We Have Always Been at Trade War with China
April 5, 2018 10:09 AM   Subscribe

China retaliated for US tariffs, slapping duties on soybeans, planes, and autos (Reuters), after Trump escalated his trade war on Tuesday by threatening to impose new tariffs on $50 billion in imported goods ranging from bakery ovens to ball bearings (Politico). With the US trade deficit rising to a near nine-and-a-half-year high and the jobs market tightening (Reuters) – and Trump-voting states hit hard by the new Chinese tariffs (CNBC) – China's state media assured the nation will win any trade war with the US (Reuters). White House trade adviser Peter Navarro now promises Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will lead high-level discussions with Chinese officials to avert a trade war (Bloomberg). Today, China has just filed a complaint at the WTO over US tariffs (MarketWatch). Yesterday, Trump tweeted, "When you're already $500 Billion DOWN, you can't lose!"

Elsewhere across the scorched landscape of American politics:
Mueller told Trump’s attorneys the president remains under investigation but is not currently a criminal target (Washington Post) while Mueller's team has been questioning Russian oligarchs (CNN). And Judge Amy Berman Jackson skewered Manafort's civil case challenging Mueller's powers (Reuters).
• Exiting National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster delivered a parting shot to Russia—"Russia has used old and new forms of aggression to undermine our open societies and the foundations of international peace and stability. [...] Russia brazenly, and implausibly, denies its actions, and we have failed to impose sufficient costs.."— prior to the Treasury Department's expected additional sanctions against Russian oligarchs with ties to Putin (Washington Post), even as expelled US diplomats leave Russia (CNN).
• EPA watchdog says he didn't have all the facts when he found that Scott Pruitt's condo rental didn't violate ethics rules (CNBC). Pruitt said renting from wife of an energy lobbyist whose firm had clients with business before his agency "was like an Airbnb situation" (Fox News).
John Bolton Runs Into Potential Ethics Issues Before He Becomes Trump’s National Security Advisor: John Bolton is continuing to meet with White House attorneys over possible conflicts of interest. Although he resigned from his foundation in last month, his two political action committees are currently holding on to money they raised. Bolton is slated to take over as President Trump's national security advisor April 9 (CNBC).
How America's Largest Local TV Owner Turned Its News Anchors Into Soldiers In Trump's War On the Media: Sinclair Broadcast Group forced all of its local anchors to read the same Orwellian script inveighing against anti-Trump "fake news" in the mainstream media: "Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy." The resultant supercut video went viral (Deadspin).
A Fierce Opponent Of The Endangered Species Act Is Picked To Oversee Interior’s Wildlife Policy: Susan Combs, a former Texas state official who compared proposed endangered species listings to “incoming Scud missiles” and continued to fight the Endangered Species Act after she left government, now has a role in overseeing federal wildlife policy (Washington Post).
• And, perhaps worst of all, Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Claims Porn Star Described President Trump’s Genitalia In Unaired ‘60 Minutes’ Clip: “She can describe the President’s genitalia in great detail,” Avenatti told Megyn Kelly on her show, resulting in groans from the host and her audience (NY Daily News).

Time Until Trump's First Term Is Over: 2 Years, 9 Months, 2 Weeks, 2 Days (there are 215 days left until the 2018 midterm elections).
posted by Doktor Zed (2340 comments total) 134 users marked this as a favorite
 
Please take pity on the mod team and POTUS45 megathread–addicts by reviewing the MetaTalk on expectations about U.S. political discussion on MetaFilter. (And if the media source could please be included with headlines for breaking news, that would be a great help in following stories.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:12 AM on April 5 [32 favorites]


I do wonder if the tariffs on Chinese goods will hurt Amazon, which seems to sell a lot of Chinese knockoffs directly and indirectly.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:13 AM on April 5 [4 favorites]


[What Zed said about megathread guidelines, and resist the urge to fill with chatter!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:14 AM on April 5 [11 favorites]


Also, venting thread link.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:14 AM on April 5 [6 favorites]


can we just make a general ban on speculating about, describing, or depicting the president's genitalia part of the thread rules from here on out
posted by murphy slaw at 10:18 AM on April 5 [102 favorites]


[When the president's genitalia are in the news you may discuss the news about his penis, but let's try to keep the jokes and riffing out of it, surely we've all heard every possible penis joke already.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:31 AM on April 5 [32 favorites]


can we just make a general ban on speculating on, describing, or depicting the president's genitalia part of the thread rules from here on out

In retrospect, I ought to have included instead the more important Stormy Daniels requests 'suspicious' bank information related to hush payment (CNN): “As Secretary of the Treasury, it is well within your authority to release the requested [suspicious activity report] information to allow the public to learn critical information relating to the payment. Indeed, if the payment was made as innocently as Mr. Cohen has suggested, there should be no objection to the prompt release of the [report],” Avenatti wrote to Mnuchin.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:31 AM on April 5 [14 favorites]




Matthew Yglesias, Vox: The Wisconsin Supreme Court election shows the blueprint for a Democratic wave
Democrats are holding Hillary Clinton’s gains in the suburbs while clawing back her rural losses.
I'd like to see this replicated a few more times across the county before jumping on the wave bandwagon.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:39 AM on April 5 [18 favorites]


So, about Dwayne Johnson: on the screen, he plays a meat head, or an oaf, or a fratboy, or some combination of the above. But when seated and interviewed, he comes across as none of the above. What's more, he wrestled, not boxed, to fame, and his muscles come from Samoa, not from steroids.

So if Murdoch and company think he's a controllable dunce, they're wrong. They better have something much more substantial as a lever over him.
posted by ocschwar at 10:43 AM on April 5 [14 favorites]


Trump’s Most Influential White Nationalist Troll Is A Middlebury Grad Who Lives In Manhattan

Bares repating, the fertile soil of fascism isn’t the stressed rural poor, it’s frat boys and prep school students and small business owners.
posted by The Whelk at 10:44 AM on April 5 [140 favorites]


As I understand it, none of the tariffs, on either side, have actually gone into effect. They're basically threats, designed to get the sides to start discussions. Is that correct?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:44 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Bares repating, the fertile soil of fascism isn’t the stressed rural poor, it’s frat boys and prep school students and small business owners.

Robert Mercer, the richest and most influential fascist in the country, is a Randian Comp. Sci. nerd.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on April 5 [37 favorites]


Where is stuff about The Rock coming from? He's currently off my radar and I don't see a mention of him in the roundup.
posted by rhizome at 10:48 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


So the discussion about the Endangered Species Act rule is kind of inside-baseball. There's a pretty good explanation here but E&E news is paywalled.

Basically, the ESA allows for 3 categories of species: Endangered (which means, going to go extinct if we don't do something very soon); Threatened (could become endangered in the foreseeable future); Candidate (self-explanatory).

The statute (Section 9) says: no TAKE of ENDANGERED species, which means no killing (even accidentally), no chasing, no hunting, no harassing, no disturbing in almost any way. If you do something that changes the way an Endangered Species hunts its food and it gets measurably fewer calories in a day, that can be considered "take". The rules are very strict, for good reason, because these species are seriously at risk.

Threatened species are not subject to the same statutory protection, but because they are likely to become Endangered relatively soon without protection, the USFWS passed a rule applying the same provisions to them generally. As a result, it's equally illegal to kill or harass a threatened animal or plant as an endangered one, unless there's a applicable species-specific rule that has a separate provision. That's what Rule 4(d) is: it applies the same protections to Threatened species as Endangered.

The proposal from the Trump Administration would revoke Rule 4(d), thus revoking those protections from any Threatened species that doesn't have a species-specific rule in place.

There are hundreds of threatened species out there, and the current regulatory structure means that the distinction between threatened and endangered is kind of blurred: the same protective mechanisms apply to both categories. Right now, it's as illegal to catch a Green Sturgeon, which is Threatened, as a Sakhalin sturgeon, which is Endangered. Striking the blanket protection for Threatened species means the green sturgeon is functionally unprotected, unless FWS issues a rule that applies just to that species.

Of course, this all has to do with real estate and energy development. Industry hates the ESA and doesn't care about its successes.

I will point out that the frequent claim that ESA interferes with military land use is kind of bullshit. Military land in the US hosts the highest proportion of endangered/threatened species of any public lands, because development and public access are so restricted. The military know how to plan for and around endangered species issues, and incorporate it into their training programs. It's not nearly the problem the GOP likes to claim.

(For me, professionally, this proposal is a problem because I evaluate both types of protected species together. Having to split them apart and then go find out if the Threatened species have species-specific protections will be a major hassle.)
posted by suelac at 10:51 AM on April 5 [74 favorites]


So if Murdoch and company think he's a controllable dunce, they're wrong. They better have something much more substantial as a lever over him.

Hasn't he been vague enough on policy that it's plausible that he could just... already agree with them, levers or no?
posted by Jpfed at 10:52 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]


@rhizome:: A lot of speculation in the air due to this: http://digg.com/2018/mohammed-bin-salman-the-rock-dinner-why
posted by mosk at 10:53 AM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Hasn't he been vague enough on policy that it's plausible that he could just... already agree with them, levers or no?

Every time I've ever heard of a pro wrestler's politics it's been because they're libertarians or Republicans. I have no idea why people think The Rock would be any different.
posted by haileris23 at 10:58 AM on April 5 [11 favorites]


Where is stuff about The Rock coming from? He's currently off my radar and I don't see a mention of him in the roundup.

Dwayne Johnson recently met with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, at an event host by Rupert Murdoch, which
Sources in attendance say...was social and not political...Before dinner, the crown prince briefly spoke about reforms in his kingdom, as well as the dangers of radicalism in the Middle East. He also stressed the importance of the Saudi-U.S. relationship.
You know, your typical social gathering where the main topic of conversation is politics.

That's the most-proximate thing that put him in the news. There have been rumours that he was considering a 2020 Presidential run over the last few months. He recently -- in the last few days -- gave an interview in which he claims to be definitely not running in 2020 but has considered it, and might consider running for election to some other office, and doesn't rule out running after 2020 for President.
Johnson concedes he’s had “under the radar” meetings with various politicos of all persuasions, “Just soaking in and listening.” But, he says, “I feel like the best thing I can do now is, give me years.”

And when he’s ready? Johnson claims a “well-known political figure” said that when the actor is ready for the Oval Office, he’s to text this figure two words, and nothing else: “Freedom patriot.”
I, uh, am not sure what that weird text message thing is about. But he's definitely been taking steps towards potentially running for something, sometime, and those steps have been making the news and fueling speculation.
posted by cjelli at 11:00 AM on April 5 [7 favorites]




Every time I've ever heard of a pro wrestler's politics it's been because they're libertarians or Republicans.

Don't forget Mick Foley, who is famously a progressive Democrat.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:05 AM on April 5 [10 favorites]


[lazycomputerkids, if you have a point to make, you'll need to do it much more directly and much less obliquely; politics megathreads are moderated much more strictly for noisiness than other threads.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 11:08 AM on April 5 [12 favorites]


Fundraisers to support the teacher strikes:

OK: https://www.gofundme.com/together-we-are-stronger-march

KY: https://www.gofundme.com/kentucky-teachers-strike-fund
posted by Chrysostom at 11:08 AM on April 5 [32 favorites]


The Guardian's Jessica Valenti on Twitter: Kevin Williamson has been fired from The Atlantic.

From Jeffrey Goldberg's letter to staff: "The language he used in this podcast—and in my conversations with him in recent days—made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views."


lolololol next time maybe don't hire people who call for women who have abortions to be hanged bruh
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:09 AM on April 5 [160 favorites]


So much for the tolerant right-of-center!
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:11 AM on April 5 [11 favorites]


The Whelk: "Progressive candidates to watch for 2018 midterms (The Nation)"

There are some pretty good folks on here. There's also Dennis Kucinich.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:11 AM on April 5 [24 favorites]


Kevin Williamson has been fired from The Atlantic.

Whoever hired him needs to go, for being a fucking idiot.

See also the idiot NY Times opinion page editor.
posted by Artw at 11:15 AM on April 5 [22 favorites]


I don't get why The New Yorker manages to succeed doing mostly what it's always done and the Atlantic, theoretically a very similar media organ, seems to descend further into clickbait and stunt hires as time goes on.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:19 AM on April 5 [18 favorites]


The Mystery of the Baklava Man Streets, sweets and Syria meet in the story of an elusive Vancouver vendor and his fight for human rights and democracy in the Levant. [Christopher Cheung, The Tyee]

"“He won the elections as an independent and was not appointed by the Assad regime — really elected, that means he was chosen by the voice of the people. That’s very, very rare.”
posted by porpoise at 11:20 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards accused Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner of making an offer that felt like a "bribe" during a meeting back in January 2017. (CNN.com)
"Jared and Ivanka were there for one reason: to deliver a political win...In their eyes, if they could stop Planned Parenthood from providing abortions, it would confirm their reputation as savvy dealmakers. It was surreal, essentially being asked to barter away women's rights for more money."
posted by mikepop at 11:20 AM on April 5 [44 favorites]


Goldberg probably panicked when the number of subscription cancellations vastly outnumbered the number of racists who decided to finally sign up for one.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:21 AM on April 5 [36 favorites]


There might have been an uptick that spooked them, but the Atlantic has been on a downward slide for 20 years.
posted by rhizome at 11:28 AM on April 5 [9 favorites]




From Jeffrey Goldberg's letter to staff: "The language he used in this podcast—and in my conversations with him in recent days—made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views."

"Turns out he actually believed all that stuff I hired him for saying!"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:36 AM on April 5 [100 favorites]


Incredible Sinclair story from Katie Chrystler on Twitter:
My #Sinclair story: I used to produce for a Sinclair station in Utah. One morning, corporate told my EP that we HAD TO do a live satellite interview with an author who wrote an “expose”-type book President Obama. Given the title, author bio & summary of the book...

my EP and I could tell that this was going to be an incredibly biased interview. But because Sinclair told us it HAD TO BE LIVE we had no time to prepare any sort of non-biased/balanced/fair coverage...

So instead of doing the interview on live TV, we faked out Sinclair by pretending to do the interview during a commercial break — complete with Q&A, graphics, etc. to make corporate THINK we did the interview without ever putting it on TV.

There were lots of other issues with Sinclair, but that’s the one that sticks with me personally.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:37 AM on April 5 [176 favorites]


The Atlantic re: Kevin D Williamson
From Jeffrey Goldberg's letter to staff: "The language he used in this podcast—and in my conversations with him in recent days—made it clear that the original tweet did, in fact, represent his carefully considered views."
NYT, re: Quinn Norton
Despite our review of Quinn Norton's work and our conversations with her previous employers, this was new information to us. Based on it, we've decided to go our separate ways.
Hard to decide which excuse is shittier: we vetted this person but had no idea about all her public statements, or we knew all about this person's public statements but decided not to believe him.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:46 AM on April 5 [48 favorites]


One task that far too many news sources fail at: understanding that certain views aren't somehow too shitty to be held sincerely by real-life people. It's a combination of projection and tunnel vision. (That, mixed with enough internal normalization of the shittiness in question that it doesn't immediately repulse editors enough to refuse publishing them regardless of the sincerity of the views. Williamson wouldn't have been hired if he'd once made a personal threat about Goldberg, even if he tried taking it back as a "joke" or whatever.)

This is one motivator for the standard Trump-voter articles -- "Okay, but given that they can't really believe this stuff, because this stuff is inherently beyond the pale... what's actually going on here?"

I know that listing the publications that seem less prone to this (e.g the New Yorker) is a jinx... but risking that nonetheless, I'd say Vox is one of the few to get it, at least when it comes to their analysis of Trump's effect on legitimizing toxicity.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:47 AM on April 5 [38 favorites]


In 2018, journalism that is Genuinely Fair and Genuinely Balanced requires rejecting the dangerous lies of authoritarian hatred. It requires the field of debate to be the field of basic respect for human dignity. It requires an outspoken opposition to the increasingly powerful political forces who wish to punish human beings based on their culture and identity.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:50 AM on April 5 [35 favorites]


the fertile soil of fascism isn’t the stressed rural poor, it’s frat boys and prep school students and small business owners.

Well - sort of. The leadership of the current fascist movement isn’t the rural poor, because the rural poor are struggling to survive and don’t have the copious free time to work on creating a fascist state in the United States.

But they - like the poor of many other areas - are fertile soil for anyone who is willing to take the time and effort to organize with them. In some places, it’s Redneck Revolt, or the IWW, or the DSA. In some places, it’s fascists. It’s whoever is promising to “get the bosses off their back.”

And I think making those frat boys and prep school students public is key to this. To show that in fact, the people fomenting turmoil and calls to “drain the swamp” are in fact feeders on that swamp or people who profit on that swamp, people who will not be impacted by any laws applied to rural populations. So exposes like this are actually really crucial.
posted by corb at 11:51 AM on April 5 [13 favorites]


In 2018, journalism that is Genuinely Fair and Genuinely Balanced requires rejecting the dangerous lies of authoritarian hatred. It requires the field of debate to be the field of basic respect for human dignity. It requires an outspoken opposition to the increasingly powerful political forces who wish to punish human beings based on their culture and identity.

In other words, the media needs to embrace its liberalism.
posted by Gelatin at 11:53 AM on April 5 [8 favorites]


Great, now let’s get Jeffrey Goldberg, the stupidest man in the world, fired too. He is obviously unfit.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:54 AM on April 5 [14 favorites]


Trump is supposed to be talking about tax reform in West Virginia, but has instead launched into a greatest-hits parade of ranting about MS-13 cutting people up. And he’s brought back an old fan favorite, rigged elections:
Trump holds up what were supposed to be his brief introductory remarks on tax reform. "That would've been a little boring. A little boring," he says.
Trump boasts about winning West Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. He claims that 20,000 to 25,000 people were unable to get in to his sold-out 2016 campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia.
Trump holds up what were supposed to be his brief introductory remarks on tax reform. "That would've been a little boring. A little boring," he says.
posted by zachlipton at 11:56 AM on April 5 [9 favorites]


WGBH's David Bernstein writes the four progressives running for the open DA seat in Suffolk County (Boston and three suburbs) could split the vote and hand the election to a candidate (and current assistant DA) who is the only one to oppose a criminal-reform bill that recently passed the state legislature by overwhelming margins (only five Republicans in the House opposed it).
posted by adamg at 11:56 AM on April 5 [5 favorites]


This is one motivator for the standard Trump-voter articles -- "Okay, but given that they can't really believe this stuff, because this stuff is inherently beyond the pale... what's actually going on here?"

Yes, but it works the other way around as well, many conservatives honestly can't believe that liberals would actually share their means for a better society, which is why they imagine that our politics are performative and hypocritical. Yes, they are racist and bigoted, but they are also narrow-minded in the sense that they can't imagine other people having different values. I see this most often with people who think money is the only motivator in the universe. As a consequence, they see people who choose to be nurses or teachers or gardeners as failed humans, people who have had to take a lower path because they weren't smart enough to be investment bankers or reality TV personalities.
posted by mumimor at 12:02 PM on April 5 [92 favorites]


I copy/pasted wrong. Should have been:
! Trump repeats his wild lie about voter fraud, baselessly claiming that "millions" of people are committing crimes: "in many places, like California, the same person votes many times...they always likes to say that's a conspiracy theory. It's not a conspiracy theory."
By definition, a theory under which millions of people join together to commit crimes together is a...conspiracy theory.

Also, he literally threw his speech into the air. Which probably made speechwriter Stephen Miller sad, so I’m ok with that.
posted by zachlipton at 12:06 PM on April 5 [31 favorites]


The political imagination of an entire country in general but of the respectable op-ed upper class types specifically is extremly artificially limited. Whatever you want to call the Washington Consensus (neoliberalism, both sideism, etc) it’s clear that it doesn’t work. Literally anything is possible now.
posted by The Whelk at 12:07 PM on April 5 [19 favorites]


One task that far too many news sources fail at: understanding that certain views aren't somehow too shitty to be held sincerely by real-life people. It's a combination of projection and tunnel vision. (That, mixed with enough internal normalization of the shittiness in question that it doesn't immediately repulse editors enough to refuse publishing them regardless of the sincerity of the views. Williamson wouldn't have been hired if he'd once made a personal threat about Goldberg, even if he tried taking it back as a "joke" or whatever.)

I've said it before, but I'll repeat - I think we somehow got shunted into the High Weirdness By Mail parallel universe, where all of a sudden, the cranks and weirdos profiled in the book are now in charge. I had the original book in 1990 or so and thought, "ha ha look at the freaks!" I mean, that's how Nazis and extreme-right-wing politics were presented! As weird shit, not stuff that real people who vote actually believe! Ah, the innocence of a bygone era...

