if we are right and you ignore us, a large number of the world's cities and farms will be destroyed.

10) Vaccines. Same thing. Right now there is a measles outbreak in my state because of the lie about vaccines. This lie has put kids in the hospital here. If allowed to spread, this lie kills children.

11) Birth control "abortafacient." This one is ridiculous because NOT using birth control destroys a lot more fertilized eggs. Most do not implant, with or without birth control. But with birth control, fewer are fertilized to begin with. This lie is pernicious, because women who can't control when they become pregnant are terribly vulnerable and dependent.

12) Liberal baby killers/Satan worshippers/pro-ISIS traitors/whatever. This whole family of lies which denies that your political opponents could possibly be arguing in good faith and justifies any means in service of the end goal of beating the evil liberals is PERSONALLY hurtful to me. Also, it is used to justify anti-democracy measures like refusing to let a Democratic president appoint judges, like shameless gerrymandering and voter suppression, like death threats to Steve King's challenger which drove her from the race.

13) "Rigged system." The purpose of this lie in its many forms (usually exaggerating some real flaw) is to make people think we have already lost our democracy, so that they won't fight to defend it. It is insidious.

When I hear these lies, it infuriates me, even though I know most of the people spreading them are more victims of a con rather than con men. Spreading these lies is what enabled the rise of Trump, who is a demogogue, turning us into a banana republic. I can no longer allow them to go unquestioned in my presence. They are too dangerous.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:59 AM on June 6 [114 favorites]


sigh:

Exclusive: Comey will stop short of saying Trump obstructed justice in Flynn probe, source says
There will be much in former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming congressional testimony that will make the White House uncomfortable, but he will stop short of saying the president interfered with the agency's probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a source familiar with Comey's thinking told ABC News.

Although Comey has told associates he will not accuse the President of obstructing justice, he will dispute the president’s contention that Comey told him three times he is not under investigation. [...]

“He is not going to Congress to make accusations about the President’s intent, instead he’s there to share his concerns,” the source said, and tell the committee “what made him uneasy” and why he felt a need to write the memo documenting the conversation.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:02 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


As Sean Spicer flees the briefing room after arriving ~30 minutes late and relying on tough questions to get him out of jams like a talk radio host who basically said "people are sick of Washington and I hope you drain the swamp," a reporter says "but we waited so long."
posted by zachlipton at 12:02 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Extremely important news you all need to know right now: the Secretary of Agriculture and Karen "Mother" Pence unveiled a new beehive at the Vice President's Residence.

The bees are inside the perimeter! This is their moment. Go bees!
posted by zachlipton at 12:04 PM on June 6 [118 favorites]


So Trump spoke with repeat customers of his family business, the Saudi royal family, and was subsequently willing to go on Twitter and accuse Qatar of funding terrorism and applauding their diplomatic isolation, without first warning the troops at the largest US military base in the Middle East, in Qatar.

It is as if he is holding up a sign saying WILL SAY WHATEVER YOU WANT FOR EMOLUMENTS.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:06 PM on June 6 [27 favorites]


Where's the link to watch Spicey-time live?
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:07 PM on June 6


@zachlipton At first I thought you meant Karen Pence is the Sec of Ag and I was unfazed. Like "weird that I forgot, but sounds about right for this 'administration'".
posted by Emmy Rae at 12:07 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]




... insulting the mayor of London...

People quickly came to the mayor's defense, including J. K. Rowling, who said, "It's called 'leadership', Donald... If we need an alarmist blowhard, we'll call."

It's interesting to see more and more mayors – London, Pittsburgh, Houston, New York City, Portland (OR) getting into the news. A few years ago Benjamin Barber wrote a book titled If Mayors Ruled the World, which took as its thesis that "“Driven by universal ideologies and empowered by sovereignty and central government, nations too often imagine they can cure maladies, eradicate problems completely. They end up incapacitated by their power and hubris. Cities offer a stark contrast: pragmatic in approach, close to real people and their problems, and without sufficient autonomous power to cure anything independently, they must be satisfied with mitigation… They do what can be done rather than all that should be done. Ironically, their dependency drives cities to interdependence.”

In other words, Congresses and Parliaments can sit around and talk for hours, but if you're in charge and somebody's trash doesn't get picked up, you hear about it, and have to do something right away. As Barber says, "There is... no liberal or conservative way of picking up the garbage." He cites a 2011 report saying that U.S. mayors at that time had a 64% confidence rating, as opposed to 47% for the president and 19% for Congress.

p.s. Only two U.S. presidents previously were mayors: Calvin Coolidge in Northampton MA and Grover Cleveland in Buffalo NY.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:09 PM on June 6 [35 favorites]




As Barber says, "There is... no liberal or conservative way of picking up the garbage."

We'll see to what extent this remains true under the rising tide of partisanship...
posted by Jpfed at 12:12 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Yeah, the whole "Comey is nothingburger" is so annoying. He is there to answer questions. That's it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:12 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Exactly. Comey commenting on whether people did things wrong is what got us into this mess in the first place. It's sure as hell not his place to announce that someone committed obstruction of justice. He's a witness now, and his job is to tell us what he witnessed, not publicly accuse people of crimes.
posted by zachlipton at 12:14 PM on June 6 [48 favorites]


This is not surprising at all. Comey can't comment on whether there was corrupt intent. He should simply recount what happened.

'zactly. His testimony can be very important and very damning without being a occupydemocrats.com Boom! Takedown! Shade! ZOMG! He's there to report what he knows. That's neither a nothingburger nor is it the one weird trick that will solve Trump.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:16 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


As Barber says, "There is... no liberal or conservative way of picking up the garbage."

Well, you can hire municipal garbage collectors as public employees or contract it out to companies that slash pay and benefits in pursuit of profit, then end up costing more anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 12:16 PM on June 6 [83 favorites]


Bill was president for 8 years, and nothing really bad happened.

I suppose that depends on one's perspective.

* Rwandan genocide. We did nothing.
* Don't Ask, Don't Tell
* Defense of Marriage Act
* 1994 Federal Crimes Bill (which included the three-strikes rule, resulting in the highest number of Americans incarcerated in history. It also expanded the death penalty to 60! crimes -- including a couple that don't include murder, -- and increased drug conviction rates. ) AEDPA was passed a couple of years later, and it restricted the ability of judges to pass more lenient sentences.
* Repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Passed Riegle-Neal, which allowed for bank mergers. Deregulated the derivatives market. All of which led directly to the financial collapse of 2008. Before 1998, 5% of mortgages were in subprime loans. By 2008, 30% were.
* He also pioneered "extraordinary extradition." Which gave rise to CIA black ops torture sites in foreign countries.

I voted for him twice. Yes, some bad things happened and they were his fault.
posted by zarq at 12:17 PM on June 6 [90 favorites]


Yeah, witnesses generally testify as to what they witnessed, not as to whether the events witnessed constitute a crime. Though he might be asked hypotheticals based on his expertise in law enforcement ("in your experience, has anyone ever done [actions that Trump did] and been convicted of [obstruction of justice]" "in your experience, is it common for subjects of investigations to do XYZ").
posted by melissasaurus at 12:18 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


As Barber says, "There is... no liberal or conservative way of picking up the garbage."

Here in my city, there may be no liberal or conservative way of picking up garbage, but there sure is a liberal and conservative way of painting lines on streets. If you put a bike lane in, you're a liberal. If you don't, you're a conservative (though you're probably still, bafflingly, a registered Democrat, because we do that here). I've never seen so many people get so discombobulated over some lines on a road, it's bonkers.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:19 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


This is not surprising at all. Comey can't comment on whether there was corrupt intent. He should simply recount what happened.

'zactly. His testimony can be very important and very damning without being a occupydemocrats.com Boom! Takedown! Shade! ZOMG! He's there to report what he knows. That's neither a nothingburger nor is it the one weird trick that will solve Trump.


It's becoming more and more clear that there won't be a BOOM moment that takes everything down. The Republicans won't turn on Trump and he is too egotistical to resign even if it's costing him money or he is facing jail time.

We are looking at a long, destructive, wearying battle of attrition that will change approval ratings by 1% per week at most until election day 2020. Things will go up and down for Trump, but trend down, and he will get more and more desperate and less and less "Presidential" as the weeks, months, and years pass.
posted by Glibpaxman at 12:22 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]


Yes, some bad things happened

I know, but nothing like the right wing fantasies. Just the normal kind of bad stuff that happens under all presidents.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:23 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Sounds like Douche Canoe Twitter Bingo, to me. Quick, someone make a bingo card.

Okay.
posted by OntologicalPuppy at 12:24 PM on June 6 [24 favorites]



Canadian Foreign Policy address was made today by our Foreign Minister.

Here's the part about the US. Whole thing is worth a read just because it's so durn different then what is coming out of the US. Even though I live here I get overwhelmed with all of teh US goings on and forget that yes, we really do things different and everything doesn't just totally suck right now. Right now feeling this way is more a relief thing then a pride thing.

I tried to find a previous years address to see how much the US part changed but I couldn't easily. Maybe someone else can. I think the key though is that we're going to be doing more of our own thing, this includes looking straight to China and working with Europe et al.

The United States has truly been the indispensable nation, Mr. Speaker. For their unique, seven-decades-long contribution to our shared peace ‎and prosperity, and on behalf of all Canadians, I would like to profoundly thank our American friends.

As I have argued, Canada believes strongly that this stable, predictable international order has been deeply in our national interest. And we believe it has helped foster peace and prosperity for our ‎southern neighbours, too.

Yet it would be naive or hypocritical to claim before this House that all Americans today agree. Indeed, many of the voters in last year's presidential election cast their ballots, animated in part by a desire to shrug off the burden of world leadership. To say this is not controversial: it is simply a fact.

Canada is grateful, and will always be grateful, to our neighbour for the outsized role it has played in the world. And we seek and will continue to seek to persuade our friends that their continued international leadership is very much in their national interest—as well as that of the rest of the free world.

Yet we also recognize that this is ultimately not our decision to make. It is a choice Americans must make for themselves.

The fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course. For Canada that course must be the renewal, indeed the strengthening, of the postwar multilateral order.

We will follow this path, with open hands and open hearts extended to our American friends, seeking to make common cause as we have so often in the past. And indeed, as we continue to do now on multiple fronts—from border security, to the defence of North America through NORAD, to the fight against Daesh, to our efforts within NATO, to nurturing and improving our trading relationship, which is the strongest in the world.

And, at the same time, we will work with other like-minded people and countries who share our aims.

Mr. Speaker, to put this in sharper focus, those aims are as follows:

First, we will robustly support the rules-based international order, and all its institutions, and seek ways to strengthen and improve them.

We will strongly support the multilateral forums where such discussions are held—including the G7, the G20, the OAS, APEC, the WTO, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, the Arctic Council, and of course NATO and the UN.

A cornerstone of our multilateral agenda is our steadfast commitment to the Transatlantic Alliance. Our bond is manifest in CETA, our historic trade agreement with the European Union—which we believe in and warmly support—and in our military deployment this summer to Latvia.

There can be no clearer sign that NATO and Article 5 are at the heart of Canada’s national security policy.

We will strive for leadership in all these multilateral forums. We are honoured to be hosting the G7 next year, and we are energetically pursuing a two-year term on the UN Security Council. We seek this UN seat because we wish to be heard. For we are safer and more prosperous, Mr. Speaker, when more of the world shares Canadian values.

posted by Jalliah at 12:24 PM on June 6 [35 favorites]


uh oh @justinsink (Bloomberg): "Trump also randomly quipped that "Jared's actually become more famous than me" -- on heels of son-in-law's TIME cover"

hahahaha WATCH OUT JARED, THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE
posted by lalex at 12:25 PM on June 6 [85 favorites]


"Trump also randomly quipped that "Jared's actually become more famous than me" -- on heels of son-in-law's TIME cover"

That is exactly the same joke Donald made about Comey. Before he fired him.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:27 PM on June 6 [60 favorites]


Steve Bousquet, Adam Playford, Tampa Bay Times: At least 3 Florida counties targeted by Russian hacking attempt. I didn't pull a quote, but it basically corroborates some details from the NSA report of Russia using the phishing method as described.

Since the NSA report got leaked, this article from last December in the Daily Beast keeps coming up in my head: Donald Trump’s Pollster Says the Election Came Down to Five Counties. In these rather specific counties, Trump outperformed expectations and significantly outperformed Romney's numbers. Five counties were enough to flip the entire election. Now we're finding out Florida was targeted by the Russians. And a recount in Michigan was prevented.

My brain tells me there's currently no hard evidence of vote tampering. My gut says the vote was tampered, the election was stolen, the SCOTUS seat was stolen, and the upper levels of the GOP were both aware and involved. And I totally feel like a crazy person when I type this out.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:28 PM on June 6 [112 favorites]


Annie Karni of Politico pointed out on Twitter that Melania had been in DC during most of Trump's Twitter tantrums over the past few days, so perhaps she isn't really the distraction that other members of the media think she is.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:29 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Is it possible that the man who is PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND LIKELY THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON ALIVE is still driven by the primary motivation to be on the cover of the New York tabloids to the exclusion of all others? (yes for sure that is the thing that is the case)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:29 PM on June 6 [21 favorites]


At this point I don't think it's at all inconceivable that Saudi Arabia will invade Qatar and Americans in uniform there will be ordered not to intervene and instead just watch in horror as their hosts are killed.

And I don't know Saudi's capacity for fast mobilization or anything, but part of me kind of expects it to happen during the Comey hearings.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:30 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


OntologicalPuppy: I like how "Erodes confidence in Democratic institutions" is in the traditional "FREE" space.
posted by yhbc at 12:31 PM on June 6 [25 favorites]


I suspect the reason Trump is doing a speech at the same time as the testimony is because he was tricked/goaded into it by his staff/handlers to reduce the chance of tweeting foot-in-mouth gaffs as he watched the testimony in real-time.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:33 PM on June 6 [30 favorites]


Just to add to the potential weirdness of the whole Qatar thing, Qatar is in the Steele dossier regarding that whole 19.5 % investment in Roseneft oil privatization thing.

Roseneft. This is the ball I'm keeping an eye on, even though it may be the toughest nut to crack. I hope this is another connection made, but not getting my hopes up.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:33 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I know, but nothing like the right wing fantasies. Just the normal kind of bad stuff that happens under all presidents.

We shouldn't ever become complacent enough to think any of those things are normal or acceptable, simply because Republicans came up with fake conspiracy accusations to delegitimize his Presidency. We need to set the bar higher than that.
posted by zarq at 12:33 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


We shouldn't ever become complacent enough to think any of those things are normal or acceptable, simply because Republicans came up with fake conspiracy accusations to delegitimize his Presidency.

The point of that sentence was simply that those conspiracy accusations were indeed fake. That's all.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:39 PM on June 6


The difference being that the SNP has left-wing policies while Zuckerberg is almost certain to run on a bunch of middle-of-the-road garbage about Disruption!!!, saving Silicon Valley from itself, public-private partnerships, the appification of government, and giving himself a tax cut/making it easier for him to do business in the future.

I may have been a bit too breif and glib with that one. The left are just as dumb as the right when it comes to virtuous voting. I know plenty of progressives and lefties that couldn't stomach incremental pragmatism and voted for Johnson simply because he smoked the ganja.

The crux of my passing comment that your mythical virtuous left voter was a true scotsman.
posted by Talez at 12:41 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


It's sure as hell not his place to announce that someone committed obstruction of justice.

Fuck that and fuck him. If he has a shred of decency left, which he doesn't, he would have to treat Trump with the same shameful disregard for proper procedure and basic following-the-law that he did Clinton. Knowing that he has no shred of decency left, the reason why he won't be announcing that Trump attempted to obstruct justice is very emphatically not that he is so sober and above-board or whatever positive-ish noises. It'll be to shield Trump and the fellow members of his treasonous and fundamentally dishonorable party.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:55 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Where's the link to donate to Reality Winner's defense fund? Because if that's NOT a thing yet, we're failing at America. I have some moneyz and will.

Yeah, the whole "Comey is nothingburger" is so annoying. He is there to answer questions. That's it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:12 AM on June 7 [2 favorites +] [!]


Levity pls.

I've got to say, it would be the devil's own choice if Zuckerberg were the Democratic candidate, and thinking about this gave me a lot of understanding of "I will NOT vote for Hillary even if we go to the devil" voters. I...don't even know what I'd do. Hope and pray that something during the campaign made matters clearer to me, I guess.
posted by Frowner at 3:44 AM on June 7 [3 favorites +] [!]


I would not protest vote, if the Republican was worse.

I don't give too much of a shit if they are fighting amongst themselves--keep screaming for Sessions, Gorka, and Bannon's dismissals.

AND prosecutions. All talking like firing is enough.

We are looking at a long, destructive, wearying battle of attrition that will change approval ratings by 1% per week at most until election day 2020. Things will go up and down for Trump, but trend down, and he will get more and more desperate and less and less "Presidential" as the weeks, months, and years pass.
posted by Glibpaxman at 4:22 AM on June 7 [1 favorite +] [!]


Hi. I hate Republicans. Actively. I purge them from my social space and make it costly to believe what they believe in every possible way I can. It is exhausting. I do this with no other ideology or creed, but when someone is exerting power irresponsibly and there is visible and legal recourse available to you, and literally public opinion that must be won to change things, and willfully obtuse participants making things worse for people, ostracize them. Economically. My racist uncles and aunts and fathers and mothers of the R persuasion get no truck from me, and get shamed/boycotted when/if I find out. I live abroad so this is easier for me, but still. Yes. War of attrition. Make it hurt. They have their ballot and that is their choice, but I have lots more choices available to me, and I have changed...if not minds, at least public behavior. Do it in your space too please.
posted by saysthis at 12:55 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


I would not protest vote, if the Republican was worse.

And that is the question. Not to pre-litigate 2020 (pre-litigate! is that a thing now?) but Zuckerberg would run on inequality and the surveillance state, given some green coating. He is smart and evil, he doesn't have any government ties holding him back, he believes a number of things about government that I find terrifying, he has no interest in human rights for anyone who wants any kind of privacy (like trans people, for instance), he has no sympathy for anyone who does not want to be surveilled every minute. His company has no problem with racism, fake news and coercion, and his allies in Silicon Valley have no problem with destroying the health and livelihood of most working class Americans.

My fear of Zuckerburg would be very different from my fear of Trump, but quite possibly of the same severity - Zuckerberg as president could establish a coercive surveillance state which makes the one we have now look trivial, and he would, because he believes in surveillance the way Pence believes in Jesus. He's not even an opportunist, he's a zealot. He's a bad guy - the fact that he is very, very rich and doesn't froth at the mouth with hatred for the gays should not conceal this.

A Zuckerberg presidency would be the end of the American project just as surely as a Trump presidency, totally unlike the presidency of your average disappointing Democrat. It would be a science fiction dystopia, but the other kind.
posted by Frowner at 1:03 PM on June 6 [56 favorites]


To loop back on the "Dems are taking forever to approve my people, including Ambassadors." tweet, Heather Nauert responded to a question concerning "some tweets" in today's State Department press briefing that they have a lot of people going through the security clearance process, and that "this. just. takes. time."
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:04 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Somehow it only just hit me that Jill Stein was at that RT gala with Putin and Michael Flynn because obviously THEY WERE SUPPORTING HER CAMPAIGN, successfully trying to stop Clinton.

I'm going to have a lie down.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:06 PM on June 6 [65 favorites]


I genuinely loved Hillary. Still do. Thought she was the best choice all along. But I also recognize that not everyone felt that way. What disgusts me is that so many people couldn't get the fuck over it.

I'm a Democrat. With only one or two exceptions in my life, I've voted for Democrats down the line. But in any election, if I was given the choice between a sane and competent Republican or a blisteringly incompetent, stupid, hurtful, outwardly racist and sexist and treasonous Democrat, I would not hesitate to vote for the Republican.

What disgusts me about Republicans is that they were faced with the reverse of that choice and they couldn't get over themselves enough to do the right thing.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:09 PM on June 6 [133 favorites]


They still can't.
posted by Autumnheart at 1:12 PM on June 6 [22 favorites]


Jordan is cutting back on diplomatic ties with Qatar.
posted by PenDevil at 1:21 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


That Eric Trump Foundation story is disgusting and it sounds like Eric got talked into channeling the charity funds into dear old Dad's pocket. No doubt he got lectured on family loyalty. So rich people donate money to the foundation and take a write-off on their taxes and that money is funneled directly into Trump Golf Courses and it is also given to other charities so that they also will funnel money into Trump Golf Courses. All at a specially inflated price. I don't suppose anyone can be prosecuted for this but maybe NY and NJ could make it against the law for anyone running a charity to give that money to a family business.

No wonder Trump is comfortable charging tax payers for the use of his golf carts by the USSS. He's been using tax money (in a roundabout way) to run his golf courses for years.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:31 PM on June 6 [22 favorites]


I NEEDED a POTUS thread. I am frothing at teh mouth. Till now I'd been distant, remote, away on a different continent with some random passport. This man was NOT my problem.

Until now.

His idiocy will cause a conflagration of the likes unseen in mankind's history.

And there will always be those who'll rush in like jackals to devour the corpse.

So there's no guarantee that cooler heads can prevail in time to prevent it.

They trying to provoke and nudge and prod this THING into triggering their rapturous Armageddon.

oh thank god for cooler heads ::hamburger::

Putin confirmed Russia’s position in favor of settlement of the crisis situations through a dialogue
posted by infini at 1:33 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


I genuinely loved Hillary. Still do...

...What disgusts me about Republicans is that they were faced with the reverse of that choice and they couldn't get over themselves enough to do the right thing.


My feeling about this timeline is that we are in full "crazy part of history" mode and it's unavoidable. If Hillary had squeaked out the victory instead of Donald I think we'd still be having a crazy shit show, because that's were the Republicans are now. The timeline were Hillary wins with an overwhelming majority is the sane one.
posted by bongo_x at 1:35 PM on June 6 [34 favorites]




The timeline were Hillary wins with an overwhelming majority is the sane one.

If we were in a sane timeline, Trump never would have been a candidate.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:37 PM on June 6 [40 favorites]


Somehow it only just hit me that Jill Stein was at that RT gala with Putin and Michael Flynn because obviously THEY WERE SUPPORTING HER CAMPAIGN, successfully trying to stop Clinton.

Yeah, there's a non-zero chance Dr. Stein ends up as one of the folks Mueller is investigating.

I hoping that, in her case, she was just wooly headed and oblivious (with bad recordkeeping regarding funding sources), as opposed to knowingly corrupt. Seems like such a stupid reason to go to prison when you know you were never going to be anything but a spoiler.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:37 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]


I don't object to Trump being a candidate, as long as he polls behind Vermin Supreme
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:38 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Possible actions that The Douche Canoe might undertake:

-Admits to a crime accidentally
-Admits to a crime gleefully and on purpose
-Insults Comey
-Insults Comey and the whole Senate Intelligence Committee
-Whines about the courts and doubles down on the Travel Ban
-Explicitly calls the Travel Ban, "the Muslim Travel Ban"
-Insults allies
-Reveals current classified intelligence
-Praises Mike Flynn
-Praises Putin, Erdogan, Duerte, or other autocrat
-Says something antisemitic
-Retweets Russian Propaganda
-Admits to recent contact with Mike Flynn
-Has some sort of major vascular failure either in the heart or brain due to stress


You left out: Inexplicably continues to call the Comey hearing a liberal witch-hunt run by the election losers, despite Congress being completely in Republican hands.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:41 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


per the infinite-quantum-universes theory, there is a timeline where Vermin Supreme is president right now and you just know the lucky fuckers in that timeline are all "lol, how crazy is this, it can't get any crazier, we're in the crazy timeline lolol" and good god damn I wish I had a portal gun so I could drop in there and just scream "REALITY WINNER! REALITY WINNER!" at them for a while. they wouldn't get it but it'd make me feel better in some small way
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:43 PM on June 6 [54 favorites]


I can see it now:
Zuckerberg is not your friend. He will never be your friend. But Tom is your friend. From the very moment he knew you existed, and he wouldn't let go. Vote Tom Anderson 2020.


(annnd, nope. Other than people that admire billionaires, I don't think anyone really likes Zuckerberg, let alone like enough to vote for him for any relevant position. He'll probably get his rich venture capitalist buddies to lobby the DNC for him, but that will be it)
posted by lmfsilva at 1:49 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Mark Zuckerberg for President?!?

if he's still talking about this in 2019, we'll just need to send Vermin Supreme to kick his ass.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:50 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]




From the 6/6 Daily 202 column linked above:
... All of the let-'er-rip tweets in the wake of the attack on London Bridge have been focused on ginning up the GOP base. The president believes that, so long as grass-roots activists back him, his adopted party’s lawmakers will have no choice but to follow. The fact that so many politicians have caved and capitulated over the past two years has taught him that he can get away with his unusual behavior. What the Republican governing class has never understood is that Trump doesn’t really respect people who kowtow to him; he sees it as a sign of their weakness. Seeing such timidity has only emboldened this president to pursue this bottom-up, outside-in approach. There is no evidence he will change until elected Republicans buck him en masse.

-- Here’s the rub: There are some fresh signs that Trump’s act is wearing thin. While Trump’s floor of support has thus far stayed surprisingly high, the percentage of Americans who “strongly” approve of the president has continued to slip — from 30 percent earlier in the spring to about 20 percent now.

-- More and more GOP lawmakers are also getting sick and tired of either defending the president or dodging questions about his latest provocative statement.
Emphasis mine (italics), then theirs (bold).
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:51 PM on June 6 [22 favorites]


Whether or not The Intercept fucked up more than Reality did, who the hell would trust Peter Principle poster child Michael Moore to set up a secure site for whistleblowers?
Documentary filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore launched a website called "TrumpiLeaks" on Tuesday to allow whistleblowers to securely leak information to him about U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration.

"Patriotic Americans in government, law enforcement or the private sector with knowledge of crimes, breaches of public trust and misconduct committed by Donald J. Trump and his associates are needed to blow the whistle in the name of protecting the United States of America from tyranny," Moore wrote in an open letter on the Huffington Post.

"I know this is risky. I knew we may get in trouble. But too much is at stake to play it safe," Moore wrote.
Nobody's going to fall for this, right? Right?
posted by maudlin at 1:54 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Charlie Warzel: The Pro-Trump Internet And The Alt-Right Is Turning On Breitbart: "People in MAGA world don't really look to [Breitbart] for breaking news as much as they used to," Jack Posobiec told BuzzFeed News. Chuck Johnson put it more bluntly. "Breitbart is over," he wrote."

Digiday: Breitbart ads plummet nearly 90 percent in three months as Trump’s troubles mount

And Politico's got The 27 Words Trump Wouldn’t Say. This is what Trump was supposed to say to the NATO leaders, from the final version of the speech as approved by all the relevant departments:
“We face many threats, but I stand here before you with a clear message: the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance and to Article 5 is unwavering.”
posted by zachlipton at 1:54 PM on June 6 [72 favorites]



I've read things and I still really don't know what in the hell is going on re Qatar.
posted by Jalliah at 1:54 PM on June 6 [40 favorites]


I could honestly read ENCYCLOPEDIAS of commentary about how Brietbart is failing. Live by the sword, die by the sword motherfuckers.
posted by lalex at 1:58 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]


AP Pro-Trump group labels Comey political ‘showboat’ in new ad

The ad will air on Thursday on CNN and FOX
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:59 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


I have a hard time really schadening my freude when the reason Brietbart is tanking is that they aren't awful enough.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:59 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


Ad numbers don't really matter for Breitbart, they've always been bankrolled by the Mercers.
posted by PenDevil at 2:00 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Pro-Trump group labels Comey political ‘showboat’ in new ad

Cursed Pot Calls kettle Slightly Dirtied Teacup Black
posted by Glibpaxman at 2:02 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I feel like my ability to understand what's going on with Qatar is impeded by my immediate panic response/disaster spiralling about how this is THE START OF WWIII oh god. It's not, right? Right?
posted by yasaman at 2:04 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


I've read things and I still really don't know what in the hell is going on re Qatar.

It's a fast-moving situation in which a number of backroom deals have clearly been cut -- in a non-perjorative sense; I just mean that the timing of the cutting of ties yesterday suggests coördination on the part of the interceding parties -- and we're almost necessarily not going to know what's really going on until it's no longer going on, and hasn't been going on for long enough that people feel comfortable talking about it.

That could be reassuring -- in that there's no amount you can read to really understand the situation right now, because the stuff you'd need to understand it fully isn't being published! -- or, you know, the opposite.
posted by cjelli at 2:04 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


AP Pro-Trump group labels Comey political ‘showboat’ in new ad

You can do that? Just--just buy airtime to insult a dude?
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:07 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


AP Pro-Trump group labels Comey political ‘showboat’ in new ad

Wait, why are we still airing political ads, with no big elections coming up?

You can do that? Just--just buy airtime to insult a dude?

Ah.
posted by Melismata at 2:09 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Fucking Feinstein is cosponsoring legislation with Chuck Grassley for tough mandatory minimums for first offenses (like 10 years) with synthetic opioids. Because that'll help.

Can someone please fucking primary her?!
posted by leotrotsky at 2:10 PM on June 6 [81 favorites]


>Wait, why are we still airing political ads, with no big elections coming up?

45 has already registered as a candidate, and begun fundraising, for 2020. So technically...
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 2:11 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


cjelli,

Okay. I'll try not to sit here mull about it too much. But yeah that's the feeling I have, that I just don't have enough info to fit the pieces together into even some good solid speculation.

It's weird. And the timing unsettling. It has to be connected to Trump's trip somehow. He's fucked things up somehow.
posted by Jalliah at 2:12 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I hoping that, in her case, she was just wooly headed and oblivious (with bad recordkeeping regarding funding sources), as opposed to knowingly corrupt. Seems like such a stupid reason to go to prison when you know you were never going to be anything but a spoiler.

You seem to be assuming cash wasn't involved. I no longer believe she has any political aspirations or morals, I think she's a huckster and running for President is her job, not winning.
posted by bongo_x at 2:12 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


>I've read things and I still really don't know what in the hell is going on re Qatar.
and
> I feel like my ability to understand what's going on with Qatar is impeded by my immediate panic response/disaster spiralling about how this is THE START OF WWIII oh god.

Well, it's sure feeling like the US is planning to stand by while the Saudis seize Qatar's oil reserves. World War III seems like a stretch goal - this will be a purely regional conflict. We're not supposed to worry our pretty heads about it.

War in the Middle East is also good for oil prices. Both Rex-T and Putin approve. And Trump gets to play with the big boy toys.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:12 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Fucking Feinstein is cosponsoring legislation with Chuck Grassley for tough mandatory minimums for first offenses (like 10 years) with synthetic opioids.

Is there a link for that? The only thing I'm seeing from Feinstein / Grassley is a bill to expand research into weed.
posted by miguelcervantes at 2:18 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


QATAR GOVT OFFICIAL 1: Hey, I just had a reminder pop up on my Outlook calendar. Wasn't today the day we were supposed to send an emissary to lay hands on the Orb of Covfefe and pledge eternal fealty, lest we be cast out from the fellowship of earthly nations forevermore?

QATAR GOVT OFFICIAL 2: oh fuck
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:18 PM on June 6 [77 favorites]


World War III seems like a stretch goal - this will be a purely regional conflict. We're not supposed to worry our pretty heads about it.

People forget that Japan's invasion of Manchuria was the proof that the League of Nations was no impediment to war. Honestly, I tend to say WW II started there rather than with the usual Germany-invades-Poland mark.

If the world watches the US sit by while one of its allies invades another, that's not gonna be a good development for anything. And it's definitely going to go down in history as a pivotal moment for whatever happens after that. The ramifications are going to be far beyond regional.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:18 PM on June 6 [23 favorites]


Speaking of Climate Change.....

I learned something very interesting about Congressman Fred Upton today on the NYTimes Daily podcast. You remember Congressman Upton of the infamous Upton Amendment that allowed the House to come together and pass the AHCA Bill? He was, prior to 2010, a moderate Republican who believed in Climate Change and talked about the issue on his web site. In April 2009, he maintained that "climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions. Everything must be on the table." In 2010 he scrubbed his website of all mention of Climate Change and completely reversed his position.

So why did he change his opinion on Climate change? The Koch Brothers. The Citizens United decision was January 2010 and the Koch Brothers were inspired to use their Billions to force Republicans running for office to toe their line on Climate Change. Anyone who didn't commit to their policy would be primaried and since Upton was about to become the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce they made sure he understood they would spare nothing to replace him if he didn't become a Climate denier. Upton turned.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:20 PM on June 6 [76 favorites]


while the Saudis seize Qatar's oil reserves

This might seem like splitting hairs but oil is not Qatar's thing, its LNG, and associated downstream chems (mainly fertilizers). If you want to get all tinfoil-hatty, the Koch's are very big in fertilizers, most of whose LNG input costs are well hedged.
posted by H. Roark at 2:21 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Benjamin Wittes, the guy that 'ticks, ticks, ticks' before something major dumps just ticked again.

I hate him. *sigh*

Guess I'll be having my phone on in class.
posted by Jalliah at 2:22 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Ticks? What does that mean?
posted by agregoli at 2:24 PM on June 6


He says "tick, tick," on Twitter.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:26 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: World War III seems like a stretch goal - this will be a purely regional conflict.
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:26 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]


War in the Middle East is also good for oil prices. Both Rex-T and Putin approve. And Trump gets to play with the big boy toys.

One thing the U.S. Climate Alliance promises to do is to yuck the yums of "war for oil!" types. Sun and wind are everywhere, more or less. You can't really sit on them and make people pay and fight over them. I for one am looking forward to energy independence, or at least being able to use far less oil and gas.

There are more jobs at Tesla than there are in the entire coal industry. How many years from now until the oil industry goes the same way?
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:26 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


Hideous little bloodsuckers, but since we call them Trumps now I get your confusion.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:27 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Is there a link for that? The only thing I'm seeing from Feinstein / Grassley is a bill to expand research into weed

Just heard on NPR.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:27 PM on June 6


Wittes is a friend of Comey and writes for Lawfare. Knowledgeable, but the attention may have gone to his head recently. Latest tweet: "Now please don't read anything into this, but tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick".

If anything really happens, it will end up here, don't worry.
posted by maudlin at 2:28 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Ticks? What?


Sosorry I should have been more clear. Benjamin Wittes from Lawfare (also a friend of Comey's) and was the source of some of the stories talking about what happened with Comey and Trump.

On twitter he has been posting 'ticks tick, tick' (like a countdown clock) before a major story dump he know is coming. He just did it again a few minutes ago.
posted by Jalliah at 2:29 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


AP Pro-Trump group labels Comey political ‘showboat’ in new ad

You can do that? Just--just buy airtime to insult a dude?


Well they bought airtime just to praise a dude-- they ran ads talking about what a great guy Neil Gorsuch is during his Senate hearing. That's what all this PAC money is doing these days-- it is not just about campaigning it is also about molding public opinion.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:29 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Prior to the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 our relationship with Iraq was relatively cordial. That is to say that we seemed to have a mutual agreement that Iran was the larger regional enemy. That somehow (miscommunication? deliberate mis-interpretation?) was taken by Saddam Hussein as a free pass to seize Kuwaiti oil fields south of the Iraqi border - in part as retribution for their drilling techniques that were extracting oil from under Iraqi land.

It's pretty damn hard for me to not worry that what we are seeing in Qatar is that same scenario playing out once again, with a far less competent occupant of the White House than George H.W. Bush to preside over the mess it will create.
posted by meinvt at 2:29 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


. How many years from now until the oil industry goes the same way

Good luck powering a container ship on wind and solar.

If you don't have diesel, you'll need to make them nuclear.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:30 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


It's weird. And the timing unsettling. It has to be connected to Trump's trip somehow. He's fucked things up somehow.

For what it's worth, that would be my guess -- that Trump made some comments or promises without the input of his advisers that other people are now acting on; but that's very much a guess, and it's too soon for informed speculation. It's definitely not too soon to be reading up on what we do know, and what is happening, and general background on the area and so on, but insofar as none of that is going to, yet, fully explain the events unfolding (whatever they are), it's going to necessarily be unsatisfying. I don't want to put anyone off a good mull, I just think the clearest comparison to WWI is that there were plenty of crsises that people thought would break out into wars (and wars into bigger wars) that didn't -- and in the middle of fast-moving events, it's near-impossible for anyone inside the picture, let alone outside, to fully understand what's going on.

For every start of a World War, you've got a Tangiers Crisis (1905), an Agadir Crisis (1911), Italo-Turkish War (1911-1912), First Balkan War (1912-1913), or a Second Balkan War (1913). Sometimes people intend war -- and war is avoided. Sometimes people intend diplomacy -- and war breaks out. Sometimes things go very, very wrong, on purpose or not. Working out why things went the way they did isn't easy -- and figuring out which way things will go is harder.

Anyway, it's all probably okay because we have a competent, cool, and collected leader in the White House, so no worries etc.
posted by cjelli at 2:30 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


my immediate panic response/disaster spiralling about how this is THE START OF WWIII

Speaking of World War III, was there any fallout from the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:30 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Good luck powering a container ship on wind and solar.

Also producing most of the world's plastic.
posted by PenDevil at 2:31 PM on June 6


Well. May just said she's going to rip up human rights laws to fight terrorism so I guess the UK is with the US on that whole fascism bender. Hurrah.
posted by Talez at 2:32 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


Found the Feinstein / Grassley link .

Grassley, Feinstein Bill Combats Candy- and Fruit-Flavored Drugs Marketed to Children
posted by miguelcervantes at 2:33 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Axios: Trump pitched Republican leaders on a solar-paneled border wall
In the meeting at the White House today with Republican Congressional leaders, President Trump spent some time talking up his latest idea for the border wall. According to 3 people with direct knowledge of the meeting, Trump floated the idea that the wall could be covered in solar panels and the electricity generated used to pay for the cost.

Trump said his vision was a wall 40 feet to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels so they'd be "beautiful structures," the people said. The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall but this would be nothing like those walls. Trump told the lawmakers they could talk about the solar-paneled wall as long as they said it was his idea. One person cautioned that the President wasn't presenting the solar-paneled wall as the definite solution
[Jonathan Swan massively overhyped this with a "stand by for news" thing on Twitter and I thought it was going to be Wittes' ticking and now I'm angry]
posted by zachlipton at 2:33 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


"And Mexico is paying for it because we're using their sunlight." (Fake. Mostly.)
posted by jferg at 2:35 PM on June 6 [10 favorites]


> Grassley, Feinstein Bill Combats Candy- and Fruit-Flavored Drugs Marketed to Children

If only they'd found a way to backronym it as the CANDY KUSH SAGA Act.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:36 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


If you don't have diesel, you'll need to make them nuclear.

Surely if you have abundant wind and solar power you can use some of it to synthesize chemical fuel? Maybe use it to charge fuel cells?

Also producing most of the world's plastic.


Right now plastic is a by-product of fossil fuels -- nobody is drilling primarily to get the raw materials for plastics. I don't think it would by itself drive anything like the same demand. And there are plant-based plastics that are being developed for more and more applications.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:36 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Trump pitched Republican leaders on a solar-paneled border wall

If you're trying to convince Republicans to support your wall, adding solar panels isn't the way to do it. That's like trying to convince Democrats to support the wall by making it more racist.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:36 PM on June 6 [34 favorites]


The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall but this would be nothing like those walls.

This makes it sound like Donald Trump has never actually seen a wall with his own eyes.
posted by dng at 2:37 PM on June 6 [47 favorites]


Ok, the 50 foot high solar powered wall thing is really getting me. Hoo boy. Best part is because we are on the north side of the wall, we get to look at the backside of all those solar panels!
posted by meinvt at 2:37 PM on June 6 [10 favorites]


Good thing I previewed, I've already had one duplicate post deleted today.

But WTF? Solar panels on the wall? What nonsense is this? Does he think that the climate change-denying Republican Congress will fund a solar paneled wall over one not solar-paneled? Does he think Democrats will get on board the Wall train? I'm guessing that the soalr panels would just make the wall more expensive although maybe the energy it generated would help out the nearby communities?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:38 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]



Axios: Trump pitched Republican leaders on a solar-paneled border wall
In the meeting at the White House today with Republican Congressional leaders, President Trump spent some time talking up his latest idea for the border wall. According to 3 people with direct knowledge of the meeting, Trump floated the idea that the wall could be covered in solar panels and the electricity generated used to pay for the cost.

Trump said his vision was a wall 40 feet to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels so they'd be "beautiful structures," the people said. The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall but this would be nothing like those walls. Trump told the lawmakers they could talk about the solar-paneled wall as long as they said it was his idea. One person cautioned that the President wasn't presenting the solar-paneled wall as the definite solution
[Jonathan Swan massively overhyped this with a "stand by for news" thing on Twitter and I thought it was going to be Wittes' ticking and now I'm angry]


Besides the design issues and the build/running/maintenance trouble vs cost issues:

They would have to build a wall to protect the wall from people that would break the solar panels. Because if Trump ever gets a wall built and part of it is relatively easily breakable then people are gonna break the thing.
posted by Jalliah at 2:38 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall

this sentence is destroying my brain
posted by rifflesby at 2:39 PM on June 6 [88 favorites]


Trump said his vision was a wall 40 feet to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels so they'd be "beautiful structures," the people said. The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall but this would be nothing like those walls. Trump told the lawmakers they could talk about the solar-paneled wall as long as they said it was his idea. One person cautioned that the President wasn't presenting the solar-paneled wall as the definite solution

Let me get this straight. You're facing the solar panels, forming a symbol of hate, towards the people, outside your jurisdiction, who hate you because you call them rapists, drug dealers, criminals, murderers and you're facing glass solar panels towards them.

Are you fucking daft you pumpkin head? They're going to get their fucking drug catapults and use the panels as target practice for when they fling the drugs over. You daft fucking twat.
posted by Talez at 2:39 PM on June 6 [51 favorites]


If the world watches the US sit by while one of its allies invades another, that's not gonna be a good development for anything

I imagine Korea, the Baltics, Taiwan, Japan, etc. are looking hard at this. Of course, at the moment it looks like we have a President who wants to abandon Qatar and a military that is considerably less sanguine about the idea. So that should be interesting.

He says "tick, tick," on Twitter.

I wish he said "Spoon!"
posted by octobersurprise at 2:39 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


That somehow (miscommunication? deliberate mis-interpretation?) was taken by Saddam Hussein as a free pass to seize Kuwaiti oil fields south of the Iraqi border

July 25, 1990: Meeting between Saddam Hussein and US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie
U.S. Ambassador Glaspie: ...We can see that you have deployed massive numbers of troops in the south. Normally that would be none of our business, but when this happens in the context of your threats against Kuwait, then it would be reasonable for us to be concerned. For this reason, I have received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship – not confrontation – regarding your intentions: Why are your troops massed so very close to Kuwait’s borders?
...
Saddam Hussein: If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab – our strategic goal in our war with Iran – we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis). But, if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (i.e., in Saddam s view, including Kuwait ) then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States’ opinion on this?

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie: We have no opinion on your Arab – Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960’s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America.
August 2, 1990: Invasion of Kuwait

in part as retribution for their drilling techniques that were extracting oil from under Iraqi land.

So Kuwait was drinking Iraq's milkshake?
Maybe they used Burns Slant-Drilling Co.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:41 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


But WTF? Solar panels on the wall? What nonsense is this? Does he think that the climate change-denying Republican Congress will fund a solar paneled wall over one not solar-paneled?

No, he doesn't think that. He doesn't think about anything, except maybe when his next golf game is.
posted by Melismata at 2:41 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


If the world watches the US sit by while one of its allies invades another, that's not gonna be a good development for anything. And it's definitely going to go down in history as a pivotal moment for whatever happens after that. The ramifications are going to be far beyond regional.

That's because you're missing the world's Mandate of Heaven DLC. Tributaries are allowed to war with each other as much as they want.
posted by Talez at 2:42 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


But WTF? Solar panels on the wall?

See? Ivanka is a moderating influence.
posted by peeedro at 2:42 PM on June 6 [32 favorites]


Wouldn't they just attack us with paintballs?
posted by blnkfrnk at 2:44 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


You know what's the worst thing about the Republicans lacking any sort of spine? In the old days you know there would have been a Texas republican with his bolo tie and his 10 gallon hat and he'd look at Trump after that idea and say "Son, are you an idiot?"
posted by Talez at 2:46 PM on June 6 [72 favorites]



If the US trades sides with Mexico so the panels are facing the US on the south side of the wall then it's not a completely stupid idea. *shrug*
posted by Jalliah at 2:46 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


A solar powered wall? Great, then they will all just come over ON A CLOUDY DAY!!!!
posted by ian1977 at 2:48 PM on June 6 [42 favorites]


What a maroon, the obvious answer is to build the wall out of COAL!
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:52 PM on June 6 [20 favorites]


So this is apparently the designers rendering of the idea for a solar wall per AP.

Looks solid doesn't it? No one could ever bust that thing.
posted by Jalliah at 2:52 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]




The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall but this would be nothing like those walls.

This line is giving me the giggles.

Most walls you hear about are vertical, but this wall will be nothing like that.
Most walls you hear about are made out of solid materials but this wall will be different.
Most walls you hear about are useful but this wall will be special.
Most walls you hear about cost money to build but this one will be paid for by liberal tears.
Most walls you hear about are not insane projects developed by doddering old fools but this wall....hoo boy!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:54 PM on June 6 [48 favorites]


So this is apparently the designers rendering of the idea for a solar wall per AP.

Apparently all his designers can afford is Google Sketchup.
posted by jferg at 2:56 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


He is an 8-year-old kid drawing up the plans for his ultimate tree fort.
posted by contraption at 2:56 PM on June 6 [32 favorites]


But WTF? Solar panels on the wall? What nonsense is this? Does he think that the climate change-denying Republican Congress will fund a solar paneled wall over one not solar-paneled? Does he think Democrats will get on board the Wall train?

"Mandatory basic income and social services for all illegal immigrants, AND I'm kicking them all out of the country. See, everyone's happy" (fake)
posted by bongo_x at 2:57 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


The solar panels will require a ton of distribution infrastructure built into the wall in order to get some fraction of the energy they produce over to where anybody can use it, but on the plus side there will be a ready source of power for the coyotes to plug in their mobile plasma cutters.
posted by contraption at 2:58 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


He is an 8-year-old kid drawing up the plans for his ultimate tree fort.

not pictured: corrugated steel signs every 15 feet with the legend "NO GURL5 ALOWD"
posted by murphy slaw at 2:58 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


Oh hey this guy called Obama is speaking right now if you need a pick-me-up ...

I can barely watch this because it's like stepping back into this way saner world and I know I have to come back to this one.
posted by Jalliah at 3:00 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]




Woah. CNN breaking: Russia planted a fake news report that caused mideast countries to cut ties with Qatar.
posted by zachlipton at 3:02 PM on June 6 [51 favorites]


"Mandatory basic income and social services for all illegal immigrants, AND I'm kicking them all out of the country. See, everyone's happy" (fake)

"ABORTIONS FOR SOME! MINIATURE FLAGS FOR OTHERS!"
posted by Talez at 3:03 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Solar panels on the wall?

I doubt he realizes that in the northern hemisphere the panels have to be on the south side of the wall.
posted by JackFlash at 3:05 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


That CNN Qatar-hacking story: "US Suspects Russian Hackers Planted Fake News Behind Qatar Crisis"
US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar's state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US' closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.

The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.

Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.
posted by maudlin at 3:05 PM on June 6 [63 favorites]


Good luck powering a container ship on wind and solar.

Top 7 Green Ship Concepts Using Wind Energy

Designers Set Sail, Turning to Wind to Help Power Cargo Ships

Spinning sail technology is poised to bring back wind-powered ships

Look, I'm not a wide-eyed optimist, but either you believe we will always be able to economically use fossil fuels to power ships, or not. And in the latter case, it's simply common sense to look at alternatives.
posted by happyroach at 3:05 PM on June 6 [41 favorites]


Heh. So even if the wall was built, the panels didn't get damaged by rightly pissed off people south of the border, and the solar panels were paying for the wall, then he gets to go to his "bring back coal" voters and explain why he just eliminated the need for a lot of coal-generated power.
posted by azpenguin at 3:06 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


> NYTimes: Trump Takes Credit for Saudi Move Against Qatar, a U.S. Military Partner
> Russia planted a fake news report that caused mideast countries to cut ties with Qatar.

Damnit, something must be broken on my roulette wheel, because it just keeps coming up Russia and Trump, Russia and Trump.
posted by RedOrGreen at 3:06 PM on June 6 [45 favorites]


I'm listening to the live stream of Obama speaking in Montreal. Man, what a difference.
posted by fimbulvetr at 3:08 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


"US Suspects Russian Hackers Planted Fake News Behind Qatar Crisis"

So the question is not "Did Trump assist Russian Intelligence Operations" but "Is Trump Still Supporting Russian Intelligence Operations, Today, on Twitter, on the Shitter"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:09 PM on June 6 [25 favorites]


"Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, 'We're donating all of this stuff, and there's no paper trail? No credit?' And he went nuts. He said, 'I don't care if it's my son or not--everybody gets billed.' "

This makes perfect sense. Normally a rich person like Trump would donate the use of his facilities and then take a deduction for the donation on his income taxes. Except Trump doesn't pay taxes. So the donation deduction is worthless to him. Trump doesn't do anything unless he gets something out of it.
posted by JackFlash at 3:09 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


I'm listening to the live stream of Obama speaking in Montreal. Man, what a difference.

It's like a hit after going cold turkey for eight months.
posted by Talez at 3:10 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


It's a shame FPPs can't have soundtracks because reading this one just screams yakkity sax.

Oh, I think you want this thread...
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:11 PM on June 6


MSNBC is about to air what they are calling an impromptu intelligence press conference. I guess in relation to the Qatar story on CNN?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:12 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


MSNBC is about to air what they are calling an impromptu intelligence press conference. I guess in relation to the Qatar story on CNN?

Obama is on the air and getting good ratings!
posted by Talez at 3:13 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


It's like a hit after going cold turkey for eight months.

Or like... hearing your attractive, successful ex when you've since been with someone abusive, and being reminded that there's still no way you can get back together again, ever.

... To summarize, I can't bring myself to listen to his speeches these days for the most part.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:15 PM on June 6 [20 favorites]


The news reports that these moves against Qatar are a result of Russian-planted fake news is... I didn't think I could be struck speechless anymore.
posted by Justinian at 3:16 PM on June 6 [34 favorites]


From the Montanans Making Richard Spencer's Life Difficult Department: here's a caption from a local Instagram.

"This man may or may not have gotten right up in Richard Spencer's face last night in the airport and told him he's not welcome in Whitefish, among other things. I may or may not have told him he's the smelly pee kid who needs to work through his issues. We definitely resisted normalizing by actually showing resistance. At one point, Spencer actually asked my husband how much he could bench press, right after saying our soldiers weren't worthy, which my Lieutenant Colonel husband did not stand for. Spencer had to be escorted out by security after calling a local man a 'moron', and telling [name] he is 'basic middle class'. He's in Whitefish right now. Do not make him feel welcome. ps, Spencer has really bad breath."
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:16 PM on June 6 [52 favorites]


Wait, what is an "impromptu intelligence press conference." Who is holding the presser?
posted by lalex at 3:17 PM on June 6


The House Intelligence leaders are briefing on Russia, but it sounds like they just wanted to get in front of the cameras and say "we are doing something."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:18 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Yeah this conference is a "LOOK AT ME! IM DOING IMPORTANT BUSINESS!" thing. I love you Schiffy but this is pointless.
posted by Justinian at 3:19 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Apparently Trump challenged Sadiq Khan to an IQ test. Can we get this internationally televised ASAP?

I would happily pay to watch Trump get humiliated in a face-off between those two.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:19 PM on June 6 [23 favorites]


I am pretty sure the correct response to being asked how much you can bench by Richard Spencer is a quick jab followed by a haymaker.
posted by contraption at 3:19 PM on June 6 [24 favorites]


Washington Post, by Valerie Strauss: On Betsy Devos' testimony before Senate committee.

Basically, she refuses to commit to LGBTQ or religious protections in private schools or to promise protections for public funds being actually used for education rather than making rich people richer.
posted by cui bono at 3:22 PM on June 6 [18 favorites]


I imagine Sadiq Khan will also decline to wrestle the pig in the mud.
posted by yhbc at 3:22 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


See, because he's smart.
posted by yhbc at 3:23 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


Here's what I can't wrap my head around with Qatar—we have two emerging narratives:

-Russia hacked the state broadcaster (and Otaiba’s emails to I guess? Somebody hacked them anyway) to drive a riff between Qatar and the Gulf states. Trump takes the Saudi side as his staff softly backpedals, thus playing into Russia's hand.
-Qatar paid a billion dollars to an al-Qaeda affiliate and Iran (link is to Google to bypass paywall, click the first hit) to get their kidnapped royals back.

So which is it? The latter explanation seems more likely, though I'm not sure I've seen anyone else confirm FT's reporting there. Or is it supposed to be a "it's a little of both" situation?
posted by zachlipton at 3:23 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Oh my god, Trump taking an IQ test would be enormous. I would do anything to make that happen.

What number comes next in this sequence? 4, 16, 64, ___

I've got the best numbers. Let me tell you. People have been calling me, these numbers, they're just great. All of the numbers voted for me, you can see in this Electoral College map, because I'm very good at college. We're going to make the thing in the sequence, it's definitely, it's 37, it's fabulous.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:24 PM on June 6 [24 favorites]


While Trump’s floor of support has thus far stayed surprisingly high, the percentage of Americans who “strongly” approve of the president has continued to slip — from 30 percent earlier in the spring to about 20 percent now.

That's dipping significantly below the Crazification Factor. I'm guessing that'd be the fringe who are disappointed that Trump's bogged down in institutional procedures rather than ruling by decree from atop a throne of skulls or something.
posted by acb at 3:24 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


zachlipton: my impression is that the former story (true) led to the latter story (false)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:25 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I imagine Sadiq Khan will also decline to wrestle the pig in the mud.

This happened last year, and yea, he pretty much did. Khan accused Trump of being ignorant. That's when Trump challenged him to the IQ test. Khan responded: Ignorance is not the same thing as intelligence.
posted by zabuni at 3:26 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Why it's almost like Trump and Putin are working hand in hand.
posted by diogenes at 3:29 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


I'm beginning to think this Trump character is not as wise as he's cracked up to be.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:29 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Four top law firms turned down Trump: report.
“The concerns were, ‘The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,’"
That's quite a money quote.
posted by Justinian at 3:31 PM on June 6 [46 favorites]


Good luck powering a container ship on wind and solar.

The shipping industry from circa 3000 BCE - 1900 CE would like a word with you.
posted by biogeo at 3:32 PM on June 6 [47 favorites]




Nothing that good would ever happen.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 3:36 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


zachlipton, the Qatari royal family hostage ransom was covered by the Guardian in April 2017. It got very complicated but the ransom part was:

The fates of 26 members of a Qatari royal hunting party held hostage for more than a year in Iraq... Qatari jet sits on tarmac in Baghdad as royal hostages await release
Qatari officials arrived in the Iraqi capital on Saturday with large bags they refused to allow to be searched. Senior Iraqi officials said they believed the bags to be carrying millions of dollars in ransom money, to be paid to the Iraqi militia holding the royals, Keta’eb Hezbollah, and two Syrian groups who had agreed to secure the Shia leg of the swap, the al-Qaida inspired Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham...

...The Syrian regime has played no role in the negotiations, and the Baghdad authorities have repeatedly said they did not known who was holding the Qataris. As their release has neared, it has shown no interest in confronting the hostage takers.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:36 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Sessions might resign because trump is angry he recused himself?
Asked by ABC News if the attorney general had threatened or offered to resign, Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores declined to comment.
/r/savedyouaclick 'ed TFY
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:37 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


No, Sessions might resign because he looked around himself and realized that it was, indeed, a dumpster, in which he was standing, that was on fire.
posted by eclectist at 3:38 PM on June 6 [29 favorites]


The Gang That Couldn't Loot Straight.
posted by acb at 3:39 PM on June 6 [34 favorites]


btw I'd like to know more about CNN's news urgency hierarchy. Is it:

"BREAKING NEWS"
"FIRST ON CNN"
regular news?

Although they do open with "BREAKING NEWS" at the top of every hour so maybe FIRST ON CNN is more important?
posted by lalex at 3:40 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


If that rat jumps ship, then the ship is clearly about to fucking blow.
posted by yasaman at 3:40 PM on June 6 [30 favorites]


Note that Sessions has no problem standing in dumpsters or even standing in support of dumpsters, but he's disliked them since he discovered they occasionally catch fire.
posted by mosk at 3:40 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Chuck Johnson put it more bluntly. "Breitbart is over," he wrote, before returning to shitting on the floor.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:41 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


So does this mean Jared will take over?
posted by contraption at 3:41 PM on June 6


If that rat jumps ship, then the ship is clearly about to fucking blow.

Though what happens next? Do sensible adults take over and start the slow, painstaking process of rebuilding? Or is there a short period of chaos and upheaval culminating with the most ruthless and wel-disciplined faction seizing power (as happened during the Russian and Iranian revolutions)?
posted by acb at 3:42 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Though what happens next? Do sensible adults take over and start the slow, painstaking process of rebuilding? Or is there a short period of chaos and upheaval culminating with the most ruthless and wel-disciplined faction seizing power (as happened during the Russian and Iranian revolutions)?

Well if we get Pence we go back to the normal domestic agenda of stopping The Handmaid's Tale from becoming a reality.
posted by Talez at 3:45 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


culminating with the most ruthless and well-disciplined faction seizing power?

error: returned null value in func(WashingtonDC); halting
posted by eclectist at 3:46 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


So does this mean Jared will take over?

That all depends on whether Trump gets that the Attorney General has to be an actual, you know, attorney and also on whether he gives a shit.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:47 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


FIRST ON CNN is the top ranking for sure
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:51 PM on June 6


Sessions is one of the people MOST responsible for President Donald J Trump. He's been there since the beginning. Until he actually resigns or gets fired this is all drama created to distract us. If Trump has a superpower it's distraction, never forget.
posted by Glibpaxman at 3:53 PM on June 6 [20 favorites]


Pence is up to his neck in the Russian shit, hard to see anything taking down Trump that doesn't take him down too.

It's the "too big to fail" regime.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


June 6, 2017 - *Readout of President Donald J. Trumps Call with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia*

President Donald J. Trump spoke today with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The two leaders discussed the critical goals of preventing the financing of terrorist organizations and eliminating the promotion of extremism by any nation in the region. The President underscored that a united Gulf Cooperation Council is critical to defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability.

I wonder if the topic of Qatar came up?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:56 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I am in class so just read the Qatar Russia news on my phone. I was struck breathless as the significance of this and Trump's tweets this am set in. So much that I am now out of class walking it off and getting hold of myself.

Words can't express how epic this just got.
posted by Jalliah at 4:01 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


And yet nothing will happen.
posted by Artw at 4:02 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


We don't know that. Sometimes, stuff happens.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:03 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Woah. CNN breaking: Russia planted a fake news report that caused mideast countries to cut ties with Qatar.

So let's get this straight. On his international jaunt, Trump refused to affirm Article V of NATO and he seems to have given the go-ahead to an encirclement of Qatar that Russia perceives as in its self-interest.

So Trump is basically doing Russia's bidding in foreign affairs?
posted by dis_integration at 4:04 PM on June 6 [63 favorites]


"US Suspects Russian Hackers Planted Fake News Behind Qatar Crisis"

*checks off the "Retweets Russian propaganda" square on bingo card*
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:04 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


The Trump Doctrine: foreign policy decisions are based on which choice would best benefit Russian oligarchs.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:06 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]


Arming foreign fighters ... apparently it costs 500 million dollars to field a force of 4 or 5. (CSPAN video, 1min20sec, of Gen. Austin testifying to that fact a couple years ago).
posted by phoque at 4:09 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Jim Sciutto on Twitter: Breaking: Comey to testify he never told Trump he was not under FBI investigation @GloriaBorger reports
posted by maudlin at 4:10 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Qatar is home to the forward headquarters of the United States Central Command. It is a major intelligence hub for the United States in the Middle East and the base where the United States plans and carries out airstrikes on the Islamic State.From the NYTimes link posted above


So I knew we had 11,000 troops there but I did not realize it was the major intelligence hub in the Middle East. If Trump backed a Saudi war against Qatar on the orders of Putin, he should be tried for treason. He is the President and as such he gets to set Foreign Policy but my god...there are limits. He is willfully destroying the US's position in the Middle East and around the World and in NATO.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:10 PM on June 6 [90 favorites]


So we're carrying water for the Russians, but somehow the Paris Climate Agreement is a threat to our sovereignty? Man, I just don't get Republicans.
posted by eclectist at 4:14 PM on June 6 [84 favorites]


And now for something lighter

Daily Mail 'I'm not a woman, so I don't have bad days': Russian president Vladimir Putin says he never struggles because he is a man and does not have 'certain natural cycles'
Putin made the comment to Oliver Stone during the upcoming Showtime film
'I am not trying to insult anyone. That's just the nature of things,' Putin told Stone
During the interview, Putin also joked when asked if he'd shower with a gay man
'I prefer not to... Why provoke him? But you know, I'm a judo master,' Putin said
Heh. I wonder what Megyn Kelly would have said if he told her that during her interview? Would she have let it pass?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:16 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


Spitbull's request for citing sources: #7054333

My comment: #7054323
Yakety Sax: Written by James Q. "Spider" Rich and Boots Randolph.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:17 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Based on a correction from the future (?) it appears a certain Alan Dershowitz was upset about his quote in the Sessions article in the NYT...

Correction: June 7, 2017
An article on Tuesday about President Trump’s growing discontent with Attorney General Jeff Sessions summarized incorrectly comments that Alan M. Dershowitz made during the 2016 election. Mr. Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, regularly defended the civil liberties of Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton. He did not regularly defend Mr. Trump.

posted by AwkwardPause at 4:20 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Jim Sciutto on Twitter: Breaking: Comey to testify he never told Trump he was not under FBI investigation @GloriaBorger reports

When political Twitter needs spoiler alerts.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:21 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


So Trump is basically doing Russia's bidding in foreign affairs?

That would be a resounding yes.
posted by diogenes at 4:21 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


It amuses me that Benjamin Wittes keeps publicly challenging Putin to a literal fight.
posted by diogenes at 4:23 PM on June 6


Max Fisher:
1/ A few quick thoughts on President Trump seeming to abandon the US-Qatar alliance over twitter, which is absolutely unprecedented
It is true that Qatar is a problematic ally, and there are non-ridiculous cases for abandoning it. What’s troubling is why & how it was done
Trump's tweets pretty strongly imply that he is supporting the blockade bc Saudi Arabia, Qatar’s chief rival, convinced him to.
So now US allies have the same problem that WH officials have: fear that their rivals will trash them to Trump, leading to their ouster.
Apparent ease with which Trump dropped Qatar, with no show of trying to solve problems with them directly, sends a scary message to allies
What’s especially troubling is the US base in Qatar, and not just because it now complicates US strategy in the region...
…Qatar’s biggest aim in accepting the base was to get US guarantee against Saudi Arabia. Their US insurance plan turned out to be worthless.
How many allies have to now ask: Is our US insurance plan also worthless? Can another ally get Trump to abandon us overnight?
The USA is still the biggest game in town, so it’s not like allies will all flee tmr. But Qatar incident gives strong incentive to hedge.
That hedging will be quiet, so it’s not going to immediately obvious. But, after today, what choice do allies have?
Here's our explainer on the Qatar/Gulf crisis, which I think helps to shed light on why Trump's tweets today matter
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:24 PM on June 6 [93 favorites]


And that Max Fisher thread doesn't even account for the fact that it was all started by a Russian psyops campaign.
posted by diogenes at 4:27 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


The Quatar tweets just highlight what a bunch of morons these guys are. What absolute fucking morons.

Trump has no idea what he's saying or doing, just that he felt like taking credit for something and now boom! chaos. The Repulicans in power ought to be rending their clothes on the fucking street right now. I hope they are panicking, somewhere in their shriveled little guts.
posted by lydhre at 4:27 PM on June 6 [37 favorites]


There was the Yousef Al-Otaiba email hack, too. That was from "GlobalLeaks".

This rift was already happening, though. Saudis and co. wouldn't make the move unless they wanted to. To what extent were the hacks the catalyst? To what extent were they coordinated, and between which parties? Was there already a plan?

This is weird.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:28 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Heh. I wonder what Megyn Kelly would have said if he told her that during her interview? Would she have let it pass?

He's a Republican, of course she'd let it pass. That's her entire job.
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


I am really really really uncomfortable with the idea of Russia seemingly playing the president of the country with the most powerful military in the world this way.
posted by Jalliah at 4:31 PM on June 6 [37 favorites]


Which is why I said, and believe more fervently every day, that the Dems number one priority should be pushing for removal of Trump. It's not based on what-if calculations of what would follow, or looking at how best to plot political advantage, it's an existential need for avoiding international chaos.
posted by Devonian at 4:32 PM on June 6 [59 favorites]


“The concerns were, ‘The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,’"

Hmm... How are Morgan, Lewis & Bockius getting paid, then?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 4:33 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Russians?
posted by leotrotsky at 4:34 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]



Four top law firms turned down Trump: report.

“The concerns were, ‘The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,’
"

The guy who did take the case, Marc Kasowitz, has represented Trump in the past, not always successfully. LA Times
The law firm helped Trump restructure debt when his casinos entered bankruptcies. Kasowitz sued successfully to keep records sealed from Trump’s divorce from first wife, Ivana; he was less successful suing an author who questioned Trump’s net worth. His firm also represented Trump in fraud claims brought against Trump University by the New York state attorney general.
We all know how the Trump University lawsuit turned out.
The president’s private counsel cannot be paid with government funds. In the past, presidents have raised money through legal defense funds, or under some circumstances have used campaign funds. In this case, Eisen said, it is expected that Trump will pay personally.

“Given that you have a person of great wealth who has a pre-existing relation with this attorney, it is probably most expeditious for Trump to pay himself,’’ said Eisen.
Oh my sweet, summer child.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:36 PM on June 6 [17 favorites]


And note that we're asked to accept anonymous sources leaking to CNN about the attribution of a just-unfolding investigation into a foreign hack. I'll take their word over any Trumpian, but we could also be covering for another ally. It's not like anyone's going to get any more angry at Russia. Maybe it doesn't really matter -- as someone pointed out, in the end it didn't matter who shot Franz.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:36 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


I am really really really uncomfortable with the idea of Russia seemingly playing the president of the country with the most powerful military in the world this way.

I'm just hoping that it isn't more coordinated than playing him.
posted by diogenes at 4:37 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


as someone pointed out, in the end it didn't matter who shot Franz.

Oh come on it's nothing like WWI. You'd need a major power to write some form of blank check in regards to supporting the aggressors...

Fuck.
posted by Talez at 4:42 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


According to Kremlin events calendar, Putin called the Emir of Qatar today.
Russian-Qatari cooperation, primarily in the trade, economic and investment areas, was discussed, and the results of the meeting of the bilateral Intergovernmental Commission in April 2017 were highly praised.

International issues were also discussed. Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s principled position in favour of settling crises by political and diplomatic means, through dialogue.
I don't know what this means.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:45 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Outside of Trump destroying the world order, which in all fairness is what his supporters wanted him to do, nothing has happened yet and it's June.

No one's been charged, no powers have been curtailed, no one's gone to jail, and shit-for-brains is still twitting from the golden throne like day 1.

Prognostication, analysis, divination, litotes, and satire all good okay but ffs somebody (in the federal government, legally) DO something already.

It's the "too big to fail" regime.

I'm pretty sure the framers had a thing for that.
posted by petebest at 4:45 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I am pretty sure the correct response to being asked how much you can bench by Richard Spencer is a quick jab followed by a haymaker.

Kevin Durant couldn't bench 180lbs at the NBA draft combine.

But he could average 27ppg and 8 rebounds in the NBA 2017 playoffs so far (and will cash 26 and half million dollars worth of checks this season - not counting endorsements). Those guys who could bench more? They're golfiing now and earned way less.

Which is to say that bench pressing means as much as having all the good words. Richard Spencer should join the Mensabaters.
posted by srboisvert at 4:48 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I don't know what this means.

If I were more conspiracy minded betting man I'd say it's a polite way of covering Putin telling Qatar that if it decides to say a fucking word about Rosneft they're going to turn their shitty little peninsula to glass.
posted by Talez at 4:48 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


The president (maybe?) can't be charged with a crime. The illegitimate majority that has consolidated its stolen power doesn't seem to care. These motherfuckers took a series of loopholes and turned them into one giant glorious goatse.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 4:49 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


NYT: Comey Told Sessions: Don’t Leave Me Alone With Trump
WASHINGTON — The day after President Trump asked James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, to end an investigation into his former national security adviser, Mr. Comey confronted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and said he did not want to be left alone again with the president, according to current and former law enforcement officials.

Mr. Comey believed Mr. Sessions should protect the F.B.I. from White House influence, the officials said, and pulled him aside after a meeting in February to tell him that private interactions between the F.B.I. director and the president were inappropriate. But Mr. Sessions could not guarantee that the president would not try to talk to Mr. Comey alone again, the officials said.
Welcome to life as a woman around Trump, bucko.
posted by maudlin at 4:49 PM on June 6 [128 favorites]


Reminder Ben Wittes is a big fan of Gitmo & torture, a real shitstain on the name of humanity. And he's fucking with you with his tick tick tick.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 4:49 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


International issues were also discussed. Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s principled position in favour of settling crises by political and diplomatic means, through dialogue.

Haggling over what it will cost for Putin to pull Trump's strings and put an end to the Saudi threat
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:51 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


How is nobody on any of my social media feeds talking about any of this?? Is all of this as important as I think it is? News hasn't always been like this, right? If it was, maybe I just never really paid attention. I'm not an anxious person, but all of this news is finally provoking some anxiety. And I don't want to quit it two days before the Comey testimony. But I think I'm going to take a breather and catch up next week. Maybe.
posted by robstercraw at 4:51 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Real Clear Defense: Where does Qatar go from here? To Moscow?
Suggesting that the Russians may emerge as the ultimate winners from this recurring inter-Arab contest - even to the point of being invited to establish a presence in Qatar courtesy of the Saudi stance - should give Washington pause for thought.

Strategically, such an outcome would be a further, important gain for the Russia in the region. Politically, it would add to the current burdens of the Trump Administration.

However gratifying the pursuit of Qatar by the Saudis and Emiratis may seem to some commentators, the potential for it to go horribly wrong for the US - and to gift a remarkable opportunity to Russians - should not be under-estimated.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:52 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


How is nobody on any of my social media feeds talking about any of this??

Complex geopolitics is a ridiculously difficult subject that is full of gazillions of hidden variables. Not really good social media fodder.
posted by Talez at 4:53 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Re: Ben Wittes, his tick tick was for the Comey/Sessions story that maudlin linked above.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:54 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Ben Wittes is a big fan of Gitmo & torture,

I found this lawfare article by Wittes about Guantanamo where he condemns as disingenuous the arguments for and against its closure in fairly balanced terms. Where do you see him being "a big fan of torture?"
posted by spitbull at 5:01 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


How is nobody on any of my social media feeds talking about any of this??

I live in two completely different social media worlds. My twitter feed is full of nothing* but Trump/Russia, Trump/stealing money from the kids, Trump/Sessions, Trump/Qatar, McConnell/AHCA, Trump/Comey (My God, that all happened today...) and my facebook feed, which is people I know in real life as opposed to journalists and activists, which has none of it. Not a peep. Trump pulling out of the Paris agreement broke through and made an appearance there last week though. I mean I get why that is, but it's kind of fascinating that they're such different worlds.

*Okay, there's some NHL and NBA playoff stuff in there too
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:02 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Also this 2008 WaPo op-ed, also about the practical challenges of closing Guantanamo given lack of clear policy debate about how to handle detainees.
posted by spitbull at 5:04 PM on June 6


Re: Ben Wittes, his tick tick was for the Comey/Sessions story that maudlin linked above.

Beat him by two minutes. Bro, do you even link?

Meanwhile, Obama and Trudeau are having dinner at Joe Beef in Montreal tonight. No word if they're getting two scoops of cheese curds on their poutine.
posted by maudlin at 5:05 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


And here's Wittes on torture from 2011. Yeah there is some "war is complicated" apologia, but he condemns Abu Ghraib. "Big fan of torture" really seems like a calumny. To say nothing of shitstain on humanity or whatever.
posted by spitbull at 5:07 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Re: Richard Spencer & weightlifting

Kevin Durant couldn't bench 180lbs at the NBA draft combine. But he could average 27ppg and 8 rebounds in the NBA 2017 playoffs so far (and will cash 26 and half million dollars worth of checks this season.

True, but Spencer can't go to his left.
posted by msalt at 5:11 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


WaPo: Top intelligence official told associates Trump asked him if he could intervene with Comey on FBI Russia probe
The nation’s top intelligence official told associates in March that President Trump asked him if he could intervene with then-FBI Director James B. Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe, according to officials.

On March 22, less than a week after being confirmed by the Senate, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats attended a briefing at the White House together with officials from several government agencies. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey’s handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates. Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 race.
posted by zachlipton at 5:11 PM on June 6 [51 favorites]


Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo should be considered as much and as dangerous a collaborator as Sessions.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:13 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


And the winner of the late-afternoon/early evening news dump is, again, the WaPo. Whoa.
The events involving Coats show the president went further than just asking intelligence officials to deny publicly the existence of any evidence showing collusion during the 2016 election, as The Washington Post reported in May. The interaction with Coats indicates that Trump aimed to enlist top officials to have Comey curtail the bureau’s probe.
(Coats will testify at 10 AM tomorrow.)

*popcorn*
posted by maudlin at 5:13 PM on June 6 [25 favorites]


Jim Sciutto on Twitter: Breaking: Comey to testify he never told Trump he was not under FBI investigation @GloriaBorger reports
posted by maudlin at 4:10 PM on June 6


Am I the only one parsing how insane this is (if true) ?

The President lied about what Comey did using the same letter he fired him in. We already knew he lied about why he was firing him (he admitted as much that same week). Now this?

If you're Comey and you just got fired in the same breath as a lie about you doing something unethical three times, are you going to hold back in congressional testimony at all?

It's going to be plainly found out in two days that Trump's entire letter about firing Comey was a big fat stack of lies. He told Comey to stop the investigation, Comey refused, and then Trump fired him on a bunch of blatantly false pretenses after commissioning a cover story from the DoJ.

I think this is going to be a turning point because this story is very, very easy to explain: Trump fired Comey for totally fake reasons because Comey wouldn't back off on investigating Russia. All the other Trump/Russia stuff is nebulous and hard to explain (backchannels? Kushner? Kislyak? Ambassadors? Sessions? Why is a meeting bad?).