But now I'm re-reading the old MeFi thread with a more anthropological eye. Maybe it's time for journalists and pundits to do the same - there are real people who really believe this stuff and they vote, and lots of us Nice Liberals (tm) didn't and still don't quite believe it. Here is where humanities and social science education comes in so handy - it might not lead to a six-figure income but it does lead to insight about the world.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:10 PM on April 5 [26 favorites]


Also, he literally threw his speech into the air. Which probably made speechwriter Stephen Miller sad, so I’m ok with that.

ha ha remember when we elected (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ president that was great

i'm sure that every republican member of congress is super jazzed that the president is blowing off the one issue they're not afraid to run on and ranting about imaginary voter fraud instead. at least this way they'll have a prepared excuse when they lose.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:11 PM on April 5 [9 favorites]


InsideEPA: Rob Porter, a top former aide to President Donald Trump who was fired earlier this year over domestic abuse allegations, is reportedly a source of information about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's ethical transgressions that are threatening his future at the agency, after Porter's relationship with a top former Pruitt aide soured, sources say.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:18 PM on April 5 [43 favorites]


I’ve seen a lot of folks in this administration come under attack with help from the White House, but the sustained multi-dimensional attack on Pruitt is something else. And I’m really curious who in the administration keeps throwing him under the bus (on preview, ah, that’s certainly unexpected). Just now, we have:

CBS, Scott Pruitt asked to use sirens in D.C. traffic and was told no for non-emergency
Several weeks after taking the helm of the Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator Scott Pruitt was running late and stuck in Washington, D.C., traffic. Sources tell CBS News that he wanted to use his vehicle's lights and sirens to get to his official appointment, but the lead agent in charge of his security detail advised him that sirens were to be used only in emergencies.

Less than two weeks later that agent was removed from Pruitt's detail, reassigned to a new job within the EPA.
This guy’s replacement then started handing out contracts:
Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Tom Carper also said in the letter that they want to know why Perrotta and one of his business partners received an EPA security contract. Perrotta, they noted, citing the Associated Press, runs a side business called the Sequoia Security Group. His business partner, Edwin Steinmetz, who runs another security company, was awarded a $3,000 contract to sweep Pruitt's office for bugs. "Two other contracts," both under the $3,500 threshold for public reporting, "were given for the purchase of biometric locks."
Meanwhile, from the Daily Beast, Scott Pruitt’s Lobbyist Landlord Did, In Fact, Lobby The EPA:
“Mr. Hart,” Pruitt claimed in an recent interview with Fox News on Wednesday, “has no clients who have business before this agency.”

A review of lobbying disclosure forms and publicly-listed EPA records, however, suggests that Pruitt is either lying or is woefully unfamiliar with the operations of his own agency.

Far from being removed from any EPA-related interests, Hart was personally representing a natural gas company, an airline giant, and a major manufacturer that had business before the agency at the time he was also renting out a room to Pruitt. One of his clients is currently battling the EPA in court over an order to pay more than $100 million in environmental cleanup costs.
posted by zachlipton at 12:19 PM on April 5 [59 favorites]


Literally anything is possible now.

"The American version of the politics of inevitability is something like, the free market’s going to bring about democracy and happiness, and those are just the rules and there’s not really much that can be done one way or the other. Eventually you hit some sort of a crisis where it dawns on you that progress is not automatic. It dawns on you that there aren’t really rules to history."
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:22 PM on April 5 [25 favorites]


Pruitt's colleagues -- or whomever -- certainly do seem to have it out for him, although given all the corrupt acts he's said to have committed, Pruitt seems to have it out for himself, too.
posted by notyou at 12:29 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


This would be my drawing of EPA head Scott Pruitt, whom I attempted to render as a cloudy, toxic waste site, which he is.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:32 PM on April 5 [42 favorites]


I’ve seen a lot of folks in this administration come under attack with help from the White House, but the sustained multi-dimensional attack on Pruitt is something else.

The hits just keep on coming. The Washington Post reports, via leaks through several anonymous officials:
White House officials also are uneasy with the administrator’s recent publicity push with conservative media outlets, including his appearance on Fox News.

Pruitt and EPA officials were warned against his sitting down with Fox and other outlets. The same message was later relayed by Chief of Staff John F. Kelly in a phone call, with Kelly expressing dissatisfaction with Pruitt’s previous interviews, according to a senior White House official. But the administrator continued his media tour.

Questions surrounding Pruitt’s public account of his management decisions have been sharpened by recent revelations about his unusual rental arrangement last year.

The lease, for example, provided for the use of a single room. “All other space is controlled by the landlord,” it stated. But several EPA officials have confirmed that Pruitt’s adult daughter stayed in the condo apartment’s second bedroom for a period when she was working at the White House last year.[...]

Samantha Dravis, a longtime adviser who serves as senior counsel and associate administrator in EPA’s Office of Policy, submitted her resignation last week to work in the private sector. Her decision to leave is unrelated to Pruitt’s recent ethics woes, according to several agency officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter. But it comes at a time when he is relying on an increasingly narrow set of advisers to navigate decision-making.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:34 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]


The American version of the politics of inevitability

The inevitable counter being the politics of eternity: "An eternity politician seduces the populace with a vision of the past in which the nation was once great, only to be sullied by some external enemy. This focus on the past and on victimhood means people think less about possible futures, less about possible solutions to real problems."

Once Snyder's concept of politics-of-inevitability paving the way for politics-of-eternity gets in your head, it's impossible not to see it everywhere you look.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:36 PM on April 5 [28 favorites]


~Trump repeats his wild lie about voter fraud, baselessly claiming that "millions" of people are committing crimes: "in many places, like California, the same person votes many times...

~He claims that 20,000 to 25,000 people were unable to get in to his sold-out 2016 campaign rally in Charleston, West Virginia.


If nothing else, this...president...pretty much proves you can get away with just bald-faced lying to the public, and suffer zero fallout. It’s disheartening, to say the least.

That he’s still fixated on the election is troubling.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:40 PM on April 5 [21 favorites]


If nothing else, this...president...pretty much proves you can get away with just bald-faced lying to the public, and suffer zero fallout.

I think it's less that and more that elections are infrequent, criminal and civil prosecutions take time, and that delayed consequences often feel like no consequences right up until they don't.

You can get away with a lot of things for a while. That's not to say you can get away with them forever.
posted by cjelli at 12:46 PM on April 5 [8 favorites]


The inevitable counter being the politics of eternity

Well in the interview, at least, he doesn't claim "inevitability" and "eternity" are the only two choices.
What I mean by the politics of responsibility is the attempt to create a political system that makes sense over the course of one life, where there’s enough equality that young people think the system is not stacked against them and that they can grow up without resentment. [...] What I’m trying to do is to keep us sliding from the first thing to the other thing — from the dream to the nightmare. I’m trying to get us to wake up and just take our little bit of responsibility for this world.
I'm reallly going to have to read the book. This captures really well the way things feel to me since 2016. "There really is good and evil. Some things really are better and some things really are worse" and "there aren’t really rules to history" and "Responsibility fundamentally involves caring what’s true and what’s not."

Since 2016 I've been living in, as the meme says, "That horrifying moment when you're looking for an adult, then realize you're an adult. So you look for an older adult, someone successfully adulting...an adultier adult." But we're the grown-ups now and we have to be the ones to fix stuff.

Or as Cory Booker said, "The arc of the universe does not just naturally curve toward justice -- we must bend it."
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:47 PM on April 5 [39 favorites]


Samantha Dravis, a longtime adviser who serves as senior counsel and associate administrator in EPA’s Office of Policy, submitted her resignation last week to work in the private sector. Her decision to leave is unrelated to Pruitt’s recent ethics woes, according to several agency officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter. But it comes at a time when he is relying on an increasingly narrow set of advisers to navigate decision-making.

You'd think it's unrelated, but actually nope!
InsideEPA, an EPA trade sheet, reports that Scott Pruitt’s downfall is the work of disgraced former White House aide Rob Porter, who leaked damaging information against Pruitt to retaliate against a former girlfriend who told White House officials about his history of domestic violence. As was basically reported at the time, Porter’s downfall seems to have started when a former girlfriend, Samantha Dravis, went to White House officials and told them what she knew about Porter’s past, particularly his abuse of two ex-wives. Dravis was a top aide to Scott Pruitt, the EPA Administrator.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:48 PM on April 5 [25 favorites]


Washington Post: Why Mitch McConnell is bragging about holding up Merrick Garland from the Supreme Court, two years later

Criticism of the article: it'd save a lot of digital ink for it to just say "Because he's a sociopathic traitor scumfuck."
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:48 PM on April 5 [75 favorites]


cjelli: "You can get away with a lot of things for a while. That's not to say you can get away with them forever."

"If something cannot go on, it will stop." -- Herb Stein
posted by Chrysostom at 12:49 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Well in the interview, at least, he doesn't claim "inevitability" and "eternity" are the only two choices.

Right: you need a progressive vision of the future than can be actively worked toward. Otherwise you're going to fall into inevitability or eternity, and once you get into inevitability it's hard to keep it from flipping to eternity.
posted by Rust Moranis at 12:50 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


~Trump repeats his wild lie about voter fraud, baselessly claiming that "millions" of people are committing crimes: "in many places, like California, the same person votes many times...

How do we get someone to call him out on this? Seriously?

- Is this a thing we expect a politician in CA to give a press conference about?

- Does the CA Secretary of State hold a press conference, and then make a formal request, for the President to share any proof of voter fraud he has with them?

- Do we tweet this at Arnold, and have him call Donny out on twitter, so it bubbles up and gets under his skin?

I think it is dangerous to allow this to go unanswered: His base heard it, his base believes it. This is part of the narrative that makes people support voter disenfranchisement .

How do we get him (or, realistically, someone in his administration) to walk it back, publicly?
posted by das_2099 at 12:50 PM on April 5 [42 favorites]


Not that anything is too stupid for this crowd, but targeting someone because you're angry with one of their employees seems super weird.
posted by phearlez at 12:53 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


If sheer pettiness is what eventually saves the republic, I won’t complain.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:54 PM on April 5 [16 favorites]


Not that anything is too stupid for this crowd, but targeting someone because you're angry with one of their employees seems super weird.

He isn't targetting the employer...her's targetting the ex. Where do you think he got the info re: all of the shady things Pruitt is doing? I don't think Pruitt and Porter are hanging out, sharing stories of how they have defrauded the government. I think Dravis told Porter about it.

He is trying to hit her...so he is bombing her boss. And, from that perspective, it worked:
She is leaving, he is under scrutiny.


It is super scummy, and just the sort of thing you could expect from someone that is a serial abuser.
posted by das_2099 at 12:58 PM on April 5 [24 favorites]


> Also, he literally threw his speech into the air.

Look at the other people in that fucking photo, shaking their heads at what an OUTRAGEOUS CHARACTER we all have in President Trump, laughing uproariously at his whimsical japes, and just, you know, eating his shit by the barrelful. When do you think the last time someone gave that god damn jackass any substantive criticism to his face was?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:05 PM on April 5 [44 favorites]


I simply meant that it doesn't seem like Dravis is getting splattered with any of this crappy stuff Pruitt is doing, so leaking information about Pruitt to get to her is pretty indirect. But I guess it's possible the point was to damage her relationship with her boss and, being a abuser garbage person, he'll use any tactic he can come up with to hurt her. Perhaps the resignation is a jump-or-be-pushed because Pruitt is blaming her for Porter's action, in which case Porter is succeeding.
posted by phearlez at 1:06 PM on April 5


BuzzFeed: These Messages Show Julian Assange Talked About Seeking Hacked Files From Guccifer 2.0
Last month, the Daily Beast reported that either Twitter or Wordpress noticed at least once that someone logged into the Guccifer 2.0 account without turning on a VPN, revealing an IP address belonging to the GRU in Moscow.

The files that Guccifer 2.0 published on its WordPress account don't appear in Assange’s first release in 2016 of hacked Democratic files, which WikiLeaks calls the DNC Email Archive on its website. But WikiLeaks's second release, the Podesta Emails, which began after the conversation about Guccifer 2.0, contain a number of files that had previously been posted to Guccifer 2.0's blog.

In between those releases, on August 12, 2016, it was clear from those messages to Best that the WikiLeaks Twitter account knew that Guccifer 2.0 was the source of hacked Democratic documents.
posted by cjelli at 1:09 PM on April 5 [22 favorites]


Nazi update: Nazis are rallying on Runescape
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:16 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Yes, they are racist and bigoted, but they are also narrow-minded in the sense that they can't imagine other people having different values.

See also the standard defense when called out for racism: "I'm just saying what everyone else is thinking!"

No, not everyone else is thinking that. Mostly just you, racist dude.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:20 PM on April 5 [31 favorites]


CNN: President Trump considered replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Scott Pruitt as recently as this week, despite the EPA head's ongoing scandals.

Sure. Why not? This somehow wasn’t stupid enough.
posted by zachlipton at 1:24 PM on April 5 [59 favorites]


President Trump considered replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Scott Pruitt as recently as this week, despite the EPA head's ongoing scandals.

For those confused, this is because Pruitt is a) an attorney and b) already confirmed by the Senate and so could become Acting Attorney General overseeing Special Counsel Mueller.

Yerp.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:28 PM on April 5 [36 favorites]


It's horrifying to think that one of the few things that could save us from a complete constitutional crisis is Scott Pruitt's daughter's summer internship.
posted by suelac at 1:29 PM on April 5 [51 favorites]


Jeffrey Goldberg/The Atlantic's "we thought he was just kidding" excuse over Kevin Williamson also perfectly applies to the 'Liberal Press' treatment of Donald Trump for YEARS because he was "entertaining"/"good copy". So, do we measure Williamson's tenure in less-than-a-Scaramucci or in X-times-Quinn-Norton?

Every time Trump rants about "voter fraud", my "Trump's Mirror" alarm goes off - either he is damned well aware that his electoral victory in some key states was due to ratfucking the vote much more directly than has yet been revealed, or he's telling his surviving minions to work harder on ratfucking the midterms.

And we all should know that Melania has never been allowed to give the Donald any substantive criticism to his face under threat of deportation.

Pruitt would be a perfect AttorneyGeneral/Accomplice for Trump - they think alike, in all the worst ways.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:32 PM on April 5 [17 favorites]


BuzzFeed: These Messages Show Julian Assange Talked About Seeking Hacked Files From Guccifer 2.0

Relatedly, CNN reports that Roger Stone, on day he sent Assange dinner email, also said 'devastating' WikiLeaks were forthcoming:
Roger Stone appeared on the InfoWars radio show the same day he sent an email claiming he dined with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange -- and he predicted "devastating" upcoming disclosures about the Clinton Foundation.

Stone's comments in his August 4, 2016, appearance are the earliest known time he claimed to know of forthcoming WikiLeaks documents. A CNN KFile timeline shows that on August 10, 2016, Stone claimed to have "actually communicated with Julian Assange."[...]

In the interview with Jones on InfoWars, Stone said that he believed Assange had proof of wrongdoing at the Clinton Foundation.

"The Clinton campaign narrative that the Russians favor Donald Trump and the Russians are leaking this information, this is inoculation because as you said earlier, they know what is coming and it is devastating," Stone said in the InfoWars interview. "Let's remember that their defense to all the Clinton Foundation scandals is not that 'we didn't do,' but 'you have no proof, yes but you have no proof.'

"I think Julian Assange has that proof and I think he is going to furnish it for the American people," Stone said.
By the way, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Roger Stone never gave the House Intelligence Committee a copy of the email, now leaked to the press, in which he claimed to have "dined" with WikiLeaks founder and editor Julian Assange. (Washington Examiner)
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:34 PM on April 5 [15 favorites]




Every time Trump rants about "voter fraud", my "Trump's Mirror" alarm goes off - either he is damned well aware that his electoral victory in some key states was due to ratfucking the vote much more directly than has yet been revealed, or he's telling his surviving minions to work harder on ratfucking the midterms.

Or that deep down in his incompetent soul, he knows his election was illegitimate.
posted by Gelatin at 1:35 PM on April 5 [7 favorites]


This Town Just Banned Assault Weapons. Anyone Who Refuses To Give Theirs Up Will Be Fined $1,000 A Day.

I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but... surely this is a violation of the takings clause?
posted by BungaDunga at 1:38 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


And we all should know that Melania has never been allowed to give the Donald any substantive criticism to his face under threat of deportation.

I think there would also be "Fear of what happens to people who mess up Putin's plans," in there as well.

It's horrifying to think that one of the few things that could save us from a complete constitutional crisis is Scott Pruitt's daughter's summer internship.

I don't even care, whatever it takes. Pee tape, internship shenanigans, complete dumbfuckery, if it contributes to taking Trump down I'm good.

Pruitt's overall pattern seems to be "Grift big, as often as possible," to the point of absurdity; it's not like he could not afford his own legal lodgings, but what would be the fun of doing that without somehow doing a shady deal at the same time?
posted by emjaybee at 1:42 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]


NYT, Job Changes for E.P.A. Officials Who Questioned Scott Pruitt:
At least five officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, four of them high-ranking, were reassigned or demoted, or requested new jobs in the past year after they raised concerns about the spending and management of the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt.

The concerns included unusually large spending on office furniture and first-class travel, as well as certain demands by Mr. Pruitt for security coverage, such as requests for a bulletproof vehicle and an expanded 20-person protective detail, according to people who worked for or with the E.P.A. and have direct knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Pruitt bristled when the officials — four career E.P.A. employees and one Trump administration political appointee — confronted him, the people said.

The political appointee, Kevin Chmielewski, was placed on administrative leave without pay, according to two of the people with knowledge of the situation. Mr. Chmielewski was among the first employees of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, serving as a senior advance official. The two people, who are administration officials, said that Mr. Chmielewski flagged some of his concerns about Mr. Pruitt directly to the White House’s presidential personnel office.
...
Mr. Allen, a decorated 30-year retired Army officer, was transferred to a different office within the E.P.A., where he mostly works alone, according to two agency officials, one of whom described the setup as “an unmarked grave.”
Pruitt is obviously an ethical (and environmental) disaster, but it's clear with the amount of attention being directed to his nonsense and not to others' that there's a very organized campaign afoot.
posted by zachlipton at 1:44 PM on April 5 [53 favorites]


I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but... surely this is a violation of the takings clause?

I assume they know that and are prepared with a substitute ban, and are trying to use this as a “this is how serious we are” rather than “we are literally going to fine everyone who may not even have heard of this law the price of their house for keeping a magazine.”
posted by corb at 1:45 PM on April 5


I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but... surely this is a violation of the takings clause?

Aha, the argument is that it's not a taking if the state isn't taking it for its own benefit, but is melting them down or whatever.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:46 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]




"I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but... surely this is a violation of the takings clause?"

The mayor of Highland Park, whose similar ordinance survived constitutional scrutiny, is a long-time opponent of the NRA and she ran for Illinois attorney general this year (didn't win). The Deerfield ordinance stands a very good chance of surviving, since the 7th Circuit has already ruled these constitutional in Illinois.

There are also not that many gun owners in Deerfield (half the people who spoke against the ordinance were imported from out of town), and definitely it's a town where a lot of people can afford a $1000/day fine.

"“we are literally going to fine everyone who may not even have heard of this law the price of their house for keeping a magazine.”"

Oh, they are totally going to do that. (Also, it's a town of 19,000 people, everyone will have heard about it, and the median home value is around $500,000, that's a lot of days to refuse to comply.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:50 PM on April 5 [11 favorites]


(Also in the above story, a rejected proposal to spend $70,000 on bulletproof desks (yes, more than one) and a request to use lights and sirens to get to dinner at Le Diplomate.)
posted by zachlipton at 1:56 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


Is the nature of a punishment for noncompliance relevant to the takings clause? My completely non-expert reading of it tells me that it's only about compensation -- as in the amount given to someone who complies, not the amount taken from someone who doesn't. Excessive fines might be considered cruel and unusual, and this might be legally questionable on other grounds, but not a failure of "just compensation". How far off am I?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:58 PM on April 5


I feel like Scott Pruitt is going to need his own Wiki just to keep track of the number of scandal hits in the last two weeks. The NYT story linked above is the real deal - look at the credentials being bandied about here:
Mr. Pruitt’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, also raised questions about Mr. Pruitt’s spending, according to three E.P.A. officials. He remains in his job but is considering resigning, agency officials said. Mr. Jackson came to the agency from the office of Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who like Mr. Pruitt had been a major critic of regulatory moves made under President Barack Obama, and is a prominent climate change skeptic.
When even Inhofe's employee can't stomach your corruption, hoo boy...
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:59 PM on April 5 [18 favorites]


@jeffzeleny: President Trump says he did not know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. Asked why Cohen made payment, Trump said: "You have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen is my attorney you’ll have to ask him." Trump adds he did not know where Cohen got money
posted by zachlipton at 2:01 PM on April 5 [37 favorites]


I'd love to see this assault weapons ban hold up in Illinois. In Arizona, jurisdictions can't melt down seized or surrendered guns or otherwise destroy them. They can't keep them indefinitely. They have to sell them. The GOP legislators have told the courts that it is in the best interests of the state to increase the supply of guns. I wish I were making this up.
posted by azpenguin at 2:02 PM on April 5 [9 favorites]


And Josh Marshall tweets: So Scott Pruitt's Downfall Came When Disgraced WH Aide Rob Porter Leaked his Ethics Stuff Because Pruitt's Top Aide Was Porter's Ex-Girlfriend Who Spilled the Beans about Porter's Domestic Abuse. Got that?