You can boil down the Comey thing to an eight second soundbite and put it in a TV ad for the 2018 House races with room to spare: Trump fired Comey under false pretenses because he was afraid what Comey would find out about Russia. Why is Candidate X helping Trump hide from the truth?
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:13 PM on June 6 [35 favorites]


Well, I just became a lot more interested in Coat's testimony tomorrow.
posted by lalex at 5:16 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Mother of God, that long list of crazy news stories that happened today that I just wrote out is out of date again.
posted by TwoWordReview at 5:16 PM on June 6 [53 favorites]


Trumpfilter: Mother of God, that long list of crazy news stories that happened today that I just wrote out is out of date again.
posted by uosuaq at 5:18 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


It has been _0_ days since the last Trump disaster.
posted by Justinian at 5:18 PM on June 6 [79 favorites]


to hell with Apricot Asswipe, Granny Starver and all of them, we're doing what's right by our people and our earth

Sorry if this has already been asked (I'm catching up, promise): won't the GOP congress just write their own weak-ass legislation that just happens to preempt the states' ability to do this? Red states are already doing it to counties and cities.
posted by ctmf at 5:19 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


It has been _0_ days hours minutes since the last Trump disaster.
posted by acb at 5:21 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


I was working on a list of crazy news stories too, from arguably most important to least important:

-The Middle East is all furious at each other supposedly because Russia hacked the state news agency and planted a fake story, and the President of the United States completely played into Russia's hand by getting mad on the internet about it.
-Three different obstruction-related stories:
-- Trump got mad at the Attorney General because he wasn't helping him obstruct justice enough. The AG offered to resign if he thought it would help.
-- He also tried to get the DNI to interfere with an investigation into his administration.
-- The head of the FBI didn't want to be alone in a room with the President.
-The White House still has no clear message on the debt ceiling, though Trump apparently made it clear that people should listen to Mnuchin and not Mulvaney, and the fact that I'm typing a sentence about which member of the President's staff people are supposed to listen to when it comes to whether to default on the national debt is a sign of how screwed up this all is.
-The Senate says it's working hard to do, er, something to the healthcare system, which might possibly not be as bad as what the House wants to do, but will be extremely bad. Also, they may or may not be anywhere near having their act together depending on who you ask.
-The President of the United States directed money for a children's cancer charity benefit to his own golf club, raising all sorts of questions about self-dealing, and his family lied about it.
-The bees are surrounding the Vice President and poised to strike!

How the hell is "lied about taking money from kids with cancer" near the bottom of the list?
posted by zachlipton at 5:24 PM on June 6 [83 favorites]


How long did it take for the body of lalex's post here to be completely out of date? Two hours?
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:25 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


lalex and zachlipton, just kiss already!!
posted by orrnyereg at 5:25 PM on June 6 [25 favorites]


NYT: Comey Told Sessions: Don’t Leave Me Alone With Trump

Aaaaaaand with knowledge of that (and despite his recusal), Sessions still participated actively in Comey's firing.

Hello, Bar Association? Yes, I can hold.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:27 PM on June 6 [73 favorites]


Let us remember that the President blew up the legal defense of his own EO by tweeting loudly and proudly about the ban that's not a ban but is in fact a ban while simultaneously shitting on the mayor of the largest city of our closest ally yesterday - or forever ago, depending on how time dilation works for you.
posted by Glibpaxman at 5:28 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


i think this is what vernor vinge really meant by the Singularity - it's not about uploading your brain into immortal robots, it's the point where the distance to the historical event horizon becomes zero. i no longer feel like i can predict what will happen tomorrow with any hope of being correct. if anything, that window of confidence is continuing to contract.

at least at the level of world events. pretty sure i gotta go to work tomorrow.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:30 PM on June 6 [30 favorites]


Jim Acosta (my boo) Spotted: Rubio, Gardner, Cotton have arrived for dinner with Trump.

Dying to know if anyone is having meatloaf.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:30 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]




Apologies if this has been said (I've read most of the thread, haven't seen it) but:

I'd bet that when Trump sent that tweet about Qatar, he had no clue we have a military base there. Zero.
posted by martin q blank at 5:31 PM on June 6 [54 favorites]


How long did it take for the body of lalex's post here to be completely out of date? Two hours?

next time I'm just going to post a link to @infinite_scream
posted by lalex at 5:32 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


ICYMI, Cotton and Rubio are on Senate Intel which is holding the hearings. IDK why Gardner's there.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:33 PM on June 6


maybe this is a bad place for this question, but I've been wondering: is it possible for trump to have already signed pardons for all of his subordinates' wrongdoings and classified them to avoid public disclosure?
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 5:33 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


i think this is what vernor vinge really meant by the Singularity - it's not about uploading your brain into immortal robots, it's the point where the distance to the historical event horizon becomes zero. i no longer feel like i can predict what will happen tomorrow with any hope of being correct.

“This was supposed to be the future singularity. Where's my flying car post-scarcity civilisation run by weakly-godlike AI?”
posted by acb at 5:34 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Jim Acosta (my boo) Spotted: Rubio, Gardner, Cotton have arrived for dinner with Trump.

Well, that's one invertebrate, one monster, and I don't know much about Gardner but if he's between them and he's going to have dinner with Cheetoh Mussolini I'm sure he can't be great.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:34 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I'd bet that when Trump sent that tweet about Qatar, he had no clue we have a military base there. Zero

That would be my assumption as well but here's the thing-- you can ask this question about everything Trump does: Did he know or did he just not care? Stupid or evil? Rinse, repeat.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:35 PM on June 6 [20 favorites]


Jim Acosta (my boo) Spotted: Rubio, Gardner, Cotton have arrived for dinner with Trump.

I'm sure they're going to talk about "grandkids" and golf.
posted by Talez at 5:37 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Is there any evidence that Trump has any higher cognitive functions at this stage, rather than being nothing more than a collection of reflexes such as rage and echolalia?
posted by acb at 5:38 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


Given his rejection of the Paris accords, I'm not sure he's aware America is on Earth.
posted by adept256 at 5:38 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


If we survive all this, someone will write a book, and historians in 4,000 years will read it:
Modern historians agree it's likely there actually was a human named 'Donald Trump', but he is almost certainly a composite character derived from multiple disastrous presidencies, possibly spanning the sins of presidents over the course of a century, if not longer. The frequency of norm-breaking and erratic missteps clearly could not have been sustained by a pre-fusional society without riots, insurrections, or worse.

"2016-2020: A reckoning" freely mixes myth and true account. Just as Pliny the Elder wrote of the wolf-headed Cynocephalus in "Natural History", the aptonymed martyr 'Reality Winner' is clearly a self-insertion by the author and is not likely to have actually lived.
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:40 PM on June 6 [212 favorites]


Chances are that, by then, historiography of the Trumpreich will have become inextricably muddled with other texts, such as, for example, Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi.
posted by acb at 5:43 PM on June 6 [16 favorites]


You guys! You guys! I forgot it's Infrastructure Week!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:48 PM on June 6 [45 favorites]


WaPo: Trump, furious and frustrated, will join allies in attacking Comey testimony (backgrounder, no earthshakers, except that MY GOD -- this reads like trying to schedule a calm day with a toddler. All that's missing is a juicebox and a nap.)
This account of Trump’s mind-set and the preparations of his team in the run-up to Comey’s testimony is based on interviews with 20 White House officials, Trump friends and other senior Republicans, many of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity to offer candid perspectives.

The president’s lawyers and aides have been urging him to resist engaging, and they hope to keep him busy Thursday with other events meant to compete for his — and the news media’s — attention.

“The president’s going to have a very, very busy day,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. “I think his focus is going to be on pursuing the agenda and the priorities that he was elected to do.”

As of now, Trump’s Thursday morning — when Comey is scheduled to start testifying — is open. He plans to deliver a 12:30 p.m. speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington, followed by a 3:30 p.m. meeting with governors and mayors on infrastructure projects.
posted by maudlin at 5:50 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


I must've finally become immune because people on Twitter (ok, Frank Luntz) are like "The past couple hours have seen about a month’s worth of bombshell stories drop." but I feel like nothing has changed or even really happened.
posted by lalex at 5:52 PM on June 6 [26 favorites]


maybe this is a bad place for this question, but I've been wondering: is it possible for trump to have already signed pardons for all of his subordinates' wrongdoings and classified them to avoid public disclosure?

Objection: assumes competence not in evidence.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:53 PM on June 6 [10 favorites]


He plans to deliver a 12:30 p.m. speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s conference in Washington, followed by a 3:30 p.m. meeting with governors and mayors on infrastructure projects.

...where he will check his phone and ignore what anyone else says the entire time.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:53 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


SLoG, we have the same link, and the story seems just about identical, but they *just*punched up the headline.

It's always going to be Breaking News O'Clock from now on, isn't it? There's no escape.
posted by maudlin at 5:55 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


...where he will check his phone and ignore what anyone else says the entire time.

i.e., what we all will be doing Thursday.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:57 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


The current MSNBC graphic:

"PRESIDENT BUSINESS"

Subtle!
posted by middleclasstool at 5:58 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


(from above Washington Post link) The White House recently approached Geoff Morrell —Pentagon press secretary for more than four years under former defense secretary Robert Gates — about coming inside the administration and overhauling the communications operation, according to three people with knowledge of the overture.

this is not hilarious and delightful to very many people I bet, but several years ago I had the very great pleasure of hearing a third-hand report of the phonecall wherein Geoff Morrell called up my terrible boss to yell at him for some idiot thing. and I had to listen to a good few hundred of Morrell's press briefings back when he was giving them, so I feel like I have a certain sense of his personality, even though he is a professional so of course I do not. and the idea of them thinking he would come help them. or ANYBODY. even if they deserved it. it's beautiful.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:00 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


So they're going to try and stop him from tweeting on Thursday. Would the secret service take a tweet to save the Prez?
posted by adept256 at 6:00 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


The current MSNBC graphic:

"PRESIDENT BUSINESS"

Subtle!


Well, today is Taco Tuesday, so
posted by The World Famous at 6:00 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


More from the same article:
The Republican National Committee has lined up a roster of surrogates to appear on conservative news stations nationwide to defend Trump. But a list the RNC distributed on Tuesday could hardly be described as star-studded: The names include Bob Paduchik, an RNC co-chair who worked on Trump’s Ohio campaign; Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R); and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge (R).

Trump so far has been unable to recruit reinforcements for his beleaguered senior staff. Conversations about former Trump campaign official David Urban possibly joining the White House have stalled, although he remains in contact with several Trump advisers, officials said. [...]
Some Trump loyalists outside the White House who are preparing to go on television news shows Thursday to defend the president and undermine Comey’s testimony said they have been given no talking points, nor seen any evidence of a strategy taking shape. One such loyalist said external supporters are afraid to coordinate too closely with the White House because they fear they could be accused of obstructing justice.
So to sum up: few people want to go on TV to defend him and those who will do it are not given any talking points on how to do so. This is the POTUS we are talking about not some axe murderer who looks like a stinky monkey. The rot is becoming clear to anyone with an eye to see it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:01 PM on June 6 [38 favorites]


“He’s not going to take an attack by James Comey laying down,” said Roger Stone, a longtime Trump friend and former political adviser. “Trump is a fighter, he’s a brawler and he’s the best counterpuncher in American politics.”

it must always be understood that roger stone's guiding principle is to maximize chaos, and this frequently overwhelms any putative loyalty to the republican party
posted by murphy slaw at 6:03 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


the historiography of the Trumpreich

I'm hoping that future historians know this period as "the Trumpenbrexit."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:04 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


So, when I first heard "Qatar" my first thought was "Al Jazeera". The Arab dictators HATE Al Jazeera, and have always been frustrated that Qatar bankrolls it.

Previously, with the US pushing for democracy/human rights/etc. in the Middle East, none would have dared engage in open hostilities against a promoter of a free press (and general ally - see above re: US base). But when Trump went for a visit and told all the Sunnis gathered "you be you", it seems to me as if it was a green light to take down Qatar at the first excuse they could find.

I would not be surprised if the resolution to this is having Qatar reduce/eliminate their support for Al Jazeera. Which would also explain the shadiness of the official excuse for a blockade.

Is this too conspiratorial? I would appreciate other people's thoughts.
posted by obliquity of the ecliptic at 6:04 PM on June 6 [27 favorites]


I really expect Comey will hold back on the substance and the shockers in favor of letting Mueller handle things from an investigative approach, to be honest. Kinda planning on not paying any attention to Thursday. If anything actually blows up from all this, I'll be surprised.

...although at this point maybe I shouldn't use phrases like "blows up."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:07 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


“He’s not going to take an attack by James Comey laying down,” said Roger Stone, a longtime Trump friend and former political adviser. “Trump is a fighter, he’s a brawler and he’s the best counterpuncher in American politics.”

Please please please let this prediction be correct. Please, Trump, consider Comey's sworn testimony to be an "attack" and don't take it laying down. Counterpunch, please. Brawl!
posted by The World Famous at 6:07 PM on June 6 [23 favorites]


(just to clarify the already clear from my previous comment: geoff morrell is a cock. but he knows how to say sentences. he has basic self interest and basic brains. and when he decides to take barrels of money from bad people, he takes it from oil bajillionaires like a man of greed and sense and no conscience, not from dingdongs like whoever at the white house tried to get him on the phone and ended up leaving a pathetic voicemail he erased without listening to, I bet. he doesn't need them and they are sad sad men not to have understood that and given up before even trying.)
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:10 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


my comment on qatar is that we're all making the mistake of believing it's about us, or about trump, or about putin or about russia

it's about the kingdom of saudi arabia coming to the conclusion that they can do as they wish in the middle east and no one's going to stop them as long as they don't target the wrong people or countries

the effect of all of this will be to make iran think that it's next - if they are convinced that something similar will happen to them all hell will break loose

the other effect may well be that certain more moderate parties may decide that the days of the kingdom of saudi arabia should be numbered

i don't think trump or putin really understand how they're being played here
posted by pyramid termite at 6:11 PM on June 6 [32 favorites]


Yeah, the worst thing he can do is call Comey a liar. Comey only cares about his self image as Impartial Dude - he will recount the facts as he perceived them and leave the rest to Mueller. If Trump goes out and calls Comey a liar, though, or worse a partisan hack.... the gloves will come off.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:12 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


my comment on qatar is that we're all making the mistake of believing it's about us, or about trump, or about putin or about russia

While I generally agree, it's totally reasonable for us in the West (and particularly the US) to consider how this whole shitshow has impacted events in the Middle East, and what the repercussions of those events will be. I kinda take for granted that the Saudis vs Bahrain really is primarily about Saudi vs Bahrain. Regardless, the US is a factor, and how the US handles it will have ramifications across the rest of our alliances.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:18 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


@Charles Pierce The Georgia 6 debate was highlighted by Handel's saying, "I do not support a livable wage." Hmmm

@Jamie Dupree
Handel says her biggest to-do items are Obamacare reform & then tax reform; Ossoff says to go after budget waste

@Justin Farmer
Handel: Disagrees with CBO estimate of AHCA. Ossoff: We must protect individuals with pre-existing conditions.

If you want more, WSBTVAtlanta MINUTE-BY-MINUTE: 6th District debate updates
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:19 PM on June 6 [23 favorites]


> "PRESIDENT BUSINESS"

My brother and I call him President Subreddit.
posted by guiseroom at 6:21 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Yeah, the worst thing he can do is call Comey a liar.

lol. you think that's the worst thing trump can do? perhaps you're not familiar with this trump fellow and his ability to do the worst things. he is the best at doing the worst things. everybody knows it. a lot of people are saying he's better than anybody at being the worst. he is, perhaps, the worst of the worst at being the worst. i think you're going to be very happy when you see how much worse he can be.
posted by The World Famous at 6:21 PM on June 6 [35 favorites]


I think Al Jazeera is a piece of it. I think Russia viewing discord in the Middle East as important to its long-term agenda is a piece of it. I think this business with the kidnapping and the ransom is a piece of it, if that's all, real. And I think Trump giving the Saudis carte blanche to do what ever they want is a piece of it. In other words, we were building toward this kind of a mess for a while.

The NYT's Interpreter newsletter today by Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, which T.D. Strange linked upthread, is really helpful in this regard, and worth a quick read. There's a view of this situation in which Qatar over the past 25 years or so was punching well above its weight in the eyes of Saudi Arabia, especially building itself up through soft power tools like Al Jazeera, Qatar Airways, the World Cup bid, the campuses of foreign universities like Cornell Medical and Carnegie Mellon, etc... (stuff you can do when you have a lot of natural gas money and aren't ruled by strict Wahhabists) and more directly by increasingly involving itself in conflicts in the region.

So at its core, you have an increasingly unstable situation where Saudi Arabia is not going to tolerate this from its neighbor for that much longer. Add in Trump backing the Saudis in doing whatever they want and whatever Russia did exactly to kick this off, and the situation explodes quickly.
posted by zachlipton at 6:25 PM on June 6 [32 favorites]


Ha ha. According to Maddow, neither Brendan Sullivan ("Do I look like a potted plant?") or Ted Olson (buddy with GWB) want anything to do with Donald Trump.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:35 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Saudi Arabia has reportedly given Qatar 24 hours to meet 10 demands. Among them:
8. Cease broadcasting the Al Jazeera news channel.
9. Apologise to all Gulf governments for 'abuses' by Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera is far from the only problem the Saudis have with Qatar, but it's clearly on the list.
posted by zachlipton at 6:40 PM on June 6 [87 favorites]


In other words, we were building toward this kind of a mess for a while.

at this point in history, any drastic shift in the balance of power in the middle east is a recipe for the metaphorical Land War In Asia - i.e. a prolonged quagmire with very little in the way of possible upside.

so naturally, instigating a drastic shift in that balance of power is something that republican administrations do at the first feasible opportunity.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:42 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


Twitter thread of Saudi Arabia's demands to Qatar. No consequences specified for non compliance. At least 1 & 10 to me involve core sovereignty so sounds to me like they are designed to be rejected.
posted by shothotbot at 6:43 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Remember Comey holding the stage at the AG hearings?

Comey is likely to speak in long, complex sentences with subtle distinctions that the toddler will not have the attention span to follow - let alone understand in the literal sense, abandoning all hope of subtext.

Comey's going to Comey, and toddler gonna twitter-tantrum, for sure. But more important than what Comey says, is what the toddler thinks Comey says, and then twits about.
posted by Dashy at 6:43 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Oh, and Saudi Arabia has reportedly given Qatar 24 hours to meet 10 demands.

Boy am I missing the United States as a country with a president right now.
posted by Artw at 6:44 PM on June 6 [76 favorites]


The Georgia 6 debate was highlighted by Handel's saying, "I do not support a livable wage."

Work full time and still be poverty stricken to eventually die in a ditch. Fuck her.
posted by Talez at 6:49 PM on June 6 [23 favorites]


Al Jazeera has a pretty good timeline about the Qatar situation

Can someone explain to me why Saudi Arabia hates Al Jazeera so much?
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:50 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


I'm only seeing those Saudi demands on Twitter threads, where it has also been shot down with about the same level of credibility. Anyone know if this has been corroborated by reliable sources/outlets yet?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:50 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


According to Maddow, neither Brendan Sullivan ...or Ted Olson ...want anything to do with Donald Trump.

Michael Isikoff's story for Yahoo News, he was her guest.
posted by spitbull at 6:51 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Can someone explain to me why Saudi Arabia hates Al Jazeera so much?

That would be the entirety of the concept of a free and critical media for starters.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:51 PM on June 6 [56 favorites]


zachlipton: "Oh, and Saudi Arabia has reportedly given Qatar 24 hours to meet 10 demands."

Uhhh... guys? What's going on here? Is this real? These are not the kinds of demands that one sovereign nation can (or, rather, should) make of another sovereign nation. Nor are these the kinds of demands that a sovereign nation can or should accede to. At the same time, that Twitter thread doesn't indicate what the "or else" Saudi Arabia is threatening. I mean, why have a 24-hour deadline (which is laughably short -- I mean, the Cuban Missile unfolded over 13 days) but no stated consequences?

If this is real, this feels really, really dangerous to me. Am I being paranoid? Has this been confirmed yet by any reliable mainstream outlet? What the fuck is going on with this shit?
posted by mhum at 6:52 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Alexander Potemkin, the executive director of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation

Folks, we have another Reality Winner! Ding, ding, ding!
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:54 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why Saudi Arabia hates Al Jazeera so much?

They are shitty, shitty fascists who support Al Queda and Al Jazeera mentions those things? If you think King Trump is a nightmare then these fucks are fifty times as bad: real deal autocratic monarchs who actually do get to do as they please, mostly.
posted by Artw at 6:54 PM on June 6 [36 favorites]


Al-Jazeera will put questions to Saudi officials like (paraphrasing) "Why do you support elections in Syria but not in Saudi Arabia?"
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:54 PM on June 6 [32 favorites]


So the jokes about super villians playing with a magic orb thingy were, in fact, not jokes.
posted by Glibpaxman at 6:56 PM on June 6 [49 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why Saudi Arabia hates Al Jazeera so much?

Al Jazeera is like the Christian Science Monitor of the Islamic world - yes, the organization funding it is horrible, but they look at it as a religious imperative to support the media to report truthfully and honestly, thereby empowering the Faithful.

It has not always succeeded in this mission, but it's a lot closer than anything else published/broadcast in Arabic.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:59 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R)

Hmm, Pam Bondi, Pam B... wasn't there a Thing or a question about...

*wiki-wiki-wik*
Controversies
Bondi has been criticized for election fundraising activities, including questions raised about contributions from Donald Trump and his associates. The Florida Attorney General's office received at least 22 fraud complaints about Trump University. In 2013 a spokesperson for Bondi announced her office was considering joining a lawsuit initiated by New York's Attorney General against Trump regarding tax fraud. Four days later 'And Justice for All', a PAC that supported Bondi's re-election campaign received a $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, after which Bondi declined to join the lawsuit against Trump University.
Ah, yes. That Pam Bondi.

So are there *any* useful idiots willing to go on teevee to defend the President anymore, or can we assume at this point that they're all implicated in one or another corrupt Trump scandal?
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:59 PM on June 6 [30 favorites]


Oh, great. Saudi Arabia has taken Trump's gormless tweets as backing for their aggression toward the Trumpless USA's ally Qatar, and believes their bellicosity will be supported by us. This may be the start of WWIII (hope not, hope not, hope not, hope not).
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:01 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


If that list of demands isn't bullshit, I'm giving some extreme side eye at demand #1. Right after Trump's visit the Saudis move to isolate Iran from a regional ally with this surprise aggression? Feels way too much like laying the groundwork for a US fight with Iran, and now I'm wondering what kind of horse trading is going on behind the scenes of Donnie's special relationship with Russia to get Putin to hang Iran out to dry, that's the key piece. I think there would be trepidation to go after Iran under the status quo of a week ago, but if Iran ends up exposed without friends, especially without Russia, all bets are off. If Russia and Saudi Arabia cozy up as BFFs soon, I could see it happening. Trump can't make a deal within the framework of US politics to save his life, but a sleazy backroom deal among authoritarian petrobuddies to get their war on might be in his wheelhouse.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:01 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


queenofbithynia: this is not hilarious and delightful to very many people I bet, but several years ago I had the very great pleasure of hearing a third-hand report of the phonecall wherein Geoff Morrell called up my terrible boss to yell at him for some idiot thing. and I had to listen to a good few hundred of Morrell's press briefings back when he was giving them, so I feel like I have a certain sense of his personality, even though he is a professional so of course I do not. and the idea of them thinking he would come help them. or ANYBODY. even if they deserved it. it's beautiful.

just to clarify the already clear from my previous comment: geoff morrell is a cock. but he knows how to say sentences. he has basic self interest and basic brains. and when he decides to take barrels of money from bad people, he takes it from oil bajillionaires like a man of greed and sense and no conscience, not from dingdongs like whoever at the white house tried to get him on the phone and ended up leaving a pathetic voicemail he erased without listening to, I bet. he doesn't need them and they are sad sad men not to have understood that and given up before even trying.)


Delicious! Thanks for this insight.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:02 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Am I remembering correctly that the US no longer has a military base in Saudia Arabia, but does have one in Qatar?
posted by drezdn at 7:03 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


The twitter link I posted (from an Al Jazeera journalist) is the most reliable English source I've seen, but I'll admit I'm skeptical about the demands and they could well be propaganda. The Sky News Arabic service does report that there are 10 demands, though it doesn't list them. Then it has another source denying them. So yeah.

The list of demands is obviously extremely inflammatory, but I can't judge whether it's real and the Saudis intend to be inflammatory, or fake and whoever started spreading it (Russia? Who even knows anymore?) just wants to stir things up some more.

If anyone has sources they trust on this stuff, I'm all ears, as we're getting increasingly outside the range of topics on which my BS detector is reliable.
posted by zachlipton at 7:03 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


I think Sky News Arabia may have redacted that claim (but I can't read Arabic)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:04 PM on June 6


Bondi is corrupt af and has been fucking over the citizens of Florida with her corrupt-af-edness since before Lord Dampnut descended the escalator.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:06 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Man oh man. It's like the kids figured out just how disengaged the substitute teacher is and are busy setting fire to the pencil sharpener shavings and locking the math nerds in the coat closet.

"Hey class? Tamp it down until after Fox and Friends is over, mmmkay?"
posted by notyou at 7:13 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


Appropos to the first 4chan-backed presidency, this is "mods are asleep, post [illegal material]" on a geopolitical scale
posted by prize bull octorok at 7:15 PM on June 6 [36 favorites]


On March 22, less than a week after being confirmed by the Senate, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats attended a briefing at the White House together with officials from several government agencies. As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

The president then started complaining about the FBI investigation and Comey’s handling of it, said officials familiar with the account Coats gave to associates. Two days earlier, Comey had confirmed in a congressional hearing that the bureau was probing whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 race.

The U.S. Supreme Court finally directed Nixon to turn over all of the tapes. The result was the discovery of the "smoking gun" long sought by prosecutors. This was a conversation a few days after the break-in in which Nixon discussed with Haldeman a plan to have the CIA tell the FBI to stay clear of the situation because it involved national security. It proved that Nixon himself was involved in the coverup.


The above paragraphs are in fact from two different historical eras, see if you can work out where the separation is!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:15 PM on June 6 [10 favorites]


drezdn: Am I remembering correctly that the US no longer has a military base in Saudia Arabia, but does have one in Qatar?

Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar (10-12k troops)
Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia (not used by the USA anymore)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:18 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


The rationale for impeachment is clearly there for the taking, if it hasn't been for months. Now, the only thing it will take for President Donald Trump to be impeached is for a handful of Republican representatives to feel that it is in their political interest to impeach the president, or otherwise, for a Democratic majority to be elected to the House in 2018.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:19 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


locking the math nerds in the coat closet

Oh, so that's why it's so dark in this timeline
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:19 PM on June 6 [31 favorites]


So conflicted about the Al Jazeera thing. On the one hand what the hell? one sovereign nation can't tell another to shut down a news service? On the other hand Al Jazeera keeps "accidentally" tweeting horribly antisemitic caricatures and is generally horribly antisemitic but with a veneer of respectability, (which in a lot of ways is worse than the out and out stuff) so if they do go the way of the dodo I wont be too upset, BUT that's one hell of a precedent and the Saudi government SUCKS so urg. Can I be team nobody?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:33 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]




There's plenty of room to hate both Al Jazeera and Saudi Arabia. Let Sithrak into your heart.
posted by Behemoth at 7:42 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


Tomorrow's official Presidential schedule has Trump "meeting with Obamacare victims".

Needs a [fake] tag, but it seems to be real.

Anyway, remember Obama? That was awesome.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:43 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Oh, and let's not forget the Republican Party. Round of applause for the useless country destroying genocide enabling assholes who made this all possible. Yes, even you, #neverTrumpers.
posted by Artw at 7:44 PM on June 6 [10 favorites]


Alexander Potemkin, the executive director of the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation

Because it takes a Potemkin village to raze a President.
posted by scalefree at 7:45 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


From the WaPo article linked above: "The West Wing, meanwhile, has taken on an atmosphere of legal uncertainty. White House counsel Donald F. McGahn has told staff to hold onto emails, documents and phone records, officials said, a move of caution designed to prepare the staff for future legal requests, should they come. McGahn has specifically advised staffers to avoid what are known as the “burn bags” in the executive branch that are often used to discard papers"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:46 PM on June 6


Oh, like the one that set off the fire alarm?
posted by Artw at 7:47 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Ryan Lizza/New Yorker: How to Influence Trump
Sam Nunberg, who has worked for Trump and advises the White House, regularly goes to the major newspapers when he needs to get Trump’s attention. “If I want to communicate to the President and I don’t want to bother him directly, then I speak to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times,” he told me. Others noted the importance of the two major New York tabloids, the Post and the Daily News, which Trump reads religiously. The opinion page of the Daily News, which was not previously considered to have large influence in Washington, is considered a highly coveted outlet for Republican P.R. professionals trying to get Trump’s attention. “The line is around the block—you can’t get in,” a G.O.P. consultant said. Slipping Trump a news story, whether real or fake, has, according to Politico, influenced his opinion on climate change, sunk nominees for prominent positions, and helped get a top staffer fired.

Some Republican advertising firms have developed a slightly more high-tech way of getting to the President and the people around him. The Republican consultant explained that clients can pay to have I.P. addresses for the White House and Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida retreat, bombarded with ads.

“The reporters that are around Trump and around the White House and everyone around the President is being targeted through geotargeting and I.P.-address targeting,” the Republican consultant told me, “by people who couldn’t get onto the big TV shows and into the big papers.”
Twitter allows you to target ads to specific usernames, but you have to give them a list of a minimum 500 usernames so you can't just harass small groups of people that way. There's a rumor that Twitter doesn't serve ads to some of their users who they consider important, but I've been curious for a while now whether you could target Trump directly (fill your list with 499 garbage usernames that will never log in and @realdonaldtrump). There's plenty of potential of mischief by creating a list of 500 significant people in politics and media. If I've thought of this, I have to assume big name lobbying firms have been doing it for a long time, right?

WaPo (Abby Phillip, Jenna Johnson): Trump undercuts his aides by contradicting their statements, in which a pattern is noticed.

LA Times/Matt Pearce: Neo-Nazi website raises $150,000 to fight Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit
A neo-Nazi blogger has been promised donations of more than $150,000 for his legal defense after the Southern Poverty Law Center sued him for organizing a “troll storm” against a Jewish woman in Montana.

The donations to Andrew Anglin and the website he founded, the Daily Stormer, came in over the course of less than two months on a crowdfunding site that caters to far-right causes, overcoming the difficulties that white nationalists often face in raising money online.
posted by zachlipton at 7:49 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


A reporter named Jared Yates Sexton literally got a text from a source tonight that said "the Department of Justice is on fire." (link to tweet that says the same thing). So, maybe that's why.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


At remote desert garrison in Syria, a US-Iranian confrontation is brewing

Both US and Russian warplanes have been deployed, and some shots have already been fired, including by US-backed coalition forces on Tuesday, the US military said.

With both sides girding for a fight, the coming days or weeks could see US and allied troops coming into conflict with Iranian-backed forces for the first time in Syria’s six-year civil war ... Although the Iran-backed militiamen retreated to their staging post at the Zaza checkpoint junction 50 miles north of Tanf, the US-supported forces also were forced to pull back when they were attacked by Russian aircraft.

posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:52 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


A Wondermark comic with a sobering warning.
posted by suelac at 7:54 PM on June 6 [18 favorites]


"the Department of Justice is on fire."

Like... literally? Do they need to stop, drop and roll?
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:56 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Are going to pick on Iran, and its road building? What?
posted by Oyéah at 7:56 PM on June 6


Guys the US base in Qatar will be safe and used for future joint US ops against Iran after the Saudis overrun Qatar.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 PM on June 6


For those who have been following the Brownback Experiment in Kansas, it appears that the Brownback era has come to an end. @huntermw: "BREAKING: Kansas House votes 88 to 31 to fundamentally end Brownback tax cuts and override gov's veto. It will be law"
posted by lalex at 8:00 PM on June 6 [140 favorites]


Wow. They made it by four votes. That's pretty crazy.
posted by Talez at 8:07 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Um, you guys, I think Trump is trying to drain the swamp of fresh clean drinkable water: Trump administration wants to sell the Washington Aqueduct. It's a plan buried deep in the budget that could well amount to nothing, but some folks want the Army Corps to get out of the potable water business, and selling the thing off to private investors would be the most Trumpian thing to do, especially since DC Water isn't likely to pay $119 million to take it over themselves.

@huntermw: "BREAKING: Kansas House votes 88 to 31 to fundamentally end Brownback tax cuts and override gov's veto. It will be law"

I loved this response from Alex Burns at the Times: "No! New Taxes?" [explanation, if you aren't familiar with the Simpsons reference]
posted by zachlipton at 8:08 PM on June 6 [14 favorites]


"The Middle East is all furious at each other supposedly because Russia hacked the state news agency and planted a fake story, and the President of the United States completely played into Russia's hand by getting mad on the internet about it."

This was a little ways back and I think that some subsequent comments have discussed this at more length, but it's important to know that there is a long-running dispute here and the positions being taken are the positions that these countries have wanted to take. In the past, they felt they couldn't. Now they feel they can.

So that's the suspicious part. It's the coincidence of Trump's meeting with these leaders and being told, no doubt, that Qatar is friendly with Iran, and if there's one thing about the Middle East that Trump knows (and, in fact, there is one and only one thing that Trump knows about the Middle East) it's that Iran is Really Bad. And Qatar has been handing out money all over the place, including many groups considered as terrorists by the US. So. No doubt that Trump is utterly ignorant about how true this all is of other ME nations, nor that he knows nothing about the Sunni/Shia conflict involved in all of this, so he goes along with this vilification of Qatar eagerly.

Meanwhile, Russia has inserted false and highly inflammatory news into the official Qatar state media. Personally, I feel pretty sure that many, at the very least the Saudis, became aware this was false, but it functioned as the pretext for the provocation that the Saudis needed to initiate their move.

What about Russia? Well, in the same way that the naval base in Syria is critically important to Russia strategically in the Middle East, the US's base in Qatar is the US's central command for the ME. Russia was very unhappy that the US decided to actively engage against Syria. Also, the US's strong relationship with Saudi Arabia while also being on very good terms with Qatar made for a strong stabilizing -- in the US's interest -- in the region. Disrupting that is to the benefit of Russia. I don't quite know how Qatar's investment in Rosneft fit in, but it probably does.

Both the Saudis and Russia are manipulating Trump to the detriment of US interests; and Russia is pretty much manipulating everyone involved in a bid to, ultimately, weaken the US's influence and increase its own.

It's happening now because there's approximately no one else as ignorant and gullible as Trump in the US government, now or in the past. Bob Corker was speechless at Trump's tweet about this. Mattis and everyone else have been trying to calm everything down, not stir it up. It's happening now because Trump is the most shallow, ignorant, and impulsive President arguably ever and he is practically like a shiny bauble that the world's geopolitical magpies cannot resist as a target for credulous manipulation. We've been worrying that Trump might use the enormous Executive powers of the US military to create global catastrophe, but it's probably more likely that the chaos that ensues as everyone scrambles to either manipulate this idiot or avoid the consequences of someone else's manipulation or to predict what he might do or be manipulated tomorrow, is what will set off the first spark. Granted, how Trump responds militarily to something like what we're seeing is, um, important.

In short, all of this are preexisting interests and conflicts. Trump is the useful idiot that the parties involved are taking advantage of, so that's why now and how.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:13 PM on June 6 [99 favorites]


ICYMI, Cotton and Rubio are on Senate Intel which is holding the hearings. IDK why Gardner's there.

From way upthread, but Gardner's my jerkface Senator. He's refused to hold any in-person meetings, but he had time to meet with Duterte last week and according to 538, he's the Senator who's got the highest Trump plus-minus, which is the variance between the predicted amount he should agree with Trump based on Trump's share of the CO electorate minus Clinton's and how much he actually votes with Trump. I write, fax, call and visit his office a lot, but it doesn't seem to be doing anything. I was naively hoping he might be one of the fabled "moderate" Republicans, but that hope's pretty much dead.
posted by danielleh at 8:19 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


This is a dumb question that I can't figure out how to google the answer for.

According to the 25th Amendment, if Trump were to leave office before the end of his term (by impeachment or resignation or whatever), the Vice President, Pence, would immediately become President. The office of the VP would then be empty until President Pence nominated a new VP who would then have to be confirmed by a majority vote of both the Houses and Senate. If Pence were then impeached (or resigned or whatever) and the new VP had already been confirmed, that person would then immediately become president.

However if President Pence left office before the VP nominee had been confirmed (and before his term were up, of course), the current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, would then become president.

So people talk about the possibility of both Trump and Pence being impeached for their involvement with Russian hacks during the election and the resulting lies and obstruction of justice to cover it all up, resulting in Ryan becoming President, but that's most likely not how it would turn out, right?

For Ryan to become President this way, both Trump and Pence would have to leave office more or less simultaneously, before the hypothetical President Pence can get his new VP confirmed. This is of course assuming that this all happens before the 2018 elections and that Republicans wouldn't just rally behind Pence in the case of Trump leaving office.
posted by arcolz at 8:21 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


For Ryan to become President this way, both Trump and Pence would have to leave office more or less simultaneously, before the hypothetical President Pence can get his new VP confirmed.

Or Ryan just refuses to allow Pence's VP to be confirmed, because the alternative is Ryan. He's enough of a snake to do it, too.
posted by corb at 8:24 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


Trump administration wants to sell the Washington Aqueduct

Water is the next privatization wet (pun intended) dream. Avoid Nestlé products. And Trump Ice.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:25 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


Eric Trump on Fox News tonight (video): Democrats "aren't even people" who are trying to obstruct his family and a great man.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:25 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


@huntermw: "BREAKING: Kansas House votes 88 to 31 to fundamentally end Brownback tax cuts and override gov's veto. It will be law"

Just as the Kansas experience finally takes the first step towards ending, Republicans are rolling out the failure nationally. It took 6 years and Kansas' economy and government services nearly collapsing into a failed state, and in the mean time they still reelected Brownback anyway right in the middle of the collapse.

But it's full steam ahead with the Republican Cat Food budget, ending funding for every domestic program and cutting taxes for billionaires to zero. They've learned nothing. Learning isn't the point, the tax cuts are the point. Looting is the point. Hurting the poor and the middle class is the point.

There's no telling how much damage Republicans can do to 200 years of progress if we can't get them out of power faster than in Kansas.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:27 PM on June 6 [61 favorites]


Eric Trump on Fox News tonight (video): Democrats "aren't even people"

Boy, I was hoping to first be declared an Unperson by someone higher up than the undercooked idiot vampire Trump.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:27 PM on June 6 [65 favorites]


Eric Trump on Fox News tonight (video): Democrats "aren't even people" who are trying to obstruct his family and a great man.

On the one hand regarding large groups as "not really people" is a bad sign and means you probably dream of genocide and are a Nazi or similar form of fuckface.

On the other hand, let's face it, nobody really thinks of the Trumpspawn as human.
posted by Artw at 8:31 PM on June 6 [19 favorites]


I'm very thrilled about the results out of my state of Kansas. Very happy to see the voter revolt of 2016 paid dividends, and that my past optimism was justified. And glad the override finally succeeded. Took them a few tries this session.

Just as Brownback represented the Tea&Trump future of the GOP, I'm hoping the current generation in the KS legislature represents the future of the post-Trump era GOP. Still assholes in many ways, but they can actually see a positive role for government. And will work to ensure the government succeeds.
posted by honestcoyote at 8:31 PM on June 6 [11 favorites]


Eric Trump on Fox News tonight (video): Democrats "aren't even people" who are trying to obstruct his family and a great man.

What's Hannity doing back on the air?
posted by scalefree at 8:32 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Hannity: You're so right, Eric! Not even people, so harming them would not even be a crime, technically, right? [fake, but he was probably thinking it]
posted by ctmf at 8:32 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Y'know, I have enough trouble feeling like a worthy human being without being unpersoned by someone as awful as Eric Trump.

On the plus side, I don't hold his estimation in any particular regard.
posted by Archelaus at 8:46 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


On the contrary, we should all consider it a badge of honor. If that merry band of Gollums thinks you're bad, that's a better character reference than canonization.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:50 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


quick note: Iranians are not only the people with the most positive attitudes towards Americans in the Middle East, they're also the least anti-semitic! And that includes Turkey! Greece has 10% more anti-semites than Iran!

I'm obviously not including Israel.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:57 PM on June 6 [24 favorites]


New rule: Nobody gets to call themselves a "moderate" or a "centrist" unless they identify the two political extremes between which they equidistance themselves.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:59 PM on June 6 [23 favorites]


A reporter named Jared Yates Sexton literally got a text from a source tonight that said "the Department of Justice is on fire."

oh please oh please oh please

posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 9:00 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


We don't have the luxury of picking out the "good guys" in this current environment. They're all "bad guys" to some extent, and we can only be fairly certain that whomever Trump is supporting is the worst. And "the enemy of my enemy" is not supposed to be a permanent friend, just a temporary ally. After all, we allied ourselves with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, and that kinda worked out.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:03 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Eric Trump should just call us untermenschen and stop beating around the bush.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:04 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


pretty sure eric trump can't pronounce "untermenschen"
posted by murphy slaw at 9:05 PM on June 6 [13 favorites]


After all, we allied ourselves with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, and that kinda worked out.

Not so much for anyone east of Berlin, though.
posted by Justinian at 9:07 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


To be clear, I agree with you about temporary alliances of convenience. But let's not pretend we didn't hang a lot of people out to dry with the Soviets!
posted by Justinian at 9:07 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


This water privatisation thing has me thinking of an exchange I had with a friend while we were walking through the park one sunny day.

I was trying to explain conflict of interest 5yo style. I said imagine if the new mayor owned a water bottling factory and immediately got rid of all the water fountains in the park. You'd say the guy that sells water shouldn't be in charge of the water fountains. It's in the public interest to have water available freely, especially in places where people will be walking about in the sun. It's the water bottler's private interest to sell water. So it's a conflict of interest for the mayor to keep selling water. That's why Trump is an asshole.
posted by adept256 at 9:08 PM on June 6 [15 favorites]


I enjoy the sketches Josh Marshall does to accompany his tweets now but I'm really worried about him.
posted by guiseroom at 9:09 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


A reporter named Jared Yates Sexton literally got a text from a source tonight that said "the Department of Justice is on fire." (link to tweet that says the same thing). So, maybe that's why.

This feels like that episode of Battlestar Galactica: "Progress reports arriving. The farms of Aerilon are burning. The beaches of Canceron are burning. The plains of Leonis are burning. The jungles of Scorpia are burning. The pastures of Tauron are burning. The harbors of Picon are burning. The cities of Caprica are burning. The oceans of Aquaria are burning. The courthouses of Libran are burning. The forests of Virgon are burning. The Colonies of Man lie trampled at our feet."

Except here it's cabinet departments. And there's no plan.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:11 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


leotrotsky, that was the BSG movie The Plan, not technically an episode or an actual plan. So the similarities are significant.
posted by guiseroom at 9:14 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


"kinda worked out" was intended party sarcastic and party specific in terms of "succeeded in defeating that one enemy".
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:19 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


[Deleted a whole bunch of back-and-forth. Please reload the thread, and also consider if a stark binary is going to get you anywhere productive. Thanks.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:20 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


New rule: Nobody gets to call themselves a "moderate" or a "centrist" unless they identify the two political extremes between which they equidistance themselves.

I have had two conversations with people in the last year in which they said "I'm a libertarian, a moderate." Which reminded me of that SUV commercial I saw after gasoline prices spiked that said "it's a crossover...that seats eight".
posted by middleclasstool at 9:25 PM on June 6 [16 favorites]


I'm not really a moderate, I'm more of a lefty-liberal-socialist what have you, but my parents would consider themselves moderates. They aren't though, they're basically as lefty as me, but older and like three titches more conservative. I long for a world where they are the moderates though.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:28 PM on June 6


would eric trump consider you human?
posted by localhuman at 9:30 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Eric Trump would most certainly not consider me human, besides the voting pattern, I'm Queer, Jewish, and Autistic, as well as an earlier hominid. Quite a lot of people don't view me as human. I'm still coming to terms with that.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:31 PM on June 6 [28 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** GA-06 -- The first debate between Ossoff and Handel was tonight. They both apparently did fine-ish, but Handel dropped a pretty big gaffe when she said, "I do not support a livable wage." A 2016 poll showed a $15/hr minimum wage had 55% support in GA. This will undoubtedly be featured in Dem commercials starting tomorrow.

** NJ gov primary -- As expected, former Goldman Sachs exec and Obama ambassador Phil Murphy won the Dem nomination handily, with 48% of the vote. Notable that despite the Goldman background, he has a pretty progressive platform (Bernie Sanders's kid even endorsed him). No surprises on the GOP side either, as Lt Gov Kim Guadagno won with 47% support.

Looking ahead to the general - Murphy has an immense lead of 25 points, the largest at this point since 1973. This is unusual in NJ - like MA or MD, the Dems normally control the legislature, but the governor goes to the GOP not infrequently. A Dem win would restore unified control of the NJ government.

** CA-34 -- The second round of voting to fill Xavier Becerra's seat (he resigned to become CA AG) pits Dems Jimmy Gomez and Robert Lee Ahn. Gomez was considered to be a pretty heavy favorite, but at this point, it's nearly dead tied. CA is doing their typical glacial poll counting, so there are only about 8% reporting.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:32 PM on June 6 [33 favorites]


Oh, and GA-06 turnout continued high, although maybe dropping slightly from earlier crazy pace, currently at 63k.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:36 PM on June 6 [7 favorites]


The (reported) Saudi demand that Qatar shut down Al Jazeera was presumably because of the good things about AJ: it's a genuine news organisation that reports from an underserved area, which makes it a perceived threat to the Saudis. But that doesn't mean that Jews (or anyone else) should be expected to cheer for an intensely antisemitic state broadcaster.

Saudi Arabia's threats against Qatar are malevolent and destabilising. That's enough reason to push back against them. We don't need to justify our wish for peace by pretending that Qatar or its subsidiaries are especially virtuous, or refrain from criticising them because there are other important things going on.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:46 PM on June 6 [20 favorites]


from the "this is what passes for light comic relief these days" dept.

the house passed a resolution condemning the beating of protesters outside the turkish embassy which paul ryan announced with this statement:
Today, the House sent an unequivocal message that violence against peaceful demonstrators will not be tolerated. The blame for this assault lies with the Turkish government alone. I urge Istanbul to finally accept responsibility for this egregious incident and apologize to those who were harmed. With the leadership of Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, and members on both sides of the aisle, our resolve to defend the First Amendment and condemn suppression is stronger than ever.”
(emphasis mine)

the capital of turkey is ankara
posted by murphy slaw at 9:46 PM on June 6 [141 favorites]


"...wonders if this will be another Iraq war that Democratic politians use to slaughter themselves by lining up to support it..."

I think that if it comes down to it, the US and both the Republicans and the Democrats will support anything up to and including an invasion of Qatar by Saudi Arabia. I don't see how the US would get involved unless it was opposing that, which I don't think it would do. You might think so, given that I wrote earlier that this ultimately hurts US interests in the region -- we're better off with Qatar as it is.

But the bottom line here is, basically, the combination of Iran and Israel. With regard to Iran, all the inertia in Washington is anti-Iran, and Qatar, unlike its neighbors, is friendly with Iran -- and Iran is Saudi Arabia's chief strategic enemy. And if we had to choose between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, we will always choose Saudi Arabia, as we always have, despite all the reasons why we should not. That base? If the Saudis overrun Qatar or just blockade it, you can be sure that both sides will cooperate with the US and not threaten the base in any way. Qatar thought it had bought US protection by building it ... it did not, apparently.

Russia's play is probably that either outcome works for them. They'd probably prefer avoiding hostilities, but would be happy with whatever undermines the US/Qatar relationship short of that. And if came to a Saudi invasion, well, in this context, for Russia, chaos is a ladder.

With regard to Israel, Qatar has been supporting Hamas. This is why Israel is basically happy about this development, it's what Netanyahu has been wanting for years.

So it's bad for Iran, good for Israel (probably not in the long run, but put that aside), and good for Saudi Arabia, who the US is, apparently, joined at the hip with. This all means that when push comes to shove, most everyone in DC is going to break against Qatar.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:57 PM on June 6 [10 favorites]


Is this too conspiratorial? I would appreciate other people's thoughts.

So sorry, but Mefites are very shy and loathe to voice their opinions, especially in these political threads.

And no, you're fine. As we've seen since you asked that, shutting Al Jazeera down is explicitly among Saudi Arabia's demands.
posted by msalt at 10:02 PM on June 6 [4 favorites]


At what point does state-sponsored hacking become an act of war? Certainly Qatar has some pressing national security issues (allegedly) because of Russia now. That's an overt attack in broad daylight.
posted by ctmf at 10:05 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I'm not at all sure about that analysis. Saudi Arabia was pointlessly angry at the deal Obama did with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, and the US is even less dependent on Saudi oil than it was then. If this weren't 2017 I would have said that of course the US would forestall an attack on an ally, particularly one that hosts an American base. But the times being what they are, who knows.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:06 PM on June 6 [3 favorites]


Whatever is the most dumb and destabilising and has been pushed by whoever fluffed Trump's ego the most recently.

Qatar is fucked. Bannon and Al Queda must be overjoyed.
posted by Artw at 10:10 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


I think we might actually be in a position where Democrats, at least, would be mostly resistant to supporting a war against Qatar. Loudly, even. The anger over Iraq is still very real, and this looks every bit as dumb as that. Hell, I'd argue it looks dumber. The depths of public mistrust toward the White House are far deeper than they were for Bush in 2000, or for Bush the Elder in '90/'91. (Also, regardless of feelings about the first Gulf War on its own merits, liberating Kuwait was a FAR more justifiable cause than the invasion of Iraq in 2003). I think far more average Americans would hold Democrats' feet to the fire on this.

Is that enough to put off anything? Probably not, no. Not with the GOP in control of both houses and the White House. But at that point I don't see Democrats rushing to shoot themselves in the foot on this one, either.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:15 PM on June 6 [8 favorites]


If people could finally get the whole "destabilizing entire regions = breeding ground for terrorists" thing to sink in it'd be great but I think America is still too dumb to be quite there yet.
posted by Artw at 10:22 PM on June 6 [50 favorites]


As for Democrats? I dunno. Wave some bipartisan bloodshed in front of them and you're going to get at least some suckers. We all know the list.
posted by Artw at 10:23 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Wait, we're talking about the USA attacking Qatar now?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:51 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Attacking, offering logistical support to an attack, offering approval of an attack. Somewhere on that spectrum.
posted by Artw at 10:53 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


I'm confused too, how did we get to attacking Qatar?!? We have troops stationed there for god's sake.
posted by Justinian at 10:54 PM on June 6 [9 favorites]


Opposing an attack is certainly nothing we can count on. Quietly using diplomacy to deescalate the situation and avert an attack is of course out of the question because of the Trump related IQ drop.
posted by Artw at 10:56 PM on June 6 [2 favorites]


Qatar's a long-term US ally. Of course the US is going to attack it.

The Commander-in-Chief wouldn't even commit to supporting NATO allies under treaty obligations when talking to their face.
posted by Devonian at 10:58 PM on June 6 [6 favorites]


You think the GOP is going to resist Putin giving them a set up?
posted by Artw at 10:59 PM on June 6


It's probably just a coincidence, but this Qatar thing is just what Trump needs to draw attention away from Comey. Who wants to bet the shooting starts Thursday morning?
posted by BentFranklin at 11:00 PM on June 6 [12 favorites]


The Orb traveled back in time and activated to provide this distraction.
posted by Artw at 11:02 PM on June 6


CA-34 update: Ahn has conceded, Gomez has won.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:03 PM on June 6 [18 favorites]


On the other hand, how much is being conned by Russia into backing a really dumb region destabilizing war going to be a distraction from being busted covering up ties to Russia?
posted by Artw at 11:14 PM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Qatar is such an easy sell with the "Al Jazeera is Bin Laden!!1" rubes also.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:17 PM on June 6 [5 favorites]


Via my local paper, an astonishingly well-timed report on Qatar's alleged support for terrorism, produced by the Counter Extremism Project (a body about which I know nothing and whose reliability I therefore cannot endorse). Anyone know anything about them?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:32 PM on June 6


I have a friend in Qatar, she teaches four languages at a girl's school that is strikingly similar to the convent school where she and I were educated. She says that most of the foreign teachers have left, many foreign executives were getting their families and servants out, and that there was already scrambling at grocers to stock up on supplies because closed borders can mean starvation fairly quickly in a country that imports most of its food.

She said there is universal shock amongst everyone at the rapidity at which the world seems to have turned against them, and people already believe the U.S. has abandoned them because the Saudis bribed 45.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:47 PM on June 6 [112 favorites]


Because I don't want to abuse the edit window, I do think it's important to remember US history in Persia, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, and Lebanon. Nobody, not even Israel, really trusts the intentions of the US under the best of conditions,but with an obvious lunatic in the white house, 45 has put 10,000 American forces in the line of fire, along with billions of infrastructure, for no apparent reason or strategic gain.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:56 PM on June 6 [38 favorites]




Joe in Australia: If you look at the CEP's leadership page you'll find a substantial number of veterans of the George W. Bush administration, as well as Joe Lieberman. . . Based on who's involved, I think it's probably safe to say that it leans in a neocon direction. They are pretty opaque about who funds them on their web pages (and seemingly beyond that: cf. this article ).
posted by janewman at 12:32 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Who wants to bet the shooting starts Thursday morning?

What are the stakes?
posted by rhizome at 12:35 AM on June 7


James Clapper is currently in Australia as visiting professor at the Australian National University in Canberra. Today he addressed the National Press Club on the topic "The alliance, global security and our democratic institutions". You can watch it here on ABC TV iView - 56min video, speech followed by questions.
posted by valetta at 12:48 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Qatar is complicated (wiki - link, but it seems legit enough at this moment of posting)
They probably house and fund terrorists, but so does every other Gulf state, including Saudi Arabia. It's notable that the first terrorists organization everyone mentions in connection with Qatar is always Hamas, who do not commit acts of terror outside of Israel and who many Arabs see as resistance fighters. (I do not agree, but this is an Arab context, and I'm sure Arabs watching this unfold are seeing blatant hypocrisy and the fooling of dumb Americans, not fighting terror).
Also, as I remember it, the reason the US had to move out of SA was that the king couldn't defend the US presence in the country against criticism and possible terror attacks. I'm wondering if this rapid escalation of idiocy in the ME could be the thing that turned enough Republicans against Trump? While some Democrats and many Republican want a war against Iran, for reasons I cannot guess, I can't see how a Saudi attack on Qatar can work for US interests, ever? If you wanted a war on Iran, you'd need Qatar.
Remove Trump quickly and president Pence will at the very least do as the real generals say, without tweeting anything, and the Republicans can get back to granny-starving and tax-lowering.
posted by mumimor at 12:55 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Can I put the breaks on this conversation a little and suggest things are way premature to suggest that KSA is going to launch any kind of military action against Qatar? People seem to have jumped to that conclusion straight away based on I'm not sure what evidence. It's just as likely at this stage that the Saudis are trying to isolate and bully Qatar. And its an even more massive jump to suggest that if KSA goes to war with Qatar that the United States will tag in as well. I know these threads are fast moving and people like to shoot the shit and conjecture but the dialogue around whats going on with Qatar seems to have escalated really quickly and I'd suggest we wait for things to actually begin to shake out in the next hours and days before we start catastrophising.
posted by supercrayon at 1:03 AM on June 7 [32 favorites]


Not sure if this has been posted: Top law firms turning down requests to represent Trump.
posted by loquacious at 1:15 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]




I expect Donald is going to do the worst, most batshit insane thing he can do here - which is jump in with a bunch of distraction and rhetoric...however, in this case it may also involve killing people. I know it's a bad idea to catastrophise but um he's an idiot and never does anything diplomatic or helpful.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:20 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


I expect Donald is going to do the worst, most batshit insane thing he can do here - which is jump in with a bunch of distraction and rhetoric

I do too, but I don't think he's focused enough to go into a global conflict at this point, I think he's about to start thrashing wildly against whoever is in front of him, probably Republicans once they start jumping off the sinking ship.
posted by bongo_x at 1:36 AM on June 7


USPTO director Michelle Lee has resigned without warning

Oh god. Stupid ass software patents are somehow going to manage to get even worse.
posted by Artw at 1:39 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


I agree that KSA invading Qatar is a stretch, but the KSA has been flexing its military muscles in the region recently. Qatar is a big thorn in its side during a period when the proxy wars with Iran have been heating up and, in particular, KSA is dealing with Yemen and the coalition just kicked Qatar out of its involvement there.

There's little chance of the US doing anything like the first Gulf War -- that is, being involved in an operation against Qatar. But it could certainly take the position it claimed to take with Iraq and Kuwait, that it's not our business. And, again, I'm certain that both sides would guarantee the integrity of the US base. Now, granted, Trump may be thinking that somehow this is an opportunity for the tail to wag the dog and, indeed, this may be something he's been thinking about. But he'd be resisted by basically everyone, most especially the Pentagon.

But he obviously had discussed his stance with regard to Qatar with no one before he tweeted about it so... I guess the problem here is, as has been the case with Trump, is that he's an idiot, he's impulsive, he's ignorant, and he really likes being the boss. It's entirely possible for him to order a military involvement that is against the US's interests and against the strong disapproval of the Pentagon. Of course it's possible. Anything is possible with this guy. But I don't think it's that likely.

Most likely is that the US goes along with Qatar being blockaded and isolated and, eventually, pressured to do whatever KSA wants it to do. Less likely, but not entirely unlikely, is that the KSA will take military action against Qatar, and the US will stay out of it. Least likely is a war against Qatar that involves the US. So, yeah, I agree that discussing that third possibility is premature and alarmist. But you have to admit that the US has a history of unwise foreign military involvements and Trump is a myopic wannabe strong man.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:49 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]




Interesting... timing...
posted by Artw at 1:56 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Yeah. And, also, that's really going to confuse Trump.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:59 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


"The country that I back... backs the terrorist group... that just attacked the country I am against... so that terrorist group is good?"
posted by Artw at 2:01 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


"Mr. President, that terrorist group is probably ISIS."

"That doesn't make sense. You're wrong. Jared, who should we bomb? Tell me it's Iran, I'd really like to bomb Iran."
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:07 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


Turkey has arrested the head of Turkey's Amnesty International I mean I don't know what's going on here and if this has any relation to things going to hell but it doesn't seem to be a cheery development.
posted by angrycat at 2:10 AM on June 7 [25 favorites]


There's got to be US military officers who are perplexed by this, maybe even some in Qatar. I hope some of them come out with why it's an astonishingly bad idea to threaten a country that's hosting your military base.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:12 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]




From yesterday:

IS Propaganda Increasingly Targeting Iran And Its Sunnis

Could be linked to Saudi attempts to sway the US, could be separate.
posted by Artw at 2:34 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


NYT: ISIS claims responsibility for the Iran attacks.
posted by angrycat at 2:47 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Sunni extremists on rampage (again)...
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks on its Amaq news agency.

Shia Iran has been singled out as a target by Sunni jihadis, including Isis, but has largely escaped attacks within its urban centres. Iran provides ground forces to fight Isis and other rebel groups in Syria and Iraq.

Isis published a rare video in Persian in March, warning that it “will conquer Iran and restore it to the Sunni Muslim nation as it was before”. The group and other extremists consider Shias to be apostates, and the video accuses Iranians of persecuting Sunnis over the centuries.
Several dead in suicide attacks on Iranian parliament and shrine in Tehran (Graunaid)
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:53 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Angrycat- link for ISIS claiming credit?
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:50 AM on June 7


Never mind - found it.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:51 AM on June 7


Watergate ‘pales’ in comparison: Ex-DNI Clapper drops a truth bomb on Trump-Russia scandal (Elizabeth Preza, RS)
“I lived through Watergate,” Clapper said of the multiple scandals engulfing the Trump administration. “It was a scary time, I have to say though that I think, you know, compare the two, that Watergate pales in my view compared to what we’re confronting now.”

As The Guardian Australia’s Paul Karp noted, Clapper did not end his criticism of Trump there (“shirtfronting” is Australian slang for charging at one’s opponent):

Clapper is absolutely shirtfronting Trump at #NPC #auspol pic.twitter.com/avN2VxKlOR

— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) June 7, 2017
Last month, Clapper argued the United States is “under assault” by Trump, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that between Russian interference and the president, out institutions are at risk.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:32 AM on June 7 [25 favorites]


Meanwhile the secret courts have started. The remote LaSalle detention facility is part of Trump’s attempt to fast-track deportations.
The private detention center, which incarcerates more than 1,100 men and women has the highest number of prisoner deaths of any in America over the past two years.
posted by adamvasco at 4:40 AM on June 7 [15 favorites]


Are they “prisoners” or are they instead “detainees” or some other creepy neologism designed to sidestep the rights that prisoners were found to have?
posted by acb at 4:43 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


The FBI Director nominee is Christopher Wray. Wray was Chris Christie's personal attorney.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:54 AM on June 7 [17 favorites]


Is Wray another example of Trump dumping on Christie or did Christie put Wray's name forward?
posted by PenDevil at 5:05 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Are they “prisoners” or are they instead “detainees” or some other creepy neologism designed to sidestep the rights that prisoners were found to have?

From the Guardian article: In US immigration courts, respondents have no right to a public attorney as the proceedings are administrative and not criminal. Those without representation, recent statistical analysis shows, are far more likely to be removed from the US than comparable cases where a lawyer is assigned.
posted by stonepharisee at 5:09 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


will conquer Iran and restore it to the Sunni Muslim nation as it was before

Is this as completely ahistorical as I suspect?
posted by leotrotsky at 5:28 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Chris Wallace and Shep occasionally do or say the (kinda) right thing, but I haven't seen it from Cavuto before.

Fox host to Trump: ‘Fake news media’ isn’t the issue, it’s you
Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Tuesday hit President Trump for his criticism of media outlets' coverage of his Twitter habits.

“Mr. President, it’s not the fake news media that’s your problem,” he said on Fox. “It’s you. It’s not just your tweeting, it’s your scapegoating. It’s your refusal to see that sometimes you’re the one who’s feeding your own beast and acting beastly with your own guys.

“Look at the critiques you’re now hearing from usually friendly and supportive allies as sort of like an intervention. Because firing off these angry missives and tweets risks your political discussion.”
posted by chris24 at 5:29 AM on June 7 [30 favorites]


Russia seems to be playing both sides in the middle east... Allying with Iran in Syria and then setting up Qatar by spreading fake news that they're... allied with Iran?

I don't get it. What are they trying to so?
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:34 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. What are they trying to so?

Stir the pot?
posted by drezdn at 5:36 AM on June 7 [15 favorites]


I don't get it. What are they trying to so?
Undermine all other governments and alliances. Test and perfect their low cost disinformation weapons. Create chaos and thus generate opportunities.
posted by rc3spencer at 5:37 AM on June 7 [34 favorites]


completely ahistorical

Not if 680 CE is your baseline.
posted by spitbull at 5:38 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't be shocked if Russia was trying to start more active conflicts in the Middle East, trying to draw the US in, to distract from Russian movements in Ukraine and ???
posted by drezdn at 5:38 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]




Russia seems to be playing both sides in the middle east... Allying with Iran in Syria and then setting up Qatar by spreading fake news that they're... allied with Iran?

I don't get it. What are they trying to so?


Just guessing: get the US out of Qatar, force Qatar to get even more cosy with Iran, in the most far out event, get an Iranian (and thus Russia-friendly) foothold on the west side of the Gulf. That would be crazy and have crazy consequences but after Trump was elected and proceeded to do crazy stuff every single day, who knows?
posted by mumimor at 5:45 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Wray's name is all over the ACLU's torture archive, he was central to the Valerie Plane affair, was in charge at DOJ during the height of the political hiring scandal, and his law firm advises the TrumpOrg sham "trust". He's a horrible pick with just enough of a "serious" reputation from his role in prosecuting Enron to draw Democratic votes.

I expect him to report directly to Trump and be an utter yes man. The FBIs Russia investigation ends with his confirmation.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:48 AM on June 7 [60 favorites]


I don't get it. What are they trying to do?

War in the Middle East would raise the price of oil, Russia's top export.
posted by Andrhia at 5:49 AM on June 7 [17 favorites]


How can it be OK for Trump to appoint an FBI director in the current situation? Even if he appointed the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, no one would believe there wasn't a hidden deal with that ghost.
posted by mumimor at 5:54 AM on June 7 [71 favorites]


Also, undermining the ideology of liberalism and human rights, in favour of Russia's Hobbesian ideology of power without euphemism. (If the US, on paper the light on the hill of the post-Enlightenment order, declares its shared values with Saudi Arabia, the Enlightenment itself can be argued to have been a failed experiment which, in the end, amounted to nothing more than a layer of hypocrisy over the reality of power.)

Putinist Russia's biggest ideological export (replacing the Marxism-Leninism of the Soviet era, and using some of the propaganda apparatus developed then) is the Reverse Cargo Cult; yes, Russia's a corrupt kleptocracy where institutions and the rule of law are a sham and only power is real, but that's the case everywhere.
posted by acb at 5:55 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


Marina Fang / HuffPo: Donald Trump May Find Time To Live-Tweet James Comey’s Testimony

'May', in spite of being scheduled to give a speech during the testimony.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:07 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


How can it be OK for Trump to appoint an FBI director in the current situation?

As always, the answer is because every single
Republican is an active participant in the cover up.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:09 AM on June 7 [47 favorites]


If Comey told Sessions about Trumo, does that make Sessions complicit in any way? A witness for the prosecution?

Also, Stephanie Ruehl, MSNBC, on the appointment of Wray on this day: Do you think it's a coincidence? I couldn't possibly cover two stories at once!
posted by Room 641-A at 6:11 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I wish I could understand Putin's calculus a little better.

Is he just trying to destroy our alliances? Someone commented to me a while ago that an attack on the Baltics while NATO sat back and watched would be the end of NATO, and that this might be want Putin actually has in mind in Lithuania.

Is he trying to make us choose between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, ending one alliance or the other? And making ALL our allies trust us less?
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:11 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Reuters Turkey to fast track legislation approving troop deployment in Qatar - officials
Turkey's parliament is expected to fast track on Wednesday existing legislation to allow its troops to be deployed to a Turkish military base in Qatar, officials from the ruling AK Party and the nationalist opposition said.

The move appears to support the Gulf Arab country when it faces diplomatic and trade isolation from some of the biggest Middle Eastern powers. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain severed relations with Qatar and closed their airspace to commercial flights on Monday, charging it with financing militant groups.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:16 AM on June 7


BTW, Danish PM Lars Løkke is meeting with Macron today and stating that we need to fight for the Paris Agreement and yesterday the Danish Crown Princess Mary met with Mme Macron. This is a historic reversal of Danish politics — not once since WW2 has Denmark sided with France, regardless of wether the Danish government was socialist or conservative. Denmark is a tiny country but still significant because it controls Greenland's defense and also can surveil Russian activities in the Baltic. I'd like to say control, because no one gets out of the Baltic without passing through Denmark, but unfortunately that probably just means Denmark will be bombed out of existence on the first day of war.
Danish pundits are noting that the Danish Foreign Ministry must have thrown in their requests for private meetings first thing after Macron was elected, in order to get access so early in Macron's presidency. Also both the PM, the Minster of Defense and the Minister of Foreign affairs have come out to say publicly that Trump is unpredictable and pr. extension unreliable. These are all far right politicians who normally support Republican positions and I am stunned. Something really strange is out there now.
posted by mumimor at 6:18 AM on June 7 [38 favorites]


I wish I could understand Putin's calculus a little better.

An early post in this thread noted a Kottke post on Putin’s playbook for discrediting America and destabilizing the West which noted that it was an actual book.

The wiki page for this book, Foundations of Geopolitics, reads like a checklist. The overall pattern seems to be divide, distract, and conquer.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:19 AM on June 7 [39 favorites]


If Comey told Sessions about Trumo, does that make Sessions complicit in any way? A witness for the prosecution?

That's the thing, every conversation with Trump now makes one a potential witness. I have to imagine he's not getting many calls from "friends" these days -- who the hell actively wants to be subpoenaed by Mueller or Congress to testify under oath about their conversations with him?
posted by melissasaurus at 6:21 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Wray's law firm, King and Spalding, took on Rosneft as a client last year for unspecified consultation work relating to natural gas projects. Because of course they did. He also met with Trump on the same day the President demanded Comey's personal loyalty. Because of course he did. [both real]
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:26 AM on June 7 [78 favorites]


It's all right out in the open. And Republicans will do nothing.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:29 AM on June 7 [12 favorites]


“We Have Always Been At War Alongside Russia”
posted by acb at 6:31 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Whoopsie! Wray's Law Firm Last Year took on Rosneft as a client.

Heavy: Christopher Wray: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Other Trump administration critics are pointing to the fact that King & Spalding represents Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil company. It does not appear that Wray had any role in the firm’s work with the oil company, which was mentioned in the leaked Christopher Steele dossier as possibly being involved in coordination with former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

King & Spalding is a large firm with more than 900 attorneys. Its work with Rosneft appears to be handled by its Moscow office and its partner Jennifer Josefson, while Wray has worked in Atlanta and Washington D.C., representing American companies and clients.
Just a coincidence, right? Because apparently everyone in Washington, DC and NYC has worked for or come into contact with the Russians in some capacity.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:31 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Is this as completely ahistorical as I suspect?

Not really. Prior to the Safavids conquering Persia and declare Shia the state religion in 1501, Iran was technically a Sunni country. If you want Iran getting back to its roots though you really need to go full Zoroastrianism.
posted by Talez at 6:33 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Wrey's firm was also hired to be lobbyists for Saudi Arabia.

The Hill 10/03/16 Saudi Arabia hires 10th lobby firm
The Saudis have hired King & Spalding to provide “advocacy and legal services” related to the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, according to a contract filed with the Justice Department. It’s the fifth firm to be hired by the country in recent weeks.[...]

Unlike the other firms, King & Spalding inked its contract through Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment. The agreement does not discuss fees or the duration of the work, saying those details were still being worked out.
Anybody else running out of yarn for their forensic wall?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:39 AM on June 7 [42 favorites]


The wiki page for this book, Foundations of Geopolitics, reads like a checklist. The overall pattern seems to be divide, distract, and conquer.

If that's an accurate interpretation of the book I'd say everything is going along to Russia/ Putin's plan. The big question is how do the small wars that involve annexation of countries back to Russia and upheaval in the Arab countries not drag the rest of the world into war?
posted by photoslob at 6:41 AM on June 7


Ha, well that's the trick.
posted by Artw at 6:42 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Vox: 3 senior FBI officials can vouch for Comey’s story about Trump: One by one this winter, then-FBI Director James B. Comey pulled aside three of the bureau’s top officials for private chats. In calm tones, he told each of them about a private Oval Office meeting with President Trump — during which, Comey alleged, the president pressed him to shut down the federal criminal investigation of Trump’s then-national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Those three officials, according to two people with detailed, firsthand knowledge of the matter, were Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff and senior counselor; James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel; and Andrew McCabe, then the bureau’s deputy director, and now the acting director, following Trump’s firing of Comey last month. Comey spoke to them within two days of his Oval conversation with Trump, the sources said, and recounted the president’s comments about the Flynn investigation.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:43 AM on June 7 [28 favorites]


Oh, hey, I'd forgotten that Qatar is supposed to host the World Cup in 2022. (Russia hosts next year.)

Because the only thing that could make this stupider and/or more crooked is FIFA.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:45 AM on June 7 [65 favorites]


More on Wray from Ryan J. Reilly:
Christopher Wray’s name comes up in a DOJ watchdog report on politicized hiring during the Bush administration

Wray was involved in Bush-era voter fraud crackdown, which didn’t turn up much. Could face questions on Trump claims
This means he worked with the absolutely vile Hans von Spakovsky, racist thug and voter suppression weasel. No thanks.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:54 AM on June 7 [14 favorites]


The NSA hearing is scheduled to start at 10am.

Here's the CSPAN link.

Here's a link to Chat for liveblogging/reaction-type comments. Try to keep content in this thread a bit more substantive or at least combine multiple quotes/reactions into one comment; consider waiting to post until there's video of the exchange at issue (via twitter or wherever).

Here's a Metatalk where people are discussing, among other things, how to handle these types of events and self-moderate to provide a better experience for everyone, mods included.
posted by melissasaurus at 6:54 AM on June 7 [46 favorites]


An early post in this thread noted a Kottke post on Putin’s playbook for discrediting America and destabilizing the West which noted that it was an actual book.

That is worrisome, but he's also cherry-picking a bit. The wiki page also list items like absorbing Finland into Russia, which seems pretty unlikely and a "continental Russian-Islamic alliance" based on the "traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization", which, given the fractures in the Islamic world is simply impossible.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:56 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


> The big question is how do the small wars that involve annexation of countries back to Russia and upheaval in the Arab countries not drag the rest of the world into war?

Is that the question? Plunging the rest world into war when the US is effectively out of the fight gives Russia a huge advantage.

The US has always had to fight an isolationist bent on the far-right, and some could take Hillary Clinton's loss as a rejection of centrist to central-left warhawks. The far-left anti-war contingent is against the entire concept of war. The US President has traditionally been the one to lead us into wars or "military actions", and with that individual apparently in Putin's pocket and incapable of understanding subtleties of geopolitics, I don't know that a world war would necessarily involve the US.

Shit, Russia already annexed Crimea (under Obama) and we did approximately nothing. Arguably the smarter move at the time, but part of that was the assumption that the next US President wasn't Putin's puppet.
posted by fragmede at 7:00 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


the Washington Post also has a live stream on YouTube if the CSPAN link isn't working for you (it's not for me)
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:01 AM on June 7


He's a horrible pick with just enough of a "serious" reputation from his role in prosecuting Enron to draw Democratic votes.

This line about his "seriousness" is being picked up in the media already: Trump Makes His Choice for FBI Director, and Knowledgeable People Aren’t Horrified (Slate) This is Team Trump's Gorsuch strategy all over again.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:01 AM on June 7 [12 favorites]


Wray would've been much better qualified to be Trump's outside defense counsel than FBI director.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:02 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


3 senior FBI officials can vouch for Comey’s story about Trump

Well, not quite. They cannot vouch for what was said in the private meeting. They can vouch for what Comey told them after. They can only give hearsay as to what was said in the first meeting. That Comey gave immediate reports to others is going to carry a lot of suggestive weight, obviously. The three can vouch for 'this is what Comey told me', but they cannot vouch for 'what Comey said is true'.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:02 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


anyone else listening to the senate intel committee hearing?
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 7:03 AM on June 7


photoslob The big question is how do the small wars that involve annexation of countries back to Russia and upheaval in the Arab countries not drag the rest of the world into war?

I suspect dragging the rest of the world into war is part of Putin's agenda.

I also suspect that Putin isn't near the puppetmaster/planner that he presents himself as and possibly imagines himself to be. There's too damn many variables for anyone to really be sitting back, stroking their white Persian cat, and declaring that all is going according to plan.

What Putin is mainly doing, I strongly suspect, is sowing chaos and stirring the pot on the not unreasonable assumption that chaos and pot stirring will cause more harm to the USA, NATO, and the other serious challengers to Russian power than it will cause to Russia. I bet he subscribes to the chaos is a ladder theory, and sees himself as best positioned to climb that ladder.

The Qatar thing is a good example. What will happen is anyone's guess, but regardless of what happens the US will be weakened, trust in the US will degrade, and possibly the price of oil will go up.

I think Putin views the chaos, distrust, and general shit stirring as a sort of Xanatos Gambit: no matter what happens he thinks Russia will emerge stronger and its rivals will emerge weaker.

He's also using weapons that can't be easily turned against him so he's probably feeling pretty smug and safe regardless. He's dependent on a cult of personality in Russia, so in theory it might be possible to target him with a disinformation campaign, revelations of embarrassing things, and so forth, but Russia has some pretty hardcore press controls in place and cults of personality are distressingly resilient to attacks of that nature anyway. Mostly Putin's style of attack works best on democracies, and Russia doesn't count as one of those anymore.
posted by sotonohito at 7:09 AM on June 7 [30 favorites]


Dana Milbank, WaPo: 'President Pence’ is sounding better and better
John Nance Garner, one of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice presidents, famously compared the office to “a bucket of warm piss.” For Pence, the vice presidency is a bucket of Clorox and a mop.

[…]

Many liberals correctly call Pence a doctrinaire conservative, particularly on gay rights and other social issues. He’ll be forever tarnished because of his role in legitimizing Trump for mainstream conservatives, a calculation based on the vain hope that he could influence Trump. He has embarrassed himself in office by parroting Trump’s untruths and cheerleading for the boss.