It's really a perfect Ouroboros of corruption, tangled and twisting and eating its own tail.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:03 PM on April 5 [44 favorites]


@jeffzeleny: President Trump says he did not know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. Asked why Cohen made payment, Trump said: "You have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen is my attorney you’ll have to ask him." Trump adds he did not know where Cohen got money

Welp then. Now he's throwing Cohen under the bus. Cohen could be at risk for serious sanctions here, and I'd like to see him decide to save his own bacon by giving up the goods on Trump. Will it happen? I doubt it. I'd love to see it.
posted by azpenguin at 2:04 PM on April 5 [18 favorites]


It looks like the Highland Park ordinance was actually tailored pretty well, providing for a maximum fine of 1000$. Leaving aside the issue of the items in question, I think the Deerfield one may not pass constitutional muster on 8th Amendment grounds against excessive fines - especially after US v. Bajakajian. Because there seems to be no limitation to the fine, it would reach the amount the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in that case in just one year, and the fine would be over the million mark in five years - it would seem to be really difficult to argue, no matter how wealthy the community, that the fine was proportional to the offense.

However, I think they wouldn’t be able to challenge that aspect - the fines themselves - unless they were actually levied against someone? So in that case, it might well hold up because it would be hard to see who would want to be the test case.
posted by corb at 2:08 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


So if Trump had no knowledge the NDA on Daniels is DOA right?
posted by PenDevil at 2:08 PM on April 5 [28 favorites]


Now he's throwing Cohen under the bus. Cohen could be at risk for serious sanctions here, and I'd like to see him decide to save his own bacon by giving up the goods on Trump. Will it happen? I doubt it. I'd love to see it.

Maybe, but half the point of what Cohen was getting paid for was to, presumably, provide exactly this kind of arms-length deniability; it seems far more like that he wasn't paying anyone $130,000 out of pure personal generosity, but was instead claiming to do so in order to specifically not implicate Trump. Cohen enabled Trump to say what he's saying today, and it seems wildly unlikely that Cohen would turn on Trump for doing the very thing Cohen set him up to do.
posted by cjelli at 2:09 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


The fines are discretionary -- $250/day to $1000/day -- and Illinois's own state fines for firearms offenses start at $2500/offense, some serious ones begin at $25,000/offense.

It's $2500/offense for possessing bottle rockets in Illinois. I don't think $250 to $1000/day is wildly out of line with other Illinois statutory fines that are routinely allowed.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:11 PM on April 5 [17 favorites]


And last night on CNN, Keith Davidson, the lawyer who cut deals for Daniels and McDougal, said the whole truth has not been told. It also sounds like Mikey "Sez Who?" leaned on him hard to speak to the media: "Davidson said he was contacted in recent weeks by Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who encouraged him to go out and reveal what he knew about his clients and their agreements. He said Cohen argued that the women had waived attorney-client privilege by going public with their stories.

"'He suggested that it would be appropriate for me to go out into the media and spill my guts,' Davidson said."

And Daniels's current lawyer, Michael Avenatti/@MichaelAvenatti, sounds like he's having the time of his career with Trump's clowns: "Where have the two legal geniuses of our time, Michael Cohen and David Schwartz, gone? Forced to sit down by Mr. Trump after repeatedly making a disaster of their case on national television and being mocked by every real lawyer in America? #didtheygotolawschool #basta"
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:13 PM on April 5 [9 favorites]


CNN: Lewandowski to Democrats: I'm not answering your 'f---ing' questions

"Republicans sided with Lewandowski, saying he had spent hours before the panel answering questions pertinent to the inquiry."

Wow.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:20 PM on April 5 [54 favorites]


Aaand we have a Republican Senator (Dean Heller, R-NV) admitting that gerrymandering, voter suppression, and Democratic apathy are needed for Republicans to win: US Senator Dean Heller is banking on low voter turnout as his path to victory this November (Colton Lochhead, Las Vegas Review-Journal):
“If we have 100,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of Nevada or more, I can’t win,” Heller said. “Let me say that again, if we have 100,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of Nevada, I can’t win. (Republican Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Adam) Laxalt can’t win.”

Numbers released this week by the Nevada secretary of state’s office show Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the Silver State by about 59,000. That’s down significantly from 2016, when the Democrats’ lead was nearly 90,000.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:21 PM on April 5 [33 favorites]


CNN: Lewandowski to Democrats: I'm not answering your 'f---ing' questions

So... is contempt of Congress not really a thing, or does it involve a 2/3 majority vote or something?
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:25 PM on April 5 [50 favorites]


Maybe, but half the point of what Cohen was getting paid for was to, presumably, provide exactly this kind of arms-length deniability; it seems far more like that he wasn't paying anyone $130,000 out of pure personal generosity, but was instead claiming to do so in order to specifically not implicate Trump. Cohen enabled Trump to say what he's saying today, and it seems wildly unlikely that Cohen would turn on Trump for doing the very thing Cohen set him up to do.

That's true, but I get the sense that Cohen was scrambling when he said what he did and that he hadn't thought it through. These guys are not used to the idea that someone might actually challenge the NDAs. Cohen could be disbarred depending on what the facts of the case turn out to be. Is he willing to go that far for Trump?
posted by azpenguin at 2:32 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Didn't Obama do the whole "throwing the speech in the air" thing first?

Though he did it after reading the whole thing as part of a mic drop.
posted by asteria at 2:42 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


How do we get someone to call him out on this? Seriously?

- Is this a thing we expect a politician in CA to give a press conference about?

- Does the CA Secretary of State hold a press conference, and then make a formal request, for the President to share any proof of voter fraud he has with them?


CNBC: Trump Tosses Out The Script — Literally — In Rant On Immigration And Voter Fraud "California's top elections official, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, said: 'It is sad the president continues to recycle the same old lies. Frankly, it is tiring to have a conspiracy theorist in the White House.'" He continued, "His dishonesty and his rants dishonor the thousands of local election officials and volunteers who who work hard to administer our elections with integrity. Trump was even forced to dissolve his sham election commission, which was a waste of taxpayer dollars and failed to provide a shred of evidence to support his voter fraud lies."

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom @GavinNewsom tweeted, "Says the guy who put together a pointless committee on this very subject that was later shut down because it failed to produce a single piece of real evidence of the “millions of illegal voters.” CA will stick with the facts, thanks. 👋🏽" and "The President of the United States is spreading conspiracy theories that flame xenophobia and racism. Even if this happens nearly every day, I refuse to allow this to be normal."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:45 PM on April 5 [74 favorites]


This is a crazy detail from a WaPo article about the gulf between Trump's GET TOUGH rhetoric and the realities the military faces in fighting its current wars, For Trump and his generals, ‘victory’ has different meanings
Trump came to office promising to give the Pentagon a free hand to unleash the full force of U.S. firepower. His impatience was evident on his first full day in office when he visited the CIA and was ushered up to the agency’s drone operations floor.

There agency officials showed him a feed from Syria, where Obama-era rules limited the agency to surveillance flights — part of a broader push by the previous administration to return the CIA to its core espionage mission and shift the job of killing terrorists to the military.

Trump urged the CIA to start arming its drones in Syria. “If you can do it in 10 days, get it done,” he said, according to two former officials familiar with the meeting.

Later, when the agency’s head of drone operations explained that the CIA had developed special munitions to limit civilian casualties, the president seemed non-plussed. Watching a previously recorded strike in which the agency held off on firing until the target had wandered away from a house with his family inside, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?” one participant in the meeting recalled.
posted by peeedro at 2:45 PM on April 5 [54 favorites]


This NYTimes piece on Pruitt is prime, including this bit: Mr. Pruitt, who often ran late, wanted to use the lights and sirens to expedite local trips in Washington to the airport or to dinner, including at least one trip to Le Diplomate, a trendy French restaurant that he frequented. Such use was not consistent with agency policy, but Mr. Weese was unsuccessful in stopping it.

He ACTUALLY USED THE LIGHTS to get to dinner because he was late. I cannot even believe it.

(Of course I'm still strung up about Pruitt sending his college-age daughter to the White House for an internship with a known predator. WTF.)
posted by suelac at 2:51 PM on April 5 [29 favorites]


Later, when the agency’s head of drone operations explained that the CIA had developed special munitions to limit civilian casualties, the president seemed non-plussed. Watching a previously recorded strike in which the agency held off on firing until the target had wandered away from a house with his family inside, Trump asked, “Why did you wait?” one participant in the meeting recalled.

He's been publicly and explicitly thirsting for the blood of innocent family members of suspected terrorists for over two years now. He wants to murder civilians (and has done so, and will continue to do so). This should be a known thing.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:51 PM on April 5 [91 favorites]


Also, he literally threw his speech into the air.

Y'know how, when you're first feeling that wave of punchiness, and you give a little Bronx cheer and start giggling for no reason? And it's usually followed by a sigh and a slide into more laughing/crying? That's not this. It should be, but it's not.

He's losing - well, if not it, then whatever it was he had. He's literally Hopeless. He's got open field ahead of him and the trumpets and hounds of Kelly and The Generals are getting further and further away. He's headed to the gorge at top speed and he's thinking, "I'm gonna make it! Ha ha this is great!"
posted by petebest at 2:51 PM on April 5 [8 favorites]


He ACTUALLY USED THE LIGHTS to get to dinner because he was late. I cannot even believe it.

Maybe a coincidence, but this awesome lifehack is something Russian oligarchs are famous for doing. It's so widespread there's a protest movement about it.
posted by theodolite at 2:56 PM on April 5 [39 favorites]


Talking about Trump throwing his script in the air today is a missing the forest for the trees situation. It happened during an unhinged racist rant where he claimed towns in Long Island have been liberated from an immigrant rape epidemic.
posted by peeedro at 2:56 PM on April 5 [38 favorites]


@jeffzeleny: President Trump says he did not know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. Asked why Cohen made payment, Trump said: "You have to ask Michael Cohen. Michael Cohen is my attorney you’ll have to ask him." Trump adds he did not know where Cohen got money

Michael Avenetti @MichaelAvenatti exults: "We very much look forward to testing the truthfulness of Mr. Trump's feigned lack of knowledge concerning the $130k payment as stated on Air Force One. As history teaches us, it is one thing to deceive the press and quite another to do so under oath. #searchforthetruth #basta" Seriously, "Good (actually GREAT) things come to those who wait!!! The strength of our case just went up exponentially. You can't have an agreement when one party claims to know nothing about it. #nodiscipline #thanksforplaying #basta"
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:07 PM on April 5 [53 favorites]


(Of course I'm still strung up about Pruitt sending his college-age daughter to the White House for an internship with a known predator. WTF.)

Remember the scene in Jaws where the corrupt mayor is upset that the tourists are afraid to go swimming, so he coerces one of his lackeys to wade out into the probably shark-infested water, dragging his reluctant wife and unsuspecting grandchildren along with him?

Pruitt is that lackey.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:09 PM on April 5 [12 favorites]


It's been less than two hours, so it's time for the story to get even stupider again. Turns out that if you have the sweetest housing arrangement in DC, you should probably pay your damn rent on time. Politico, Pruitt fell behind on payments for his $50-a-night condo rental
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt was at times slow to pay the rent on his $50-per-night lease in a Capitol Hill condo, according to two people with knowledge of the situation — forcing his lobbyist landlord to pester him for payment.
...
Though President Donald Trump told reporters “I do, I do” when asked Thursday whether he had confidence in Pruitt, an administration official said the president has begun asking friends and advisers what he should do about Pruitt.

On his way back from an event in West Virginia, Trump said he was considering how to respond to reports about Pruitt’s activities. “I have to look at them,” Trump said. “I’ll make that determination.”

But the president said repeatedly that he thinks Pruitt has done “a fantastic job.”

“I think he’s a fantastic person,” Trump added. “I just left coal and energy country. They love Scott Pruitt. They feel very strongly about Scott Pruitt, and they love Scott Pruitt.”
posted by zachlipton at 3:13 PM on April 5 [21 favorites]


I'm just enjoying that Pruitt's ugly demise is simply collateral damage to Porter's revenge on his ex.
posted by chris24 at 3:19 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


So far it looks like the last reptilian standing among Trump's advisors will be Stephen Miller. What has the Nosferatu of Santa Monica been up to?
posted by benzenedream at 3:19 PM on April 5 [15 favorites]


You can't have an agreement when one party claims to know nothing about it.

While that's true, isn't the argument Cohen is making that the parties to the agreement are Daniels and Cohen rather than Daniels and Trump? I could certainly make an NDA with a person where I pay them money and in return they don't speak about a third party. That would be perfectly legal. What I couldn't do is have that agreement bind said third party without their knowlege to also be silent. Also if I were the attorney for said third party it would be pretty goddamn dubious if I claimed to be paying the money out of the goodnews of my heart with no recompense.

But the mere fact that an agreement between two people concerns a third party is unremarkable as far as I can tell. I suppose it's hard to get into legal details on twitter what with the character limit.
posted by Justinian at 3:20 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Pruitt fell behind on payments for his $50-a-night condo rental

See, I think the thing that's gonna get Pruitt shitcanned is that he has the unforgivable temerity to be a bigger, more flagrant, more petty, more vengeful grifter, narcissist, and cheapskate than his boss, and Trump won't tolerate anybody stealing his asshole spotlight.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:21 PM on April 5 [12 favorites]


given trump's severe case of oppositional defiant disorder, i wouldn't count on pruitt's demise just yet. the more people who tell trump that pruitt has to go, the more determined he'll be that he stays.
posted by murphy slaw at 3:21 PM on April 5 [7 favorites]


While that's true, isn't the argument Cohen is making that the parties to the agreement are Daniels and Cohen rather than Daniels and Trump?

Yes, Cohen claims that Trump is just a third-party beneficiary. Of course, the fact that the NDA includes considerations provided to Daniels that only Trump himself can deliver creates problems with that, I think. IANAL and certainly not YL, bub.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:23 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


So far it looks like the last reptilian standing among Trump's advisors will be Stephen Miller.

Also indestructible: Zinke. He'll be one of the last loyalists in the Trumperbunker for sure.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:23 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Yes, Cohen could write a contract between him and Stormy to prevent her from talking about Trump. I think the issue is more that there are considerations promised in the NDA that only David Dennison/Trump can agree to and deliver. If Trump doesn't even know about the contract, how could those provisions at the heart of the agreement still stand.
posted by chris24 at 3:24 PM on April 5 [8 favorites]


given trump's severe case of oppositional defiant disorder, i wouldn't count on pruitt's demise just yet. the more people who tell trump that pruitt has to go, the more determined he'll be that he stays.

Counterpoint: the insulting stuff (Vox) Pruitt said about Trump in 2016 is getting a bunch of renewed publicity, so that could tip the scale.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:25 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]


While that's true, isn't the argument Cohen is making that the parties to the agreement are Daniels and Cohen rather than Daniels and Trump?

IANAL, but my understanding is that the problem is that all of the remedies for noncompliance with the NDA involve awarding things to "David Dennison" (trump). If he was unaware of the contract, he's not a party to it. Therefore the contract exists, but it has no provisions for enforcement.

aside from that, Daniels was convinced to sign the contract under the understanding that trump was a party to it, which is "fraud in the inducement".
posted by murphy slaw at 3:27 PM on April 5 [24 favorites]


@kylegriffin1: Michael Avenatti tells @AriMelber that, following Trump's new remarks about Stormy Daniels, he'll be making a petition on Monday to depose Trump.

Cohen has been running around making representations about an agreement his client now purports to not know about. For example, the latest motion to compel arbitration states "Defendant Donald J. Trump hereby joins in defendant Essential Consultants, LLC’s motion to compel arbitration."

What's that based on? Trump, personally, is moving to compel arbitration based on an agreement he's not a party to and doesn't know about? That doesn't sound like something that a judge would take too kindly to.
posted by zachlipton at 3:29 PM on April 5 [40 favorites]


Pruitt fell behind on payments for his $50-a-night condo rental

He sounds like a textbook case of the Al Capone Principle: that a predator/crook in one area, in which they have the cover to get away with it, will nonetheless often end up getting nailed elsewhere because the fundamental sense of entitlement that drives them also drives them to a bunch of other petty grifts, which eventually get noticed.
posted by acb at 3:33 PM on April 5 [18 favorites]


On top of the issues mentioned above, there's also the question whether Michael Cohen, an in-house attorney at the Trump Org, was acting as an agent of the Trump org/Trump or on his own accord. There are likely communications that blur the line even further than his employee relationship already does, because Cohen is not a very good lawyer. You don't get to turn the "client/not my client" switch on and off at will.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:34 PM on April 5 [10 favorites]


We know DJT hates it when one of his underlings get too big for his britches. From the above-mentioned NYT article on Pruitt.

this:
'E.P.A. employees gawked at the size and grandeur of Mr. Pruitt’s refurbished desk, with some comparing it to the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, officials said in interviews.'

and this:
'Mr. Weese, the security official, questioned Mr. Pruitt’s desire to use flashing lights and sirens in his motorcade — a perk more commonly associated with the presidency'

and this:
'“He wanted to be treated like he was the president,” said David Schnare, a prominent conservative lawyer and climate change skeptic'
posted by feste at 3:36 PM on April 5 [26 favorites]


To top this all off, adultery is a crime in New York, where Trump's marriage is filed. A contract to cover up a crime is certainly not legal, and AFAIK there's no case law on whether extramarital sex in Nevada constitutes a crime for someone married in New York.

I wonder if Mueller has a copy of Cohen's bank records from October 2016 yet. I've written at length about this before, but the idea that Cohen is just dishing out 6-figure settlements out of his own pocket is so fucking insane I can't fathom why he's not being pressed on it.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:39 PM on April 5 [27 favorites]


Let's just crack open this email from the White House Press office, shall we? (h/t Mark Knoller) Remarks by President Trump in Press Gaggle en route Washington, D.C.

I'm just gonna repeat that last bit there: "en route Washington, D.C." Once again, to be be clear, the plane he's on was taking him to Washington D.C. Where he lives and works. Washington. D.C.

Scrolling...Pruitt is doing a fantastic job...ok got to look into his stuff...national guard...Amazon bad...don't know about the payment...ask Cohen he's my lawyer...Pruitt's still fantastic...ok time to wrap this up:
Thank you very much everybody. I'll see you back in New York. Thank you.
posted by zachlipton at 3:49 PM on April 5 [35 favorites]


"Nothing we say will convince him!"

"Let's get the TV to tell him."
posted by chris24 at 7:56 AM
'


@jdawsey1 (WaPo) - 5:32 PM
One thing that frequently happens in West Wing: Aides try to get TV guests to make certain points on shows Trump is watching. POTUS listens more when the advice is on TV, they say.

---

You literally can't make it up.
posted by chris24 at 3:56 PM on April 5 [90 favorites]


Thank you very much everybody. I'll see you back in New York. Thank you.

Hopefully this means he's already planning on leaving office.
posted by runcibleshaw at 3:56 PM on April 5 [17 favorites]


The folks at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had a conference call today to update supporters in their various efforts. Here's the PDF. Highlights:
In December 2017, two months after oral hearings in CREW’s groundbreaking lawsuit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Donald J. Trump to stop the president’s systematic violations of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign, state and local governments, United States District Judge George Daniels dismissed the case on standing and justiciability grounds. CREW believes that several aspects of the ruling are faulty, and we have filed an appeal in the Second Circuit.

Parallel to our emoluments lawsuit, to strengthen our ability to break through on the question
of legal standing, CREW became outside counsel to Maryland and the District of Columbia
in a still-pending similar lawsuit against the president for violating the Constitution’s anti-
corruption clauses. In November 2017, federal court Judge Peter J. Messitte granted
subpoena power to the attorneys general of Maryland and D.C. in the case, ordering
President Trump’s business to preserve records related to the lawsuit. In a landmark March
2018 decision, Judge Messitte ruled that the Maryland and D.C. have standing and that the
case could proceed – a huge victory for accountability and a step toward meaningful curbs
on corruption.

On March 20, 2018, a federal judge granted CREW summary judgement in our landmark case
against the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the second time the Court has ruled against the
FEC for dismissing CREW’s complaint against a dark money group that spent millions in federal
elections. The first time, in September 2016, Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that the FEC acted
“contrary to law” by dismissing a complaint against American Action Network (AAN), which spent millions on ads without revealing its donors. He found that the FEC’s analysis “blinks reality” and returned the case to the FEC to correct its error. Nevertheless, the three Republican commissioners once again blocked action against the organization, leading Judge Cooper to again correct the commissioners on their continued failure to follow the law.