But Pence is, at core, a small-d democrat, not a demagogue. The world would be safer with him in charge. We would still have fierce divisions about the nation’s direction. But Pence, in the nearly two decades I’ve known him, has been an honorable man. Opponents can disagree with him yet sleep well knowing he’s unlikely to be irrational.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:11 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Procedurally, if all the Republican-controlled Congress does is ask Mr. Comey softball or unrelated questions, possibly about Hillary Clinton's emails and their relation with the Russians, is there any recourse? Comey is being questioned in relation to Trump trying to bury the FBI's investigation, but Trump would naturally try to derail this investigation, too.

If Trump's leaned on GOP-controlled Congress, who were all to happy to go along with his other plans, and they play along, ask a couple of nothing burger questions, and decide there's nothing to investigate, then where are we?
posted by fragmede at 7:13 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


All the members of the committee get to ask questions, not just the Republicans.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:14 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Procedurally, if all the Republican-controlled Congress does is ask Mr. Comey softball or unrelated questions, possibly about Hillary Clinton's emails and their relation with the Russians, is there any recourse? Comey is being questioned in relation to Trump trying to bury the FBI's investigation, but Trump would naturally try to derail this investigation, too.

Comey is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, a panel made up of both Democrats and Republicans, and the chairman of that committee (Burr, a Republican) has made clear that he at the very least wants to be seen as investigating for real and at marginally impartially. There's no realistic scenario that Democrats won't be allowed to ask question; and so some hardball questions will be asked.

Softball questions from the Republicans on that committee are probably to be expected (with more of a focus, I would guess, on 'leaks' than on emails); in that vein, Rubio and Cotton will be interesting to watch, as they met with Trump yesterday in what is not at all a suspicious meeting.
posted by cjelli at 7:18 AM on June 7 [12 favorites]


But Pence, in the nearly two decades I’ve known him, has been an honorable man.

Regardless of what he used to be, he is now actively working with this abominable administration. He can not be called honorable, ever ever again.

He is dishonorable, he is complicit, he is a likely traitor and criminal. He needs to hang with the rest of them.
posted by jammer at 7:21 AM on June 7 [48 favorites]


He is dishonorable, he is complicit, he is a likely traitor and criminal. He needs to hang with the rest of them.

So President Ryan then.
posted by scalefree at 7:27 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Pence is lawful evil, and it's not that being lawful evil is "better" than chaotic evil, but at least you have a better chance at knowing when/where you have to fight.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:29 AM on June 7 [52 favorites]


Regardless of what he used to be, he is now actively working with this abominable administration. He can not be called honorable, ever ever again.

You could make the same argument with Gen. Mattis. There's a shitty calculus that you have to do when a sociopath has access to nuclear weapons and you're potentially in a position to prevent him from doing something catastrophic.

We still don't know exactly what's going on behind closed doors. It will likely come out in the wash during the investigation, but there's a chance that Mike Pence is doing what he's doing because he feels some duty to his country.

And remember, I'm a Hoosier, and I can't fucking stand Mike Pence.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:31 AM on June 7 [16 favorites]


The crux of it is that anything Pence might do, while terrible, is a thing that can be reversed someday when someone else comes to power. Trump is an existential threat to life on earth and the foundations of American government.
posted by something something at 7:32 AM on June 7 [63 favorites]


But Pence, in the nearly two decades I’ve known him, has been an honorable man. Opponents can disagree with him yet sleep well knowing he’s unlikely to be irrational.

As a woman, reading words like these will never stop being a breathtaking punch in the gut.

There is nothing rational about his religious extremism and nothing honorable about the things he would do to women under its auspices.
posted by jesourie at 7:38 AM on June 7 [177 favorites]


I'll clarify. Mike Pence is dumb. He's got awful beliefs on social issues. He is complicit in getting Trump elected.

But he's also not picking fights with our allies or putting 10,000 troops in Qatar at risk because he wants to look like a big man.

His actions since taking office have been been to moderate Trump's insane comments or to soothe relations with our allies.

Politically, he's a bad guy. But there's a lot worse things out there.

Take W. W was a bad President. But there's so much worse things than being a bad President.

Trump is completely fucking INSANE. He cares about NOTHING but his incredibly fragile ego, and that ego is under constant assault since he took office. Is there any terrible action that he could take tomorrow that would surprise you?

Now take Mike Pence. Can you say the same thing? There's a whole swathe of insane shit that I'm pretty confident Mike Pence wouldn't do on the international stage, re: NATO, re: Qatar, etc...
posted by leotrotsky at 7:38 AM on June 7 [16 favorites]


So, it's a rather-cancer-than-ebola situation?
posted by acb at 7:39 AM on June 7 [19 favorites]


There is nothing rational about his religious extremism and nothing honorable about the things he would do to women under its auspices.

While true, I, as a woman who needs contraceptive care, would prefer not to die in a nuclear holocaust, which I fear we are running rapidly towards. Bring on Pence.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:41 AM on June 7 [34 favorites]


Trump wants to start charging stores to accept food stamps [Ylan Mui, CNBC]
That provision is a new fee that the White House wants to charge retailers that accept food stamps, which is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The Office of Management and Budget said the fee would be assessed when stores sign up and would require renewal after five years. The budget office said the amount would depend on the size and type of retailer, but the president's budget estimates that the fee would generate $2.4 billion in revenue over the next decade.
(note that this is unpopular and unlikely to happen, but something to keep an eye on because it's exactly the kind of Ryan-esque BS that could get slipped into a bill as a revenue raiser)
posted by melissasaurus at 7:41 AM on June 7 [51 favorites]


I don't get it. What are they trying to so?

Chaos is a ladder.
posted by asteria at 7:43 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


So, it's a rather-cancer-than-ebola situation?

Yep. You can fight cancer. With ebola everybody's already dead.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:43 AM on June 7 [17 favorites]


Putin is creating chaos. He's an old-school hardman. His position is strong but brittle. The history of the rulers of Russia is simple. You win, or you die.

He needs to convince the oligarchs that his presidency is better for them than any of them trying for it. He needs to toss enough wealth to the rich that they don't start conspiring. He needs to keep every other Russian terrified. Except the Armed Forces.

If the Russian Armed Forces are too weak, NATO wins. That's what happened in 1988, and Putin remembers.

If they are too strong, they may take over.

Putin is riding the tiger by making the military strong, but busy. That's why Lithuania is fucked.

The strategy is driven by three core ideas:
  • Never let the Americans use technical dominance to cripple Russia again
  • Money = Power. Maximize the value of Russia's resources
  • Do not cede the global stage. Project power everywhere
Russia has spent 30 years catching up to the West in military tech. As tech has moved from hardware to software, the chess players moved into military code. Russian anti-air systems are the best in the world. They've shown that in Syria. The latest generation American aircraft cannot operate in a battlespace controlled by Russian AA systems.

Russia has oil, uranium, astonishing software people and fuck all else. Uranium has no value. Software people are all emigrating or being paid vast amounts to build weapon tech - some digital, some actual weapons.

So, Oil. Russia benefits from high oil prices, and access to reserves.

Putin's actions make sense now.
  • Destroy NATO's resolve
  • Disrupt the EU
  • Foment conflict in oil-rich areas to hike the oil price
  • Keep the Russian Military busy in Ukraine, Lithuania etc. until needed in the Gulf
  • Weapons sales to countries that no longer trust the US
Every night, before he goes to bed, Vladimir dances naked around his apartment chanting «Я не могу в это поверить!»
posted by Combat Wombat at 7:43 AM on June 7 [60 favorites]


Pence isn't sane at all, in my book. He's an extremist against women and while I don't want Trump as Prez, I also don't want Pence. It's disgusting to hear people praise him as a reasonable man and I am SO not on board.
posted by agregoli at 7:44 AM on June 7 [28 favorites]


MSNBC's Jesse Rodriguez has this (twitter link) from John McCain, re: Trump's tweets: "They’re fun reading. I wake up in the morning and see he gets up earlier than I do, so I’m able to see his tweets."

I, um, don't concur that they are fun, but OK. When is McCain up for re-election?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:48 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I don't think anyone is trying to say that he's like super reasonable and a chill nice guy or whatever. I've said this before that having a President Pence would be awful. Most likely more awful than the Bush/Cheney years...but it's a survivable awful. Pence is willing to do Shitty Republican™ things for sure, but I'm fairly confident in our ability to survive and overcome that.

Yes people would suffer, but we might avoid a nuclear war/WWIII. I really don't have that same confidence in Trump. At all.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:48 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Jesus. You'd think there would be easier (and less evil, but setting aside questions of morality, just easier) ways to get what you want in this world...but I guess this is why I'll never be a dictator.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:48 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


As T.D. Strange has consistently pointed out, the entire leadership of the Republican party is complicit in the current events merely by inaction.

What we have happening is a discovery of all the specific laws that have already been broken. Provided that Mueller and his staff have the fortitude to wade through the mess and catalog the, at this point what seem multitudes, of broken laws by Trumpco.

This is a test of not only our federal bureaucracy, which is in place to uphold the rule of law, but also the current Republican party to actually follow the rule of law.

And that is the pivot point. Do you trust McConell and Ryan? Pence is as deep in it as Sessions.

What is it you would have for this country?

Merrick Garland? Anybody?

How long? Not long.
posted by Max Power at 7:48 AM on June 7 [16 favorites]


No reasonable person is saying that Pence isn't dangerous. But compared to Trump-- look, if you had no other options, would you rather fight one grizzly bear or twelve rabid badgers?
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:49 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Since Trump doesn't give a shit about policy or positions except for Russia and let's others convince him what to do, right now we're getting both the Madness of King Trump and the Handmaid's Tale of Pence. I'm all for eliminating one of those problems and then fighting Pence on a non-nuclear wasteland battlefield.
posted by chris24 at 7:50 AM on June 7 [48 favorites]


I, um, don't concur that they are fun, but OK. When is McCain up for re-election?

2022. He just won reelection.
posted by Talez at 7:51 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


For many, Pence would not be a survivable awful. His policies would cripple and kill women.

I'm tired of this moral calculus. It also doesn't matter what we'd rather. It's pointless speculation using human lives as weights.
posted by agregoli at 7:51 AM on June 7 [21 favorites]


(And no more nuclear wasteland talk, also, puhleese?)
posted by agregoli at 7:53 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


I think Putin views the chaos, distrust, and general shit stirring as a sort of Xanatos Gambit: no matter what happens he thinks Russia will emerge stronger and its rivals will emerge weaker.

I don't think people realize that Putin's getting so aggressive because he's got a really weak hand and he's seriously screwed over any medium to long term time frame.

Russia's a 'resource curse' country that doesn't have a diverse economy. Unlike, say Norway, they didn't plow their money into improving the country, but instead into oligarch's pockets. That's particularly bad because their resource isn't worth what it used to be due to the explosive (heh) growth of fracking and alternative energy like wind and solar. They've got an economy that's smaller than South Korea. Oh, and they're shrinking. They've got a birth rate like Japan without the wealth. Sanctions have not made things better in Russia, and while folks have put up with it so far due to the drums of Nationalism, eventually folks start to wonder why they've got to have shitty Russian products instead of the nice European products everyone else has.

Russia is fucked.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:53 AM on June 7 [62 favorites]


You know what I'd be far more interested in than another re-hash of "who's worse" in the presidential chain of succession? An actual researched analysis of the most likely majority of house seats and 2/3 of senate seats that would cast their votes to remove the sitting president. It seems irrelevant to discuss how advisable that outcome is if we can't even articulate how it might happen.

Those who know more than me, what are the pressure points?
posted by meinvt at 7:55 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


There's also a possibility that if Trump goes down due to Russian campaign interference, Pence will not survive either. His defense that he was out of the loop regarding Mike Flynn was easily debunked.
posted by zarq at 7:55 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


We have had the Pence vs. Trump vs. Ryan debate a hundred times in these threads. Maybe in the interest of mod sanity we could stipulate to disagreement?
posted by spitbull at 7:55 AM on June 7 [55 favorites]


Russia is fucked.

Jep, but they are trying hard to drag us down with them..
posted by mumimor at 7:55 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Pence vs. Trump has been discussed at length, repeatedly, in the past several threads -- I get the desire to talk about it, but in the interest of not repeating the same discussions all over again, could we hold off on a reprise until something new actually happens: until impeachment proceedings are underway, or an investigation turns up complicity, or similar?
posted by cjelli at 7:56 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


[Let's lay off the "Trump is worse"/"Pence is worse" thing, as folks are saying, we've been over that a lot and people have stated the same positions again and again, it doesn't seem like a lot of forward movement is happening]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:57 AM on June 7 [19 favorites]


Nick Weaver of UC Berkley was interviewed on Kerri Miller's MPR show. He just mentioned that there was reporting after the election about a Russian plan to make it look like votes were tampered with, if Clinton had won the election. (Remember Trump saying he would accept the results if he won?)

Anyone know more about this? Weaver was speculating that possibly the hacking reported by the Intercept was intended to support that narrative? He said there was a hashtag that they'd been planning to use, but he couldn't remember what it was.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:04 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Iran Revolutionary Guards blame Saudi Arabia for deadly attacks in Tehran: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have accused Saudi Arabia of masterminding the deadly attacks in Tehran on Wednesday, in which at least 12 people were killed. Earlier the terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

"This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the U.S. president (Donald Trump) and the (Saudi) backward leaders who support terrorists. The fact that Islamic State has claimed responsibility proves that they were involved in the brutal attack," said the statement, cited by Reuters.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:05 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


An actual researched analysis of the most likely majority of house seats and 2/3 of senate seats that would cast their votes to remove the sitting president. I

Trump Can Commit All the High Crimes He Wants. Republicans Aren’t Going to Impeach Him.

There is no scenario under which Trump is impeached without Democrats retaking the House. There's no current scenario where he receives enough votes to be removed in the Senate even if impeached. Depending on the revelations from Mueller, it could conceivably happen, but not without years more relevaltions, public pressure, undeniable evidence of crimes, and actual electoral defeat of Republcians in 2018 and leading into 2020. They will only act if they feel like they are losing power, not based on laws, or morals, or even the wholesale destruction of our postwar international order. The only thing that can move Republicans away from their current 100% support of Trump's treason is electoral losses.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:09 AM on June 7 [62 favorites]


Putin knows he can't win a conventional head-on war with NATO, Russia is severely outmatched. So his objective is to gain ground while making us unwilling to fight. As Sun Tzu said in Art of War: "For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."
posted by scalefree at 8:10 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Trump Can Commit All the High Crimes He Wants. Republicans Aren’t Going to Impeach Him.

All Republicans, or Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:12 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


I would assume an absolute commitment to treason on their part right the way down to dogcatcher.
posted by Artw at 8:18 AM on June 7 [13 favorites]


Are there strategies for Russian economic diversification and improvement that let the oligarchs still maintain power? Or is teh evulz part of the goal? Or laziness?

(For 45, given that he would be just as rich or richer just using index funds, it seems like crushing people is part of his joy. The optimist in me wants to find places to make that urge more aligned with things that don't suck.)
posted by gregglind at 8:18 AM on June 7


> The only thing that can move Republicans away from their current 100% support of Trump's treason is electoral losses.

I narrowly disagree with Chait, in that I do think the threat of electoral losses would be enough to do it. The difference in policy going from Trump to Pence is likely small in their view, so the key question is whether the PR hit they take from impeaching him is worse than the daily PR hits of so much bad press. They certainly don't want anti-GOP sentiments carrying over into 2018, so I think if the public revolts even more than they are now, they will decide to just cut their losses with him.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:18 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Are there strategies for Russian economic diversification and improvement that let the oligarchs still maintain power? Or is teh evulz part of the goal? Or laziness?

I assume it's just the one thing he's good at so he goes with it. Like how Republicans are only good at rigging shit and wrecking shit.
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


The special elections aren't really going to be enough of a disaster to swing it, are they? They can probably even pass any close squeaks off as a huge victory.
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on June 7


I urge Istanbul to finally accept responsibility for this egregious incident

Istanbullies
Not Constantinopolicebrutality
posted by kirkaracha at 8:24 AM on June 7 [35 favorites]


Welp today in stupid: Hunting for Trump's Climate Views Leads Down a Rabbit Hole, Perry Says
Perry challenged China to compete with U.S. energy technology, insisting that America isn’t backing away from its position as a leader in cleaning up the environment.

“I hope China will step in and attempt to take the mantle away” from the U.S., Perry told reporters Monday in Tokyo. “It would be a good challenge for them.”
As if that hasn't already happened, ya leathery dipshit
posted by Existential Dread at 8:26 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Trump Can Commit All the High Crimes He Wants. Republicans Aren’t Going to Impeach Him.

This is a bold claim to make when even Fox News, as linked above, are starting to push back against Trump. Republicans, like all elected officials, care about the bottom line (i.e., their ability to be re-elected) first and foremost. If the conservative zeitgeist within the base starts to turn against him, and it appears that it is, you better believe they will jump on that bandwagon fast. So making absolutist statements like this not only tempt fate; they fly in the face of what motivates politicians in the first place.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:28 AM on June 7 [16 favorites]


I am watching the hearing and hooboy, am I pissed off.

To recap what has happened so far, Dan Coats laid out the importance of the FISA Court and Section 702 of the Patriot Act. However, when Vice Chair Warner asked about whether Trump had ever asked or pressured Mike Rogers or Dan Coats to downplay or quash the investigation into Russian interference. However, both Rogers and Coats refused to comment on conversations they had with the "President". Coats won't comment in an open hearing, while Rogers won't comment beyond to give non-denials and obfuscation.

Basically all these guys are invoking executive privilege in the most pathetic, cowardly way, instead of leveling with We the People, their fucking bosses. They all claim that they haven't been asked by the WH to invoke executive privilege. Even Rubio's questions had these guys looking like fools tripping over their dicks because they kept answering questions that Rubio didn't ask, while avoiding giving yeses or nos.

Burr, Warner, Risch, Feinstein, Rubio, Wyden, and now Collins have asked questions.

Mods, if this is too live-bloggy, please delete without worry!
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:30 AM on June 7 [67 favorites]


>The only thing that can move Republicans away from their current 100% support of Trump's treason is electoral losses.

I narrowly disagree with Chait, in that I do think the threat of electoral losses would be enough to do it.


Why would they allow elections they might lose, if they are far gone enough to go along with Putin's crazy plans for two years before that?

I don't think we can count on 2018. We need to force Republicans to act even while they are still in power. Some combination of appeals to their conscience (at least some must still have them) and refusal to consent might cause them to lose their nerve. They know they are playing a dangerous game. They face a prisoner's dilemma -- if even a few of them cave and vote with Democrats to actually do something about these threats, the rest will be humiliated and ruined for their part in allowing things to this bad. There is a strong incentive to be among the FIRST to cave, then, once the chances of anyone caving look high enough. We need to keep the pressure up. NOW. Someone will cave.

I've noticed there aren't a lot of people defending Trump any more. No more soundbites from Ryan and McConnell about how he had every right to do what he's done. They've fallen silent.

Turning on him is the next step. We don't need that many -- a couple dozen in each house. Even cartels and mobs which enforce loyalty with death threats can't silence everyone.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:30 AM on June 7 [23 favorites]


I don't think people realize that Putin's getting so aggressive because he's got a really weak hand and he's seriously screwed over any medium to long term time frame.

And that is a frightening dynamic because it might lead Putin to decide that there's no time like the present to roll the dice on...whatever his plans are, even at the risk of starting a wider war. It reminds me of German fears of growing Russian military and economic strength that led the German General Staff to believe that a wider war was worth risking in 1914 because they perceived the chances of winning that war would only decrease as time went on.

After the war, Bethmann Hollweg admitted, “Yes, by God, in a way it was a preventative war,” for military leaders had “declared that [in 1914] it was still possible [to fight the war] without being defeated, in two years’ time no longer!”[32]

Hopefully, I've just read too many WW1 books over the past few years because I'm seeing disturbing parallels everywhere these days.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 8:32 AM on June 7 [13 favorites]


I would point out that if Republicans in general were TOTALLY onboard with Trump's pro-Putin agenda, we wouldn't still have sanctions on Russia. But we do. I think many of them are not onboard, but have been in denial. Now that they are starting to realize what is really going on, they are paralyzed. They have no idea what to do.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:36 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


> Why would they allow elections they might lose, if they are far gone enough to go along with Putin's crazy plans for two years before that?

Wait, you're saying you think Republicans won't allow elections to take place? I'm not going to bet against it given all of the awful things that have happened, but how exactly do you think that sort of gambit would play out?
posted by tonycpsu at 8:37 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


[Excommunicated Cardinal, that kind of recap of testimony is great. The liveblogging we want to avoid is fifty comments all going "no way!!" "yeah right" and stuff like that, or single-sentence comments that just repeat one thing somebody said in the hearing with no context.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:39 AM on June 7 [74 favorites]


> we wouldn't still have sanctions on Russia

That would depends on if Putin thinks the existence of sanctions serve his needs. Per the playbook, the sanctions hurts Russia, but their existence makes it far easier to demonize the US, especially in other countries that are also under sanctions.
posted by fragmede at 8:41 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Wait, you're saying you think Republicans won't allow elections to take place? I'm not going to bet against it given all of the awful things that have happened, but how exactly do you think that sort of gambit would play out?

I said "elections they might lose."

Even Russia still has elections. It's just that the outcome is a forgone conclusion. How I think that gambit would play out? Same way it has in Russia, most likely. Propaganda, "Reichtstag fire"/Moscow apartment bombings type stuff, journalists disappeared, opposition leaders arrested, even more blatant voter suppression... There's a playbook for this.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:41 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


via scalefree in chat: excellent twitter blow-by-blow of the current hearing by Marcy Wheeler ("one of the leading independent experts on IC law, probably the leading expert") here.
posted by progosk at 8:44 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Senator King (I-ME) is pushing HARD on what the legal justification is for the witnesses'(?) refusal to answer the questions, specifically why the special counsel takes precedence over the Oversight Committee. Dan Coats admits he doesn't have a legal basis!
posted by lalex at 8:47 AM on June 7 [42 favorites]


Sigh, does anyone know why Benjamin Wittes is ticktickticking again? He's worse than Rick Wilson, except Wittes actually does usually have something.
posted by lalex at 8:49 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Coats in the hearing, seems to be reiterating that he's not sure he has a legal right to refuse to answer the questions about Trump. It's very confusing, because he most assuredly would have spoken to a lawyer before testifying today. So, he's either stalling, or has some reason to be stonewalling.

Wittes has something about half the time. He needs to calm down.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:51 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


This is total stonewalling.

I like Ari Melber's description of the hearings: "Rosenstein's position is that he can write public letters about Comey's job performance, but will not discuss the same topic under oath."

McCabe's argument is that he won't answer any questions about matters within the purview of Mueller's investigation. He can't or won't identify a legal basis for why he'll talk to Mueller but not the US Senate.

Rogers said he asked the White House whether they would invoke Executive Privilege with regard to his testimony, but "did not get a straight answer." However, when it comes to answering questions about what Trump told him, he says: "I feel it is inappropriate."
posted by zachlipton at 8:51 AM on June 7 [25 favorites]


Even Russia still has elections. It's just that the outcome is a forgone conclusion.

I'll admit to not being familiar with Russian elections, but here the states each run their own elections and are pretty fiercely independent. The federal elections for the executive are already weighted due to gerrymandering in some swing states, but at the same time you can't expect that many or even most states would accept single party rule by the Republicans.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:52 AM on June 7


Can we dredge up and blanket the universe with that stupid "there's a bear in the woods" ad that Reagan did to get everybody terrified of Ruskies so we'd agree to sign over the contents of the national treasury to defense contractors?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpwdcmjBgNA

Hello? Assholes? Remember your BEAR? WELL CHECK IT OUT, HERE IT IS! TURNS OUT THERE WAS A BEAR AND HERE IS THE GOD DAMN BEAR! Right here in the kitchen. Oh, look at that, it just turned over the 'fridge. Oh, damn, now it's eating the dog. Would you care to, like, do something? At any... point...?
posted by Don Pepino at 8:52 AM on June 7 [35 favorites]


Angus King tore into these guys! He wants to know why exactly they keep refusing to answer questions regarding conversations about stalling the Russia investigation. He kept asking for a legal justification for not answering the questions, and they kept saying that they "felt it was inappropriate" to discuss their conversations with Trump, without providing any specific legal justification.

However, King got Coats to acknowledge that they had to consult the WH Office of General Counsel about the "executive...."--read executive privilege that he was trying so hard to claim he wasn't invoking.

Then, Rogers noted that they did have to consult OGC because of the "executive privilege aspects" of their communications with Trump. King also took them to task for not being forthcoming with the committee. Sen. King was pissed, while the IC chiefs stumbled and fumbled around and questioned whether they were upholding the oaths they swore in their confirmation hearing. I think they looked very, very bad.

Warner then noted that none of them claimed that Mueller had recused them from testifying about certain topics and noted his strong displeasure at their refusal to be clear.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 8:57 AM on June 7 [70 favorites]


but at the same time you can't expect that many or even most states would accept single party rule by the Republicans.

25 states are more than happy to live under a Republican trifecta.

2010 was a watershed moment when the last vestiges of state Dixiecrats finally converted fully to Republicans under the banner of the Tea Party movement. This has turned vast swaths of the south into trifecta Republican governments with streaks broken only when the governor is a completely incompetent fuckup.
posted by Talez at 9:01 AM on June 7 [16 favorites]


Here's my talking points on objecting the Christopher Wray as FBI Director for Senators:

* Expect Senator to take all possible measures at every juncture to block the appointment of Christopher Wray as the Director of the FBI.
* Wray was the personal lawyer of Trump toady Chris Christie during Bridgegate
* Went to Guantanamo Bay to watch torture
* Gave inappropriate briefings to John Ashcroft during the investigation into the outing Agent Valerie Plame
* Was involved in the political firings of US Attorneys under Alberto Gonzales.
* Wray is too close to Trump associates to be trusted to protect the FBI's independence
* His inappropriate and appalling behavior in the past disqualifies him from the position of FBI Director
* Cannot be trusted to protect the independence of investigation into Donald Trump and his KGB handlers.
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:02 AM on June 7 [76 favorites]


Nothing ever changes. Daily Beast: White House Staff, Congress Blindsided by FBI Pick Announcement
A number of senior Trump officials learned of the president’s pick to lead the FBI the same way everyone else did: on Twitter.

President Donald Trump’s top communications staff, and much of his senior White House team, did not know the president was going to make the official announcement for nominating James Comey’s successor early Wednesday morning via a single tweet, according to multiple White House officials. Several observers noted on Wednesday morning that Trump’s Christopher Wray announcement did not arrive with any fact sheet or official press release, as would be expected with news of this weight.
...
“We woke up to this,” one official said. “[Everyone in the White House] should all be used to this by now...This is how [Trump] operates.”
...
"[It’s back to] us scrambling to figure out what to do...like before," the senior aide said. "We literally have no other choice."

The aide added that the president’s senior aides and his communications staffers are now "waiting on his next wrath," that will undoubtedly result in the blame getting piled onto others not named Donald J. Trump.
I mean, they have the choice of not working there anymore, but apparently they has never occurred to them.
posted by zachlipton at 9:03 AM on June 7 [67 favorites]


The federal elections for the executive are already weighted due to gerrymandering in some swing states,

The electoral college and the constitutional over-representation of small-population states (you get at least two senators and at least one rep no matter how small your population) are a bigger factor than gerrymandering, really. In the last election, more people voted for Democrats for the House, Senate, and Presidency I believe... But Republicans control all three.

but at the same time you can't expect that many or even most states would accept single party rule by the Republicans.

We have that now at the federal level, and most states are indeed accepting it. What would "not accepting it" look like? Civil war? That would also be a great outcome, from Russia's point of view.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:04 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Kansas for instance, are so far in the fucking Kool-Aid that they realized that full flavor Republicanism was killing them but then instead of switching to Democratic, they simply voted for Diet Republicanism. All the religious dominance and racism, none of the education cuts.
posted by Talez at 9:06 AM on June 7 [17 favorites]


via scalefree in chat: excellent twitter blow-by-blow of the current hearing by Marcy Wheeler ("one of the leading independent experts on IC law, probably the leading expert") here.

Yes, she's a must-follow in the field on Twitter. On the journalistic side, there's MoJo's DC bureau chief, David Corn (he's the one who first reported on the existence of the Steele Dossier). Ex-NSA spook and current Observer columnist John Schindler has a big "caveat lector" sign above his head, but he's got IC contacts willing to tell tales out of school and a decent batting average.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:07 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


We have that now at the federal level, and most states are indeed accepting it. What would "not accepting it" look like? Civil war?

Uh, multi-state lawsuits against the travel ban that are successful? State-level commitment to the Paris Accords across a range of states? A supermajority of Kansas legislators defeating Brownback's catastrophic economic agenda?

We don't have one party rule of the federal government; we had a recent election that gave unified control to one party after 8 years of presidency by the other. Predicting completely rigged federal elections across the union and then perhaps civil war in 2018 is a little extreme.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:13 AM on June 7 [18 favorites]


For folks who are interested but weren't able to watch live, @kylegriffin1 (MSNBC) has put up a clip of the exchange between Senator Angus King and the witnesses*.

* Is "witnesses" the word I should be using here?
posted by lalex at 9:13 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Here's a 5 minute video of the exchange with Sen. King. It's very much worth watching if you want to see how much they're stonewalling and can't even identify any basis to do so.

This is not a group of people acting like they have nothing to hide.

Kamala Harris is a badass. Rogers was trying to BS his refusal to answer questions and asked "do I get to respond?" and she just cut him off with "no sir. No."
posted by zachlipton at 9:14 AM on June 7 [66 favorites]


Wow, surprise surprise, Burr cuts off a woman of color, Sen. Kamala Harris, who is aggressively questioning a stonewalling DOJ official, saying that she's not extending these know-nothings the courtesy of letting them bullshit for her five minutes.

For the record, Sen. Harris was asking, yes or no, whether Rosenstein would agree to take another step to further codify Mueller's status as a truly independent counsel, as Special Counsel Fitzgerald was. Rosenstein ignored her last question, while Burr gave Cornyn the floor. Microagressions in action.

Anyway, this is my last post for the morning--got appointments and volunteer work, so peace out! Stay strong; keep resisting!
posted by Excommunicated Cardinal at 9:20 AM on June 7 [79 favorites]


* Is "witnesses" the word I should be using here?

The technical term is obstructionists
posted by OverlappingElvis at 9:20 AM on June 7 [12 favorites]


I'm confused too, how did we get to attacking Qatar?!? We have troops stationed there for god's sake.
...one night, after a sumptuous evening meal, all Milo's fighters and bombers took off, joined in formation directly overhead and began dropping bombs on the group. he had landed another contract with the Germans, this time to bomb his own outfit. Milo's planes separated in a well-coordinated attack and bombed the fuel stocks and the ordnance pump, the repair hangars and the B-25 bombers resting on the lollipop-shaped hardstands at the field. His crew spared the landing strip and the mess halls so that they could land safely when their work was done and enjoy a hot snack before retiring.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:24 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


Here's a 5 minute video of the exchange with Sen. King. It's very much worth watching if you want to see how much they're stonewalling and can't even identify any basis to do so.

Jesus Christ they're lapdogs to the administration. Go back to your master and look for executive privilege you spineless fucks.
posted by Talez at 9:25 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]




Predicting completely rigged federal elections across the union and then perhaps civil war in 2018 is a little extreme

That's not what I said. I said IF the Republicans were willing to go along with Putin's plans for two years, that would be sign to me that they have given up on the democratic experiment in America, and I would not expect them to want to take the risk of losing power in 2018.

But I actually predicted the opposite outcome. I predicted "Someone will cave" before 2018, and then a bunch of people will turn on Trump. I don't think most Republicans will be on board with becoming a Russian client state, if only they could bring themselves to believe that is a real risk.

I also didn't predict civil war. I asked what states not accepting the outcome of an election would look like, if not civil war. The pushback we are seeing at the state level right now is great, but it is not at all the same thing as refusing to accept the outcome of the election.

In fact I would predict that if we do have unfair elections, states will in fact accept the results. Because what else can they do?
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:27 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Basically all these guys are invoking executive privilege in the most pathetic, cowardly way, instead of leveling with We the People, their fucking bosses.
I"m just seeing them honoring an ongoing investigation, and trying to not undermine whatever Comey's testimony will be, only one day before he gives it. Makes sense to me.
posted by rc3spencer at 9:32 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Vincente Fox, pulling no punches: "Dear Donald J. Trump: Here's a friendly reminder from Vicente Fox Quesada that Mexico will not pay for your wall." [Facebook]
posted by marshmallow peep at 9:34 AM on June 7 [29 favorites]


We won't know the elections are unfair until after the fact, if ever. We don't know the extent of Russian involvement to this day. Our election systems are not secure and are not auditable. Republicans have and will stonewall any attempt to reform the vulnerabilities or reckon with the results of unfairness in their favor. We're
seeing it right now, today. Even apart from actual hacking, Republicans in nearly every state they control are enacting more vote suppression laws than ever before, they don't even need actual changing of results to unfairly influence the outcome.

There's a very good argument the 2016 election was already not "free" or "fair". The situation where the US has "elections" but the result is all but foregone is not conspiracy or hyperbole, it's close to being actual fact on the ground in enough states to amount to fact on the federal level.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:34 AM on June 7 [29 favorites]


I don't think most Republicans will be on board with becoming a Russian client state, if only they could bring themselves to believe that is a real risk.

Been pondering this for a bit now because I don't want to think that either. I can understand that there are likely those directly and indirectly embroiled in something Russia and why they would be on board. I could also at least understand the action of those that Russia/GOP has dirt on and would use it to keep people in line. But every single one being okay with that happening? I find that a tough one. So why then are they not doing anything.

I think it's due to ignorance and arrogance in the "America fuck yeah' vein. I think there are Reps and others who just don't think it is even remotely possible and are blind to all the pieces. Yeah it's Partisan for sure but I really do think that hubris and general arrogance is playing into it with some of them.

I've seen this sort of hubris play out too many times in smaller social and political venues to discount it as one of the psycho-social elements at play here.
posted by Jalliah at 9:38 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Yeesh, that hearing. Clearly, there is more to come.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 9:40 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]




All four "witnesses" may just as well have stammered, "Uhhh" and looked shifty for two hours. In all but a literal sense, they did.
posted by petebest at 9:43 AM on June 7 [21 favorites]


The biggest wasted opportunity here was that no one on the panel demanded that Coats or Rogers make themselves available for today's closed session, when both of them clearly telegraphed that they would only speak where it wasn't visible to His Eyes, and that Coats clearly telegraphed that the closed session was to be attended only by lower level staffers.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 9:47 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Here's the clip of the "amazing" exchange between John McCain and Coats. McCain: “Is there anything more you want to tell us about Russian involvement in US election than what we have read in the Washington Post?”
posted by lalex at 9:49 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Charles Pierce, in Esquire:

"It is time for Donald Trump to leave the White House."

The federal law enforcement community and the intelligence apparatus, are in open—if largely anonymous—revolt. An FBI director begs the attorney general not to leave him alone with the president*. The director of national intelligence reportedly has said that the president* directed him to step between the FBI director and the investigation of the Russian money and Russian influence, the exact obstruction of justice that hung Richard Nixon. Pretty soon, the administration will be staffed only by exiles from the wingnut media apparatus and his own insufferable spalpeens, who have ethical problems of their own. And this is only what's happened in this country over the past three days.

It really is time for him to go.

posted by spitbull at 9:50 AM on June 7 [51 favorites]


On the one hand regarding large groups as "not really people" is a bad sign and means you probably dream of genocide and are a Nazi or similar form of fuckface.

On the other hand, let's face it, nobody really thinks of the Trumpspawn as human.


My thinking is that if a person tells me that ANY human being isn't human (or fully human or any other flavor of this same nonsense) what they're telling me is that they don't consider themselves part of civilization.

Dude wants to live in a tribal society where "my tribe" are human and no one else is so we can gleefully do to them whatever we want.

If you want to be a member of civilization, you have to believe that all humans are human and have the same basic rights, full stop. Any person not a member of civilization should be assumed to be a hostile tribesman who sees everyone and everything not of their tribe as fair game to do whatever they want with and should be treated accordingly. For me, that means I don't view THEM as a real person insofar as I give a shit about their feelings. At that point they're just an obstacle for me to overcome or push out of the way. I'll welcome them back into the warm embrace of civilization with open arms if they change their ways.

Eric Trump is telling us all that he's a savage* who thinks nothing of destroying anything or anyone not of his tribe and should be treated accordingly.

*minus any negative connotations towards native Americans or any other similarly marginalized group.
posted by VTX at 9:53 AM on June 7 [23 favorites]


> Here's the clip of the "amazing" exchange between John McCain and Coats. McCain: “Is there anything more you want to tell us about Russian involvement in US election than what we have read in the Washington Post?”

Great, now I have to go out and buy a new John McCain Concern-o-Meter with a "Perturbed, But Still Not Ready to Do Anything About it" setting.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:54 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Pretty soon, the administration will be staffed only by exiles from the wingnut media apparatus and his own insufferable spalpeens

Now that's an epithet whose time has come.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:55 AM on June 7 [34 favorites]



That hearing was one of the most amazing bits of American politics I've watched. So much said without being said. Objectively it's a perfect example of how words in politics matter and how much you can gleen from words not said or refused to be said.

This was not good for Trump at all regardless of how he and GOP allies try to spin it. It indicates that there is even more going on behind center stage.
posted by Jalliah at 10:01 AM on June 7 [10 favorites]




@charlie_savage (NYT) wonders if Wyden is up to something?
WYDEN: Director Coats yes or no answer on this - can the government use FISA Act Section 702 to collect communications it knows are entirely domestic?

COATS: Not to my knowledge. It would be against the law.
posted by lalex at 10:01 AM on June 7 [23 favorites]


On the other hand, let's face it, nobody really thinks of the Trumpspawn as human.

Oh, despite the uncanny valley effect I get from Eric Trump's face, they're all too human. If only they were from another planet, that would make it easier to come to terms with.
posted by dis_integration at 10:02 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


I am encouraged by the trap Sen. Wyden laid. He asked: "Can the government use Section 702 to collect communications that it knows are entirely domestic?"

And Coates answered: "Not to my knowledge. It would be against the law."

I'm pretty confident Wyden knows exactly what he's doing there. I wonder if this is trying to get at the "backdoor search" problem, where the NSA can search its data using domestic identifiers, like the name or email of a US Citizen. The Post has more on this from their 2014 enterprise feature as well.
posted by zachlipton at 10:03 AM on June 7 [13 favorites]


Future John McCain headlines:

"McCain is dubious about Trump plans to let Russians use Alaskan Military Bases."
"McCain "needs more info" about Trump plan to return Louisana Purchase to France."
"McCain concerned by Orb being promoted to supreme ruler of America and its territories."
posted by drezdn at 10:03 AM on June 7 [37 favorites]


Hi lalex! What's it like living inside my head? Nice and comfortable up there I hope? ;-)
posted by zachlipton at 10:04 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


FIRST ON METAFILTER: I can now reveal that zachlipton and I are the same person.
posted by lalex at 10:04 AM on June 7 [44 favorites]


buy a new John McCain Concern-o-Meter ...

No, the setting you're looking for is on the current one.. it's "I wish I was back as an enlisted serviceman and had no actual responsibilities."
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 10:05 AM on June 7


"McCain rolls eyes, quips 'I didn't sign up for this. I mean, come on, give me a break. This is ridiculous,' then resumes chanting in prostration before the Orb."
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:06 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


The C-SPAN reporter currently rehearsing on a hot mic is the hero we all need right now.

Wut? That link doesn't show a hot mic video.
posted by BentFranklin at 10:08 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


@OverlappingElvis What was I supposed to click on that page? I need a hero!
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:09 AM on June 7



Though one thing this hearing as done has greatly downgraded my expectations for Comey tomorrow. While a nice and satisfying major plot piece would be great it may be more of the same sort of thing that happened today, more freaking set-up, mystery and hints to speculate on.
posted by Jalliah at 10:09 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


guys we are riffing and joking a lot here and there's some discussion of cutting back on that more proactively and voluntarily as per the current meta thread, in the interests of giving our stressed mods a break in what will likely be an epic couple of days here on mefi
posted by spitbull at 10:12 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


Quinnipiac has Trump at a new low for their poll, 34%.

Money quote: ""There is zero good news for President Donald Trump in this survey, just a continual slide into a chasm of doubt about his policies and his very fitness to serve," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll."
posted by lalex at 10:15 AM on June 7 [48 favorites]


I have been looking for a mascot to characterize the creature Jeff Sessions.

I realize this was several comments ago, but as many on the Internet have pointed out, the phrase you're looking for is "Keebler Elf."
posted by duffell at 10:15 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


I'm pretty confident Wyden knows exactly what he's doing there. I wonder if this is trying to get at the "backdoor search" problem, where the NSA can search its data using domestic identifiers, like the name or email of a US Citizen. The Post has more on this from their 2014 enterprise feature as well.

The other suggestion I've heard floated ties Wyden's questioning back to scattered reports that the Trump aministration was using FISA to go after leakers through journalists -- that is, by targeting journalists who had conversations with people overseas so that they could, on purpose, incidentally get information on wholly domestic conversations those journalists had with leakers inside the government. That would match up closely with the implication of Wyden's questioning: that if the underlying intent of a FISA warrant is to gain information on wholly domestic conversation, it's illegal, even if the incidental collection of domestic information in the course of collection foreign information might be legal.
posted by cjelli at 10:16 AM on June 7 [38 favorites]


Though one thing this hearing as done has greatly downgraded my expectations for Comey tomorrow.

I'm still fairly optimistic. As always Josh Marshall says it best: Taking Stock of Trump/Russia on The Eve of Comey’s Testimony
There were a number of news reports yesterday, pretty clearly coming from the same set of sources, saying that James Comey would not accuse President Trump of obstruction of justice but rather approach the hearing purely as a fact witness. This strikes me as wholly unsurprising. It really would not be any witness’s place to draw such conclusions, even if they were in the business of drawing those conclusions in their normal line of work. Again, entirely unsurprising. Going back to my discussion of the Comey Myth and James Comey’s embrace of it which I discussed a few weeks ago, Comey of all people wouldn’t be the one to draw such conclusions. ‘Just the facts, neither fear or favor, no vendettas just bringing you the truth’ is entirely James Comey’s shtick. Calling it a ‘shtick’ doesn’t mean it’s not true. But that’s exactly what the Comey Myth would call for.

Finally, I don’t think you have to be too cynical to detect a certain subtextual messaging with these leaks. I’m not going to say he robbed the bank. I’m going to say what I saw, which is that he came into the bank with the gun, demanded the money and then left in the getaway car. But it’s not my place to draw any conclusions. But if my warning about what I’m not going to say gives you a conceptual model through to understand what I will say I guess that’s not the end of the world. Any thought that Comey is going to be reticent or has somehow become a reluctant witness strikes me as quite misplaced.
posted by scalefree at 10:19 AM on June 7 [20 favorites]


Coates and Rogers are using the subjective weasel word "pressured" as their escape hatch. They claim they weren't "pressured" to interfere in the Russia investigation while simultaneously refusing to answer whether they were "asked" to interfere in the Russia investigation.
posted by JackFlash at 10:23 AM on June 7 [34 favorites]


wow, the other numbers in that quinnipiac poll are brutal, too:
President Donald Trump did something illegal in his relationship with Russia, 31 percent of American voters say, while another 29 percent say he did something unethical, but not illegal, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. The president did nothing wrong, 32 percent of voters say.

President Trump's campaign advisors did something illegal in dealing with Russia, 40 percent of voters say, as 25 percent say they did something unethical but not illegal and 24 percent say they did nothing wrong.
60% believe trump is shady or criminal. 65% thinks his campaign was shady or criminal.

fewer people think he did nothing wrong than approve of him
posted by murphy slaw at 10:32 AM on June 7 [74 favorites]


Putin's actions make sense now.

Don't omit from that list:
  • destabilizing OPEC
Russia benefits hugely if OPEC can't set oil prices. Chaos in the Middle East, particularly among US allies, is very much on their game plan too.
posted by bonehead at 10:36 AM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Al Jazeera - US President Donald Trump has spoken by telephone with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, expressing readiness to participate in the efforts to resolve the crisis in the GCC. -- That's the full text of the announcement from Al Jazeera; no readout from the White House of the call as yet. Trump spoke with the leader of Saudia Arabia yesterday.
posted by cjelli at 10:36 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


If you'll forgive the pullquote here, Clapper's speech in Australia was amazeballs (you know, for a guy who should have been charged with perjury and living in disgrace right now, not going to forget who we're talking about here) and really really worth reading, and I'd like to highlight this segment. He talks about Russia's actions and their efforts to "sow doubt, discontent, and discord about our political system." Then:
As a consequence of all this, I have had a very hard time reconciling the threat the Russians pose to the United States—and, for that matter, western democracies in general—with the inexplicably solicitous stance the Trump administration (or at least, he himself as opposed to others in his administration) has taken with respect to Russia.

Let me move to the internal assault on our institutions I will share two examples, among many.

Then President-elect Trump disparaged the Intelligence Community’s high-confidence assessment of the magnitude and diversity of the Russian interference by characterizing us as “Nazis”. This was prompted by his and his team’s extreme paranoia about, and resentment of, any doubt cast on the legitimacy of his election. When he made this absurd allegation, I felt an obligation to defend the men and women of the United States intelligence community, so I called him on 11 January. Surprisingly, he took my call. I tried, naively it turned out, to appeal to his “higher instincts” — by pointing out that the intelligence community he was about to inherit is a national treasure, and that the people in it were committed to supporting him and making him successful. Ever transactional, he simply asked me to publicly refute the infamous “dossier”, which I could not and would not do.

When I later learned that the first place he was going to visit after the Inauguration was CIA, I thought — again, naively — that perhaps I had gotten through to him. For the intelligence community (not just the CIA) the wall in the front lobby at CIA Headquarters is hallowed, with over 120 stars commemorating CIA officers who have paid the ultimate price. He chose to use that as a prop for railing about the size of the inauguration crowd on the Mall, and his battle with the “fake news” media. His subsequent actions — sharing sensitive intelligence with the Russians, and, compromising its source reflect ignorance or disrespect — are likewise very problematic.

Similarly, the whole episode with the firing of Jim Comey a distinguished public servant. Apart from the egregious, inexcusable manner in which it was conducted, this episode reflected complete disregard for the independence and autonomy of the FBI, our premier law enforcement organization. (Again truth in advertising, Jim is a personal friend and personal hero of mine.)
posted by zachlipton at 10:39 AM on June 7 [72 favorites]


On the other hand, let's face it, nobody really thinks of the Trumpspawn as human.

Oh, despite the uncanny valley effect I get from Eric Trump's face, they're all too human.


There's a marked difference between being human and possessing humanity (or humility).
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:40 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Boom. James Comey's opening statement seems to have posted early. It is precise and detailed as hell.
posted by zachlipton at 10:45 AM on June 7 [103 favorites]


In fact I would predict that if we do have unfair elections, states will in fact accept the results.

*cues flashback sequence to the year 2000
posted by mikepop at 10:46 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


i'm not going to liveblog it but the snippets of trump's speech in ohio i'm seeing indicate the full transcript should be quite the phantasmagoria
posted by murphy slaw at 10:46 AM on June 7 [11 favorites]


Opening statement highlight: A few moments later, the President said, "I need loyalty. I expect loyalty." I didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:52 AM on June 7 [56 favorites]


Comey should get into creative writing. He'd work great as a first-person Lovecraft protagonist if you give Trump hints of gills and a tiara of an unknown alloy.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:56 AM on June 7 [81 favorites]


"He said he would do that and added, 'Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.' I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.”

*cringes*

This makes Trump sound like a teenager desperately trying to worm his way out of the Nice Guy friendzone.
posted by marshmallow peep at 10:56 AM on June 7 [53 favorites]


okay i know i said i wasn't going to but this is too good not to share:
Trump gets distracted mid-sentence by a barge on the river, says the captain wants him to wave. "Hello, Captain," he says, waving. -- Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent, Toronto Star
posted by murphy slaw at 10:56 AM on June 7 [45 favorites]


Still reading, but I bet the close of that dinner conversation ('He then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.”') is what Trump was threatening to reveal when he tweeted that Comey should hope there were no recordings of their conversations.
posted by solotoro at 10:56 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


...because it was very difficult to prove a negative.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:57 AM on June 7


A bit of levity via Digg: Reporters reacting to Sean Spicer
[warning: there are ads]
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:57 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Boom. James Comey's opening statement seems to have posted early. It is precise and detailed as hell.

It's a doozy.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:57 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Reuters Turkey to fast track legislation approving troop deployment in Qatar - officials

Maybe this is too simplistic but the plan seems clear -- strengthen the authoritarian Russia - Turkey - Iran axis by separating Qatar from its Middle East neighbors, then "rescue" it from Saudi bullying by building up a big Russian base there to go along with Turkey's/
posted by msalt at 10:57 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Why release the statement before the hearing?
posted by dilaudid at 10:58 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Why release the statement before the hearing?

Maybe they can bait Trump into tweeting about it until the hearing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:59 AM on June 7 [27 favorites]


From Comey's opening statement:

> He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia, and had always assumed he was being recorded when in Russia.

That's a very interesting thing to specifically mention with no prompting.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:01 AM on June 7 [122 favorites]


I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, “We need to get that fact out.” (I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.)

Comey seems to be doing his best here to actually be loyal in the sense that Trump wants -- this is protective! -- and yet Trump is too vain and stupid to get it.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:02 AM on June 7 [10 favorites]


That salacious material...it's the pee tape, right? Please tell me it's the pee tape and the fact that there was a briefing on salacious material means that it totes exists.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:02 AM on June 7 [14 favorites]


Boom. James Comey's opening statement seems to have posted early. It is precise and detailed as hell.

Initial takeaway: Trump is going to fixate on this bit and claim it exonerates him and corroborates his claim that he was 'not under investigation':
In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him.
I also expect people who aren't Trump are going to wonder about the specificity of, and potential omissions from, that statement.
posted by cjelli at 11:02 AM on June 7 [22 favorites]


If any Congressional Republicans actually gave a shit this might actually be worth something.
posted by Talez at 11:04 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Yes, it corroborates the statement in the letter firing him that he told Trump on three separate occasions that he was not being personally investigated (the first briefing, the dinner, and the first phone call). It also corroborates reports that he asked Sessions not to be left alone with the President and that he was asked to suppress any investigation into Flynn. My favorite line so far: "I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons,
most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change." That's certainly a problem Comey is familiar with, isn't it.
posted by solotoro at 11:05 AM on June 7 [10 favorites]


I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past.

Wow.
posted by winna at 11:05 AM on June 7 [84 favorites]


That salacious material...it's the pee tape, right? Please tell me it's the pee tape and the fact that there was a briefing on salacious material means that it totes exists.
The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the
incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious
and unverified.
[emphasis added]


Probably the pee tape, yet not known to exist by the FBI, is my reading. I'm taking it as the IC/FBI knew the dossier existed and in a counter-intelligence move wanted to alert the president to what might be coming out in the media.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:06 AM on June 7


That's a very interesting thing to specifically mention with no prompting.

That's just a quirk of Comey's mixed phrasing, I think -- on January 6, Comey briefs Trump on 'material...[that] was salacious and unverified.' That would likely the (unverified) claim that Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on a bed Pres. Obama slept in while in Russia. Trump's response -- 'I wasn't involved with hookers in Russia' -- would seem to be directly prompted by the substance of Comey's prior statements, the details of which Comey here elides.

Not a big deal, in other words.
posted by cjelli at 11:07 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Wow.

In this briefing he doesn't actually say what any of those notes WERE, of course...
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:08 AM on June 7


Opening statement highlight:

People keep taking mine, but nobody has claimed the quietly perfect:

'I did not say I would “let this go.”'
posted by box at 11:08 AM on June 7 [26 favorites]


I hope the committee has some questions for Sessions about this:
Shortly afterwards, I spoke with Attorney General Sessions in person to pass along the President’s concerns about leaks. I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me. I told the AG that what had just happened – him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind – was inappropriate and should never happen. He did not reply. For the reasons discussed above, I did not mention that the President broached the FBI’s potential investigation of General Flynn.
Comey specifically describes Trump ushering everyone out of the room after a counter-terrorism briefing, but Sessions and Kushner were hanging behind until Trump threw they out too.
posted by zachlipton at 11:09 AM on June 7 [18 favorites]


He then said, “I need loyalty.” I replied, “You will always get honesty from me.” He paused and then said, “That’s what I want, honest loyalty.” I paused, and then said, “You will get that from me.” As I wrote in the memo I created immediately after the dinner, it is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further.

Well, lol
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:11 AM on June 7 [16 favorites]


Comey specifically describes Trump ushering everyone out of the room after a counter-terrorism briefing, but Sessions and Kushner were hanging behind until Trump threw them out too.

Even Jodl and Krebs??
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:11 AM on June 7 [23 favorites]


There's several nuggets in here, to wit:
My instincts told me that the one-on-one setting, and the pretense that this
was our first discussion about my position, meant the dinner was, at least in part,
an effort to have me ask for my job and create some sort of patronage relationship.
That concerned me greatly, given the FBI’s traditionally independent status in the
executive branch.
emphasis mine
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:12 AM on June 7 [50 favorites]


He also points out several times that Reince Preibus and Mike Pence were clearly waiting for the one on one meeting to finish
posted by TwoWordReview at 11:13 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


When the door by the grandfather clock closed
Reince Priebus leaned in through the door by the grandfather clock
I then got up and left out the door by the grandfather clock


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock? It's a really weird detail to consistently include. I get why he'd include the layout of a room and how/where they were seated, but he mentions the clock three times. Why? I mean, it's probably nothing, but it's just one of the weird things that stuck out at me. If this were a novel, I'd say there's something up with the clock.
posted by yasaman at 11:13 AM on June 7 [51 favorites]


With Comey's delivery, that statement should come across as very credible. There's even traces of Trump's own phrasing left in Comey's notes. It's absolutely possible he's leaving things out, but after reading it, I find his account totally believable.
posted by gladly at 11:13 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Why release the statement before the hearing?

Presumably so people can hold it up to the light, look for "holes" (like the notion "That's a very interesting thing to specifically mention with no prompting"), and then make sure to ask the right questions during the hearing.

It's as if he is saying, "It's not there or there or there. Now, guess where it is!"
posted by wenestvedt at 11:13 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


it is possible we understood the phrase “honest loyalty” differently, but I decided it wouldn’t be productive to push it further.

This is amazing. I'm assuming this is what the ticking was about. Am I wrong?
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:13 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I did a quick search and haven't seen anybody posting about this, but following Nigel Farage's call for internment of basically anybody who he thinks might be a Muslim it looks like conservative drumbeaters on this side of the pond are calling for it as well, even gleefully comparing it to the Japanese internment during WWII.

Shaun King, NY Daily News: Trump supporters are calling for Muslim internment camps
posted by IAmUnaware at 11:14 AM on June 7 [12 favorites]


Everyone's posting their favorite highlight, but mine is the one that looks like obstruction of justice:
The President then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying, “He is a good guy and has been through a lot.” He repeated that Flynn hadn’t done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” I replied only that “he is a good guy.” (In fact, I had a positive experience dealing with Mike Flynn when he was ac olleague as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the beginning of my term at FBI.) I did not say I would “let this go.”
And his impression of the context:
I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign. I could be wrong, but I took him to be focusing on what had just happened with Flynn’s departure and the controversy around his account of his phone calls.
Has anyone ever started a sentence with "I hope you can see your way clear" that wasn't asking for something shady?

Who knew the FBI Director was such a riveting writer too?
posted by zachlipton at 11:15 AM on June 7 [35 favorites]


Comey's description of the group crowded outside the door sort of paints a picture of Reince looking through the keyhole while the rest of the fam keeps their ears pressed to the outside wall.
posted by klarck at 11:15 AM on June 7 [24 favorites]


This makes Trump sound like a teenager desperately trying to worm his way out of the Nice Guy friendzone.

By using The Implication.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:15 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Remember, this is just the opening statement. Comey's sure to have lots more to say in open session.

TTTCS
posted by waitangi at 11:16 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock?

There are multiple exits from the Oval Office, so he's being specific about which one was used.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:16 AM on June 7 [18 favorites]


He takes the time in the introduction to cite that he remembers six phone conversations, but only two of them appear here. Based on the description in the last line of each, they were the last two, which implies that at no time did he inform the President that his earlier statements denying the existence of a personal investigation were no longer true.
posted by solotoro at 11:16 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Presumably so people can hold it up to the light, look for "holes" (like the notion "That's a very interesting thing to specifically mention with no prompting"), and then make sure to ask the right questions during the hearing.

There are also TONS of reports now that the WH is packing Trump's schedule tomorrow so that he cannot live tweet. So now, he's got an entire 18 hours to tweet about it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:16 AM on June 7 [46 favorites]


Oh okay, that makes sense, thanks.
posted by yasaman at 11:17 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock? It's a really weird detail to consistently include. I get why he'd include the layout of a room and how/where they were seated, but he mentions the clock three times. Why? I mean, it's probably nothing, but it's just one of the weird things that stuck out at me. If this were a novel, I'd say there's something up with the clock.

THERE'S ALWAYS MONEY IN THE BANANA STAND.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:17 AM on June 7 [67 favorites]


In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him.
I also expect people who aren't Trump are going to wonder about the specificity of, and potential omissions from, that statement.


"Mr. Comey, you remarked in your written statement that you did not have an 'open counter-intelligence case' on the President. Did you previously have an open counter-intelligence case that had since been closed?

Follow-up question, Mr. Comey: to your knowledge, did the FBI or any other agency have, at that time, or at any time prior, an open case file on the President of another nature--not specifically counter-intelligence, in other words?

Mr. Comey, you stated you did not have an 'open counter-intelligence case' on the President. Did you have any such case open on members of his family at that time, or at any prior time?"
posted by duffell at 11:17 AM on June 7 [26 favorites]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock? It's a really weird detail to consistently include. I get why he'd include the layout of a room and how/where they were seated, but he mentions the clock three times. Why? I mean, it's probably nothing, but it's just one of the weird things that stuck out at me. If this were a novel, I'd say there's something up with the clock.

Well, in an oval room, how else do you easily indicate which of several doors you're referring to?
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:17 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


You'll have to admire Comey's bureaucratic jujitsu. This morning Trump suddenly announces his candidate for FBI director, without even alerting many WH staffers beforehand - scared of leaks? - so this afternoon, Comey releases his written statement ahead of his hearing. Comey's just guaranteed that his story will be in the headlines and on the news, while Trump's will have to wait in the wings or, at best, share the spotlight.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:18 AM on June 7 [32 favorites]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock?

Maybe he's a big fan of Lev Grossman's "Magicians" books?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:18 AM on June 7 [14 favorites]


There are also TONS of reports now that the WH is packing Trump's schedule tomorrow so that he cannot live tweet. So now, he's got an entire 18 hours to tweet about it.

Oh. Huh. Slick.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:19 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Here's a floor plan of the West Wing, just for reference.

It's quite a bit different from how the TV series makes it appear.
posted by Fleebnork at 11:19 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Ask not for whom the grandfather clock tolls. It tolls for TRUMP.
posted by msalt at 11:19 AM on June 7 [16 favorites]


“I've had enough of journalistic flabgabble about Trump”

I’ve had it with these flabgabble snakes on this flabgabble plane!

I find it ironic that it’s exactly the metaphysics – the definition of the fundamental nature of reality – that’s being contested with the press in the middle of it.
Both sides lambast the press.
And indeed anything that doesn't serve an agenda is called "fake news" by the other side.

Look at Galileo and his telescope. Was the problem that his observations were wrong? No.
The problem was Galileo didn’t express just what he observed, but his biblical views ( in a 1615 letter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany)
And the Roman Catholic Church condemned his views as false and contrary to scripture and so heretical – regardless of what the telescope showed.
The Senate of Venice and mariners meanwhile wanted telescopes to stay focused on navigation and commerce.
In either case it was the narrative - God made the Earth the center of the world vs. We need to make money regardless of what science shows - that was more important than the instrument.

Journalism itself as an instrument of truth, is contested today in the same way. With (political) government and business siding with religion (global warming who?) by default.


“Simply having fact-based messaging is not sufficient to win the information war.”


And indeed, many officials feel absolutely no duty to tell the public ANYTHING at all, even when directed by a congressional panel.

Perhaps 359 years from now, like the telescope, people will accept journalism (and intelligence) as an instrument of clarity, rather than demanding it be pointed a certain way to serve a certain perspective.

It's not merely lying. It's an absolute war on truth. That means all our necks are on the block. They could, quite literally, kill us all. As much as if they sabotaged fire systems with gasoline and poisoned water supplies. It really is that bad.

This War on Truth doesn’t merely violate the niceties of accuracy. It’s also corrosive to the body of trust that’s essential for effective governance and leadership in times of national crisis, such as when President John F. Kennedy rallied public support for his actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Trump’s War on Truth jeopardizes Americans’ lives and the well-being of our planet.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:19 AM on June 7 [18 favorites]


Doctor Zed, this statement is hosted on the Senate Intelligence Committee's site, so I assume they're the ones that chose the time to post this.
posted by duffell at 11:20 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Per Raw Story he was planning on live tweeting the hearing. So that Bingo card should see some use.
posted by msbutah at 11:20 AM on June 7


Could you all imagine how creepy it would be to have a solo dinner with Trump in the Green Room? Did they serve the meatloaf?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:20 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock?

If this were a movie, that would be where the camera or bug is.
posted by drezdn at 11:20 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock?

The grandfather clock started all the rumors about the microwave to divert attention from itself.
posted by Behemoth at 11:21 AM on June 7 [35 favorites]


The grandfather clock is bugged. That's why those tweets about tapes that Spicer won't comment on.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 11:23 AM on June 7 [1 favorite]


It was unclear from the conversation who else would be at the dinner, although I assumed there would be others.

It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room.


A literal horror movie. I had wondered why Comey had even consented to such a dinner in the first place. What an unpleasant surprise. Bet he started feeling nauseous then. He should have sent a text to his FBI underlings to manufacture a work emergency to get him the fuck out of there. Geeze, Comey knows how to paint a picture in the most bland yet unsettling way possible.
posted by yasaman at 11:24 AM on June 7 [14 favorites]


We concluded it made little sense to report it to Attorney General Sessions, who we expected would likely recuse himself from involvement in Russia-related investigations. (He did so two
weeks later.)


For some reason I find that line quite interesting.
posted by azpenguin at 11:25 AM on June 7 [59 favorites]


From Comey’s statement:
He [Trump] described the Russia investigation as “a cloud” that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. [...] He asked what we could do to “lift the cloud.”

He finished by stressing “the cloud” that was interfering with his ability to make deals for the country and said he hoped I could find a way to get out that he wasn’t being investigated.

On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I “get out” that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that “the cloud” was getting in the way of his ability to do his job.
First, obviously: old man yells at cloud. Second: Unless you are a state tree and the way you act on behalf of the country is by fucking photosynthesizing, a cloud is just a preposterously weak and nebulous excuse. He is suggesting he does not have the stamina to deal with... a cloud.

(I understand it's idiomatic, but even acknowledging the metaphor it feels typically blamey, ready to point the finger at anything not in his control to explain his own lack of progress.)

posted by miles per flower at 11:27 AM on June 7 [29 favorites]


Still waiting for the bit when Jeff Sessions vomits a gallon of garmonbozia all over the President.
posted by duffell at 11:27 AM on June 7 [13 favorites]


"Trump" only appears 14 times in 7 pages, so it's an open question whether it will hold his attention long enough that he'll read the whole thing. Maybe his staff will replace every use of "the President" with "TRUMP!!!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:29 AM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Guys, there is no pee tape. Geez, it is like the left's version of Michelle Obama's non-existent "hate whitey" tape.
posted by jcreigh at 11:29 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


The President began by asking me whether I wanted to stay on as FBI Director, which I found strange because he had already told me twice in earlier conversations that he hoped I would stay, and I had assured him that I intended to.

Yeah, that's because he forgot those prior conversations he had with you about 5 minutes after he had them.
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:30 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


I dunno, Trump saying there is no pee tape and that he DEFINITELY 100% WAS NOT INVOLVED WITH HOOKERS IN RUSSIA, and that OF COURSE HE KNEW HE WAS BEING RECORDED THERE, GOD tips me well over onto the side of assuming the pee tape does, in fact, exist. All it was missing was a "believe me!!!!"
posted by yasaman at 11:32 AM on June 7 [71 favorites]


Why wouldn't there be a pee tape? I mean, I'm not putting all my hopes and dreams on a) its existence or b) its revelation, but you can't tell me that doesn't sound like something he'd totally do, can you?
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:32 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Comey's description of the group crowded outside the door sort of paints a picture of Reince looking through the keyhole while the rest of the fam keeps their ears pressed to the outside wall.

Certainly one of the Norman Rockwell classics we need.
posted by odinsdream at 11:33 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


National Treasure Alexandra Petri, WaPo: James Comey, is this man bothering you?
Here is a look at the texts that I am sure passed between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-FBI Director James B. Comey.

[…]

Comey: it’s not an issue most of the time
I just don’t want anything inappropriate to happen
I already have a plan in place with my posse at the FBI where if we are in a restaurant and Donald Trump comes up and starts acting weird I say “GOLLY” and then Agent J interposes himself and says “is this guy bothering you” and I sneak out through the bathroom
it’s just sometimes I am not with my posse

I have tried inviting Karen Pence to all my dinners because that means you get TWO people, Karen and Mike, if I am understanding their deal correctly
but she and I keep different hours

the other day I was waiting for the subway and I saw him coming toward me but I made meaningful eye contact with a woman on the platform and she came over and pretended like we were best friends and walked me all the way home so that that he wouldn’t get the chance to corner me
I still owe her one
I wonder what happened to her

two nights ago he tried to come up to me at a bar and ask if I was loyal and I had my friend pretend that HE was my president and that I couldn’t even think of talking to anyone else or he’d get very upset
but it didn’t work for as long as I needed it to and finally we had to sneak out the back and in the process I inadvertently gave him my cellphone number
I told him my name was Murray Showboat but I don’t think he knows the difference
I have two cellphones now
on one of them the message just says “HI I HOPE YOU AREN’T CALLING ME TO ASK FOR LOYALTY OR ABOUT THE MIKE FLYNN THING BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE WAY INAPPROPRIATE” but I worry he thought it was an in-joke

I just need backup

Sessions: go on
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:34 AM on June 7 [71 favorites]


I dunno, Trump saying there is no pee tape and that he DEFINITELY 100% WAS NOT INVOLVED WITH HOOKERS IN RUSSIA, and that OF COURSE HE KNEW HE WAS BEING RECORDED THERE, GOD tips me well over onto the side of assuming the pee tape does, in fact, exist. All it was missing was a "believe me!!!!"

Yeah, I'll be honest: I didn't, and still don't, believe that it exists, but that Comey felt it necessary to specifically mention that Trump denied being involved with "hookers" and knew he was being recorded tips the scale a teeny bit in the other direction. Maybe more than a teeny bit.
posted by uncleozzy at 11:35 AM on June 7 [31 favorites]


I'm picking up on two main threads here:

Trump asking to "let this go" with regard to Flynn.
Trump wanting Comey to make public statements clearing him personally

The first is most interesting in terms of the question of whether Trump obstructed justice. The second raises a number of questions about Trump's judgement. It also cuts to Comey's role with the Clinton emails, since it's honestly not a stretch for Trump to conclude from watching 2016 and knowing nothing else about the FBI that Comey's job was to make statements about whether politicians did something wrong.

What's left unsaid is who else in Trump's orbit is being investigated. Republicans will lock onto Trump not being under personal investigation (ok, they already have, I've read Ben Shapiro's hottake already), but if his campaign or the people around him were, as has been reported, does that matter? And can it still be argued that Trump isn't under personal investigation if Mueller is supposed to be investigating whether Trump obstructed justice?

The bit in which Trump says it would be good to find out if any "satellite" associates did anything wrong is rich too, given Trump's insistence that everything is fake news. In private, he seems far more open to the idea that people around him might have problems, as long as Comey makes it clear that none of it comes back to him personally.
posted by zachlipton at 11:36 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


cloudy with a chance of meatloaf
posted by murphy slaw at 11:36 AM on June 7 [24 favorites]


Guys, there is no pee tape. Geez, it is like the left's version of Michelle Obama's non-existent "hate whitey" tape.

Given how much of the Steele dossier has, bit by bit, been corroborated, I think it does exist. I don't, however, think it will ever see the light of day because no one outside of the Kremlin has a copy of it. No one has it to, um, leak to the press or internet in the US.
posted by azpenguin at 11:37 AM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Then the President asked why there had been a congressional hearing about Russia the previous week – at which I had, as the Department of Justice directed, confirmed the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. I explained the demands from the leadership of both parties in Congress for more information, and that Senator Grassley had even held up the confirmation of the Deputy Attorney General until we briefed him in detail on the investigation. I explained that we had briefed the leadership of Congress on exactly which individuals we were investigating and that we had told those Congressional leaders that we were not personally investigating President Trump. I reminded him I had previously told him that. He repeatedly told me, “We need to get that fact out.” (I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.)

It's like the President really doesn't get how this works, does he? Like he expects that he's the CEO of America. Just snap your fingers and people do your bidding. "How come there's a hearing about Russia when I asked you to make this go away?" He's either painfully corrupt or woefully incompetent, and either way wholly unfit to sit in the Oval Office.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:37 AM on June 7 [36 favorites]


Doctor Zed, this statement is hosted on the Senate Intelligence Committee's site, so I assume they're the ones that chose the time to post this.

I know, but I genuinely doubt it would be released without Comey's awareness/OK. (The timing also plays into Wittes's tick-tick tweet.) It's of course possible that the timing was planned all along and not moved up because of anything the WH did, as it's not uncommon for prepared statements to be made available beforehand, but it's less so with the most important hearings. (I don't believe Sally Yates's prepared statement came out ahead of her testimony, for example.) Whatever the case, the proverbial pump has been primed for Comey tomorrow.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:37 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Trump saying there is no pee tape and that he DEFINITELY 100% WAS NOT INVOLVED WITH HOOKERS IN RUSSIA, and that OF COURSE HE KNEW HE WAS BEING RECORDED THERE, GOD tips me well over onto the side of assuming the pee tape does, in fact, exist.

I'm having trouble finding a cite for this, but I could swear he's said that publicly at least once before -- that there was no way such a tape could exist, because he 'obviously' presumed that he could be recorded in foreign hotels.

...I mean, that fixation on 'the tape can't exist because I knew better than to get recorded' wasn't a great excuse that time either, for obvious reasons, but I don't think this is actually a wholly new claim.
posted by cjelli at 11:37 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


The grandfather clock definitely is a fun detail.... I'm sure that it really was to make a detail of which entrance was used, but I think I've been exposed to way too much psychological horror fiction to be able to see it as anything quite so benign.

> It was at this point that I noticed that the grandfather clock was running backwards. I heard it strike 13 times as the room took on an ominous hue, and then the clock stopped moving entirely. There was an immediate eerie silence - as if time itself had stopped. Bannon, who I had not previously noticed in the room, appeared to float in front of Trump, and proceeded to move directly into him, as if he was superimposed upon Trump. There was a sudden cracking sound, and the room returned to normal, along with the motion of the grandfather clock. Trumps demeanor noticeably changed from this point forward, and his motions were much more jerky and awkward - as if his limbs were being manipulated by a not particularly adept puppeteer.

[fake, obv.]
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:41 AM on June 7 [34 favorites]


Comey is so good at dangling hooks out there. He specifically mentions that there were nine one-on-one interactions with Trump, and then describes some of the nine in great detail. Are we to presume the others were entirely unremarkable? Or just that he decided to save their content for direct questioning? Maybe he felt they only reinforced the pattern which is outlined well enough in what he did include to open.

He's still got a lot of dry powder.
posted by meinvt at 11:41 AM on June 7 [18 favorites]


> It's like the President really doesn't get how this works, does he? Like he expects that he's the CEO of America. Just snap your fingers and people do your bidding. "How come there's a hearing about Russia when I asked you to make this go away?" He's either painfully corrupt or woefully incompetent, and either way wholly unfit to sit in the Oval Office.

Rob Ford and his brother Doug, who was a city councilor and fancied himself the power behind the throne, also apparently thought running Toronto would be like running the sticker company they inherited from their father; just tell people what to do and they'll do it, or else. And when they ran into resistance they had no plan B, no frame of reference for what to do instead, and their agenda mostly died on the vine.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:42 AM on June 7 [17 favorites]


What's fascinating from the Comey statement is how clear it was that two men in that room were having two entirely different conversations, and that that one of them was oblivious to that fact.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:50 AM on June 7 [79 favorites]


Comey: During the dinner, the President returned to the salacious material I had briefed him about on January 6, and, as he had done previously, expressed his disgust for the allegations and strongly denied them. He said he was considering ordering me to investigate the alleged incident to prove it didn’t happen.

This "considering ordering me to investigate" totally fits Trumps M.O. of saying what he thinks will be seen favorably despite having no intention of following through. It's like all his announced charitable donations that didn't happen, or announcing that he's removing himself from his businesses by showing a mountain of blank papers.
posted by stopgap at 11:50 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


RIP anyone who reads Comey's statement with cloud-to-butt installed. You will be missed.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:51 AM on June 7 [35 favorites]


this statement is hosted on the Senate Intelligence Committee's site, so I assume they're the ones that chose the time to post this

And it's also not uncommon for congressional committees to post testimony ahead of a hearing, so I don't think too much should be read into it.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 11:51 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Comey's agreement with Sen. Burr was to release the statement today.

Lawfare has some decent Takeaways From Comey's Prepared Testimony for the Senate Select Intelligence Committee for your perusal. The important message here is that it's about a pattern of conduct, not single incidents. The whole story reads much better together, in that the inappropriate requests are read in the context of Trump repeatedly bringing up whether Comey would get to keep his job and the loyalty pledge.
posted by zachlipton at 11:51 AM on June 7 [12 favorites]


If any Congressional Republicans actually gave a shit this might actually be worth something.

From the moment Jeff Sessions did the unthinkable and actually recused himself, this investigation is one area where we are making incremental progress. While we stumbled in the House, tomorrow James Comey is testifying in an open Senate hearing, and has a pretty interesting opening statement.

As long as Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters and Elizabeth Warren and Al Franken don't think it's a waste of their time I'm going to support them. Honestly, these "it's all nothing burger" comments bum me out as much as the end of the world comments.

He [Trump] described the Russia investigation as “a cloud” that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country. [...] He asked what we could do to “lift the cloud.”

Do you think Comey wanted to lean over and blow away the cloud witha little *puff* because that's what I'm would do.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:52 AM on June 7 [23 favorites]


"Salacious" material that would cause Trump "potential embarrassment' concerning a specific "incident", that the media reported on. What else could it be but the pee tape? But since Comey said it was 'unverified', he is not confirming its authenticity.
posted by kitcat at 11:53 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I was fascinated by Comey being willing to drop the subject of loyalty. Maybe it's just me and an over-nice conscience but I could not walk away from that conversation knowing full well that my boss thought I'd just been bought with some meatloaf and a visit in the oval office. I'd've been compelled to make it clear to him that my honesty and my loyalty were two separate things and he was only entitled to the former.
posted by winna at 11:53 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Why wouldn't there be a pee tape?

I just think that even in this timeline, it's too ridiculous and over the top. Was Trump with prostitutes? I dunno, maybe? But was there a golden shower situation? Seems too tabloid-y to me.

If I am wrong, I will, of course, bake a cake or whatever we're doing on Metafilter now to try to tempt fate in our favor.
posted by jcreigh at 11:54 AM on June 7 [2 favorites]


> I just think that even in this timeline, it's too ridiculous and over the top.