In February 2018, CREW and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) sued
Scott Pruitt and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for apparently violating federal records laws by systematically failing to create and maintain documents of essential EPA activities. In addition to Pruitt’s and the EPA’s seeming violation of the Federal Records Act (FRA), the suit alleges further violations by Archivist of the United States David Ferriero and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for failing to properly enforce the law. Pruitt and other EPA political appointees have reportedly told EPA staff not to create a written record about substantive matters, including major changes to a water quality rule. Pruitt has also reportedly prohibited staff from bringing cellular phones into meetings and directed staff not to take notes to avoid the creation of any record of his questions and directions, and he uses phones other than his own to deal with important EPA-related matters so the calls do not show up in his call logs.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:57 PM on April 5 [20 favorites]


More seriously, Trump just ordered the Trade Representative to consider an additional $100B worth of tariffs on China in retaliation for their tariffs, which are in retaliation for our tarriffs. Mr. "We are not in a trade war with China" sure seems to be in a trade war with China.
posted by zachlipton at 3:58 PM on April 5 [36 favorites]


The Line of Succession at EPA goes [Obama EO 1/13/2017]:
  1. Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency [Vacant]
  2. General Counsel (Matthew Z. Leopold)
  3. Assistant Administrator, Office of Solid Waste [Renamed the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) in 2015, but the old name is used in the 2017 EO.] (Barry Breen [acting]) ...and then a bunch more.
Leopold comes from Florida Governor Rick Scott's administration and has been a critic of the EPA. Breen's been with the EPA since 2002.
posted by notyou at 4:01 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


According to CEA Larry Kudlow it's not a trade war; it's a bracing ride on a rainbow.
posted by notyou at 4:08 PM on April 5 [11 favorites]


So far it looks like the last reptilian standing among Trump's advisors will be Stephen Miller.

The second round is already worse, like John Bolton. And this guy is likely to be Pruitt's replacement. Unless Pruitt replaces Jeff Sessions, which could still happen. And John Kelly is there, he's as bad as any of them, he absolutely belongs in the "reptilian" category. Chris Christie is angling to get back in and every person on FOX is one segment away from a cabinet nomination.

The absolute best case we can hope for here is Trump can't get anyone new confirmed in an election year, he's left playing musical chairs with the few Senate confirmed officials he has left after scandals, and the government is even more crippled than it is currently, instead of actively destructive.

Edit: I forgot batshit kooks Peter Navvaro and Larry Kudlow coming in because Jared liked a book title on Amazon.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:08 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


Wheeler hasn't been confirmed yet as deputy and given the backlog in the Senate, and the rate at which Trump's piling in more advice and consent duties, it could be a while yet.
posted by notyou at 4:11 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Mr. "We are not in a trade war with China" sure seems to be in a trade war with China.

China seems to be doing a good job of targeting their response to specific industries in red states. Good. They may have heard of the Leopards Eating Faces school of economic thought.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:21 PM on April 5 [32 favorites]


@SegravesNBC4: DC government issues citation to owner of apartment Scott Pruitt rented because they did not have proper license to rent the unit. Possible fine of $2,034

Sure. Why not?
posted by zachlipton at 4:31 PM on April 5 [59 favorites]


Endangered species are the real threats (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
She sees what far too many environmental advocates do not: that these are all creatures who would devour us if they had their way. […]

Considering that Combs managed to object to almost every species proposed to be added to the protected list while she was in Texas, I have taken the liberty of guessing her objections to some of the species currently on there:

The Amur leopard? This is a deadly killing machine with sharp teeth and patterns intended to help it VANISH from sight, only to strike when we least expect it. We cannot rest comfortably until we are certain that none of these are lurking in the underbrush.

The black rhino? Say what you will about human beings, but we are not IMMENSE, ARMORED MACHINES with pointed horns. At least, I’m not. These are also, presumably, responsible for rhino viruses. Do not Google this; let the allegation stand. […]

The Sumatran elephant? Enormous gray monster with a hose for a face and two large valuable pieces of ivory you AREN’T ALLOWED (?!?) to take, for some reason? Get rid of it.

The Sumatran rhino? ANOTHER ONE. We can agree, I think, that we do not need so much rhino redundancy.

The blue whale? I recently read an article saying that bowhead whale mating songs are “as complex as jazz,” so if “La La Land” is accurate, these whales would be absolutely EXHAUSTING to date. The blue whale is even less musically gifted, and we should not be sorry to see it go.

Bluefin tuna? Sounds tasty.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:45 PM on April 5 [10 favorites]


For what it's worth, the line of succession at EPA only applies until the president appoints an interim replacement. And scuttlebutt is that the preferred successor to Pruitt would be Susan Bodine, the head of enforcement (and previously head of the Superfund office under W).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:46 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]




Possible fine of $2,034

That’s almost six weeks’ rent!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:56 PM on April 5 [35 favorites]




Why Trump went after Bezos: Two billionaires across a cultural divide
Some of Trump’s aides and allies say his beef with Amazon, Bezos and The Washington Post, which Bezos owns separately from the behemoth online retailer he created, stems from Trump’s lifelong rivalry with billionaires who surpass him on lists of the planet’s richest people.

For many years, Trump personally lobbied the editors who craft Forbes magazine’s annual estimation of billionaires’ wealth, arguing his claim of a higher net worth. In the new list, Bezos for the first time holds the top position, at $112 billion; the magazine dropped Trump to No. 766, with a value of $3.1 billion, down $400 million in the past year.

Hahahaha. Man, that's just gonna burn Donny Two-Scoops if he hears of that. The Washington Post is just poking the…er…bear, at this point.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 5:05 PM on April 5 [54 favorites]




@kylegriffin1 (MSNBC)
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse: "Hopefully the President is just blowing off steam again but, if he's even half-serious, this is nuts. China is guilty of many things, but the President has no actual plan to win right now. He’s threatening to light American agriculture on fire."

@jaketapper
”Let’s absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the dumbest possible way to do this.” 2/2

---

Leopards. Faces.
posted by chris24 at 5:50 PM on April 5 [43 favorites]


@NBCNews: NEW: Federal investigators obtained a search warrant tied to Paul Manafort on March 9, according to a Special Counsel's Office filing in the Manafort case. MORE: The filing states that Manafort has been served with seven search warrants for his property, banks, a hard drive, e-mail accounts, five phone lines, and a storage locker.

Nobody has an actual link to the filing because that would be helpful or something, but jeez, what could have possibly been left as late as March?
posted by zachlipton at 5:58 PM on April 5 [19 favorites]


At least we don’t hear much about the pivot that’s coming any second now.
posted by notyou at 5:59 PM on April 5 [25 favorites]


For sake of clarity, because I wasn't entirely sure: Sasse describing Trump's plan as "setting American agriculture on fire" was nonliteral, and is strictly about Chinese retaliatory tariffs. (I had thought it possible that Trump explicitly threatened to in some way stop all food exports to China, to "punish" China, but this has not yet happened.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:04 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


Juli Briskman has an editorial in the WaPo that very effectively frames her lawsuit as pushback against a much wider problem, Why I’m suing for my right to flip off the president:
These are the stories that have made news, but this facilitation of speech suppression is creeping throughout the private sector. Take, for example, Protect Democracy, the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization helping me bring my lawsuit. Members of the group have told me that their mission — preventing a slide to a more authoritarian form of government — has made it difficult for them to rent office space in Cambridge, Mass.; landlords, they say, fear retaliation from the federal government.

This sort of behavior is familiar to people living in Egypt, Hungary, Thailand, Turkey and Russia, where the ability to do business increasingly depends on being seen as favorable to the regime. As a result, companies in each of these countries do not hire or do business with known dissenters. And that pressure — making citizens choose between their pocketbooks and their principles — starts a downward spiral that ultimately dismantles a democracy.

Let’s call this “autocratic capture.” Autocratic capture is not new to the world, but it is new to this country, and it is up to all of us to keep it from taking root. Our democracy depends on it. As James Madison warned in the early days of the United States, the “value and efficacy” of free elections “depends” on Americans’ “equal freedom” to examine the “merits and demerits of the candidates.” But if Americans can keep their jobs only when they refrain from criticizing the president, then that freedom is lost. And once the freedom to speak is lost, then the rest of our constitutional rights will not be far behind.
posted by peeedro at 6:13 PM on April 5 [113 favorites]


Well, the March 9th warrant is related to investigations that are ongoing that we don't currently know about. Interesting.

@nycsouthpaw
The search warrant affidavits the Special Counsel has handed over to Manafort's team so far:
DETAILED LIST OF SEVEN WARRANTS
- The seizure of funds from 3 banks is news, I think.
- The description of last month's search warrant suggests Ty Cobb mayyybe could've been wrong in his estimation that Mueller was just about to wrap this baby up.
On April 4, 2018, the government produced in redacted form, and for the first time, an affidavit supporting a search warrant that had been obtained on March 9, 2018. That affidavit likewise contains redactions—albeit more substantial ones—relating to ongoing investigations that are not the subject of either of the current prosecutions involving Manafort. SCREENSHOT
posted by chris24 at 6:14 PM on April 5 [13 favorites]


I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but... surely this [municipal assault weapons ban] is a violation of the takings clause?

Doesn't seem like that should apply if you can drive to the next town over and sell your weapon for full price. The government isn't really taking it, or even depriving you of the use of it (outside of the city). You could keep it at your mom's house downtown or in your locker at the gun range down the road, for example.
posted by msalt at 6:24 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Leopards. Faces.

I don’t know that you can really call Senator Sasse, of “Sen. Sasse will not be attending the convention and will instead take his kids to watch some dumpster fires across the state, all of which enjoy more popularity than the current front-runners,” a leopard, exactly. He’s been pretty clear that face eating was about to happen for a long while now.
posted by corb at 6:25 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


McClatchy: Mueller probe tracking down Trump business partners, with Cohen a focus of queries
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators this week questioned an associate of the Trump Organization who was involved in overseas deals with President Donald Trump’s company in recent years.

Armed with subpoenas compelling electronic records and sworn testimony, Mueller’s team showed up unannounced at the home of the business associate, who was a party to multiple transactions connected to Trump’s effort to expand his brand abroad, according to persons familiar with the proceedings.

Investigators were particularly interested in interactions involving Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and a former Trump Organization employee. Among other things, Cohen was involved in business deals secured or sought by the Trump Organization in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

The move to question business associates of the president adds a significant new element to the Mueller investigation, which began by probing whether the Trump campaign and Russia colluded in an effort to get Trump elected but has branched far beyond that.
posted by chris24 at 6:41 PM on April 5 [23 favorites]


Or Senator "votes with Trump 87% of the time" Sasse. Seems like the Leopards are eating a face which came with a healthy side order of hypocrisy.
posted by Rumple at 6:46 PM on April 5 [20 favorites]


hopefully the president is just blowing off steam as he plays chicken with one of the largest markets on earth with the entire agricultural sector strapped to the hood of his car

we have passed the straw that broke the camel’s back so long ago that the only thing left is a giant haystack standing in the camel’s last known location
posted by murphy slaw at 6:56 PM on April 5 [63 favorites]


Giffords center on the Takings Clause and gun laws.

While I'm sure some would disagree, this is basically similar to other arguments I've heard about why gun bans do not violate the 5th amendment.
posted by thefoxgod at 6:57 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


I dunno if I think that Sasse is really the one whose face is being eaten by leopards. I think that farmers are. You'd think that farmers would be familiar with the concept of reaping what you sow.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:03 PM on April 5 [15 favorites]


a significant new element to the Mueller investigation, which began by probing whether the Trump campaign and Russia colluded in an effort to get Trump elected but has branched far beyond that.

That's misleading at best. I'd say more about the rationale for this framing, but even recently the appointment of special counsel was in the news w/r/t Trump as a target. Russia's interference with the campaign and any related matters. From the get-go. From the beginning. It has "branched" because of the oceanic-garbage-whorl's worth of corrupt dealings that weren't even hiding. Plain-sight braggadociousments that were Always. In. Scope.

(i) any links an or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
(ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
(iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).


It's not "tacked on", it's not "new", it's not "oh hey he's going over here now, well what won't that guy investigate?" From. The. Beginning. Wiggy the Clown was deep in dirt with all those fucking colluders - his vaunted "business empire" - and his candidacy, not to mention his squeaky electoral passage, was a direct result of all that. These things are not irrelevant, and that writer/editor/publication either knows it or should know it. That's more normalizing fuel in the Trumpers' barbecue out of laziness, ill-conceived bothsidesism, or some other bullshit.
posted by petebest at 7:07 PM on April 5 [35 favorites]


hopefully the president is just blowing off steam as he plays chicken with one of the largest markets on earth with the entire agricultural sector strapped to the hood of his car

For a man who eats at McDonald's like they filed for Chapter 7, I doubt he cares if some pig farmers have to switch it up to cattle or whatever he likes.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:13 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


I wondered earlier why Cohen would be willing to stick out his neck for Trump instead of rolling over to save any semblance of a career. Now that I see that Murller is poking around Cohen’s work with Russian deals, I have to wonder if the motivation isn’t a pardon.
posted by azpenguin at 7:20 PM on April 5 [3 favorites]


Remember that Cohen was the back-channel for a Russia-Ukraine "peace deal," and there have been conflicting stories as to whether he hand-delivered it to Flynn or, as he would later claim, threw it away unopened. He's got exposure here that goes well beyond being an awful lawyer who got himself into the world's worst contracts final exam hypothetical.
posted by zachlipton at 7:30 PM on April 5 [37 favorites]


He’s been pretty clear that face eating was about to happen for a long while now.

All while voting for the leopards, every. Single. Time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:30 PM on April 5 [12 favorites]




@jdawsey1 (WaPo) - 5:32 PM
One thing that frequently happens in West Wing: Aides try to get TV guests to make certain points on shows Trump is watching. POTUS listens more when the advice is on TV, they say.


The White House has denied that the president gets his briefings from Fox News, so Jennifer Rubin recaps recent aimed-at-Trump televised appearances from Sanders, Nielsen, and Kudlow and suggests, When you are not allowed to speak the truth, maybe it is time to leave.

Also of note, stupid fences make bad neighbors: Mexican president rebukes Trump over border threats. In a televised address President Peña Nieto, who will be stepping down in November due to term limits, notes the Mexican Senate and all four presidential candidates in the upcoming July 1 elections have denounced Trump's recent actions and says, "As president of Mexico, I agree with those remarks." He added, "If your recent statements are the result of frustration due to domestic policy issues, [due] to your laws or to your Congress, it is to them that you should turn to, not to Mexicans."
posted by peeedro at 7:46 PM on April 5 [15 favorites]



While I'm sure some would disagree, this is basically similar to other arguments I've heard about why gun bans do not violate the 5th amendment.


Especially if it applies to assault rifles (and, presumably, firearms of equal or greater power) but not to less powerful weapons. Keep your pea shooter, your grandpa’s revolver, your .22.

I’m also in favor of letting the NRA bankrupt themselves with lawsuits against a jillion municipal governments with umpteen appeals each. Go nuts. Hire all the lawyers you want, then hire more lawyers to force civil employees to issue permits, Kim Davis style. That should be good for the next 30 fucking years. And maybe it will inspire the 3% of the population that has all the guns to to create a Bundyville somewhere in the sticks, where they can all open-carry to their heart’s content.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:48 PM on April 5 [7 favorites]


Sounds like this big raises thing is going around:
Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s appointee to oversee the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has given big pay raises to the deputies he has hired to help him run the bureau, according to salary records obtained by The Associated Press.

Mulvaney has hired at least eight political appointees since he took over the bureau in late November. Four of them are making $259,500 a year and one is making $239,595. That is more than the salaries of members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, and nearly all federal judges apart from those who sit on the Supreme Court.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 PM on April 5 [37 favorites]


AP, Trump wants out of Syria, but don’t say ‘timeline’
President Donald Trump has spoken: He wants U.S. troops and civilians out of Syria by the fall. But don’t call it a “timeline.”

Wary of charges of hypocrisy for publicly telegraphing military strategy after criticizing former President Barack Obama for the same thing, the White House has ordered Trump’s national security team not to speak of a “timeline” for withdrawal. That’s even after Trump made it clear to his top aides this week that he wants the pullout completed within five or six months.

It wasn’t the result top national security aides wanted. Trump’s desire for a rapid withdrawal faced unanimous opposition from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence community, all of which argued that keeping the 2,000 U.S. soldiers currently in Syria is key to ensuring the Islamic State does not reconstitute itself.

But as they huddled in the Situation Room, the president was vocal and vehement in insisting that the withdrawal be completed quickly if not immediately, according to five administration officials briefed on Tuesday’s White House meeting of Trump and his top aides. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss internal deliberations and requested anonymity.

If those aides failed in obtaining their desired outcome, it may have been because a strategy that’s worked in the past — giving Trump an offer he can’t refuse — appears to have backfired.

Rather than offer Trump a menu of pullout plans, with varying timelines and options for withdrawing step-by-step, the team sought to frame it as a binary choice: Stay in Syria to ensure the Islamic State can’t regroup, or pull out completely. Documents presented to the president included several pages of possibilities for staying in, but only a brief description of an option for full withdrawal that emphasized significant risks and downsides, including the likelihood that Iran and Russia would take advantage of a U.S. vacuum.

Ultimately, Trump chose that option anyway.
posted by zachlipton at 7:54 PM on April 5 [21 favorites]


I’m also in favor of letting the NRA bankrupt themselves

I'd be interested in funding a public interest org that just goes around seeking to intervene in NRA suits to burn up their budget (legitimately, on the issues). Or, volunteering for it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:00 PM on April 5 [10 favorites]


A record-setting 309 women are running for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives – the majority of them Democrats. That previous record of 298 was set in 2012.

This is huge. There are women running for congressional seats that have never been held by a woman before. Four out of five seats in the House are held by men.
posted by zarq at 8:09 PM on April 5 [86 favorites]


To repurpose something I've said before, Trump isn't the kind of leader who wants us to stay in Syria, or who wants out of Syria. He wants "results, dammit", and there are a lot of people see that specifics-allergic attitude as synonymous with leadership. (Well, he's also torn between a wanting to please Putin and wanting to kill Syrians. A year from now he'll split the difference by straight-up allying with Assad or something.)

Regarding the new Assange revelation… it's been pointed out in several places that he was publicly talking up the Seth Rich conspiracy drivel at the time of those leaked messages, which means he was being entirely duplicitous about it, and not just opportunistic.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:16 PM on April 5 [9 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate -- TN: Mentioned earlier, MTSU poll shows Dem Bredesen up 45-35 on GOPer Blackburn [MOE: +/- 4%]. This doesn't seem impossible - Blackburn is not super well-known, Bredesen was a popular two-term governor - but does seem a bit high. Hasn't been much independent polling of this race yet.

** AZ-08 special -- Byler: Why you shouldn't expect this race to be PA-18 redux.

** 2018 House:
-- WI-01: NYT look at the Paul Ryan race.

-- TN-02: Inumbent GOP rep John Duncan looks to be involved in some serious campaign finance violations. District went Trump 65-30.

-- As the Dem target map expands, GOP faces tough decisions on triage.
** Odds & ends:
-- Counting has been slow - they went to all mail-in ballots for this election - but it appears that Anchorage, AK has kept their Democratic mayor and rejected an anti-trans "bathroom bill." I have mixed feelings about all-postal elections, but it should be noted this seems to have resulted in record voting.

-- Noted earlier, does the WI Supreme Court election provide a Dem blueprint? Compared to Clinton, Dallet basically lost a bit in the cities, tied in the suburbs, and way over-achieved in the boonies. And her campaign was explicitly anti-Trump. Related, Enten: This is bad news for Trump and for Scott Walker.

-- As expected, Tim Pawlenty is in for the race for MN governor. He was twice governor in the past, but was elected with sub-50% numbers each time, and is not real fondly remember.

-- Dems contesting record number of legislative seats in South Dakota (101 of 105).
posted by Chrysostom at 8:19 PM on April 5 [35 favorites]


Politico, Warren: I’ll serve my full Senate term if reelected
Elizabeth Warren said she would serve her full six-year term in the Senate if reelected this November.

“Yes, that’s my plan. I’m running for the United States Senate in 2018,” Warren told reporters Thursday, when asked if she would commit to serving out her full term. “I am not running for president of the United States. That’s my plan.”
posted by zachlipton at 8:31 PM on April 5 [31 favorites]


Manny Fernandez, NYT: In Texas, Ted Cruz Is Facing an Unusual Challenge: A Formidably Financed Democrat
But political analysts say [ Representative Beto O’Rourke's ] chances are a long-shot at best, despite his fund-raising skills [ $13.2 million raised so far]. He remains unknown to many voters, even as he has kept up a hectic travel schedule and visited 228 of the state’s 254 counties. In the Democratic primary last month, Mr. O’Rourke lost a number of counties to two lesser-known Democratic rivals, including the Hispanic-dominated border area of the Rio Grande Valley, parts of East Texas and the northern Panhandle region.
...
The issue often comes down to voter turnout. In last month’s primary elections, Democrats surged to the polls in record-breaking numbers. More Democrats voted early this year than voted early in the presidential election year of 2016. In the end, though, they were still outvoted: A total of 1.5 million votes were cast by Texas Republicans in the primary, compared to 1 million by Democrats.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:29 PM on April 5 [10 favorites]


Stretch that map. Donate. Some should go to the DCCC.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:37 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]


I would suggest *not* donating to O'Rourke, given that he's already getting shit-tons of money. One of the vulnerable Dems or Sinema or Rosen would give a lot more bang for the buck.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:44 PM on April 5 [13 favorites]


Big News, Maryland has Autmocratic Voter Registation!