Somewhere out there, this timeline turns to another timeline and says "Hold my beer."
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:54 AM on June 7 [89 favorites]


I'd've been compelled to make it clear to him that my honesty and my loyalty were two separate things and he was only entitled to the former.

Well yeah, but as 2016 proved, James Comey is more interested in himself than his integrity, so it's perfectly in character for him to fudge it so as to keep his job.
posted by zachlipton at 11:55 AM on June 7 [4 favorites]


"Mr. Comey, you remarked in your written statement that you did not have an 'open counter-intelligence case' on the President. Did you previously have an open counter-intelligence case that had since been closed?

Follow-up question, Mr. Comey: to your knowledge, did the FBI or any other agency have, at that time, or at any time prior, an open case file on the President of another nature--not specifically counter-intelligence, in other words?

Mr. Comey, you stated you did not have an 'open counter-intelligence case' on the President. Did you have any such case open on members of his family at that time, or at any prior time?"


Or, questions about whether or not an investigation was opened after these conversations. Regardless of what's asked, though, Comey's gonna Comey: "I can not comment on yada yada in open session etc". And that non-answer will keep the question open and drive Trump insane.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:55 AM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Welllll, it wasn't really so much a golden shower as a urine-based dominance display intended to insult the Obamas, sooooo....
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:55 AM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Some Presidents only want that thing, that thing, that thiiiiiing.
posted by asteria at 11:56 AM on June 7 [8 favorites]


"No pee tape! No pee tape! You're the pee tape!"
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:57 AM on June 7 [24 favorites]


"Salacious" material that would cause Trump "potential embarrassment' concerning a specific "incident", that the media reported on. What else could it be but the pee tape?

Back when the Russia connection was first floated, there was scuttlebutt about a tape from the 2013 Miss Universe event in Russia where Trump was involved with ladies (who were not his wife) in various stages of undress (and possibly underage or not). Then the pee tape came along and since that's a lot more fun to talk about the former was forgotten.
posted by splen at 12:00 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


I just think that even in this timeline, it's too ridiculous and over the top.

Remember in 2016, when Trump's idiot kid shot and killed the totem animal of the Republican party while on safari?

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm ruling nothing out, unless and until Trump insists that HE wasn't the subject of an extortion attempt by the Kremlin, YOU'RE the one who the Russians taped peeing on prostitutes.
posted by Mayor West at 12:00 PM on June 7 [14 favorites]


If the pee tape was real wouldn't Trump have shown it off to his base of Obama haters already? To boost his approval ratings or something?
posted by Emmy Rae at 12:03 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


And the totem animal of the US tried to attack Trump, let's not forget that!
posted by asteria at 12:03 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


This is amazing. I'm assuming this is what the ticking was about. Am I wrong?

I believe it was the grandfather clock.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:05 PM on June 7 [41 favorites]


Trump doesn't have the pee tape, if it exists. The Russians do. And if it does exist, they aren't gonna leak it or otherwise make it public unless/until Trump stops playing ball with them. There's nothing to gain.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 12:05 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Then the pee tape came along and since that's a lot more fun to talk about the former was forgotten.

Agreed. The pee tape is pretty salacious, but if true, it's merely embarrassing and/or low-level illegal. If there's actual kompromat on Donald, it has to be something well beyond embarrassing, and into highly illegal. The pee tape isn't it, whatever 'it' is.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:07 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


I've read Comey's statement twice, and Lawfare's take as well. My feeling is that this is vintage Comey. It's Hillary and the emails all over again - he's going to make a statement that criticizes the subject, insinuates all sorts of bad behavior, but then say the person didn't really do anything illegal. (Note that he specifically says he interpreted Trump to be talking about Russia only in the context of Flynn.) He's again playing politics, trying to make both sides happy, give both of them something to point to, and nothing will be solved and no one will be satisfied.

I hope I'm wrong; I hope this is just the floor or baseline. But I think he's going to be like his buddies today and refuse to budge from his statement. So I hope somebody on that committee is a former prosecutor. Or that Sen. King goes medieval on him.
posted by martin q blank at 12:08 PM on June 7 [17 favorites]


I'd've been compelled to make it clear to him that my honesty and my loyalty were two separate things and he was only entitled to the former.

Well yeah, but as 2016 proved, James Comey is more interested in himself than his integrity, so it's perfectly in character for him to fudge it so as to keep his job.


No, it's true, but it's interesting to me that he shows us all his perfect willingness to allow people to believe whatever they want if they don't listen closely. It's a look at his ethical sense and what is really intriguing to me is that he is the one putting it on the table. It's positively Henry James in a way.

I have had bosses like Trump before and watching (albeit at fiftieth hand) what someone else does in those kinds of predicaments is very instructive.
posted by winna at 12:08 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


If there's actual kompromat on Donald, it has to be something well beyond embarrassing, and into highly illegal. The pee tape isn't it, whatever 'it' is.

I'm pretty sure it's Russian loans and money laundering.
posted by diogenes at 12:10 PM on June 7 [14 favorites]


but then say the person didn't really do anything illegal. (Note that he specifically says he interpreted Trump to be talking about Russia only in the context of Flynn.)

That's still obstruction of justice.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:11 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


"had not been involved with hookers in Russia,"

They were just regular Russian women totally into him. And of course he wouldn't have paid them, so how could they be hookers?
posted by mikepop at 12:13 PM on June 7 [12 favorites]


That's still obstruction of justice.

Yeah, I agree; I'm just afraid he's going to back away from it, like today where Rogers refused to say he was pressured. Comey will find some way to explain it away. I remember listening to his Hillary statement and thinking, well, that sounds like he's going to recommend charges. And nope, no intent, so no charges. He's going to weasel it somehow.
posted by martin q blank at 12:14 PM on June 7


I PEE-LIEVE
posted by Going To Maine at 12:15 PM on June 7 [5 favorites]


If you don't pay your contractors are they really doing any work for you?

thoughtfulsmilie.jpg
posted by winna at 12:15 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure it's Russian loans and money laundering.

Too abstract and not obviously wrong in Donald's mind. It has to be something which makes Donald say "OH SHIT I'M IN SHIT", and gets him to listen to someone else's demands. Money laundering would simply be a business opportunity, and those laws are stupid anyway.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:15 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


They were just regular Russian women totally into him. And of course he wouldn't have paid them, so how could they be hookers?

In all seriousness, imagine the narcissistic injury he must feel to find out that those women who were so into him were actually being paid by the Russians to have play time with Donnie.
posted by peeedro at 12:16 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


It has to be something which makes Donald say "OH SHIT I'M IN SHIT"

I'm pretty certain the only thing able to rise to that level is a back-hand from Fred Trump.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 12:17 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


As far as I'm aware, the dossier did not mention the gender of the alleged sex workers.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:19 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]




It turned out to be just the two of us, seated at a small oval table in the center of the Green Room.

Wikipedia:
It was in the Green Room that William Wallace Lincoln, the third son of President Abraham Lincoln, was embalmed following his death (most likely from typhoid).
What a charming locale for a dinner party.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:22 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


It has to be something which makes Donald say "OH SHIT I'M IN SHIT"

I think Charlie Pierce has summed up the presumed scandal pretty well:

His election was allegedly corrupted by Russian money and Russian influence, probably because his business empire is allegedly corrupted by Russian money and Russian influence. In turn, his government was allegedly corrupted by its attempt to cover up Russian money and Russian influence.

There doesn't have to be anything more seamy than dirty money coming from sanctioned banks for this to be outrageous.
posted by Think_Long at 12:22 PM on June 7 [22 favorites]


Why release the statement before the hearing?

Maybe they can bait Trump into tweeting about it until the hearing.


This, exactly. As a kid I used to play chess with a friend of mine. We were pretty evenly matched until I learned that if I left a piece undefended within range of one of his, he would stop everything else to capture my unguarded knight or whatever. I could be -- and often was -- a single move away from checkmate, but he simply could not see if there was a short-range gain in material.

I think I understand how Comey feels.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:23 PM on June 7 [46 favorites]


I think we'll find out about a tape when the Russians want us to. The "leaks" are entirely under their control. The rumor mill a few days ago was that it was a tape much worse, of something very bad with a very underage girl.
posted by bongo_x at 12:24 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Pence was scheduled to give an interview to PBS Newshour today; he just cancelled.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:26 PM on June 7 [43 favorites]


I just don't think Comey would use the word "salacious" in anything other than its proper sense (sexual, not merely 'juicy').
posted by kitcat at 12:27 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Honestly, these "it's all nothing burger" comments bum me out as much as the end of the world comments.
Think of them as a shield against future disappointment after more than a year and a half of "Surely THIS will be the thing what brings down pissboy." Sure, I'm hopeful this time it will be, but until I see some meat charring on the grill, I'm not getting too excited at the thought that my Double-Double is getting served up any time soon.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 12:28 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


For those who were wondering upthread, per Bradd Jaffy's tweet via Ken Dilanian at NBC, Comey's testimony was released today at Comey's request.
posted by yasaman at 12:28 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


On the Benjamin Wittes piece that zachlipton posted.

It’s hard to express to people who are not steeped in federal law enforcement just how inappropriate these inquiries are, particularly when they involve an investigation in which the President has such deep and multifaceted personal stakes. No, they are not illegal. The President, after all, has constitutional authority to ask for whatever information he wants from his subordinates in the executive branch.

To make this shows what is at stake here - and I am not at all sure which way it will go. If this is not brushed back hard, explicitly political investigations (or non-investigations) will be a common occurrence in the future.
posted by shothotbot at 12:29 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


I just don't think Comey would use the word "salacious"

Are we sure there isn't a Salacious Crumb Tape?
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:30 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


If there's actual kompromat on Donald, it has to be something well beyond embarrassing, and into highly illegal. The pee tape isn't it, whatever 'it' is.

Trump is clearly doing the bidding of the Russians, and there are four plausible reasons for blackmail:

1) Financial involvement with Russian/former Soviet mobsters. Plenty of documented connections.
2) the "pee tape"
3) videotape of sexual someting with underage girls or men of any age, or
4) collusion in hacking and influencing the election, through contacts with his campaign.

The real answer could very well be 5) all of the above.

Of all of these, the pee tape is the mildest -- Trump, maybe fully clothed, watching women pee on a bed. If Russia has it and is leaking information to that effect, it may be so that if necessary, then can release the tape as a distraction from the other 3. And Trump's defenders will say "OK, that's awkward, but it's out now so they can't use it against him. Let's just move forward."
posted by msalt at 12:30 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


If this is not brushed back hard, explicitly political investigations (or non-investigations) will be a common occurrence in the future.

Haven't that been happening pretty regularly at least since the 90s?
posted by drezdn at 12:32 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


Think of them as a shield against future disappointment after more than a year and a half of "Surely THIS will be the thing what brings down pissboy." Sure, I'm hopeful this time it will be, but until I see some meat charring on the grill, I'm not getting too excited at the thought that my Double-Double is getting served up any time soon.

How about no. The cumulative effect of encouraging people to just roll over and expect that nothing will happen is that it deadens the sense of outrage needed to resist, to encourage elected officials to hold 45 accountable, and to even imagine a reality different from the one we're already living in. It's undermining, it encourages apathy, and it's not really productive, not least of all for folks who are clinging to hope in order to prevent drowning in despair.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 12:38 PM on June 7 [57 favorites]


I love the "the tape can't exist because I knew better than to get recorded" excuse because it's coming from the man who talked about how much he like grabbing women by the pussy while wearing a lapel mic mere seconds before he knew he would be appearing on camera. Yeah, this guy definitely has high self-awareness about when someone might be taping him.
posted by 0xFCAF at 12:40 PM on June 7 [103 favorites]


Comey parody memos have already started appearing, and they are fan-fic-a-licious.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:40 PM on June 7 [11 favorites]


If this were a novel, I'd say there's something up with the clock.

If you mention a grandfather clock in Act I, by Act V that clock has to strike the hour of midnight.
posted by BentFranklin at 12:45 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]


I like this one.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on June 7 [26 favorites]


I could be -- and often was -- a single move away from checkmate, but he simply could not see if there was a short-range gain in material.

"When you come at the king, you best not --- hey, what's that over there?"
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:48 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]




"the tape can't exist because I knew better than to get recorded"

Nononono! I just remembered. The original Tired of WinningTM Excuse was "I'm a big germaphobe, so of course the tape doesn't exist!"
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:49 PM on June 7 [5 favorites]


Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg just now asked Sarah Sanders if Trump stands by his statement he didn't ask Comey for his loyalty or ask to drop probe; Sarah Sanders "can't imagine" him not. So stand by for Trump telling Sarah to hold his beer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:52 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


One thing Wittes' piece made me realize is that I initially read the description on page two of how counter-intelligence investigations work as a sort of boilerplate, but there's something important in there. These investigations are centered around specific people who the FBI thinks might be foreign agents. When the FBI suspects that you might be a foreign agent, wittingly or not, they "open an investigation" on you.

And that's the framing for Comey's answers to whether Trump is "under investigation." The GOP is now harping on the fact that the statement confirms that Comey told Trump three times that he was not under investigation, as claimed. Comey is narrowing "under investigation" to precisely mean that Donald Trump was not personally the target of a counter-intelligence investigation. That's important and not great news if you think that Trump was personally at the center of collusion, but largely meaningless to the questions we've been asking, which cut to the actions of his closest advisors.

The other problem we're going to see soon is the difference between laws and norms. Most of what Trump is accused of doing here is a violation of the norms and guidelines that have been setup to avoid improper interaction between law enforcement and political officials. That's all deeply disturbing if you don't want to see the FBI turned into the President's private plaything, but Republicans are going to ask "so what." So what if Trump asked Comey stuff? He's inexperienced and doesn't waste time with bureaucracy and cuts right to the chase. So what if Trump asked for Comey's loyalty? Ain't no rules says the President can't ask for loyalty. So what if Trump asked Comey to let Flynn go? Comey didn't say he would. So what if Trump asked Comey to say publicly what he was willing to say privately? If he can tell Trump in person he's not under investigation, surely he could tell the press.

And while I disagree with those characterizations, we're going to be hearing them an awful lot soon. If there's one thing Trump has shown, it's that violations of longstanding and important governmental norms are not something the GOP cares one bit about as long as Trump is in office.

Now, there's a bunch of stuff not in this document: ongoing investigations into people like Flynn and Kushner and Trump's firing of Comey chief among them. I suspect we'll hear questions about these things and more tomorrow. I expect and am stocked up on popcorn for further bombshells. And I don't discount the cumulative effect of everything piling up over time. But the main response from Republicans to everything from Mexican rapists to Muslim bans to sexual assault bragging has been "so what?," and I don't see that changing.
posted by zachlipton at 12:54 PM on June 7 [29 favorites]


Can I encourage some wild speculation here as to what "that thing" that Trump said Comey and he had referred to?

I'm dying over that bit. "Hey baby, you and I, we had something really special. So special. Believe me."

Or more like this? Or definitely like this.
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:58 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


So I'm going to pick up the kids at daycare and then make dinner. I'm gonna keep an eye on the [] new comments for updates on whether Trump snatched his phone back and is vomiting all over twitter. Don't let me down, metafilter!
posted by lydhre at 12:58 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Politicians accused of wrongdoing always, always, always go from "I didn't do it" to "So what if I did" and it should come as no surprise to anyone when Trump and Co. do the same. But let's also not forget that Trump is monumentally talented at kicking the legs out from under his own defense. However savvy people in his administration may be, if Trump's poor impulse control continues to cost the GOP brand to the point where they honestly believe they're looking at an ass-kicking, they will turn on him like a cornered possum. In his own way, he's doing a great job at making the situation not only worse for him, but for those around him, and for the sake of their own survival they might resort to tossing him to the wolves.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:00 PM on June 7 [11 favorites]


[...] Of all of these, the pee tape is the mildest -- Trump, maybe fully clothed, watching women pee on a bed. [...]

I think the tape exists, and that's exactly what it is - some sort of sex show where they pee on the "Obama" bed and maybe on each other. And the fact that Trump repeatedly says he assumes he's being recorded in hotels sort of confirms this for me. He's too addlepated to see any subtlety; Comey told him he wasn't personally being investigated, and Trump repeatedly told everyone that there was no investigation. He told Comey said he wanted "honest loyalty," and didn't get a no = Comey should hope there was no recording because he believes he has evidence of a yes. So I think that he knows exactly what would be on the tape, and since HE's not naked or getting peed on, it means there's nothing there - in his mind, even if it gets released, he's still exonerated.

But the tape would also have sound, and there's no way that what he says and how he reacts to the show wouldn't be equally if not more damning, and I don't think he realizes that - it's just more locker room talk to him.

I don't think we'll ever see it, unless maybe if he turns on Assange. But I think the "I know better" statement is more confirmation of it, rather than less.
posted by Mchelly at 1:01 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


How about no. The cumulative effect of encouraging people to just roll over and expect that nothing will happen is that it deadens the sense of outrage needed to resist, to encourage elected officials to hold 45 accountable, and to even imagine a reality different from the one we're already living in. It's undermining, it encourages apathy, and it's not really productive, not least of all for folks who are clinging to hope in order to prevent drowning in despair.

Or, we could stop judging other peoples' coping strategies.
posted by anem0ne at 1:03 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Skipping down to comment because I have to go to work soon and am like 12 hours beind, but I'm watching the SFIC hearing from earlier and I'm with Jalliah that it is some of the most fascinating television I have ever seen. Part of it is that I know a lot of these people by name from reading these threads and to see them animate the characterizations I've read is just brilliant.

The Senator from West Virginia is a rookie and just kills it in the best greenhorn no-bullshit way.

When Kamala Harris gets a clue about how to respectfully disrespect somebody in Congress (like the rest of these gigantic assholes) she is going to be a force to reckon with.

Tom Cotton is evil and clearly wants to expand the limitations of 702 so that the NSA/CIA can use it on foreigners on US soil. yech.

Mike Rogers is a fascinating human. I could watch him answer questions all day, he is smart, quick, and precise, and utterly desperate for one of these stumbling Senators to ask him the right question. "I'm not going to talk about my conversations with The President. .... The... PRESIDENT. You know, the one guy, THE PRESIDENT I won't talk bout what I said to HIM WHO ELSE IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE RIGHT NOW YOU GUYS HIS NAME IS KUSHNER ASK ME ABOUT EVERYTHING JARED BLURTS OUT IN FRONT OF ME AND FUCK BANNON'S ALWAYS LURKING IN A CORNER AND I WAS EVEN THERE THE NIGHT LEWANDOWSKI CAME BACK GUYS, C'MON," he's saying with his eyes.
posted by carsonb at 1:03 PM on June 7 [19 favorites]


Maybe it's a tape with P-funk.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:04 PM on June 7


Maybe it's a tape with P-funk.

Just to add: That would make it Clinton's fault.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:06 PM on June 7 [85 favorites]


Get out.
posted by erisfree at 1:07 PM on June 7 [21 favorites]


I want to stop for a second and talk about healthcare, because while all this is happening, the Senate is still trying to destroy Obamacare. Axios has The leading Medicaid plan in the Senate, which basically describes the current cop-out plan. They're still destroying Medicaid with a cap, but they want to delay it somewhat 3-7 years. The end result is still the same, Medicaid expansion will be dead, but they want to drag it out slowly so people won't notice. The Senate is also looking to tinker with pre-existing conditions with a plan that would let them technically say they're covered, perhaps with some kind of reinsurance pool, but it's meaningless if they let states opt out of required benefits. It does no good to say that insurance companies have to cover everyone if insurers can also refuse to pay for treatment for various pre-existing conditions. It's arguably worse: you're covered, but have no benefits for what you actually need.

If you're represented by a Republican in the Senate, now would be a great time to make a quick call and let them know that you want to protect Medicaid and will vote accordingly.

Oh, and the White House put out a statement about the attack in Iran that seems to blame Iran. The key line is: "We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote."

As a sidenote, today is Mike Pence's birthday, complete with optional cheap party hats for the press (the description behind that link is beautiful). I think we can all agree he got a pretty big present!
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 PM on June 7 [35 favorites]


Politicians accused of wrongdoing always, always, always go from "I didn't do it" to "So what if I did" and it should come as no surprise to anyone when Trump and Co. do the same [...] In his own way, he's doing a great job at making the situation not only worse for him, but for those around him, and for the sake of their own survival they might resort to tossing him to the wolves.

I want to believe, but... literally everything in your comment applies to Trump's actions and the GOP's response before the election. So many "surely this..." moments, so many tepid condemnations followed a week later by meek yet full throated support. Nobody, including Trump himself, expected him to win the presidency, yet they all stood by him. Now that he's actually president, I don't see why that would ever change. "So what if I did" will continue to be his defense. "So what if he did" will be their rallying cry, to the end. "The end" being when they are voted out of office, and not a moment sooner.
posted by Roommate at 1:13 PM on June 7


Today's testimonies are not encouraging. It occurs to me that all of these people have an interest in the government, in Washington, D.C. not devolving into a shit-show. It seems much more possible to me today than it did yesterday that Comey could soft pedal whatever he says not to protect Trump but to protect Washington.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:13 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


"I wasn't watching those women pee because I enjoyed it, I was trying to figure out how to stop the leakers."
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:15 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]


Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane, you have a good point there. But I'm certainly not about to "roll over and expect that nothing will happen" anytime soon, more bracing myself for another disappointment. In fact, the fact that nothing has happened yet is serving only to stoke my outrage. I'm just suggesting a way of looking at the "nothing burger" comments in a way that doesn't induce complete despair, because being disappointed again and again can really wear on a person.
posted by Trinity-Gehenna at 1:17 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Now that he's actually president, I don't see why that would ever change.

I think it's because, as others have noted, even Fox is turning against him, but more importantly:

When he was running, GOP support was predicated on this delusion that once in power, they'd be able to tame him, train him, or keep him away from the grown-up table. That has proven impossible, and we're already seeing that GOP leaders are either choosing silence or embarrassed mumbling in response to his irrational behavior. It's one thing to do whatever you can to take the White House; it's quite another to start losing control of your brand and your base once you get there.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:18 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


Maybe it's a tape with P-funk.

Just to add: That would make it Clinton's fault.


Would that make it Bernie's fault too?
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:21 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]




TPM's Josh Marshall: My Annotated Notes on the Comey Statement: Trump’s invitation for Comey to come to dinner at the White House came the day of the dinner was the same day Sally Yates made her second visit in two days to the White House giving White House Counsel Donald McGahn a “heads up” about Mike Flynn. Published reports say that McGahn briefed Trump about these visits and their contents immediately. It seems quite likely the Yates “heads up” was the trigger for the invitation.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:22 PM on June 7 [18 favorites]


somebody posted a (Wondermark?) comic earlier that made the point about how our current political situation is like a prestige cable drama and I have to say, this hard shift from Qatar vs the Fellowship of the Orb to Comey in the Green Room is like when you spend forty minutes in Meereen and then boom suddenly it's Bran north of the Wall
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:23 PM on June 7 [44 favorites]


Gag twitter accounts are cheaper than gag MeFi sockpuppets

I'll show myself out then.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:28 PM on June 7 [98 favorites]




I'll show myself out then.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:28 PM on June 7


Eponysterical 'The username speaks for itself.'
posted by cjelli at 1:30 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]


man, who summoned me. i was taking a nap in the bushes
posted by possibly sean spicer at 1:31 PM on June 7 [90 favorites]


So bragging about sexual assault is "locker room talk" and asking the FBI Director to shut down an investigation is "normal New York City conversation." What's next? How come they didn't say that "covfefe" was "normal Presidential tweeting?"
posted by zachlipton at 1:32 PM on June 7 [17 favorites]


Skipping down to comment because I have to go to work soon and am like 12 hours beind,

We are all tehhund now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:32 PM on June 7 [52 favorites]


NYT: South Korea Suspends Deployment of U.S. Antimissile System
South Korea’s newly elected president, Moon Jae-in, has suspended the deployment of an American missile defense system, an apparent concession to China and a significant break with the United States on policy toward North Korea.

In comments to reporters, a senior official from the presidential Blue House in Seoul said on Wednesday that the two launchers of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system that had been installed could remain but that four launchers that had yet to be deployed would not be set up until the administration completed an environmental assessment.

The missile defense system, known as Thaad, has been contentious in South Korea and has drawn sharp criticism from China, which views the system’s radar as a threat. Beijing has taken retaliatory economic measures against Seoul, including curtailing the flow of Chinese tourists and punishing South Korean companies in China.
This is the antimissile system that Trump wanted to charge South Korea for.
posted by cjelli at 1:33 PM on June 7 [21 favorites]


"for the purposes of this conversation, we shall stipulate that john gotti is our normal new yorker" [fake]
posted by murphy slaw at 1:34 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


"normal New York City conversation" he didn't realize was inappropriate

Legally speaking, does it matter if he didn't realize it was inappropriate?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:35 PM on June 7 [27 favorites]


Reek, he's not going to make you FBI Director. Stop trying to make Locker Room Talk happen (again).
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:35 PM on June 7 [19 favorites]


I threw the text of Comey's testimony into a g'doc. Title links to a PDF of the collected scans.

Choice bits:
I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past.

I added that I was not "reliable" in the way politicians use that word, but he could always count on me to tell him the truth. …
A few moments later, the President said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." I didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed.


He repeated that Flynn hadn't done anything wrong on his calls with the Russians, but had misled the Vice President. He then said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go." I replied only that "he is a good guy."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:36 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


here come the talking points:
Chris Christie tells @NicolleDWallace Trump's comments to Comey were "normal New York City conversation" he didn't realize was inappropriate -- Eli Stokols, WSJ


The appropriate responses being 1) this is why nobody in NYC can stand him, and 2) NY AG Schneiderman's take on that particular excuse.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:36 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Gizmodo: Monica Crowley (who was going to be Deputy National Security Advisor until a plagiarism scandal) worked as an unregistered foreign agent for pro-Russian Ukrainian Victor Pinchuk

it's probably nothing
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:37 PM on June 7 [63 favorites]


3) why the fuck is this palooka from jersey telling us how we fuckin' talk
posted by murphy slaw at 1:38 PM on June 7 [36 favorites]


meinvt: Comey is so good at dangling hooks out there.

In Hollywood they say that "Everybody wants to direct."
posted by wenestvedt at 1:38 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


So, he's saying that he assumed the normal level of political corruption and gangsterism in NYC dealings were nothing to worry about in general, so why would they be in the presidency? You can unpack that in various ways: none is good.
posted by Devonian at 1:39 PM on June 7 [20 favorites]


Chris Christie tells @NicolleDWallace Trump's comments to Comey were "normal New York City conversation" he didn't realize was inappropriate -- Eli Stokols, WSJ

Yeah, normal New York City conversation out of The Godfather. “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”? “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”? “Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.”? Trump stopped just short of talking about goodfellas and this thing of ours.

Then again, with all of Trump's reported mob ties, maybe this really is ordinary NYC chit-chat for him.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:39 PM on June 7 [34 favorites]


3) why the fuck is this palooka from jersey telling us how we fuckin' talk

Strewth. That drongo is hot under the collar fair dinkum. He's spewin about the sook that ranga Trump is having.
posted by Talez at 1:42 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


the other thing that is easy to overlook is that christie is ceding the point that the things trump said were inappropriate - trump just didn't know they weren't
posted by murphy slaw at 1:42 PM on June 7 [42 favorites]


Christie is ceding the point

This.
posted by BentFranklin at 1:44 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


Strewth. That drongo is hot under the collar fair dinkum. He's spewin about the sook that ranga Trump is having.

NJ Governor Chris Claremont.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


"The President was unaware that leaning hard on 'loyalty' while pointedly asking for the investigation to steer clear of him and then subsequently firing the person in charge of the investigation could possibly be inappropriate" seems like a pretty hard sell to me.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:45 PM on June 7 [50 favorites]


A few moments later, the President said, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty." I didn't move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed.

this is such a fine art and such a magnificent boast. most people can't do it, not because they don't have the talent, but because they don't have the will. you can practice this even if you're not a fed. like when your awful neighbor says Say, I heard you were having a party this Friday! boy I love parties," instead of saying "oh would you like to come?" even though you don't want them to come, just gaze back at them not moving, speaking, or engaging any face muscles. just try. I already know I can't do it.

I mean they should like include this in self-assertion skills training for women who say "yes" too much. part of it can be the visualization technique where, before you agree to the thing you don't want to do, because you are a people-pleaser, you visualize yourself as a six-foot-eight preying mantis with a smirk. then, remove the smirk. remove all expression. then, relax all your muscles and feel the coldness flowing into all quadrants of your body. then, step into the quiet of the stream.
posted by queenofbithynia at 1:46 PM on June 7 [178 favorites]


Christie: "The president is a moron who doesn't know what words mean."

The media: "Well, that's true."
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:46 PM on June 7 [65 favorites]


this is such a fine art and such a magnificent boast. most people can't do it, not because they don't have the talent, but because they don't have the will. you can practice this even if you're not a fed. like when your awful neighbor says Say, I heard you were having a party this Friday! boy I love parties," instead of saying "oh would you like to come?" even though you don't want them to come, just gaze back at them not moving, speaking, or engaging any face muscles. just try. I already know I can't do it.

Oh, I saw this in an episode of The Americans. You stare at the tip of their nose. It gives the impression you're looking them unflinchingly right in the eyes, but you never make eye contact.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:48 PM on June 7 [30 favorites]


ay, we gonna give this guy da normal new york city conversation and if he say yes he ain't gonna get da normal new york city swimming lesson capiche?
badda-boom badda-bing baby
ay mamma gimme some more covfefe in my cannoli

posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:53 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


it also reminds me of the legend about Greta Garbo, was it? whatever actress who had such a heartbreaking play of emotions across her beautiful face in whatever iconic scene as she sailed away from her true love forever, and somebody asked her later how she did it or what she was thinking about and she said oh, i just relaxed all my face parts and thought about what I would have for breakfast tomorrow, would it be pancakes or not pancakes. or however the story goes. because the blanker your face, the more can be read into it by anybody watching. such as a president.

guess I am saying Greta Garbo should play Comey in the movie. though I must remember he is actually a terrible man.
posted by queenofbithynia at 1:53 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


From these quotes... he was never threatened, never directly asked to drop the investigation. I don't think it's going to float.

Dammit Comey.
posted by adept256 at 1:53 PM on June 7


"The President was unaware that leaning hard on 'loyalty' while pointedly asking for the investigation to steer clear of him and then subsequently firing the person in charge of the investigation could possibly be inappropriate" seems like a pretty hard sell to me.

Nah, it's all part of that "run the country like a business" thing. It's not inappropriate to talk to the head of another company and say, "hey, that merger you're considering... could you maybe drop it? It'd be such a hassle for my guys to deal with. Tell you what - drop the merger thing, and we'll stay out of your region so you can advertise heavy there and take over."

It's also not inappropriate for a CEO to go to the head of a subsidiary company and say, "I know you've been looking into replacing the head of marketing and changing the advertisements... don't bother; he's fine where he is, and the ad system is good for now."

He's just really, really oblivious to the concept that there are laws that control how the government works, that it's not all just "whatever we mutually agree to do is okay."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:55 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


From these quotes... he was never threatened, never directly asked to drop the investigation. I don't think it's going to float.

It's. an. opening. statement. in. which. he. clearly. tells. you. his. understanding.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:56 PM on June 7 [11 favorites]


> he was never threatened, never directly asked to drop the investigation.

You remember that he was fired after that, right?
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:56 PM on June 7 [71 favorites]


Guise, hey guise I know we're all wanting an updated Nixon but the deal with that, okay, is that Nixon had a shred of human emotions he was beholden to. For reasons, Trump does not.

This article is unfortunately more relevant to the coming days than Comey's testimony and we'd all do well to incoporate its . . . lessons? What My Father The Pathological Liar Taught Me About Trump

If you are operating from the premise that if you catch Trump red-handed in some lie he will have to confess and apologize, you will be disappointed every time. When Trump's explanation for firing FBI director James Comey contradicted that of his spokespeople, the deceit could not have been more obvious. Reporters dutifully pointed this out, no doubt expecting the kind of contrition or clarification displayed by previous presidents. None came. . . .

When you grow up the way I did, the hardest thing to accept is that no one has to come to your rescue, and in all likelihood, no one is. Any plan for "escape" will have to come from you, and will require a great deal of time to execute. It involves not merely removing yourself from a physical location, but also changing an outlook that seeks constant retribution for what was "done" to you. It sucks and it's exhausting and, from a mental standpoint, the process never quite ends. It's very easy to get bogged down by the unfairness of fixing yourself when someone else is the real problem. . . .

So it is with the Trump presidency. No one is coming to save us from it. Not Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton, not MSNBC, not Louise Mensch, and definitely not the Republican Party. As president, Donald Trump has firm control of the household of America, and there is absolutely no reason to believe he will relinquish that control for any reason other than the usual political ones.

posted by petebest at 1:57 PM on June 7 [47 favorites]


Everyone knows it's not obstruction of justice unless you say "Justice, I obstruct thee!" three times in a row.
posted by odinsdream at 1:57 PM on June 7 [113 favorites]


From these quotes... he was never threatened, never directly asked to drop the investigation
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Comey says Trump told him. "He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
Sounds like a direct ask to me.
posted by zakur at 1:58 PM on June 7 [27 favorites]


He's just really, really oblivious to the concept that there are laws that control how the government works, that it's not all just "whatever we mutually agree to do is okay."

Oh, I don't doubt he's oblivious to the difference between CEO and President. But my question remains, and I hope actual lawyer-type folks can help me out here: does it matter, from a legal standpoint, if the President is unaware he committed wrongdoing?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:58 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


ay, we gonna give this guy da normal new york city conversation and if he say yes he ain't gonna get da normal new york city swimming lesson capiche?
badda-boom badda-bing baby
ay mamma gimme some more covfefe in my cannoli


What kind of mishegas you shmucks are talking about I have no idea. Oy, what I wouldn't give for some real New York conversation right about now. Just give me a knish and a two cents plain.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:58 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


>he was never threatened, never directly asked to drop the investigation. I don't think it's going to float.

I think some of us were (and maybe still are) expecting Comey to recount some sort of Trump-as-Super-Villain monologue wherein Trump admits he poisoned the water supply and ate a litter of puppies for breakfast before meeting with the Russians to hand over the US nuclear launch codes. Comey's initial statement doesn't seem to rise to that level of explicit incrimination, but I think there is plenty there to chew on. And it's just the opening statement - here's hoping there is much more to come tomorrow.
posted by mosk at 2:03 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


So Reek's pal is nominated the New Comey and he's all back in the shit?

Chris Christie tells @NicolleDWallace Trump's comments to Comey were "normal New York City conversation" he didn't realize was inappropriate -- Eli Stokols, WSJ

Nah, fowk YOUh
posted by petebest at 2:03 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


When Kamala Harris gets a clue about how to respectfully disrespect somebody in Congress (like the rest of these gigantic assholes) she is going to be a force to reckon with.

Just want to add that I recognize this is totally unasked-for tone-policing and that I appreciate and respect the job my Senator is doing in Congress.
posted by carsonb at 2:03 PM on June 7 [28 favorites]


does it matter, from a legal standpoint, if the President is unaware he committed wrongdoing?

Intent and acting "knowingly" are elements of criminal obstruction of justice, yes (though these are legal terms of art that can't be reduced to their plain meanings). Note, however, that impeachment is a political process, not a legal one.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:04 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


odinsdream: "Everyone knows it's not obstruction of justice unless you say "Justice, I obstruct thee!" three times in a row."

I...declare...baaankruptcyyyy!
posted by Chrysostom at 2:05 PM on June 7 [16 favorites]


Sounds like a direct ask to me.
Exactly. He was asking the FBI Director to drop an investigation - it doesn't matter that it wasn't about him (even though we all know it was, though indirectly). That's a textbook definition of obstruction, with 'loyalty' sprinkles on top. I still don't think that this will lead to impeachment, but as to the question of whether or not the sitting president obstructed an FBI investigation, the case is pretty clear.
posted by eclectist at 2:05 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


What kind of mishegas you shmucks are talking about I have no idea.

Ah cmon, whasamattafayou?

Chris Christie tells @NicolleDWallace Trump's comments to Comey were "normal New York City conversation"

Go fuck yourself you Jersey schmuck
posted by schadenfrau at 2:06 PM on June 7 [28 favorites]


Now that's New York City conversation!
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:07 PM on June 7 [25 favorites]


For me personally, it's kind of comforting (in an odd way) to see people re-iterating that no, the mere presence of damning behavior or evidence does not automatically result in some kind of real action against Trump. Emphasizing this helps bridge a gap between expectation and reality.

In many a movie the villain tells the hero "All right, you know what, I did do the evil thing, but who'se going to believe you?" (coupled with a threat to kill the hero, if it's not a kid's movie). But the tables turn when it turns out that, guess what, the hero recorded this very confession! Ha ha! Justice prevails!

But in real life, villains have followers, numerous followers, who see them as heroes, and aren't even necessarily all that deluded about them. Real-life villains' public image is often in full accord with their private crimes. Real-life cops might fight to prevent their actions from being recorded... but juries can still exonerate them (e.g the jury that couldn't determine the guilt of Michael Slager, who was filmed not just killing Walter Scott but planting the taser on his body so he could later claim self-defense). Because, you know, gotta support cops. Their lives are tough. Something something political correctness.

So that's obviously depressing, but it's better than the Twilight Zone self-doubt/nausea of "If no one's doing anything, why does this look and feel so wrong to me?" (Not to mention one must steer clear of the way I'd guess many Americans perceive it, which is "Well it looks bad, but obviously it can't be too bad or else people would be behind bars.")
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:08 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


It seems relevant that James Comey spent quite a bit of time working (and running) the US Attorney's office in New York and helped prosecute New York mobsters, so I suspect he has a better idea of what normal and abnormal "normal New York City conversation" sounds like than the Governor of New Jersey.

Meanwhile, Billy "On the Street" Eichner wants us to know what "a real New York conversation" looks like.
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on June 7 [13 favorites]


If Russia has it and is leaking information to that effect, it may be so that if necessary, then can release the tape as a distraction from the other 3. And Trump's defenders will say "OK, that's awkward, but it's out now so they can't use it against him. Let's just move forward."