"YES!!! Automatic Voter Registration just became the law in Maryland—Hogan neither signed nor vetoed it after the General Assembly passed it last week with a veto-proof majority, which means it became law today. This is a HUGE moment for voting rights in our state."

basically you automatically register at 18 if you get a Driver's license, a state ID, or basically interact with the state government in any way like receive benefits or insurance or healthcare.
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 PM on April 5 [118 favorites]


Loony Left Updates: OK Gov Fallin can't leave a plane without meeting protestors and striking workers - teamsters working on state capitol building refuse to cross teacher picket line - Burgerville employees in Portland, Oregon will be allowed to vote on forming a union, which would make it the first fast food union in the United States- Hundreds come out for unarmed Black man Saheed Vassell murdered by NYPD- Spokane Washington gets official DSA Chapter -
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on April 5 [84 favorites]


The Whelk, everyone knows you have to post multiple updates in some incredibly idiosyncratic format to be taken seriously.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:09 PM on April 5 [61 favorites]


Maryland, my Maryland, indeed.

That said, I feel like this would be a greater victory if it happened in a state that isn't already reliably super-blue (the current, and VERY temporary, occupant of our Governor's mansion notwithstanding).
posted by CommonSense at 11:00 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]


Politico, Warren: I’ll serve my full Senate term if reelected
Elizabeth Warren said she would serve her full six-year term in the Senate if reelected this November.

“Yes, that’s my plan. I’m running for the United States Senate in 2018,” Warren told reporters Thursday, when asked if she would commit to serving out her full term. “I am not running for president of the United States. That’s my plan.”
That's a fairly misleading headline and lede. "That's my plan" is not the same as "that's my promise," or "that's my expectation," or "that's my strong preference." Empirically, everyone in both DC and the professional betting markets expect her to run. Nothing she has said indicates that she will not run (merely, in the common parlance, that she has no current plans to run, which is the standard -- and very reasonable -- dodge so far in advance). And finally, nothing she has said recently suggests that she doesn't want to run, much less that she considers it immoral to ask her to run. I mention all this because in the past, Warren fans have been admonished for asking her to run in the apparent face of her unwillingness. So it seems worth reiterating the point that nothing in this statement or any recent statement of hers indicates that she will not run or does not wish to run; rather, here and elsewhere she is just engaging in the usual dodging-the-question, which is of course the rational strategy to pursue so far out when the limelight can only hurt.

As a side note, it is not a coincidence that Politico is framing it this way, or that the The Hill's headline in March was Warren: 'I'm not running for president'. The center and center-right prefer she not run and are fairly eager to frame any declaration of non-intent as a promise. (See eg, the people affirming and supporting the Hill's article in its Twitter thread.) That article, notably, was discussing her interview with Chuck Todd in March, in which she said:
"I take it as a no you're not pledging to serve your full six-year term if you win reelection?" Todd asked in response.

"I already told you. I have no intention of running for the United States, for president," she responded. "This government is working better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. I am in these fights, and I am in this fight to retain my Senate seat in 2018. That's where I'm focused. That's where I'm going to stay focused. I'm not running for president."

"So no pledge, though, on the six years?" Todd asked, one last time.

"I am not running for president," Warren responded firmly.
Ie, about as deliberate a non-answer answer as you would get from anyone considering a run in 3 years.
posted by chortly at 11:01 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


China seems to be doing a good job of targeting their response to specific industries in red states. Good. They may have heard of the Leopards Eating Faces school of economic thought.

China’s strategy is simply to use their economic weight to ensure that the arbiters of this stupid clusterfuck are voted out in their next respective elections, to be replaced by elected officials who have exceedingly small chances of continuing this absurd nonsense of an economic policy. China doesn’t even care beyond that, knowing full well that this situation is so colossally stupid that it won’t be anything but temporary.

If China thought this situation had real gravity to their national interests, they’d simply start threatening to sell off the U.S. debt they hold, en masse. “Psst, hey Donnie. Let me show you how big boys burn things to the ground.”

I just can’t get over how unbelievably stupid this whole situation is.
posted by Brak at 11:21 PM on April 5 [48 favorites]


- Burgerville employees in Portland, Oregon will be allowed to vote on forming a union, which would make it the first fast food union in the United States-

It’s worth noting, since people have wondered about modern labor action, that this is not the beneficent Burgerville deciding to waive the process. This is Burgerville, which has been union busting like a motherfucker, including firing a union organizer for supposedly stealing a chicken patty, after a three day strike and massive informational picket at multiple locations across multiple states, deciding it really doesn’t want the NLRB to view all that concerted union action and make a decision on the merits of the case, so they’re hoping they can drop enough anti union propaganda for two weeks that people will vote no.

Nice try, fuckers.
posted by corb at 11:25 PM on April 5 [55 favorites]


I would suggest *not* donating to O'Rourke, given that he's already getting shit-tons of money. One of the vulnerable Dems or Sinema or Rosen would give a lot more bang for the buck.

You know we all respect the hell out of your congressional race analysis, so could you please name some vulnerable Dem names? Do you mean Heitkamp? McGaskill? Are Rosen and Sinema NOT vulnerable? How about "whoever wins against X" districts, like Rohrbachers? What are some races so unlikely to be won that folks should save their money -- Nunes? Thx in advance.
posted by msalt at 11:57 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]


I think McCaskill and Donnelly (IN) are probably the most vulnerable. Tester, Heitkamp, and Manchin seem like they look vulnerable against "generic R" matchups but come through when an actual name is matched against them. That obviously only holds true until it doesn't but I feel better about their chances in this environment than the races in Missouri and Indiana.
posted by Justinian at 2:00 AM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Eric Trump just liked a tweet that was a picture of a sign in a snowy field that reads "IN JUST TWO YEARS DONALD TRUMP FIXED GLOBAL WARMING"
I am really curious: why did he or whoever is doing his social media like that tweet? I mean with what intent? Did somebody say, cynically, yeah, we'll get these rubes to believe this. Or did they say, YEAH YOU'RE RIGHT PREACH. Or were they 'ho ho ho how darling." I mean, really. The sign's existence is funny, but only if you hate Trump and fear global warming. I mean, most sane people do.



Oh I ran out of steam trying to give a fuck as to how these people think.
posted by angrycat at 2:23 AM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Re. the snowy field sign: I guess E.T. thinks he can make people believe that it's actually getting colder all the time. And everything that has "Trump" and "fixed" in it is shiny, so...of course.
posted by Namlit at 3:29 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


why did he or whoever is doing his social media like that tweet?

Because it suits these fuckers to use the phrase "Global Warming" (rather than Climate Change) and to take it literally.

It simply allows them to dismiss any thought of human influence on the planet by saying, every time it snows, "Look, it's cold - Global Warming is a hoax".

Obviously this particular tweet appeals to a Trump because it also fits DJT's narrative that he is the most-hardworking-est Prez evah and he is just fixing shit left, right and centre.
posted by jontyjago at 3:40 AM on April 6 [12 favorites]


Boom? ABC News, Mueller has evidence raising questions about Prince testimony on meeting with Russian: Sources
Nader has submitted to three interviews with special counsel investigators and four appearances before a federal grand jury in Washington since agents stopped him at Dulles International Airport in January, served him with a grand jury subpoena and seized his electronic devices, including his cell phone. Documents obtained by Mueller suggest that before and after Prince met Nader in New York a week before the trip to the Seychelles, Nader shared information with Prince about Dmitriev, sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News, which appears to be inconsistent with Prince’s sworn testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives investigative panel.

"I didn't fly there to meet any Russian guy," Prince told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in November. He testified that he travelled to the Seychelles for a meeting with United Arab Emirates officials about possible business opportunities, and they introduced him – unexpectedly – to Dmitriev.
...
Sources say Nader -- who worked at the time for the Emirati leader, known as "MBZ” – tells a different story. According to multiple sources, the U.A.E., an important U.S. ally increasingly eager to be seen as a global powerbroker, wanted to bring a Russian close to the Kremlin together with someone Nader believed was a trusted confidant of members of the incoming administration.

Sources tell ABC News Nader met with Prince at New York's Pierre Hotel a week before the Jan. 11, 2017 meeting in the Seychelles, and later sent Prince biographical information about Dmitriev, which, according to those sources, noted that Dmitriev had been appointed by Putin to oversee the state-run sovereign wealth fund.

Nader says he then facilitated and personally attended the meetings, including one between Prince and Dmitriev, at a resort owned by MBZ off the coast of East Africa, the sources told ABC News. One of the primary goals of the meeting, Nader told investigators, was to discuss foreign policy and to establish a line of communication between the Russian government and the incoming Trump administration, sources told ABC News.
So you're telling me that Prince's ridiculous story about a completely unmemorable random meeting over a beer doesn't hold up? Color me unsurprised. On the other hand, Nader is a pretty problematic witness and really not the person you'd want at the center of a case.

Still, the idea that Nader sent Prince information about Dmitriev ahead of the meeting seems particularly notable, since it's the sort of thing that could be proved independently, and it could contradict Prince's testimony that it was just a chance meeting.
posted by zachlipton at 3:52 AM on April 6 [34 favorites]


chortly: "That's a fairly misleading headline and lede. "That's my plan" is not the same as "that's my promise," or "that's my expectation," or "that's my strong preference.""

Unless you give Sherman's answer, it's not a no.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:37 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Boom? ABC News, Mueller has evidence raising questions about Prince testimony on meeting with Russian: Sources

For those timeline-ing the events ... the ABC televised report (but not the article) states that the NYC meeting between George Nader and Erik Prince at the Pierre Hotel occurred on January 3, 2017, and that Nader then sent Prince detailed bio information about Dmitriev within 24 hours.
posted by pjenks at 4:48 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


How Local News Stations Are Rebelling Against Their Sinclair Overlords

Well,, they do control the memes of production.

As for Mueller going back repeatedly to the well of Manafort - we don't see what he sees. While 45 is grossly incompetent and incapable of cunning, and incapable of deciding who he does business with on the basis of their capability and cunning, smarter others have seen him as a useful mark and set things up with a degree of intelligence and hardening against public scrutiny. Mueller's target really isn't primarily 45; his job is to untangle the puppetry of the POTUS and, when he lays his hand on the table, to have the very strongest evidence to shut this shit down. Manafort hasn't flipped yet - he's still fighting - and Mueller hasn't stopped digging, so there's something in there that's worth having.

I'm reminded - as so, so often - of Capone, not because 45 is like him, but because he got taken down by the IRS, which had the right tools to cut the mob away from the system in ways that the other agencies did not. This is all about money, and it's the money that will betray them. Mueller is following the money.

(And for your Friday morning amuse bouche, imagine the size of the dossier that Mueller will be handing over to the IRS for its consideration...)
posted by Devonian at 4:49 AM on April 6 [41 favorites]


msalt: "You know we all respect the hell out of your congressional race analysis, so could you please name some vulnerable Dem names? Do you mean Heitkamp? McGaskill? Are Rosen and Sinema NOT vulnerable? How about "whoever wins against X" districts, like Rohrbachers? What are some races so unlikely to be won that folks should save their money -- Nunes? Thx in advance."

Wait, you mean you don't know who sits in ID-01? (it's Raúl Labrador, he's retiring to run for governor)

On the Senate side, I mostly agree with what Justinian said. I'd say Joe Donnelly (IN) and Claire McCaskill (MO) are clearly the most vulnerable incumbent Democrats, with Heidi Heitkamp (ND) in third. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Jacky Rosen (NV) are the most promising challengers; as we have talked about, Phil Bredesen (TN) might have a decent shot, too, but he also is very personally wealthy.

On the House side, eh. I don't like to get too into it until the primaries have shaken out (especially in CA, with the top two thing). So unless there's a candidate you have a strong feeling about, I'd probably hold off.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:52 AM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Ambasador Vassily Nebenzia has been quoting the trial from Alice in Wonderland - at great length - in the UN, in arguments about the Salisbury novichok case, proving that the Chewbacca Defense sounded better in the original Russian. So far down the rabbit hole... (The Brits came back with Conan Doyle, so it's a fair fight.)

But one excerpt did catch my attention, and I hope that Michael Avenatti is also familiar with the work.


`He must have imitated somebody else’s hand,’ said the King. (The jury all brightened up again.)

`Please your Majesty,’ said the Knave, `I didn’t write it, and they can’t prove I did: there’s no name signed at the end.’

`If you didn’t sign it,’ said the King, `that only makes the matter worse. You MUST have meant some mischief, or else you’d have signed your name like an honest man.’

posted by Devonian at 5:42 AM on April 6 [27 favorites]


The Brits came back with Conan Doyle, so it's a fair fight

To hell with a fair fight, how about some passages from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich?
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:12 AM on April 6 [9 favorites]




To hell with a fair fight, how about some passages from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich?

Boris Johnson Compares Russia to Raskolnikov From Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment'

It's a bit like that scene in The Crown where Eden talks to Nasser in Arabic, except one's a patriarchal over-educated Old Etonian dangerously out of his depth but not knowing it and provoking major international crises through ego-driven missteps, and the other... oh.

I think UK governance may have some long-term structural issues.
posted by Devonian at 6:43 AM on April 6 [14 favorites]


My theory on Pruitt, having made myself sick reading about him in depth recently, is that his security detail is part of the need to be seen as some kind of Big Shot. He must be super important if he has like two dozen armed security around him 24/7, right?
posted by Myeral at 6:43 AM on April 6 [19 favorites]


Is it paranoia

“Smart,” “rational,” and “a good judge of objective reality” are not descriptors we would use for any of the clowns in this clown car, I’m not sure why Pruitt would be different.

I mean, “stupid,” “narcissistically inflated sense of self importance,” and “gripped with the projected fear that everyone else in the world is as spiteful, vengeful, and evil as he is” seem much more likely.
posted by schadenfrau at 6:43 AM on April 6 [32 favorites]


My theory on Pruitt, having made myself sick reading about him in depth recently, is that his security detail is part of the need to be seen as some kind of Big Shot. He must be super important if he has like two dozen armed security around him 24/7, right?

Maybe. But that doesn't explain his need for a $43k soundproof phone booth. Typically, Big Shots want to be heard.
posted by zakur at 6:47 AM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Having a SCIF in your office is a DC status symbol. He wants to play at being Manly Man CIA director, instead of in charge of the wussy liberal EPA that he hates.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:54 AM on April 6 [22 favorites]


If I were Pruitt, I would have armed guards around me, soundproof booths in my office, my phone down the toilet and signs on the front door reading HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS AIRBORNE SYPHILIS INSIDE, DON'T COME IN.

If I am never actually informed personally that I'm replacing Sessions as Attorney General and becoming the person in charge of Making All This Russia Nonsense Go Away For Mr. Trump, I can pretend that it hasn't happened and not have to hire a food taster.
posted by delfin at 6:56 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]




Having a SCIF in your office is a DC status symbol. He wants to play at being Manly Man CIA director, instead of in charge of the wussy liberal EPA that he hates.

Umm, also if you're busy negotiating with lobbyists, all-and-sundry, to actively assist in their profiting from massive environmental destruction and ecosystem genocide, then it probably helps if the few people left in the agency who joined up because they believe in the 'Protection' aspect don't overhear.

The irony is that no amount of bodyguards would ever be able to protect him from people educated in the natural sciences if they were sufficiently pissed off.
posted by Buntix at 7:09 AM on April 6 [25 favorites]


Trump administration hits 24 Russians with sanctions over 'malign activity'

"Impose" is different than "enforce".
posted by PenDevil at 7:13 AM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Pruitt is certainly a paranoid narcissist with delusions of grandeur, but some of his shenanigans look like the reasonable actions of a fully corrupt crony who is selling the environment to those who would burn it down and not leaving a paper trail.

His violations of the Federal Records Act and his banishment of cell phones from meetings are most troubling. I think he's setting policy that he knows would cause outrage if they were even KNOWN about.

And he only hates the EPA to the extent that it stands between him and his own fiefdom of post-apocalyptic road warriors.

On preview: what Buntix said also.
posted by Horkus at 7:14 AM on April 6 [16 favorites]


Ordinary objects magically become guns — as soon as a black man touches them (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Suppose we close all the gun shows. Suppose we close all the loopholes. Suppose we take guns off the shelves at sporting goods stores. It will not matter, because of this mysterious phenomenon (observed mostly by police officers in the moments before an “officer-involved shooting”) where a completely innocuous object becomes, for a moment or two, a gun. It can even be a child who picks it up.

It cannot be that police officers do not know what guns look like. They seem perfectly capable of wielding them themselves. It is not that they do not know what cellphones look like. It can only be magic, and the magic does not change. […]

Later, when officers are called upon to justify their actions in these deaths, what matters is not whether their fear was reasonable, but whether the fear was real. And what is more frightening than impossible sorcery? Fear brings a magic all its own, by which cellphones become guns and people “bulk up” to run through bullets. It transforms teenagers into Hulk Hogan, into demons. You cannot say for certain what object will mutate next. It could be a Bible. It could be a hand in a pocket. With a fear so immense, you are right to act no matter how harmless the target may seem — whether it is a cellphone, or a pipe, or a father, or a child.

That is what makes these deaths justified: that moment of fear, that transforms something ordinary — a father, an iPhone — and makes it deadly. If these things could not be, if there were no fearful magic involved, these deaths would be utterly senseless.

No, it certainly cannot be that it is not happening at all.

So it is clear we can never solve the gun epidemic in this country. It is not because we cannot pass the laws. It is because there is sorcery happening, and until we stop this sorcery, there can be no progress.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:20 AM on April 6 [111 favorites]


A federal judge appointed by Ronald Reagan today upheld Massachusetts's ban on assault weapons. Gun owners sued last year after state AG Maura Healey proposed an order extending the law to "copy cat" weapons similar to the ones named in the original 1994 law save for a name change or minor modifications. In his ruling (2.2M PDF), Judge William Young said the weapons are weapons of war of the sort even Justice Scalia said were not covered by the 2nd Amendment. He concluded:
Both their general acceptance and their regulation, if any, are policy matters not for the courts, but left to the people directly through their elected representatives. In the absence of federal legislation, Massachusetts is free to ban these weapons and large capacity magazines. Other states are equally free to leave them unregulated and available to their law-abiding citizens. These policy matters are simply not of constitutional moment. Americans are not afraid of bumptious, raucous, and robust debate about these matters. We call it democracy.

Justice Scalia would be proud.
posted by adamg at 7:22 AM on April 6 [32 favorites]


The idea of Cargo Cults has been banging around in my brain lately, and I think to an extent it may apply to the entire Trump administration. Almost none of them have any real governmental experience, so their only idea of how the head of an executive branch acts and what the head of an executive branch does comes from TV, movies, and FOX news.

What we've got is sort of a Cargo Cult Presidency with Cargo Cult administrators.

Pruitt thinks being the secretary of a branch of government as being like those cool boss dudes in the spy movies he likes. So he wants a top secret phone booth in his office, and lots of bodyguards in shades, dark suits, and with those wikkid kewl transparent ear thingies. Because to him that's what "being the secretary of whatever" means. It means taking private jets everywhere and having bodyguards and top secret cool stuff in his office.

He's seeking the appearance of what he imagines the office involves viewed through the lens of his media exposure to the idea of top government officials. It's Cargo Cult. He has a vague half notion of how it's supposed to look, so he does that. But since he has no idea of what's actually involved he can't do anything more.

Same goes for Carson. He's obviously not been watching as many spy thrillers, so he's got his idea based on FOX stories about government waste and officials living high on the hog on taxpayer money. So he orders super expensive dining room furniture and office remodels. Because like Pruitt he has no idea what he's supposed to actually do or what his agency is supposed to actually do. He's going through the motions of what he imagines, based on his own media exposure, tells him the appearance of being a top government official is.

And the same applies to Trump. What does a President actually do? He has no clue. His knowledge of presidenting is based entirely on FOX and movies. So he takes important phone calls, and meets with important people, barks orders to his underlings, makes "tough calls" by going with his gut, and promises to fix everything. Like the rest of his administration, he's doing it all based on a fuzzy, movie and FOX news created, image of the superficial appearance of the Presidency not any actual understanding of the job as it truly exists.

It's Cargo Cult from top to bottom. They're just mimicking the surface appearance of what they misunderstand the job to entail. There's no need to think that Pruitt has any real reason for his bodyguards, they're just his image of what a very important government official looks like that's all.
posted by sotonohito at 7:32 AM on April 6 [138 favorites]


John Bowden, TheHill: Trump: I ‘probably’ won’t attend White House correspondents' dinner

Side note: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is expected to be there.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:41 AM on April 6 [7 favorites]


It's Cargo Cult from top to bottom.

Interesting, but not persuasive. Pruitt is a former rep and AG. He knows damn well what his office should look like.

Carson just has lousy and expensive tastes.

And the same applies to Trump. What does a President actually do? He has no clue.

OK, here I agree. Trump's mighty WALL is his fake runway, calling the cargo planes down to deliver cases of Diet Coke.
posted by SPrintF at 7:47 AM on April 6 [12 favorites]


It's Cargo Cult from top to bottom.