Or, "That's just a normal alpha-male dominance display. That's what winners do. Not that you beta-cuck losers would know! Sad!"
posted by acb at 2:11 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


♫ The Comey Statement . . . have you read this? ♫

♫ HIGHLIGHTS! ♫


I took the opportunity to implore the Attorney General to prevent any future direct communication between the President and me. I told the AG that what had just happened – him being asked to leave while the FBI Director, who reports to the AG, remained behind – was inappropriate and should never happen. ***He did not reply.*** (emphasis added)

Man, this is not good for Sessions. Nor is the part where Comey told several other FBI higher ups and specifically NOT Sessions about Trump trying to interfere "because we assumed he would soon be recusing himself." Yeah, basically the whole FBI knows you're both Trump's little pal and ass-deep in Russians.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:14 PM on June 7 [53 favorites]


What is it with Trump supporters thinking "he doesn't know how to speak/behave/insert verb" is an admissible excuse for a President's general behavior?

And more importantly, how do they manage to reconcile "moron who can't speak" with "genius business person who can fix everything"?
posted by Tarumba at 2:16 PM on June 7 [46 favorites]


Exactly. He was asking the FBI Director to drop an investigation - it doesn't matter that it wasn't about him

An investigation with a pretty decent likelihood eventually being about him.
posted by chris24 at 2:16 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Wait. Guys.

What if the grandfather clock is where the orb hides when the unfaithful are present?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:19 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]


What is it with Trump supporters thinking "he doesn't know how to speak/behave/insert verb" is an admissible excuse for a president's general behavior?

"He's just an ordinary guy, not like you hifalutin' college-geek elitists. I trust him, because I've been in spots like that. Knowing the right words isn't important. Acting from the right gut feelings is what's important!"

And more importantly, how do they manage to reconcile "moron who can't speak" with "genius business person who can fix everything"?

"Look at his record - he makes mistakes, and he still makes millions of dollars! He has a gorgeous supermodel wife, and lives in a gold palace! He must be doing something right! So if he wants to run the country, he'll make sure we all live in gold palaces and get supermodel wives!"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:20 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


So when Trump said "when you're a celebrity, they let you do it," that absolves him of responsibility for committing sexual assaults? Fuck that noise.

His arrogant assumption that he's above the law and can get away with crimes and do any goddamn thing he wants is not a defense or mitigating factor. This is not normal and not acceptable.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:21 PM on June 7 [11 favorites]


> In the last election, more people voted for Democrats for the House, Senate, and Presidency I believe... But Republicans control all three.

It has happened in the past the Republicans lost the popular vote but won a majority in the House & Senate, but not in 2016.

Here is how House, Senate, and Presidency turned on in popular vote vs. seats:

HOUSE
Popular vote: 49.1% R, 48.0% D
Seats: 51.2% R, 45.5% D

SENATE
Popular vote: 42.4% R, 53.8% D
Seats: 53% R, 47% D

PRESIDENT
Popular vote: 46.1% R, 48.2% D
Seats: 100% R, 0% D

So the Republicans are obviously getting a boost in each case--about +4.5% in the House, +7% in the Senate, and winning the President when they were down over 2% in popular vote.

But the Democrats didn't quite pull out a majority of votes in the House races, and I think it is pretty interesting that they didn't--especially when they were able to pull out a pretty HUGE margin of popular vote victory in the Senate, and a decent margin in the Presidential race.

I'm not sure what the reason for that is, or the differences.

Source: Wikipedia articles on 2016 elections. Note that the Senate totals ignore the 2 independent seats.
posted by flug at 2:22 PM on June 7 [16 favorites]


When Kamala Harris gets a clue about how to respectfully disrespect somebody in Congress (like the rest of these gigantic assholes) she is going to be a force to reckon with.

She already has far more than a clue. She is already a force to reckon with.

That is why Burr interrupted.

The problem you seek is not in Kamala Harris. Look elsewhere. Perhaps look within.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:23 PM on June 7 [53 favorites]


His arrogant assumption that he's above the law and can get away with crimes and do any goddamn thing he wants is not a defense or mitigating factor. This is not normal and not acceptable.

Depending on the GOP congress, it might be.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:27 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


ass-deep in Russians

I reluctantly relinquish dibs on this sockpuppet name.
posted by petebest at 2:27 PM on June 7 [36 favorites]


> I do wish my kids had graduated last year and received a certificate signed by President Barack Obama

mrzarquon pointed out this interesting bit for people who, like me, work towards the President's Volunteer Service Award: "Effective June 1st, and until further notice, certificate packages will not include Presidential letters."

I don't know why they say that the current annual awards don't get presidential signatures -- I've gotten a few Golds and they all had letters signed by President Obama (including the one I got this year). I suppose they could be making a distinction between actual real signatures and printed ones? Or they could just be throwing their hands up in despair.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:32 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


So Chuck Todd [yeah, I know] was just discussing this thing where some Trump-loving PAC is funding these vicious national anti-Comey smear ads over the next few days and noted that this is a really scary precedent equivalent to "a horse's head in the bed" where an unelected former official who's now a private citizen is attacked as an example to everybody else with information that "if you mess with our guy, we'll destroy you." Pretty chilling.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:34 PM on June 7 [45 favorites]


> His arrogant assumption that he's above the law and can get away with crimes and do any goddamn thing he wants is not a defense or mitigating factor. This is not normal and not acceptable.

Depending on the GOP congress, it might be.


I mean, if I were Trump I would assume that I'm above the law and can get away with crimes and do any goddamn thing I want, too, because I'd have my entire adult life to back me up.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:37 PM on June 7 [13 favorites]


But the Democrats didn't quite pull out a majority of votes in the House races, and I think it is pretty interesting that they didn't

Thanks for the correct numbers and apologies for my mistake.

I do notice that according to that Republicans ALSO did not pull out a majority of the popular vote in the House, though.

Other comments:

I would like to point out that we already know what salacious material Comey shared with the president at that first meeting. It was the infamous dossier itself.

Before the election, Mother Jones reported the existence of the dossier and hinted at its contents. Then in January, CNN reported that both President Obama and President-Elect Trump had been briefed on this dossier. The next day, as I recall, Buzzfeed said "Oh fuck it" and published the dossier.

We're now hearing Comey's account of that briefing CNN reported on, which eventually led to Buzzfeed publishing.

And finally:

I found out what Nick Weaver was talking about on that radio show I mentioned above. Turns out it's in the declassified intelligence report, and I just never picked up on it.
Before the election, Russian diplomats had publicly denounced the US electoral process and were prepared to publicly call into question the validity of the results. ProKremlin bloggers had prepared a Twitter campaign, #DemocracyRIP, on election night in anticipation of Secretary Clinton’s victory, judging from their social media activity.
This makes Weaver's speculation that the reason the Russians were hacking voter databases the day before the election was to support that "rigged election" narrative in some way seem very plausible to me. I've already updated the "what was Russia trying to accomplish" section on my site.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:39 PM on June 7 [48 favorites]


"He's just an ordinary guy, not like you hifalutin' college-geek elitists. I trust him, because I've been in spots like that. Knowing the right words isn't important. Acting from the right gut feelings is what's important!"

@SethAbramson has a quick primer on obstruction of justice and why words are precisely what is at issue.

Impeachment is still a political matter, though, so optics with regards to both the "justice quotient" of the law and how it was broken are very, very important.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:39 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


He's just really, really oblivious to the concept that there are laws that control how the government works, that it's not all just "whatever we mutually agree to do is okay."

Dude is 70, he got elected president, and he has been involved in more legal disputes than any of us can count. There is no credible grounds on which he can play dumb here. And ignorance of the law is not a defense regardless.

Republicans, of course, will go for it, because they don't give a fuck about credibility. But let's not talk about this like we have to play along with their disingenuous bullshit.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:39 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]


Oh wait -- I was gonna share this link I came across with more details about the successful Russian intrusion into Illinois' voter registration system.

Why is The Intercept's story a big bombshell, but this one isn't, and wasn't when it first came out in August? I don't get it.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:40 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Depending on the GOP congress, it might be.

How much is a torch and a pitchfork these days? Asking for a couple of friends.
Well there are a lot, really.
posted by petebest at 2:41 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


> Republicans are obviously getting a boost in each case--about +4.5% in the House, +7% in the Senate

There are a few different ways you can summarize this, but let me try one that is a little more consistent & defensible than the shooting-from-the-hip method from my own comment above:

HOUSE
Republicans were +1.1% in the popular vote and +5.7% in seats.
Result: +4.6% R bonus due to districting

SENATE
Republicans were -9.4% in the popular vote and +6% in seats.
Result: +15.4% R bonus due to districting.

PRESIDENT
Republicans were -2.1% in the popular vote and +14% in electoral votes.
Result: 16.1% R bonus due to districting

Data source: Wikipedia articles on 2016 elections.

posted by flug at 2:41 PM on June 7 [38 favorites]


mrzarquon pointed out this interesting bit for people who, like me, work towards the President's Volunteer Service Award: "Effective June 1st, and until further notice, certificate packages will not include Presidential letters."

I don't know why they say that the current annual awards don't get presidential signatures -- I've gotten a few Golds and they all had letters signed by President Obama (including the one I got this year). I suppose they could be making a distinction between actual real signatures and printed ones? Or they could just be throwing their hands up in despair.


It wouldn't even be hard to get the signatures, just put the certificates in the pile for Fake Bill Signing Day.
posted by rifflesby at 2:41 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


Statement by Trump's lawyer (I guess sent to reporters, who are re-posting it on Twitter) states that POTUS feels completely and totally vindicated [real], but that Trump isn't getting his phone back anytime soon. [probably true]
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:43 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


POTUS feels completely and totally vindicated

"that the President was not under investigation in any Russian probe"

Let me draw your attention to my friends "was" and "any". Particularly "any", as that's not precisely what Comey's statement said.

And either way, being or not-being under investigation isn't really the problem here.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:49 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Republicans were -2.1% in the popular vote and +14% in electoral votes.
Result: 16.1% R bonus due to districting


I don't understand this at all. Electoral College votes go on a winner takes all state by state basis (except Maine and Nebraska, anyway). Redistricting isn't a factor as far as I understand what you mean...but maybe I'm missing your point entirely!
posted by howfar at 2:50 PM on June 7


Wife of detained Chinese activist begs Ivanka for “a few words” to “save entire family”

A labor activist investigating the factory that makes Ivanka Trump shoes has been detained by the Chinese government. Now his wife is begging Trump to make a public statement to save her husband's life.

Sorry, I can't think of any pithy commentary to add to this so it's not just a link. It's just so damn depressing.
posted by bluecore at 2:51 PM on June 7 [32 favorites]


I felt compelled to document my first conversation with the President-Elect in a memo. To ensure accuracy, I began to type it on a laptop in an FBI vehicle outside Trump Tower the moment I walked out of the meeting. Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward. This had not been my practice in the past.

This is so fascinating, because when I was working as an intel analyst, I was always told by people that if something seemed like it was wrong, I should write a memorandum for record immediately afterwards to preserve what happened, and it would be useful. It never seemed so for me, but I would do it from time to time. Watching Comey's Memorandums For Record basically be the stealth weapon to take down Trump is surreal, to say the least.
posted by corb at 2:52 PM on June 7 [62 favorites]


And either way, being or not-being under investigation isn't really the problem here.

Also, he seems to think this is a permanent Get Out of Jail Free card. You weren't personally under investigation at the time you asked the question, but several of your very close associates and campaign in general were. And as Comey indicated, the "Trump is not personally under investigation" bit could change at any moment.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:53 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


I don't understand this at all. Electoral College votes go on a winner takes all state by state basis (except Maine and Nebraska, anyway).

The Electoral College itself is a districting schema. And arguably an unfair one, at that.
posted by Andrhia at 2:56 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


Hell, working as a substitute teacher, I have often heard kids complain that their regular teacher is awful. "Lost" assignments, hurtful statements, etc. First thing I tell them is if they have a serious problem and they're not just grumbling about personality conflicts, they need to Document. Everything.

So I'm kinda glad to see a real-world example 'cause kids appreciate those.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:57 PM on June 7 [27 favorites]


Electoral College votes go on a winner takes all state by state basis (except Maine and Nebraska, anyway). Redistricting isn't a factor

It's not "redistricting" it's just "districting." In this case, the "districts" are the states themselves. Because we vote by state and not just a direct popular vote at the national level, Republicans have an advantage in presidential electoral votes compared to the popular vote. Just as they are also over-represented in the House and Senate.

Gerrymandering makes it slightly worse than it otherwise would be in the House (which is supposed to be the most proportional to population, and thus should most resemble the popular vote!)

But really we need multi-member districts!
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:58 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


I want this question tomorrow: "That there wasn't an active CI investigation of the President at that time doesn't mean he'd been exonerated of any possible wrongdoing, correct?"
posted by chris24 at 2:58 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


ass-deep in Russians

to the tune of No Sleep Till Brooklyn
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:59 PM on June 7 [82 favorites]


They should have probably discussed this with their accountant first...

Washington DC Bar Will Give Everyone a Free Drink Every Time Trump Tweets About Comey
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:03 PM on June 7 [50 favorites]


For reference for tomorrow, from Vulture: how to stream Comey's testimony tomorrow. Not sure how many/which of these will work outside of the US.
posted by yasaman at 3:12 PM on June 7 [6 favorites]


It's not "redistricting" it's just "districting." In this case, the "districts" are the states themselves. Because we vote by state and not just a direct popular vote at the national level, Republicans have an advantage in presidential electoral votes compared to the popular vote. Just as they are also over-represented in the House and Senate.


Ah, indeed. I suppose I'm so entirely convinced that first past the post systems are fundamentally​ undemocratic that it doesn't occur to me that it needs stating, but it does, of course.
posted by howfar at 3:13 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


They should have probably discussed this with their accountant first...

As well as alerting local EMTs.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:16 PM on June 7 [21 favorites]


How much is a torch and a pitchfork these days? Asking for a couple of friends.

If you don't already have one or the other in your calloused hands you're probably bourgie scum. Or something like that.

I'm kidding. These days the proles mainly wear call center headsets or assemble steamed cheeseburgers wrapped in bits of waxed paper, which isn't exactly as thrilling.

Anyway, I happen to sell torches and pitchforks. Well, I sell subscription-based service contracts that allows you unlimited use of a variety of torches, pitchforks and other improvised melee weapons to simplify the hassle and bother of torch and pitchfork ownership and operation and all that pesky maintenance like finding torch fuel, rags and whittling a sturdy stick into a sharp point.

Service levels begin with our most basic plan, The Peasant's Revolt, which allows the subscriber to check out any one pitchfork, torch or melee weapon from the Bronze Library and up to the Gold Bastille Megastabby Deluxe package, which not only allows for a mix of up to 12 improvised melee weapons (including sickles and a variety of pole-arms) up to 6 torches per month, but it also allows any Gold level member exclusive access (for a reasonable fee and surge charge) to our well trained network of angry gig economy peasants who will capably wield your choice of pitchforks and melee weapons in a suitably angry manner.
posted by loquacious at 3:18 PM on June 7 [66 favorites]




I am really intrigued by the mechanism of taking 45's phone away from him. Who does it and how, and what level of invective, wheedling, anger and sullen acceptance is there? Does he get more time next time if he's a good boy and not say anything too rude when he gets it back? Is there a points system, or extra ice cream? And has he thought of just asking a flunky to pop down to the Apple Store and pick him up a new one?


(ISTR Obama didn't like losing his Blackberry in 2008 either but negotiated a compromise deal. Sad! Trigger warning: contains image of actual grown-up President, and reports of a press conference that was good-humoured and constructive.)
posted by Devonian at 3:20 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


I am really intrigued by the mechanism of taking 45's phone away from him. Who does it and how, and what level of invective, wheedling, anger and sullen acceptance is there?

I honestly believe that whatever poor slob gets the short straw just hangs about until his back is turned, and then they grab it, hide it, and pretend to look for it until he gets so unmanageable they have to "find" it and give it back.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:23 PM on June 7 [25 favorites]


> [Comey testimony] He said he had nothing to do with Russia, had not been involved with hookers in Russia,

I've been meaning to bring this up in a few different contexts recently, but this is a nice example.

Trump's Mirror actually has two sides to it:

#1. When Trump accuses someone else: "Person A is XYZing," it actually means that Trump himself is XYZing--because why else is it even on his mind? Trump is only capable of understanding other people's actions and motivations on the basis of his own.

#2. When Trump says out of the blue, "I was NOT doing XYZ" then he actually was doing XYZ. Because why else is it even on his mind?

In short, thanks to Trump's Mirror, you can take the above statement as proof positive that Trump is deeply involved with both Russia and Russian hookers.
posted by flug at 3:26 PM on June 7 [45 favorites]


I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.

I can parse this aside, but I can't quite understand it. Comey did not want to say publicly that the Trump was not under investigation, because then, if an investigation were opened, he'd have a duty to us to tell us, the public, about it. Sure. So keeping the lack of investigation private is to Trump's benefit if at any point an investigation on Trump were opened. But he also states explicitly that he did not share this calculus with Trump?

I suppose the point is that because we're hearing a lot about all the times when Trump was not being investigated, we need to remember that we won't be hearing about it if/when Trump is being investigated.
posted by ProtoStar at 3:28 PM on June 7


Trump's Mirror actually has two sides to it:

#1. When Trump accuses someone else: "Person A is XYZing," it actually means that Trump himself is XYZing--because why else is it even on his mind? Trump is only capable of understanding other people's actions and motivations on the basis of his own.

#2. When Trump says out of the blue, "I was NOT doing XYZ" then he actually was doing XYZ. Because why else is it even on his mind?


heh.. I've umm.. known one or two people who operated like this, and i can say, i was shocked and dismayed to realize that they were so ... simple.. that this is what passed for 'clever' on their part.

It makes me sad that such a person could be elected to any head of state in the 21st century. sad for humanity.
posted by some loser at 3:31 PM on June 7 [12 favorites]


50 Shades of Comey from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
posted by numaner at 3:32 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


Trump is making America more hostile and mentally ill: New England Journal of Medicine study (Bobby Azarian, Raw Story)
A new review paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that a growing body of empirical evidence shows how presidential elections can have effects on physical and mental health, and can influence behavior. Specifically, they found evidence that suggests that the campaign and subsequent election of Donald Trump has had a negative effect on the mental well-being of Americans, and in particular those in marginalized groups who are vulnerable to discrimination.
Re taking away Trumps's phone, I suggest the Creed Thoughts approach.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:35 PM on June 7 [50 favorites]


> I am really intrigued by the mechanism of taking 45's phone away from him. Who does it and how, and what level of invective, wheedling, anger and sullen acceptance is there?

I'm curious about this, too. It seems that his entire life, nobody has been willing to say "no" to him. I don't understand why not -- how is he so intimidating? How does he get away with this bullshit?
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:45 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Well, he has been wealthy for a long time. Samuel Goldwyn is reputed to have said, "I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their job."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:52 PM on June 7 [11 favorites]


I'm curious about this, too. It seems that his entire life, nobody has been willing to say "no" to him. I don't understand why not -- how is he so intimidating? How does he get away with this bullshit?

Perhaps not intimidating in the traditional sense, but the kind of person who just wears everyone down with tantrums until they're trained to just give him what he wants to avoid the hassle - I've met quite a few people like this.
posted by jason_steakums at 3:54 PM on June 7 [22 favorites]



I'm curious about this, too. It seems that his entire life, nobody has been willing to say "no" to him. I don't understand why not -- how is he so intimidating? How does he get away with this bullshit?


By playing on some types people's need for power, money and to feel value in themselves by being close and part of 'power'. He offers people identity and had the power to remove it if necessary. And because he is so awful he is pretty good and threatening people with some sort of detrimental action once they are in the circles of his influence.

Getting these people is self selecting. Anyone who sticks around him for any period of time is suspectable and/or okay with this this type of social control. One of Trumps biggest problems right now is that he is forced to deal with people that haven't self selected to be okay with his crap and have no problem saying no or just ignoring him. He doesn't know how to function in a world that hasn't self selected like he's used too.
posted by Jalliah at 3:54 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


> I am really intrigued by the mechanism of taking 45's phone away from him. Who does it and how, and what level of invective, wheedling, anger and sullen acceptance is there?

Better to just put his phone into airplane mode. He still gets to angrily tweet, and the rest of are spared reading them.
posted by mabelstreet at 3:58 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


Brian Beutler: Donald Trump Had Better Be Under FBI Investigation Now:
One prong of that crisis concerns the character of the president: Comey, in so many words, has confirmed that Donald Trump is loyalty obsessed, corrupt in his dealings, and lacking in any sense of what constitutes appropriate checks on the power of the president.

A second prong concerns the president’s actions: Trump administration loyalists are taking solace in and spinning the narrow factual point that Comey did in fact assure Trump three times that he was not under FBI investigation. They ignore the largest thematic point that Comey’s story is one of a president slowly, steadily, incriminating himself. If he was not under investigation before he fired Comey, it is imperative that he be so now.

The final prong concerns the fact that the broader government is in control of people intent on enabling Trump, complicit in his wrongdoing. This final prong is the one Comey depicts most indirectly, but it is perhaps the most important. The president and his confidants are engaging in grave wrongdoing, and Republicans are denying the public the political means to stop it.
posted by zachlipton at 4:11 PM on June 7 [46 favorites]


So Chuck Todd [yeah, I know] was just discussing this thing where some Trump-loving PAC is funding these vicious national anti-Comey smear ads over the next few days and noted that this is a really scary precedent equivalent to "a horse's head in the bed" where an unelected former official who's now a private citizen is attacked as an example to everybody else with information that "if you mess with our guy, we'll destroy you." Pretty chilling.

I was just thinking about this last night! weird.

We have attack ads being run against private citizens now. This is not okay.
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on June 7 [93 favorites]




Side effects of following these threads can include whiplash.
posted by Lyme Drop at 4:17 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


"Sure. So keeping the lack of investigation private is to Trump's benefit if at any point an investigation on Trump were opened. But he also states explicitly that he did not share this calculus with Trump?"

To me, avoiding the "duty to correct" is more to the benefit of the FBI's reputation, not in a bad way. When you work for that level of government, you want to avoid making statements that might even give the impression of backtracking in the future. So it's good practice to not make assertions unless they are very much confirmed and absolutely necessary.

In fact, Comey was trying to avoid exactly what Trump did in his letter (thanking Comey for multiple assurances that he was not under investigation), only he didn't realize that while in most cases simply not giving the assurance would be enough, Trump was stupid enough to make his up.
posted by Tarumba at 4:20 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


Trump reverses course in Qatar call

'Mad Dog' delivers, I guess?
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:21 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


we had that thing you know.' I did not reply or ask him what he meant by “that thing.”
and "the McCabe thing"

Comey didn't get that thing he sent him.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:25 PM on June 7 [3 favorites]


'Mad Dog' delivers, I guess?

And probably a bunch of other people that have a clue. I doubt it was just Mattis that was all wtf are you doing this is not how this works, omg you are such a idiot loser *&^*&^ . (Though they would have left out the loser idiot part of course and maybe the ^%&^% part)
posted by Jalliah at 4:26 PM on June 7 [4 favorites]


Trump reverses course in Qatar call

'Mad Dog' delivers, I guess?


Only until someone else talks to him.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:27 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


From Artw's link re talking to the Qatar Emir: Trump extended an olive branch, offering to help the parties resolve their differences by inviting them to a White House meeting if necessary.

Does this make anyone else think of the episode of the West Wing where a coup occurred while the foreign country's leader was on a state visit to the White House?

Really sorry for making you think about President Bartlett right now.
posted by mabelstreet at 4:28 PM on June 7 [9 favorites]


Trump's comments to Comey were "normal New York City conversation" he didn't realize was inappropriate

Dude is 70, he got elected president, and he has been involved in more legal disputes than any of us can count. There is no credible grounds on which he can play dumb here. And ignorance of the law is not a defense regardless.


Exactly, scaryblackdeath. Not too long ago, on a road trip deep in Trump country, Indiana, I heard a few yahoos in a restaurant chatting about how Trump's becoming President was a "step down" from what he's used to, so of course he can't be expected to know what protocol for, you know, being a head of state is (this was about 4,000 scandals ago, so I can't recall exactly what it was they were referring to that day).

I'm sick to death of the variations on this bullshit I keep hearing. Leaving aside the idiocy of considering the role of "national representative of the most powerful democracy on Earth" a step down, THE FIRST RULE FOR BEING FIT FOR THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY MEANS BEING THE KIND OF PERSON WHO KNOWS, EXCEPTIONALLY WELL, WHAT THE OFFICE ENTAILS, AND ACCEPTING THAT RESPONSIBILITY WITHOUT QUESTION OR PRODDING.

And if you somehow missed that memo, surely you've been briefed as to what it is the numerous advisors, chiefs of staff, and attorneys hanging around are there for. Failing that (?!), you sure as hell don't tell any-got-damn-body you're not to blame for your own actions.

Nope, Trump can fuck himself if he thinks "Beg your pardon, we do it differently on our estate, you see" has any traction.
posted by Rykey at 4:32 PM on June 7 [68 favorites]


From the CNN article about Qatar linked above:
Saudi Arabia has shut the only land border to Qatar, through which the country of 300,000 gets as much as 40% of its food supply, leading to empty shelves in supermarkets and fears that food and water will soon run out.
While I haven't been able to find any concrete follow-ups to that "meet our 10 demands in 24 hours" thing from yesterday, this development seems even worse. If I'm not mistaken, blockading a country can be considered an act of war, particularly if the effect is anything similar to what they're saying in the CNN article. This does not seem good.
posted by mhum at 4:36 PM on June 7 [27 favorites]


just gaze back at them not moving, speaking, or engaging any face muscles. just try. I already know I can't do it.

Yeah, I can do this. It's part of the skillset of working in mental health, not reacting to whatever thing someone just said to you that makes you want to go "WTF??"

I will warn if you practice this and use it in those awkward situations, you WILL be labeled a Bitch From Hell. I'm comfortable with that, but yanno.
posted by threeturtles at 4:43 PM on June 7 [23 favorites]


UK election systems remain all paper. The count is done by hand on the night of the ballot.

yoga: You can see the count in process in Leeds for the last general election in this YouTube video. This kind of footage is a familiar sight to anyone in the UK keen enough on politics to stay up to watch the election night coverage.


We're into election day here in the UK; polling stations open in a little over six hours. There's a new FPP for this UK general election just gone live, for those into Brit-politics. It's going to be a long day, and I suspect a long five years afterwards, ahead. (Prediction: in five years time, Boris Johnson will be the UK Prime Minister, while Americans will be well into the first term of Amy Klobuchar as POTUS)
posted by Wordshore at 4:44 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


just gaze back at them not moving, speaking, or engaging any face muscles. just try. I already know I can't do it.

We had a class (just one) in Coast Guard basic training on dealing with the media. Mostly it was "Always refer everything to someone higher up the chain because at your level you probably don't have the full picture," but they talked about reporter techniques. The big one was how reporters will use silence to compel you to say something more than you mean. They ask, you answer, and then they just wait with a blank face as if to imply you should say something more. And then it gets awkward and by implication it's your fault so you say something more than you should to fill the silence or end the conversation.

I never got interviewed by any reporters, but even so I kinda can't articulate how incredibly useful a lesson that was for me at age 19.
...and don't bother staring at me in silence to get me to try, 'cause that trick won't work.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:48 PM on June 7 [28 favorites]


I'm curious about this, too. It seems that his entire life, nobody has been willing to say "no" to him. I don't understand why not -- how is he so intimidating? How does he get away with this bullshit?

I've been thinking about this in light of the revelations about the Eric Trump Foundation. When it started it was squeaky clean with very few expenses and nearly all the funds raised going to St. Jude. The board was just Eric and a few friends. Then 4 years after he started it got hijacked. The friends were off the board and DJT employees like Michael "sez who" Cohen replaced them. That's when money-- hundreds of thousands of dollars-- started being funneled into Dad's pocket by way of inflated golf course fees and so forth.

Did Eric ever resist? Did he ever have a moment when he tried to tell Dad, "No." I don't know if Eric is as bad as we make him out to be, yet I also don't know if he was just unaware that the family could make money off of his foundation. I just think this is a troubling story about one son trying to do something good and it getting turned into one of DJT's little scams.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:52 PM on June 7 [19 favorites]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock?

there's money in the grandfather clock.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 4:57 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


Not only is Comey 86 times smarter than Trump, he has a much, much better team that helped him construct and deploy his "If I Get Fired" Contingency Plan and Info Release Strategy -- and, of course, Comey's other big advantage is that he accepts and follows these very wise people's advice.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:57 PM on June 7 [12 favorites]


Did Eric ever resist?

I bet the kids have been groomed to take the emotional abuse from a young age. Donald didn't want to have the embarrassement of shipping either of them off to military school like his dad did.
posted by rhizome at 4:58 PM on June 7 [15 favorites]


Wait, what's up with Comey constantly mentioning the grandfather clock?

It shows the level of precision and thoroughness in his memo-notes and serves as a visual memory aid (like Hannibal Lecter's mind palace!). Plus if anybody in, say, a court of law ever tries to trip him up or make it look like he has memory gaps -- "And which door did the Attorney General exit through, Mr. Comey?" -- well, don't even go there, dude.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:01 PM on June 7 [18 favorites]


They ask, you answer, and then they just wait with a blank face as if to imply you should say something more. And then it gets awkward and by implication it's your fault so you say something more than you should to fill the silence or end the conversation.

AKA the Batman interrogation technique.

The ability to not fill in uncomfortable silences is a skill every #resistance activist should learn.

The ability to entice other people into filling them in is also useful, but less universally important - some people don't start with the right combination of curiosity/threat that jump-starts others' "I gotta say something" reaction, and learning it isn't always worth the effort it takes.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:01 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


I'm curious about this, too. It seems that his entire life, nobody has been willing to say "no" to him. I don't understand why not -- how is he so intimidating? How does he get away with this bullshit?

I asked a similar question (albeit from the angle of Trump's relationship with Congress) back in December. The responses I got might or might not be instructive wrt your question. (Yes, I realize Trump is the White House staff's boss, whereas he's not Congress's... technically, at least)
posted by Rykey at 5:08 PM on June 7 [1 favorite]


> Brian Beutler: Donald Trump Had Better Be Under FBI Investigation Now: . . .
They ignore the largest thematic point that Comey’s story is one of a president slowly, steadily, incriminating himself.

The analysis of Comey's testimony tends to revolve a bit too much around the specifics of whether this or that particular statement or incident amounted to obstruction of justice.

The much, much larger overriding question here is this: Was Comey's firing a Saturday Night Massacre?

That is to say: Was it an action designed to slow or stop further investigation into wrongdoing by Trump or his associates? Was the firing itself an obstruction of justice?

Based on Comey's testimony, the answer is very, very clear:

Yes, the firing was a Saturday Night Massacre. Yes, the firing itself constitutes obstruction of justice.

It was an action taken by Trump precisely because Comey would not pledge the loyalty Trump wanted him to pledge (which clearly was placed in the context of moderating the Bureau's activities and investigations as needed to serve Trump's political ends) and because he would not stop the investigations Trump wanted him to stop.
posted by flug at 5:08 PM on June 7 [46 favorites]


Trash Midas was in Cincinnati today, talkin' about infrastructure. I didn't go down to any protests, but was following local journalists on twitter. A few takeaways:

1. Local tornado siren tests always happen the first Wednesday of the month shortly after noon. As it happened, there were also ominous looking dark clouds gathering, and this apparently was when Trump was landing in Cincinnati.

2. Apparently at one point he turned from his remarks to wave at a barge operator on the Ohio River. I find this kind of laughably pathetic (as in, awww, what a dopey New Yorker) because barges are a dime a dozen on the Ohio River.

3. The Kentucky governor (Matt Bevin) attended but the Ohio governor (John Kasich) was nowhere in sight

4. This chucklehead had the balls to come talk to Cincinnati about infrastructure, where we have one of the worst bridges in the country (the Brent Spence bridge is the main bridge over the Ohio River between KY and OH for I-75 and I-75 and is fucking terrifying for several reasons), and THIS ASSHOLE DIDN'T SAY A GODDAMN THING ABOUT THE FUCKING BRENT SPENCE. As a local city councilman put it, coming to Cincinnati to talk about infrastructure and not mentioning the Brent Spence is like coming here to talk about baseball and not mentioning the Reds.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:10 PM on June 7 [38 favorites]


Politco: Melania Trump set to make her D.C. move next week. They're moving next week, but see this:
It’s still not clear exactly what initiative Melania Trump will make her platform — during the campaign, she said she would use the role of first lady to speak out against cyberbullying. But that initiative has since been cast aside, another White House official said.

Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, claimed Melania Trump is still passionate about the issue, even though she has yet to highlight it in any public appearance. “While cyber-bullying is something she speaks out against, that is but one subset of her focus around the overall wellness of children,” Grisham said in an email.
So that's not happening I guess. Also, they've come up with an explanation for why she swatted her husband's away:
The one memorable gaffe of the trip involving her — when she appeared to bat away Trump’s outstretched hand on the Tel Aviv tarmac — was not intended to be a repudiation of her husband, according to a person who has spoken to the couple about the embarrassing incident. Instead, that person said, it was the first lady being attuned to protocol and pushing away what she saw as an inappropriate gesture for an official arrival.
I'm not entirely sure "the President was behaving inappropriately but his wife knew better and stopped him" is the story they decided to go with, but here we are.
posted by zachlipton at 5:18 PM on June 7 [21 favorites]


I don't know if Eric is as bad as we make him out to be

Eric is willing to go in front of a camera and say that people who oppose his father aren't human beings. Unfortunately for us, he is a human being, and a terrible one at that. I reserve no pity for the spoiled and unrepentant children of tyrants.

Trash Midas was in Cincinnati today

I have no fucking clue why he keeps coming to Cincinnati. Clinton/Kaine whomped his pustulent ass here by over 10 points (>32,000 votes) back in November. His supporters all live in the dull outer suburbs, or across the river in Kentucky.
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:26 PM on June 7 [21 favorites]


So based on the evening's cable news shows (my boyfriend put them on, send help!) the current Trump surrogate line is that Trump was asking Comey for loyalty TO THE CONSTITUTION?!
posted by lalex at 5:37 PM on June 7 [18 favorites]


Eric is willing to go in front of a camera and say that people who oppose his father aren't human beings.

I figured this would come up as evidence against him, I'm just surprised you didn't mention he also hunts big game. However I don't see the proof that he is evil through and through. In fact the evidence from when he started his charity would seem to show that he does have a nugget of goodness somewhere. He could have spent his 20's just doing rich boy shit.

This is not to say he deserves our pity. Yet I do very occasionally feel sorry for all the Trump children and all the Trump wives because DJT is such a monster who sows chaos and discontent where ever he goes.

So based on the evening's cable news shows (my boyfriend put them on, send help!) the current Trump surrogate line is that Trump was asking Comey for loyalty TO THE CONSTITUTION?!

Oh FFS. Anybody who buys that bullshit was asking to be duped.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:41 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


I love how little sense that makes. If that was true, why was Trump's response when Comey said no to ask for honesty instead of saying "WTF why won't you be loyal to the Constitution?" It's not even a good lie.
posted by zachlipton at 5:43 PM on June 7 [27 favorites]


coming to Cincinnati to talk about infrastructure and not mentioning the Brent Spence is like coming here to talk about baseball and not mentioning the Reds.

QFT. I left Cincinnati a few years ago, and even then this atheist prayed every time I had to cross that rusty death trap.
posted by Rykey at 5:45 PM on June 7 [2 favorites]


In fact the evidence from when he started his charity would seem to show that he does have a nugget of goodness somewhere. He could have spent his 20's just doing rich boy shit.

Given that the Trump Foundation is and always has been a grift, him starting a charity isn't necessarily evidence of good intention.
posted by chris24 at 5:45 PM on June 7 [8 favorites]


I have no fucking clue why he keeps coming to Cincinnati.[...] His supporters all live in the dull outer suburbs, or across the river in Kentucky.

Probably for the same reason he claims to represent the fine people of Pittsburgh. Honestly, the fact that he keeps trying to claim Midwest cities like Pittsburgh and Cincinnati under his mantle makes me want to fucking scream because it contributes to this weird phenomenon where the exurban/suburban sprawl vote keeps getting written out of the electoral narrative.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:45 PM on June 7 [7 favorites]


[Quoting myself:] Yes, the firing was a Saturday Night Massacre. Yes, the firing itself constitutes obstruction of justice.

And I know you all are very well aware of this, but still I'll take the occasion to remind you: This isn't some wackadoodle far-fetched interpretation. It's Trump's OWN interpretation.

From his firing letter to Comey:
While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.
Why in the world is Trump taking pains to carefully place Comey's firing into the context of the investigations into Trump and his confederates?

Because that is the context that Trump himself understood it in, and it is the context he wanted us all to understand it in as well.

This really is not a difficult or complex issue. It's exactly what Trump was thinking about when he decided to fire Comey, and it's exactly the reason he did it. He's admitted it himself on essentially every occasion he has talked about it (ie, to the Russians in the Oval Office).
posted by flug at 5:46 PM on June 7 [40 favorites]


In fact the evidence from when he started his charity would seem to show that he does have a nugget of goodness somewhere. He could have spent his 20's just doing rich boy shit.

Maybe I missed something, but what did he do in his 20s (or ever) that was not "just doing rich boy shit?" Starting a charitable foundation is rich boy shit, isn't it? Even if it's not merely a tax shelter and shady money funnel?
posted by The World Famous at 5:47 PM on June 7 [10 favorites]


exurban/suburban sprawl vote keeps getting written out of the electoral narrative.

Truth. And honestly as someone who has lived my whole life in the urban core of the city, hearing someone who lives in Cranberry (an exurban and very wealthy township about 20 miles north of the city) say they live "in Pittsburgh" or are "from Pittsburgh" has always made my gorge rise. Coming into town once every few months to go to dinner and a show doesn't mean you're a Pittsburgher, motherfucker. Now it extra missed me off because those fuckers made Trump happen.
posted by soren_lorensen at