The thing is that the actual cargo cults were a lot saner and grounded in reality than the entitled-born-rich-arsewanks who coast on their trust funds and connections and wreck the world for the rest of us through their self-importance and ignorance.

Wonder if it's possible to just retcon the term.
posted by Buntix at 8:00 AM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Cargo cults weren't about a return to a imaginary better past, though many other cults are....they were a reaction to the sudden appearance and then disappearance of an entirely different technological order through a ritual frame.

Trump's a charlatan, and are his voters/rubes are his more typical cultists. The WALL is going to remove all of these thetans aliens around them so they can be free/great again.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:06 AM on April 6 [7 favorites]


I have an uninformed hypothesis that cargo cults were, at least at first, not the product of magical thinking but the product of rational people only familiar with naked eye navigation.
posted by LarsC at 8:15 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking was exactly the term I was trying to recall. IANAA, IANYA.
posted by Buntix at 8:20 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Real life cargo cults were largely a mix of anticolonial pretest and cults of personality. What sontohito referred to is the pop culture definition largely created by Feynman. And perhaps we should leave the derail there.
posted by Candleman at 8:24 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


She makes a good point. Why is he acting like someone with a target on his back? Is it paranoia, or does he have reason to be so scared?

I wouldn't piss on Pruitt if he was on fire, so I have to assume it's a pretty common opinion. I think the only thing that makes him unusual in this administration is that he doesn't think it the badge of honor the rest of them seem to.
posted by phearlez at 8:24 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


You cannot say for certain what object will mutate next. It could be a Bible. It could be a hand in a pocket. With a fear so immense, you are right to act no matter how harmless the target may seem — whether it is a cellphone, or a pipe, or a father, or a child.

Speaking of that, here's an article from the Onion:
Black Father Gives Son The Talk About Holding Literally Any Object
posted by zabuni at 8:24 AM on April 6 [50 favorites]


And one more from the Onion:
Report: This Not A Gun
Angry Onion is the best Onion.
posted by zabuni at 8:27 AM on April 6 [30 favorites]


Regarding the Sinclair employees who fear quitting because of fines- I feel like there should be some sort of GoFundMe to help them with these fees if they quit. I would donate to it. Has anyone heard of or seen anything like this happening? Google didn't turn anything up for me.
posted by robotdevil at 8:43 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


She makes a good point. Why is he acting like someone with a target on his back? Is it paranoia, or does he have reason to be so scared?

I think that's a misreading of what he's been doing and why. Demanding that the government pay to fly him first class 'as a security measure' isn't about security, it's about leveraging security as a bogeyman to make your life nicer and more pleasant. Demanding a security detail 24/7 and then using it to skirt traffic laws by using the security detail's sirens in non-emergency cases because you want to get to dinner or to a meeting isn't about security, it's about leveraging security as a bogeyman to make your life more convenient. Having a security phone site installed in his office isn't about security: it's about not having to leave his office. And so on. Some of this is also for prestige, or optics, but it's not really, I think, about security or paranoia.

Giving two close, personal aides that he brought up from prior jobs massive raises isn't about paranoia; it's a furtherance of the overall arc of graft that got him into this job, and keeps his life conveniently ordered.

The one exception might be his paranoia around leaks -- which, at this point, seems justified, even if the steps he's taken to stop them are unethical and unwarranted.
posted by cjelli at 8:49 AM on April 6 [14 favorites]




He also wanted a bulletproof desk, though, and had apparently instilled such paranoia in his security team that they broke down the door of his home to reach him because he took an afternoon nap. I feel like he's definitely paranoid, but it's an open question as to why:

Option 1: He's a narcissist, and decided that because he's so important and so powerful, somebody must surely be out to get him. Like how Roger Ailes was by all reports legitimately terrified that al-Qaeda would have him assassinated.

Option 2: He's internalized the right-wing narrative that environmentalists are terrorist maniacs, which is not entirely uncommon in the Midwest. For instance, a few years back an EPA water-permitting rule for large animal feedlots was stymied by farm groups whose members voiced persistent fears -- again, by all appearances sincere fears -- that because these permits are public records, environmental groups would comb through them for farm addresses and then blow the farms up.

Option 3: He's actually in danger thanks to some past corrupt activity that made him the enemy of someone who might actually have the EPA administrator assassinated in his office. This is the most far-fetched of the lot, but Pruitt's been in bed with shady oligarchs for a while now and sometimes that means taking sides against another shady oligarch.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:00 AM on April 6 [18 favorites]


I think that's a misreading of what he's been doing and why. Demanding that the government pay to fly him first class 'as a security measure' isn't about security, it's about leveraging security as a bogeyman to make your life nicer and more pleasant.

Specifically it's about avoiding the hoi polloi. From Here are some of the threats that allegedly require Scott Pruitt to fly first class:
Update: Pruitt speaks! Associated Press correspondent David Eggert reported Wednesday afternoon that the administrator said he needs to fly first class to avoid, in Eggert’s words, “unpleasant interactions with other travelers.”
posted by scalefree at 9:01 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


ZeusHumms: "John Bowden, TheHill: Trump: I ‘probably’ won’t attend White House correspondents' dinner"

Good. It should be abolished.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:06 AM on April 6 [18 favorites]


He also wanted a bulletproof desk, though

That's...apparently I am not as up-to-speed on the latest Pruitt scandals as I thought. Huh. That is harder to square with 'not really paranoid.'

(A bulletproof desk?)
posted by cjelli at 9:06 AM on April 6 [6 favorites]


After this latest round of tariff threats from Trump, I realized that Trump genuinely believes trade wars will be easy for him to win--because of our large trade deficits, we can threaten more tariffs than the adversarial nation. There simply aren't $100 billion of U.S. imports that China can raise tariffs on, so at some point they have to fold. What Trump probably hasn't considered is that China also imports a ton of debt from us in the form of Treasury bonds. If China chooses to sell (or even just stop purchasing!) Treasuries, interest rates will spike on not just government debt but mortgages, business loans, etc. There are probably other economic levers China has that I'm not aware of as a random news junkie. Additionally, China also can punish the Trump Crime Family *personally* by pressuring countries in their orbit to quash any business deals the Trump Org has in the works. In contrast, I assume Xi doesn't care nearly as much about the exact size of his personal fortune, and I doubt Trump could impact Xi's fortune in the same way.

Which brings me to the scary part: if China retaliates to massive tariffs by selling Treasuries or fucking with the Trump Org directly, Trump will be scrambling to find more leverage to reraise with. Ultimately, I fear that Trump thinks of the military and the nuclear arsenal as the final giant all-in bet that will force anyone to fold in a standoff.
posted by johnny jenga at 9:07 AM on April 6 [8 favorites]


the right-wing narrative that environmentalists are terrorist maniacs

Not just a narrative, but a legal framework in the U.S. at least: the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. From the citations of that Wikipedia article, a Guardian opinion piece of a few months ago: I released 2,000 minks from a fur farm. Now I'm a convicted terrorist—by Kevin Johnson.
posted by XMLicious at 9:11 AM on April 6 [10 favorites]


He also wanted a bulletproof desk

Know who else's life was saved by durable furniture?
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:20 AM on April 6 [12 favorites]


Not just a narrative, but a legal framework in the U.S. at least: the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.

And look who was one of the act's original sponsors: Sen. Jim Inhofe, Pruitt's mentor-slash-puppetmaster.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:22 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


House ratings changes from Cook. 13 changes, all towards the Dems.
CA-21: Valadao (R) | Likely R to Lean R

IA-02: Loebsack (D) | Likely D to Solid D

NV-03: OPEN (Rosen) (D) | Toss Up to Lean D

NV-04: OPEN (Kihuen) (D) | Lean D to Likely D

NJ-03: Tom MacArthur (R) | Likely R to Lean R

NJ-05: Josh Gottheimer (D) | Lean D to Likely D

NY-18: Sean Patrick Maloney (D) | Likely D to Solid D

NC-09: Robert Pittenger (R) | Likely R to Lean R

OH-10: Mike Turner (R) | Solid R to Likely R

WA-03: Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) | Solid R to Likely R

WA-05: Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) | Likely R to Lean R

WI-07: Sean Duffy (R) | Solid R to Likely R

WV-03: OPEN (Jenkins) (R) | Solid R to Likely R
posted by Chrysostom at 9:22 AM on April 6 [50 favorites]


Re: the Deadspin article on Sinclair broadcasting:
As one source put it, journalism school didn’t teach them how to respond when the corruption is coming from inside the house.

. . . SIGH

“I feel that Sinclair threw its employees under the bus,” a local news anchor said about being compelled to tape the now-infamous denunciation of the news media. “I feel that we have been used as pawns in whatever political game they’re playing at the corporate level.”

As opposed to what? Do they not appreciate that local news is part of forming public opinion? Did they think Sinclair cared about people? Their spokesman is Boris fucking Epshteyn. That should really be all anyone needs.

It's a sucky situation to be sure, but c'mon. We felt like we were being used to push an agenda? Well . . Yeah. That's . . that's the job. Ideally that agenda takes care of people and promotes good. But hey.

You see that door, Timmy? The one that says, "Do Not Enter, DANGER, Poisonous Radiation and Flying Rats, Keep Out" on it? Okay, don't go in that door ok?
posted by petebest at 9:25 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Hey, Chrysostom, when Cook Political Report posts these things, are they posting *all* the changes in polling, or just the ones that look good for Democrats? I ask because I'm not familiar with Cook's political leanings (if any). I'm assuming it's all the changes, but I just wanted to make sure.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:37 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Regarding the Sinclair employees who fear quitting because of fines-

Wait, what? I missed that story. Are they working under indentured servitude? Seems like that would be illegal. Though of a piece with the abusive NDAs of O'Reilly and Trump as abuse of contract law goes.
posted by msalt at 9:37 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


What we've got is sort of a Cargo Cult Presidency with Cargo Cult administrators.

You may be right as to Trump, but I think this is a bad misreading of Pruitt. When he was AG of Oklahoma, he literally engaged in a campaign of repeatedly suing the EPA to strike down various regulations. He is a proud friend of the oil and gas industry and is also equally proud to be enemy #1 of environmentalists everywhere.

Trump is stupid but Pruitt is malicious, and specifically malicious against the agency he now controls. It's like when Rick Perry bumbled about eliminating federal agencies, but Pruitt means it and he is in a position to very nearly make it happen.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:41 AM on April 6 [17 favorites]


New poll from WaPo (open in incognito to skirt paywall)

Tens of millions of Americans have joined protests and rallies in the past two years, their activism often driven by admiration or outrage toward President Trump, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll showing a new activism that could affect November elections.

Their writeup and accompanying video tries to present this as a "both sides are doing it" thing but the detailed results are, well:

Q: Please tell me if you have done each of the following activities in the past two years, or not. Combined: Attended a political rally, speech, or campaign event/Attended an organized protest, march, or demonstration of any kind.


Show results by: Liberal
Rallygoer 32%
Non-rallygoers 68%

Show results by: Conservative
Rallygoer 15%
Non-rallygoers 85%
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:41 AM on April 6 [16 favorites]


Wait, what? I missed that story. Are they working under indentured servitude? Seems like that would be illegal. Though of a piece with the abusive NDAs of O'Reilly and Trump as abuse of contract law goes.

There's a clause in their contracts that says they forfeit a fairly large sum if they quit before the contract term is up.
posted by scalefree at 9:41 AM on April 6 [3 favorites]



Regarding the Sinclair employees who fear quitting because of fines-

Wait, what? I missed that story. Are they working under indentured servitude? Seems like that would be illegal. Though of a piece with the abusive NDAs of O'Reilly and Trump as abuse of contract law goes.


It came up previously either in this thread or a previous thread, but LMGTFY (and also google it for myself because I forgot the details).

From the link:
"One employee did, however, quit after being forced to interview citizens with loaded political questions that he felt did not represent real journalism. Sinclair then sued him for nearly $6,000 in damages. In some cases, employees must pay up to 40% of their annual salary to Sinclair."
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:43 AM on April 6 [7 favorites]


runcibleshaw: "Hey, Chrysostom, when Cook Political Report posts these things, are they posting *all* the changes in polling, or just the ones that look good for Democrats? I ask because I'm not familiar with Cook's political leanings (if any). I'm assuming it's all the changes, but I just wanted to make sure."

It's everything, it's just that in the current environment, things are moving to the Dems.

The big three ratings outfits (Cook, Sabato, Gonzales) are all *temperamentally* conservative, but not necessarily *politically* conservative, if you follow me. So, they tend to start out early with district ratings that assume that things will go as they have in the past, incumbents tend to win, etc. Then, as new data comes in - polls, fundraising numbers - they adjust accordingly. Since we started with a GOP House but it's clearly a Democratic environment, we're seeing a lot of ratings changes toward the left.

FWIW, the ratings guys (they are all guys, unfortunately) tend to be pretty good at this - I don't have the figure to hand, but the accuracy of ratings at the end of the campaign is high.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:47 AM on April 6 [17 favorites]


It also says a lot about how bad our income inequality and precarity problems are that these people aren't in a position to surrender 5 months' pay in order to stand up for their deepest principles. I mean, I'm sure that's a genuine issue for them and I'm not saying they're bad people for it, but it kind of sucks for us as a society.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 9:48 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


Show results by: Liberal
Rallygoer 32%
Non-rallygoers 68%

Show results by: Conservative
Rallygoer 15%
Non-rallygoers 85%


Ahhh the old Both Sides are Doing It [but one side twice as much].
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:53 AM on April 6 [6 favorites]


I'm curious as to how well a lawsuit would go if a Sinclair anchor sued on the basis that corporate policy harmed their credibility as a journalist. Because that and screen presence are all they've got and they should absolutely be able to break the contract for fear it would affect their career.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:53 AM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Well, it's not only the prospect of being sued, but of never working again. I get the impression that TV news is a pretty small world, and in some markets, more than one outlet is owned by Sinclair. Honestly I don't know what I'd do if I were in that position. Perhaps not go out in a blaze of glory but rather attempt to reskill or network on the DL and then resign once I had a new gig lined up.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:53 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Trump’s Increasingly Secret Air and Drone Wars.
The US has quietly stepped up secrecy over its air wars in Afghanistan and Yemen since President Donald Trump entered office.
The American Civil Liberties Union called the new practices – discovered by the Bureau through interviews with past and present US military officials – “deeply disturbing”.
posted by adamvasco at 9:55 AM on April 6 [3 favorites]


I'm curious as to how well a lawsuit would go if a Sinclair anchor sued on the basis that corporate policy harmed their credibility as a journalist. Because that and screen presence are all they've got and they should absolutely be able to break the contract for fear it would affect their career.

I was thinking that same thing. If memory serves me correctly, the infamous denunciation of the mainstream media from the supercut wasn't led into with anything like "the following is an editorial statement from Sinclair Broadcasting." Doing so would have made clear -- accurately -- that the anchors were reading someone else's words. Instead, the stations implied those words were the personal opinion of the journalists (and it's telling that while conservatives routinely complain that liberal bias creeps into mainstream news coverage, they had no qualms about blatant editorializing during a newscast).

Doing such a thing should spell the end of a legitimate journalist's career -- for that matter, so should working at Fox. There's no way an actor could be held to a contract that required them to mutilate their face as part of a performance. Credibility is what journalists have, and Sinclair forced many of them to sacrifice theirs.
posted by Gelatin at 9:59 AM on April 6 [20 favorites]


Does China have screws they can turn against Russia? If they really wanted to assert themselves and humiliate the US, forcing Putin to make Trump call off a trade war would be a good way to do it.
posted by condour75 at 10:00 AM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Some more interesting very-much-not-both-sides crosstabs from that poll:

Q: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?
Show results by: Rallygoer

**NET Approve**
30%

Strongly approve 19%
Somewhat approve 10%

**NET Disapprove**
70%

Somewhat disapprove 7%
Strongly disapprove 62%

Don't know 1% [lol god bless these people]


Q: How likely are you to vote in the congressional election in 2018 - are you absolutely certain to vote, will you probably vote, are the chances 50-50, or less than that?


Show results by: Rallygoer

Absolutely certain to vote 83%
Probably vote 10%
Chances 50/50 4%
Less than 50/50 1%
Don't think will vote (Vol.) 1%
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:04 AM on April 6 [19 favorites]


Meanwhile in Russia: In Russia, a democratically elected mayor finally succumbs to Putinism.
For a government that claims to be popular, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime is strikingly afraid of elections. On the national level it has tamed them with a series of administrative obstacles and the removal of opponents. On the regional level it has created a system that essentially allows incumbent governors to hand-pick their challengers. And on the municipal level it has decided to do away with alternate candidates altogether.

Directly elected mayors were once the norm in Russian cities. Today they are fast approaching extinction. As of last week, only eight of Russia’s regional capitals — less than a 10th — still allowed citizens to elect their mayors. As of this week, the number is down to seven.

The latest casualty in the Kremlin’s campaign is Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city of roughly 1.5 million. On Tuesday, the regional legislature abolished direct elections for the city’s mayor, replacing them with a bureaucratic appointment procedure. The discussion in committee took all of 15 minutes; the law was passed in three readings on one day; and no one bothered with providing even a formal justification, except that doing away with elections would save taxpayer money.
posted by scalefree at 10:11 AM on April 6 [14 favorites]


and no one bothered with providing even a formal justification, except that doing away with elections would save taxpayer money.

Sounds familiar, where have I heard that before...
A D.C.-based political group wants to force Wisconsin taxpayers to waste money on special elections at a time when our Legislature is ready to adjourn for the year,” Walker said. “It would be senseless to waste taxpayer money on special elections just weeks before voters go to the polls when the Legislature has concluded its business.”
posted by J.K. Seazer at 10:37 AM on April 6 [34 favorites]


Because it suits these fuckers to use the phrase "Global Warming" (rather than Climate Change) and to take it literally.

It was a big mistake for climate scientists to knuckle under to the deniers' disingenuous braying about cold weather disproving global warming. The problem IS that the globe is warming and that weather becomes more unstable as that happens. By switching to "climate change" they ceded the framing war to the deniers, who claim that the change from global warming to climate change was an admission of error.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:38 AM on April 6 [13 favorites]


I don't have any problem with reframing the issue as anthropogenic climate change and then defending it as a more accurate description, since science can always admit to changing descriptions as they become more refined.
The deniers are willfully blind to this issue anyway. climate is not weather, and it may be that as the waters around greenland become diluted by glacial run-off and the gulf-stream possibly fades, the east coast of the US actually gets remarkably colder.
Climate change deniers just naturally fit with the "anything Obama was for I'm against" narrative anyway, so voting is our best defense.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:46 AM on April 6 [9 favorites]


A D.C.-based political group wants to force Wisconsin taxpayers to waste money on special elections

Does Gov. Walker fly commercial coach?
posted by rhizome at 10:46 AM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Looks like we finally have an answer to that ancient conundrum of the irresistible force vs the immovable object. The irresistible force wins.

Inside a White House in tumult, John Kelly’s clout dwindles.
WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Donald Trump made a congratulatory phone call to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, White House chief of staff John Kelly wasn’t on the line.

When Trump tapped John Bolton to be his next national security adviser, Kelly wasn’t in the room.

And when Trump spent a Mar-a-Lago weekend stewing over immigration and trade, Kelly wasn’t in sight.

Kelly, once empowered to bring order to a turbulent West Wing, has receded from view, his clout diminished, his word less trusted by staff and his guidance less tolerated by an increasingly go-it-alone president.

Emboldened in his job, Trump has rebelled against Kelly’s restrictions and mused about doing away with the chief of staff post entirely. It’s all leading White House staffers and Trump allies to believe that Kelly is working on borrowed time.

In recent weeks, Trump has governed at breakneck pace, ousting aides and issuing surprise policy announcements on Twitter, recreating the helter-skelter feel of his first months in office. Kelly’s allies maintain that his retreat is strategic. They suggest that the belief that Kelly was Trump’s savior was an overstated idea all along and that the chief of staff is now content to loosen the reins and allow an increasingly comfortable president to govern from his gut.

But those close to the president say that Trump has increasingly expressed fatigue at Kelly’s attempts to shackle him and that while Trump is not ready to fire Kelly, he has begun gradually freezing out his top aide.

Trump recently told one confidant that he was “tired of being told no” by Kelly and has instead chosen to simply not tell Kelly things at all, according to a person who was not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Trump’s West Wing, once the rumors begin that an aide’s exit is forthcoming, the “stink” on that staffer never leaves, according to one of the nearly dozen White House aides, former administration officials and outside advisers who spoke to The Associated Press under the same conditions.
posted by scalefree at 10:50 AM on April 6 [17 favorites]


Trump: I ‘probably’ won’t attend White House correspondents' dinner

Side note: Sarah Huckabee Sanders is expected to be there.


So a man who says he's brave enough to take on a school shooter is still scared of a dinner. And he'll put a female subordinate there instead of him. What a guy.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:52 AM on April 6 [33 favorites]


@BrookingsInst: US tax revenues this year will be lower than any non-recession time of the last 50 years

Let's just hop on in the 'ol wayback machine all the way back to...September: Clip and save quote from Mnuchin: “Not only will this tax plan pay for itself, but it will pay down debt,”

That Mnuchin is allowed to wander this earth without being asked about this every single day is a disgrace.
posted by zachlipton at 11:01 AM on April 6 [89 favorites]


Meanwhile in Russia: In Russia, a democratically elected mayor finally succumbs to Putinism.
For a government that claims to be popular, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime is strikingly afraid of elections. On the national level it has tamed them with a series of administrative obstacles and the removal of opponents. On the regional level it has created a system that essentially allows incumbent governors to hand-pick their challengers. And on the municipal level it has decided to do away with alternate candidates altogether.

Directly elected mayors were once the norm in Russian cities. Today they are fast approaching extinction. As of last week, only eight of Russia’s regional capitals — less than a 10th — still allowed citizens to elect their mayors. As of this week, the number is down to seven.
...
posted by scalefree at 10:11 AM on April 6 [4 favorites +] [!]


Staunch anti-communists used to point to the USSR as evidence that Communism inevitably leads to totalitarianism. We now have solid proof that totalitarians lead to totalitarianism and the question of whether Communism does is still unsettled.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:12 AM on April 6 [39 favorites]


So a man who says he's brave enough to take on a school shooter is still scared of a dinner.

Also not brave enough to throw out a baseball on opening day.
posted by peeedro at 11:13 AM on April 6 [6 favorites]


It's my birthday so I would like to take this opportunity to ask you, O Universe, to deliver us one hell of a scoop this afternoon, please and thank you.
posted by Aubergine at 11:13 AM on April 6 [58 favorites]


That Mnuchin is allowed to wander this earth without being asked about this every single day is a disgrace.

Of course it takes a certain amount of time to see the benefits of all of the investment back into the economy that these tax breaks will allow for.

Being from Kansas, I know that if that never materializes, it just means that taxes are still too high, regulations too restrictive, and we need to take drastic steps to get spending under control.
---
I try not to be sarcastic on the internet but it is hard these days, mefi.
posted by history_denier at 11:19 AM on April 6 [13 favorites]


In terms of the snowy sign about global warming, IIRC it’s intended to be humorous. The sign is outside a candy store in a small MN town, and it’s poking fun at the fact that we’ve gotten like a foot of snow in the last week and single-digit lows, despite it being the first week of April. I could be wrong and maybe the store owner is a Trump-voting climate denier.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:28 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]


(For that matter, it could well be making fun of Trump’s claim that climate change is a hoax, plus his ongoing insistence that he can personally affect global-scale events just by tweeting about how he thinks it should be.)
posted by Autumnheart at 11:31 AM on April 6


In terms of the snowy sign about global warming, IIRC it’s intended to be humorous. The sign is outside a candy store in a small MN town, and it’s poking fun at the fact that we’ve gotten like a foot of snow in the last week and single-digit lows, despite it being the first week of April.

Yes, but it's humor that's dependent on an understanding of 'global warming' to mean 'every day will be a hotter day than it would otherwise be,' which is not an accurate summation of what the term 'really' means - I put that in quotes because that is how a lot of people do mean it. Pushing energy into the climate leads to divergent and unexpected weather patterns that both high and low. That's why 'global climate change' is more descriptive -- even if the average temperature increases, it doesn't mean we won't see -- indeed, we should expect to see -- regional variations.

'It's a joke' isn't a defense when the joke reinforces a false and damaging understanding of how the world works: the problem is that the statement reinforces a false and damaging understanding, not that it's too serious. Whether or not it's poking fun at Trump is moot within that context.

This is almost certainly too much analysis to type out in response to the President's son hitting a like button on Twitter. But! Here we are.
posted by cjelli at 11:36 AM on April 6 [11 favorites]


I could be wrong and maybe the store owner is a Trump-voting climate denier.

I don't see a meaningful difference between "LOL global warming amirite" and "carbon dioxide is good for the planet, don't let (((Soros))) tell you otherwise." It's as little a joking matter these days as racism, and if you wouldn't give a person saying "it's just a non-PC joke, c'mon" a pass, you shouldn't for this either. As for it possibly poking fun at Trump, we're so through the authoritarian looking-glass now that it's impossible to tell earnest from satirical and I make a habit of not giving people the benefit of the doubt on questions of Poe's Law.
posted by Rust Moranis at 11:36 AM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Had a bit of a laugh this morning when a pundit on 1A asserted without proof that Trump was referring to the migrant caravan in Mexico as "a metaphor for the immigration problem."

No. Trump wouldn't know a metaphor if it bit him on the ass. If you've observed him for more than two seconds, you quickly realize he is driven by concrete, simple perceptions that would never allow for any literary device. Hysteron proteron is not in his toolkit.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:43 AM on April 6 [9 favorites]



'It's a joke' isn't a defense when the joke reinforces a false and damaging understanding of how the world works: the problem is that the statement reinforces a false and damaging understanding, not that it's too serious. Whether or not it's poking fun at Trump is moot within that context.


Of course it’s a defense. Because it’s a joke about the weather, on a sign outside a candy store in a small town. It is not official government policy being disseminated by an official government functionary ffs. Jesus. What’s next, pinning the responsibility for the success of Russian propaganda on the Onion?
posted by Autumnheart at 11:51 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Trump knows what a metaphor is. He recited that snake poem at every stupid rally.

That said, he's being absolutely literal about the caravan, but still. We go a little overboard here with parsing his words and actions under the assumption that he's profoundly cognitively impaired.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:51 AM on April 6 [6 favorites]


Had a bit of a laugh this morning when a pundit on 1A asserted without proof that Trump was referring to the migrant caravan in Mexico as "a metaphor for the immigration problem."

The fact it's the latest in a series of human rights marches (named Via Crucis) & that its participants are fleeing persecution, plan on turning themselves in & asking for asylum at the border doesn't seem to be getting much traction. I think if people understood that it would have much more support.
posted by scalefree at 11:51 AM on April 6 [12 favorites]


How “Effective” Is Scott Pruitt, Really?
“Governing by press release”—that’s how David Hayes, Environmental Impact Center’s executive director, described Pruitt’s strategy in an email. He likely intended it as a negative. But in Trump’s world, the press release—or the television appearance, or the tweet—is everything. The positive glow of a press release, however, only lasts so long. If Pruitt continues to lose court battles over his regulatory actions, he also stands to lose Trump’s support. After all, there’s nothing Trump hates more than losing court battles.

Lawsuits are still brewing over Pruitt’s delay of an Obama-era clean water rule, his repeal of vehicle emissions standards, and his decision to allowed the continued use of the controversial pesticide chlorpyrifos. Environmentalists and other opponents of Pruitt shouldn’t assume he will lose these challenges. He’s not only indefatigable and experienced in litigation, but has help: “Mr. Pruitt has outsourced crucial work to a network of lawyers, lobbyists and other allies, especially Republican state attorneys general, a network he worked with closely as the head of the Republican Attorneys General Association,” according to the Times.

Pruitt’s reported political ambitions—to become the next U.S. attorney general, or even president—indicate he fully intends to follow through on his deregulatory agenda. He should not be underestimated. To date, though, most of his alleged accomplishments are hollow or incomplete.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:52 AM on April 6 [9 favorites]


In terms of the snowy sign about global warming, IIRC it’s intended to be humorous.

It wasn't all that humorous in 2015 when the sign read

JOIN THE
MOVEMENT
#CARAMELAPPLELIVESMATTER

posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:00 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]


Of course it takes a certain amount of time to see the benefits of all of the investment back into the economy that these tax breaks will allow for.

I wound up talking to a guy on a bus last week who over the course of conversation self-identified as a Republican (which shocked the shit out of me because we'd already covered the fact that he's a roboticist, a student, and a Canadian-American dual citizen like myself). We were talking about politics to begin with, but it was a civil conversation where mainly I felt like maybe he was studying me? (Bougie liberals like myself are dime a dozen in both of our neighborhoods so I'm not sure why this was necessary but whatever.) Anyway, it was immensely satisfying that my literal parting exchange with him as I exited the bus was about Medicare for all and how that's paid for (which was...a fairly rich question coming from someone who lived in Canada until college?). He said quite matter-of-factly in reply to my suggestion that the revenue problem is solvable by raising more revenue (yeah I am working on my TED Talk about this shocking finding) said, "Well, but then the economy stagnates."

Me: I don't think that's actually born out by the available empirical evidence oh hey this is my stop nice meeting you byeeeeee!!! :D
posted by soren_lorensen at 12:04 PM on April 6 [11 favorites]


The fact it's the latest in a series of human rights marches (named Via Crucis) & that its participants are fleeing persecution, plan on turning themselves in & asking for asylum at the border doesn't seem to be getting much traction.

My knowledge that this so-called "caravan" consists of refugees planning to apply for asylum at the US border, which is a fully legal process, comes from MetaFilter, and not -- not at all -- from NPR.

(I'll also note that NPR also constantly frames the Oklahoma teacher's strike as a dispute over pay, when the teachers' demands very much includes addressing the chronically underfunded school system itself.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:06 PM on April 6 [27 favorites]


Of course it’s a defense. Because it’s a joke about the weather, on a sign outside a candy store in a small town.

Those are two separate things. 'It's a joke' isn't a defense: ironic racism is still racism. Ironic denial of global climate change is still denial. It doesn't become okay to perpetuate false and damaging ideas by joking about them.

'It's a small town and not government speech so we shouldn't spent time talking about this' is a totally different thing and not something I was commenting on or intending to respond to.
posted by cjelli at 12:09 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Well, then by all means call them up and lecture them about denying climate change.
posted by Autumnheart at 12:12 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


NYT: Chief of Staff Advised a Resistant Trump to Fire E.P.A. Chief by JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and LISA FRIEDMAN

"John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told President Trump last week that Scott Pruitt, his embattled administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, needed to go, according to two officials briefed about the conversation, following damaging allegations of ethical infractions and spending irregularities by the E.P.A. chief.

"But Mr. Trump, who is personally fond of Mr. Pruitt and sees him as a crucial ally in his effort to roll back environmental protections, has resisted firing him, disregarding warnings that the drumbeat of negative headlines has grown unsustainable, and that more embarrassing revelations could surface."
posted by reductiondesign at 12:20 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


[Maybe let's drop the candy store sign thing at his point.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:21 PM on April 6 [11 favorites]


It continues to get stupider. Politico, Pruitt was 'the Kato Kaelin of Capitol Hill', in which he was only supposed to stay for six weeks:
They drew up a lease running from February through April of 2017, said the people familiar, in order to make sure neither they nor Pruitt ran afoul of ethics rules, which prohibit political appointees from accepting gifts from lobbyists. Under the terms of that lease, Pruitt paid a cut-rate of $50 per night to live in the Hart’s condominium.

That favor turned into a headache for the couple when Pruitt repeatedly asked to extend his lease and the couple began to wonder if he would ever leave. “There were gentle questions regarding, ok, when are you going to leave and what have you...and they even started sending him ads of places close by that he could rent,” said the first person.

“Scott Pruitt is the Kato Kaelin of Capitol Hill. He is the long-term houseguest who takes advantage of his hosts and refuses to take a hint about when it’s time to leave,” the second person said.

A spokesman for Pruitt did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The Harts eventually told Pruitt, who had to be reminded repeatedly to pay his rent, that they had plans to rent the room to somebody else — and that he needed to find another place to live, according to the people familiar with events. They also informed him in early August that they were changing the locks on their door.
This isn't really the point, but I was not informed that anybody was still making Kato Kaelin jokes in this our year of 2018.
posted by zachlipton at 12:21 PM on April 6 [80 favorites]


Okay, wait. I haven't been keeping up well. Is the going theory that Pruitt is under so much fire because it's just his turn and everything is caving in on him now, or is there strong suspicion that Sessions is driving this to undermine him as a possible replacement or something?

As usual, nothing in this regime is too melodramatic and ridiculous for reality. It's never nuanced enough for fiction, but reality doesn't seem to give a damn anymore.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:28 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


He's collateral damage in the Rob Porter fiasco.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:33 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


I think this probably means something. 2015 email from Felix Sater to Michael Cohen about a letter of intent for Trump Moscow.
posted by scalefree at 12:38 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


He's collateral damage in the Rob Porter fiasco.

And the fact that we are being spared a probable constitutional crisis* by the crazed revenge of a former WH staffer and abuser on his ex that coincidentally happens to splash onto Pruitt is just perfect for this timeline.


* Trump replaces Sessions with Pruitt, Pruitt fires or neuters Mueller
posted by chris24 at 12:40 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


Trump knows what a metaphor is. He recited that snake poem at every stupid rally.

That said, he's being absolutely literal about the caravan, but still. We go a little overboard here with parsing his words and actions under the assumption that he's profoundly cognitively impaired.


He's intellectually lazy and emotionally stunted.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:49 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


And the fact that we are being spared a probable constitutional crisis*

I certainly hope so, but Pruitt hasn't gone anywhere yet:
Pruitt Is the Right’s Trial Run for Ignoring Mueller

posted by Atom Eyes at 12:49 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


ZeusHumms: "John Bowden, TheHill: Trump: I ‘probably’ won’t attend White House correspondents' dinner"

Good. It should be abolished.


Agree x1000, though I will say I think it's a useful reminder that everyone who opts to go to this inappropriate embarrassment (most everyone in government journalism) should remain a target of a skeptical eye. It's a good reminder of the ubiquity of the cult of access.

It's a sucky situation to be sure, but c'mon. We felt like we were being used to push an agenda? Well . . Yeah. That's . . that's the job. Ideally that agenda takes care of people and promotes good. But hey.

Most journalists can't see this because they're too invested in the idea of the view from nowhere. They won't let themselves acknowledge that news is impossible to report absent some bias, given that it inherently involves selecting what to report and what not to report. If they can't accept that how do you expect them to examine the impact of their framing or embrace the idea that they might have a moral obligation beyond simply speaking?
posted by phearlez at 12:55 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


The administration's moves on tariffs -- first on steel and aluminum and now specifically targeting China -- have been causing volatility in the stock market. North Korea, Iran, and other provocations have likewise caused market swings, as did various tweet storms until people re-calibrated how seriously to take the president's statements.

It seems like arbitrage and high-frequency trading profit off of market volatility regardless of whether stocks ultimately show persistent gains, so hedge funds must enjoy this kind of chaos.

Has anyone seen any articles discussing the idea that generating chaos might be a way of paying back Robert Mercer and Co. for their support?
posted by duoshao at 1:21 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


I called my Iowa U.S. Senators (both Republicans) to ask if they agreed with the President that this trade war was "good, and easy to win" and/or that "when you're $500 billion down, you can't lose!", given the importance of soybean exports to China in the Iowa economy. I was told that both senators have issued statements criticizing the administration's actions and calling on the administration to not provoke Chinese retaliation against American agriculture. I applauded the statements and noted that the President has heard the Senator's requests and responded by threatening an additional tariff on $100bn of Chinese goods, precisely the opposite of what the senators requested. I suggested, crazy as it is to say out loud, that perhaps Donald Trump doesn't actually care about the economy of the state of Iowa. I expressed my joy at how fortunate it was that Senators Ernst and Grassley could join together to deny the President a Senate majority and could achieve pretty much any administration action they wanted. I questioned whether this was likely based on the senators' evident terror of receiving an angry tweet, and their lack of concern regarding the President doing the bidding of the Russian Federation in undermining America's economy and status in the world in order to protect the only human beings he cares about, himself and his immediate family. I was thanked and my messages will be passed along
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:34 PM on April 6 [130 favorites]


Has anyone seen any articles discussing the idea that generating chaos might be a way of paying back Robert Mercer and Co. for their support?

That would imply strategic intent by Trump. We've seen no evidence that he has the mental capacity to devise or implement that sort of thing & a huge mountain of evidence that he doesn't due to thought patterns resulting from his narcissism that cause him to respond in the moment to urges & impulses.
posted by scalefree at 1:37 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Blake Farenthold (R) has resigned from Congress, effective as of now.
posted by cjelli at 1:50 PM on April 6 [60 favorites]


He was already going to resign at the end of his term, due to sexual harassment scandals. Presumably there's some new scandal.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:52 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]


Presumably there's some new scandal.

I'm presuming it's the ongoing scandal of his still not having paid back any of the money he paid out from his campaign funds to cover up the existing sexual harassment scandals, rather than something new, but time will tell.
posted by cjelli at 1:54 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


That would imply strategic intent by Trump. We've seen no evidence that he has the mental capacity to devise or implement that sort of thing & a huge mountain of evidence that he doesn't due to thought patterns resulting from his narcissism that cause him to respond in the moment to urges & impulses.

Sure, long term and complex strategies are unlikely, but this is no more complicated than "visit Mar-a-Lago with foreign dignitaries to drive up membership costs".
posted by duoshao at 1:55 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Ok but does this mean he's running out on the $84,000 in settlement money he claimed he'd pay back?
posted by zachlipton at 1:58 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Woooooooooooooot! Sorry, but that guy is such a creeper. Now let's see what he did that was even worse.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:02 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Has anyone seen any articles discussing the idea that generating chaos might be a way of paying back Robert Mercer and Co. for their support?


It's the other way round. Mercer supported Trump because Trump is incapable of governing well.
posted by benzenedream at 2:09 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


There is so much going on that it is hard to digest. I'm finally getting down to read this long form New Yorker article about the Saudi Crown prince, and this stands out:
M.B.Z. arrived at the meeting, in the Trump Tower penthouse, with an entourage of about thirty people. He was dressed in combat boots and jeans, and some of his men were armed. For most of the first hour, he and the Trump aides engaged in a relatively conventional discussion of Middle East policy, but the talk grew more animated as the two sides realized that they shared a common fixation on Iran. The meeting evolved into a planning session on how the Trump White House would confront the Iranian regime in the Gulf.

A few weeks later, just after the Inauguration, Kushner began advocating a new outreach to Saudi Arabia. In his plan, Trump would visit Riyadh for a summit of fifty-five Muslim-majority countries. “Jared was the engine for all this,” the former defense official said. In a single gathering, Trump could introduce himself to the Muslim world, reëstablish America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, put Iran on notice, and communicate to everyone present how the Administration felt about M.B.S. “The whole establishment was opposed to it—State, D.O.D., Treasury, everyone,” the former defense official said. There were concerns about endorsing M.B.S. and rupturing the relationship with bin Nayef. “The fear was: You can’t engage with M.B.S. You can’t be doing this stuff, because that’s going to upset things. It might show favoritism. We’ve got a partner. Let’s stick with stability.”


What is this even? I've been writing and rewriting my thoughts about this article for a while, but in the end, it's so disastrous I can't. The evens are gone. I'll be out stocking up on canned food for a while.
posted by mumimor at 2:12 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Blake Farenthold (R) has resigned from Congress

we mourn the loss of another great statesman
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:15 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]


from way up thread:

> they are also narrow-minded in the sense that they can't imagine other people having different values. I see this most often with people who think money is the only motivator

> The political imagination of an entire country in general but of the respectable op-ed upper class types specifically is extremly artificially limited.

not sure if this has been linked, but...
The Teachers' Strikes Have Exposed the GOP's Achilles Heel - "Last week, Republicans in Oklahoma voted to raise taxes on fossil fuel companies, so as to increase pay for public sector workers..."
posted by kliuless at 2:16 PM on April 6 [36 favorites]


Seems like a good time to call your congresspeople and let them know that this idea is not compatible with freedom of the press:

Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And 'Media Influencers' [Forbes]
posted by Emmy Rae at 2:18 PM on April 6 [57 favorites]


Competition: find the best graph showing how bad the US student debt problem actually is

I was looking at the steady increase in reporting on how dangerous and insane the debt situation is, from student loan defaultments to private equality basically burning down businesses for the insurance money, and I realized I felt this exact feeling before. Fall of 2007.
posted by The Whelk at 2:21 PM on April 6 [41 favorites]


Seems like a good time to call your congresspeople and let them know that this idea is not compatible with freedom of the press

I know everyone is panicking over this, going so far as to speculate that critical journalists could have trouble leaving the country, and I understand the impulse to assume the worst when it comes to DHS, but this really seems like pretty bog standard media monitoring stuff to me.
posted by zachlipton at 2:31 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]




The New Yorker's online Daily Cartoon has been getting a lot more political lately, with most of them featuring Trump. But the EPA got one from NYer regular Peter Kuper earlier this week and today featured Pruitt by name about his not-environmental issues.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:40 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


M.B.Z. arrived at the meeting.... communicate to everyone present how the Administration felt about M.B.S.

who are MBZ and MBS?
posted by thelonius at 2:51 PM on April 6


M.B.S. is crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. M.B.Z. is crown prince of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:53 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


I know everyone is panicking over this, going so far as to speculate that critical journalists could have trouble leaving the country, and I understand the impulse to assume the worst when it comes to DHS, but this really seems like pretty bog standard media monitoring stuff to me.

Well, that's certainly their story, though they didn't word it quite so delicately:
DHS Press Secretary Tyler Q. Houlton [via Twitter] —
Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:54 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Manafort's legal team isn't done challenging Mueller. Today, they filed a Bill of Particulars demanding the Special Counsel identify "how the Defendant 'caused' the alleged actions", "the generally alleged false and misleading statements", and "the alleged 'accomplices' and 'others'". This is the kind of fishing expedition high-priced attorneys embark on for a Friday afternoon, but good luck getting Mueller or the judge to take the bait.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:58 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Weren't we talking just this morning about how low-profile Rick Perry has been at Dept of Energy? The New Yorker has a piece about corruption in the department, and retaliation against a whistleblower.
posted by suelac at 2:59 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


black helicopter conspiracy theorists

You mean your voting base?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:05 PM on April 6 [20 favorites]


Happy Friday. CNN, Jenna McLaughlin, Jim Sciutto and Carl Bernstein, Exclusive: Trump adviser played key role in pursuit of possible Clinton emails from dark web before election
A Donald Trump foreign policy adviser pushed government agencies to review materials from the dark web in the summer of 2016 that he thought were Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, multiple sources with direct knowledge tell CNN.

Joseph Schmitz approached the FBI and other government agencies about material a client of his had discovered that Schmitz believed might have been Clinton's missing 30,000 emails from her private e-mail server, sources say. The material was never verified, and sources say they ultimately believed it was fake.

His push is the latest example of Trump advisers who were mixed up in efforts to find dirt on Clinton during the presidential campaign. Schmitz was one of the first people Trump named to his campaign's national security and foreign policy team. The team, showcased in a March 2016 photo, was thrown together early in Trump's successful run as he faced mounting pressure to prove his ability to pull in high-level advisers who could help prepare him for the White House.
My initial quick read of this is that an awful Trump advisor got offered a bunch of fake emails by someone and tried to give them to a wide variety of government agencies to try to get Clinton in trouble (which is interesting in light of all the Trump campaign folks who didn't go to law enforcement when they became aware of information about hacked documents), none of which took the bait. I fear this is going to be used to start another round of right-wing attacks that the FBI never looked for the Clinton emails or something equally stupid.
posted by zachlipton at 3:15 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]


Orrin Hatch sold out and supported Trump and all he got was this lousy t-shirt.
posted by peeedro at 3:40 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Need a [real] or [fake] on that Orrin Hatch photo, peedro
posted by yoga at 3:56 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Need a [real] or [fake] on that Orrin Hatch photo, peedro

Saw it yesterday, pretty sure it's real. Here's the post it came from.
posted by scalefree at 4:00 PM on April 6


Hatch buys his T-shirts at Very Old Navy.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:01 PM on April 6 [16 favorites]


Today, they filed a Bill of Particulars demanding the Special Counsel identify "how the Defendant 'caused' the alleged actions", "the generally alleged false and misleading statements", and "the alleged 'accomplices' and 'others'". This is the kind of fishing expedition high-priced attorneys embark on for a Friday afternoon, but good luck getting Mueller or the judge to take the bait.

The beauty of this is Mueller's response can go from "nope" to deciding how many pages to return, since I'm sure in the Manafort file there's hundreds of pages that could be responsive.

And Friday Afternoon Filings only work to induce stress if you're unprepared.

Muller and his team of US Attorneys has literally been preparing their whole careers for this moment.
posted by mikelieman at 4:01 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]




Real, as tweeted by Hatch’s communications director.
posted by peeedro at 4:03 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


A Donald Trump foreign policy adviser pushed government agencies to review materials from the dark web in the summer of 2016 that he thought were Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, multiple sources with direct knowledge tell CNN.

That's got to be related to this WSJ story:
Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers.

In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.

“He said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this—if you find anything, can you let me know?’”
...
Those investigators have examined reports from intelligence agencies that describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary, according to U.S. officials with knowledge of the intelligence.
And this follow up story.
A longtime Republican activist who led an operation hoping to obtain Hillary Clinton emails from hackers listed senior members of the Trump campaign, including some who now serve as top aides in the White House, in a recruitment document for his effort.

The activist, Peter W. Smith, named the officials [Bannon, Conway, Clovis, Flynn] in a section of the document marked “Trump Campaign.” The document was dated Sept. 7, 2016. That was around the time Mr. Smith said he started his search for 33,000 emails Mrs. Clinton deleted from the private server she used for official business while secretary of state.
...
He and his associates said they were in touch with several groups of hackers, including two from Russia they suspected were tied to the Moscow government, in a bid to find any stolen emails and potentially hurt Mrs. Clinton’s prospects.
...
The document was included in a package of opposition research Mr. Smith shared through an encrypted email with Matt Tait, a cybersecurity expert who once worked for British intelligence. Mr. Tait said he was approached last summer by Mr. Smith, who wanted him to help verify whether emails offered to the group by hackers came from Mrs. Clinton’s private server.

After discussing his project by phone and in emails Mr. Smith gave him a document called the “KLS research packet,” which contained articles Mr. Smith planned to use for opposition research, Mr. Tait said. The packet cover sheet is the document that listed the Trump campaign officials. Mr. Smith’s name and phone number are typed at the bottom of it.
Matt Tait's version of this story.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:04 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


Not this again. S.C. Republicans introduce bill to consider secession over gun rights.

Par for the course, 'cause I'm pretty sure in a few years this entire country is going to need Radical Reconstruction Two.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:08 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


Radical Reconstruction Two? We never successfully finished Radical Reconstruction One...
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:27 PM on April 6 [36 favorites]


Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Homeland Security
_Sec_. _2_. _Ending "Catch and Release"_. (a) Within 45 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall submit a report to the President detailing all measures that their respective departments have pursued or are pursuing to expeditiously end "catch and release" practices. At a minimum, such report shall address the following:
At 7pm on a Friday night. This, of course, follows last year's memo on the same topic, so there's a case that it's more for PR value than anything else (except why roll it out at 7pm on a Friday night then?), but the clear intent is to crack down on asylum claims and further expand the use of immigration detention.

Which brings us to the LA Times, Soumya Karlamangla, Amid deportations, those in U.S. without authorization shy away from medical care
St. John’s, which treats more immigrants who lack legal status than any clinic in the state, often hears from patients who are afraid they’ll run into federal authorities on their way to the clinic, employees said. In the last several months, staff members have practiced forming a human chain around the facility, in case immigration agents do show up one day.
...
Many healthcare providers said they had to conduct special training on anxiety and depression related to deportation because so many people were experiencing such problems.

“We have kids coming in and crying, ‘What if they deport my dad?’” said Mangia, with St. John’s. “I don’t think we can underestimate the mental health impact.”

Some health workers recounted stories of children in border counties coming to school with two backpacks, one with their pencils and books, the other with their belongings in case their parents get deported. Others said they’d heard kids talking about who would take care of them if their parents were taken away.
posted by zachlipton at 4:35 PM on April 6 [35 favorites]


Moving Air Continues to Vex American President
Another L for America today as its president, Donald J. Trump, was once again vanquished by air moving through space at a high velocity. Commonly known as the phenomenon "Wind," it made quick work of the world leader and his hair.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:37 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


Commonly known as the phenomenon "Wind," it made quick work of the world leader and his hair.

Hm.

Someone should mention to him that climate change will also make the winds stronger.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 5:45 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


jfc this is an alarming graph right here. Nearly half of the US Federal Government's financial assets are student loans, up from 27% in 2015.

And per the latter link the answer to whose fault it is appears to genuinely be "Obamacare" for once, because some sort of program was put in place to balance the accounting in such a way as to count as "revenue-positive"—with that revenue deriving from an accelerated issue of loans from the Federal Direct Student Loan Program?
posted by XMLicious at 5:59 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


NYReview of Books on new edition of the Works of Caesar. Too timely in the most unnerving PKD 'the roman empire never died' way.

"Cicero praised Caesar’s Commentaries—the first example we have of Latin historical prose—as “naked, straightforward, and graceful, stripped of rhetorical ornament as of clothing.” Too long and too good a read to be Caesar’s official reports to the Senate, these must have been written for wider public consumption, presumably with an eye to the consular elections of 49: Caesar constantly emphasizes that he is acting on behalf of the Roman state, and that the Roman people are making huge territorial gains in Gaul. He writes with considerable style and attention to narrative, with exciting battles and detailed descriptions of encampments, bridge construction, and ship-building, and with an emphasis on the speed and scale of operations: the word “quickly” occurs sixty-two times, and “big” more than two hundred.

We naturally hear little of Caesar the man as opposed to the calm, decisive, and brilliant general. We must turn to his later biographers for accounts of the trimming, shaving, and plucking, the fringed and belted senatorial tunic, the comb-over he adopted to hide his baldness (and his relief when the Senate voted to give him the honor of wearing a laurel wreath at all times), the mosaic flooring he carried on campaigns to furnish his tent, his “falling sickness” (probably epilepsy), or his notorious aversion to alcohol. "
posted by rc3spencer at 6:01 PM on April 6 [14 favorites]


The WaPo has an article revealing the existence of a DHS biometric information program operating within Mexican detention centers since the GWB administration, U.S. gathers data on migrants deep in Mexico, a sensitive program Trump’s rhetoric could put at risk:
Operating in detention facilities in southern Mexico and here in the capital [of Mexico], Department of Homeland Security officials have installed scores of screening terminals to collect migrants’ fingerprints, ocular scans and other identifying features, including tattoos and scars.
...
The information gathered is immediately forwarded to DHS and other U.S. law enforcement and intelligence databases, alerting American officials if an individual in Mexican custody is a convicted criminal or in a category known as “Special Interest Aliens,” which includes potential extremists, according to current and former U.S. officials who described the program on the condition of anonymity because many of its details have not been public
...
Gustavo Mohar, a former top Mexican intelligence and immigration official, described the biometric program as “part of the bilateral package and the immigration policy of Mexico to prevent criminals or bad people from passing through Mexico and going to the United States.”

“This biometric interchange is a preventative measure to identify people of risk; it’s not that we’re letting pass gang members, rapists, everything that man said,” Mohar added, referring to Trump. “It’s frankly an open lie, what he’s saying.”
...
Angry Mexican senators this week also approved a nonbinding resolution calling on Peña Nieto to break off cooperation with the United States on security and migration issues. Laura Rojas, the head of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, said in support of the resolution that Trump’s behavior has been “permanently and systematically disrespectful and insulting,” and based on “prejudices and misinformation,” while making “frequent use of threats and blackmail.”

Such talk is unnerving to the U.S. diplomats who have worked for decades to overcome mistrust in Mexico and persuade authorities here to allow American officials to work alongside them despite the risk of public backlash.
posted by peeedro at 6:07 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


rc3spencer: People might be interested in the on-line supplementary essays on Julius Caesar. (All a single PDF but it downloads fast). The collapse of the Roman Republic bears too many resemblances to current American problems for comfort.
posted by CCBC at 6:18 PM on April 6 [4 favorites]


Backpage got seized by the government today. Keep an eye on what the DOJ does with the site's information. This will end up being less about combating trafficking, and more about punishing sex workers. Watch who ends up actually getting prosecuted due to Backpage. This is a nationwide prostitution bust.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:21 PM on April 6 [46 favorites]


On the Pruitt beat, there’s some ongoing rumors that underlying his strange behavior is a serious opioid drug problem.

I recognize this sounds a little crazy, but...

Consider the obsession with secrecy (building soundproof rooms?), his insistence on flying private, and pair that with his security forces having to bust through the door to his room because he didn’t respond to repeated inquiries only to be found “napping.”
posted by leotrotsky at 6:26 PM on April 6 [18 favorites]


Consider the obsession with secrecy (building soundproof rooms?), his insistence on flying private, and pair that with his security forces having to bust through the door to his room because he didn’t respond to repeated inquiries only to be found “napping.”

...and giving significant raises to his close subordinates, even after being told “No” from the White House.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:33 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


Moving Air Continues to Vex American President
Related: "Who wore it better?"
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:43 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


NYT, Kushner Partner in 666 Fifth Ave. Says It Has Deal to Sell, in which the Kushners are buying out Vornado to take full ownership of 666 Fifth Ave (which, incidentally, I walked past the other day, and the little "Kushner Companies" plaque really startles you in that "damn these assholes are everywhere" sort of way). There's a $1.4B mortgage due in 10 months, the building isn't worth what they paid for it, and sketchy deals to get financing from China and Qatar have fallen apart, which makes me wonder where they're getting the money now.
posted by zachlipton at 6:51 PM on April 6 [19 favorites]


Trump signs memo ending 'catch and release' immigration policy

As part of the memo, Trump asked Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to produce a list of military facilities that could be used to detain illegal immigrants.

So we're at concentration camps.
posted by adept256 at 7:10 PM on April 6 [108 favorites]


There's a $1.4B mortgage due in 10 months, the building isn't worth what they paid for it, and sketchy deals to get financing from China and Qatar have fallen apart, which makes me wonder where they're getting the money now.

Это тайна.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:47 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


On the Pruitt beat, there’s some ongoing rumors that underlying his strange behavior is a serious opioid drug problem. . . . his security forces having to bust through the door to his room because he didn’t respond to repeated inquiries only to be found “napping.”

The sirens-flashing dinner drives, and the "no recordings, no notes" soundproof-booth bulletproof-desk keep-me-away-from-them-on-the-plane paranoia sounded like classic speed dependency (no pun intended). Which one would need to pass out to come down from.

*shrug* Or he's a huuuuuuuge dickhead. Yeah yeah, the both, yes.
posted by petebest at 7:59 PM on April 6 [13 favorites]


The deadline for Paul Manafort's lawyers to file any motions to suppress evidence was set by the judge a month ago for tonight at midnight. At almost 10:30, they drop a "hey can we not just have the weekend but all of Monday too? We want to suppress the results of searching his house" filing.

What I'm saying is, there's increasing amounts of evidence his lawyers might also suck.

Also, DOJ will allow all members of the House and Senate Intel committees to view the FISA applications in the Russia investigation as "an extraordinary accommodation based on unique facts and circumstances," but Nunes wants further documents and is threatening to sue. So be prepared for a lot more nonsense there.
posted by zachlipton at 8:10 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Wait, so... is "catch and release" some actual policy that can actually be ended? I thought that was just a nationalist sound bite complaining how it's a terrible, terrible thing that habeas corpus exists and people aren't supposed to be indefinitely detained, or something. But the Reuters "article" (which contains only one sentence... adept256 quoted it in its entirety) doesn't appear to question that it's a real thing, nor do articles in The Hill and the NYT.

On preview, zachlipton linked to the text of the memo; the only substantial thing it appears to do is order a bunch of reports, but as he notes it's basically foreshadowing more xenophobia and anti-immigrant crap.
posted by XMLicious at 8:11 PM on April 6 [8 favorites]


On preview, zachlipton linked to the text of the memo; the only substantial thing it appears to do is order a bunch of reports, but as he notes it's basically foreshadowing more xenophobia and anti-immigrant crap.

And Backpage is the attack on sex workers, which is predominantly women. Rights are going to get tightened.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 8:22 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Re: Backpage. I have a friend who is a special agent in the Human Trafficking Group at DHS. He's very happy about this because it's something they've been working towards that they think will make a difference. Not to say the seized assets can't be used to go after sex workers, but they were definitely being used for trafficking and its shutdown is a very good thing in his opinion.
posted by chris24 at 8:42 PM on April 6 [10 favorites]


My willpower is doing double duty tonight preventing me from ranting against prohibition and the harms it does to sex workers. Suffice to say its complicated.
posted by Justinian at 8:50 PM on April 6 [15 favorites]


Welcome to the normal, low-end furniture for Trump Cabinet members store! (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Hi, and welcome to a definitely normal, inexpensive retailer of normal furniture at reasonable prices. Thanks for coming in, Mr. Secretary!

First, do you need office supplies? Be sure to check out our pens, which are $800 apiece and made of the shin bones of a saint. We also have cheap, low-end pens (ballpoint, with one color of ink) for $100, if you want to save.

Obviously, we offer a range of very affordable tables and chairs. These really run the gamut! On the high end, we have a saber-tooth tiger leather piece stuffed with an actual member of the middle class. Or you’ll probably want one like this — made from that same cheap and reasonable material, but it swivels! Or, if you’re desperate to save, on the low end, we have a barely acceptable, shoddy, disgusting chair that begins at the cheap price of $5,000. This hideous chair is made from the pelt of only a single snow leopard, and no effort was made to give the snow leopard a classical education.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:54 PM on April 6 [17 favorites]


As an aside, there was this recent thread about craigslist and prostitution, I recall backpage being mentioned there. We covered a lot of ground there on the complicated stuff.

My own personal opinion is that without legal venues for sex workers it's pretty obvious what happens next.
posted by adept256 at 8:58 PM on April 6 [7 favorites]


We Deeply Regret Hiring the Perpetrators of the Salem Witch Trials as Opinion Columnists (Bob Vulfov, McSweeney's)
Last week, after many fruitful discussions with the gentlemen behind the Salem witch trials, we here at The Atlantic made the decision to hire those men as opinion columnists. This was done in an effort to strengthen the diversity of thought within our op-ed section. We wanted to introduce some fresh, new, and extremely scary ideas into the mix. Although we were well aware of these individuals’ controversial views on due process and medicine, we simply could not pass up an opportunity to ignore massive red flags under the guise of nonpartisanship.

At the time we hired the Salem witch trial perpetrators, we were well aware of the inflammatory pamphlets they had distributed in the town square. We strongly believed no one’s life work should be judged by an intemperate pamphlet that depicts the female brain as being split into witch and non-witch halves. We refused to dismiss these men simply because they’ve openly stated that a woman who raises her voice has entered into an unlawful covenant with the Devil. Such a thought should not preclude these men from having fruitful careers at The Atlantic. […]

The perpetrators of the Salem witch trials are gifted writers and have been nothing but professional in all of our interactions. We still believe they are capable thought leaders with something valuable to say, even if that thing is that women are naturally predisposed to witchcraft because they are more susceptible than men to the Devil’s charms. Although we can no longer keep them employed at The Atlantic, we will be sure to write them glowing letters of recommendation, which they can parlay into gigs at the New York Times’ op-ed section.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:01 PM on April 6 [50 favorites]


Not to say the seized assets can't be used to go after sex workers, but they were definitely being used for trafficking and its shutdown is a very good thing in his opinion.

This is dangerous territory. Everything that can be used for any purpose can and will be used for a bad purpose. Banning opioids because people have overdosed. Banning cryptocurrencies because someone can buy drugs with them. Banning e-mail encryption because someone has plotted against a government. Not to cast aspersions upon him but it's unsurprising that your friend the DHS agent is going to see the law enforcement side, and not so much the impinging on various freedoms side.
posted by xigxag at 9:06 PM on April 6 [25 favorites]


I've always thought the last minute Paul Manaforte stuff was about delaying the prosecution and dragging the thing out for as long as possible. It's exactly what I would do if the charges against me could lead to a whopping 300 years in prison and the president's lawyer was negotiating a pardon with mine.
posted by xammerboy at 9:07 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]


My own personal opinion is that without legal venues for sex workers it's pretty obvious what happens next.

It's now clear that Backpage was much more involved in creating the ads, sometimes editing illegal content from them & even creating fake ads on rival sites that pointed back to them. Backpage has always claimed it doesn’t control sex-related ads. New documents show otherwise.
posted by scalefree at 9:10 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


[I think Backpage is becoming a derail now.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:12 PM on April 6 [12 favorites]


In other news, California's Better Senator, Kamala Harris, guested on The Ellen Show, kinda-denied running for the 2020 White House, and incurred the wrath of the Right Wing Media for a 'death joke':
ELLEN DEGENERES: If you had to be stuck in an elevator with either President Trump, Mike Pence, or Jeff Sessions, who would it be?
KAMALA HARRIS: Does one of us have to come out alive?

posted by oneswellfoop at 9:23 PM on April 6 [70 favorites]


Via Crucis; who's in it, what's it about & what's it like? A photo essay. On the road with the migrant caravan fleeing violence in their homelands.
posted by scalefree at 10:27 PM on April 6 [5 favorites]


Geez Louise. Open the border, take all comers. We need ‘em, they need us. That message sells, too, right and left.
posted by notyou at 10:58 PM on April 6 [19 favorites]


That message sells, too, right and left.

With everyone but racists, who are apparently plentiful but not a majority. So: fuck the racists, take the moral stand, get people on your side by pushing policies based on common sense and common decency. It's so painfully obvious that this is the correct strategy for democrats everywhere, maybe enough of them will finally figure it out this time around.
posted by contraption at 11:22 PM on April 6 [6 favorites]


I'm living in a different timeline apparently because if there's one thing the last couple years have shown in this one it is that a huge percentage of the country are either consciously or subconsciously racist and "open the border, take all comers" is in no possible sense a message which would sell to 95% of the right and probably 40% of the left.

That is not commentary on whether it is good policy. But I find it impossible to see what in the last 8 years would lead one to believe it would be effective messaging to win elections.
posted by Justinian at 11:35 PM on April 6 [34 favorites]


tl;dr - anybody for whom open borders would be an effective message is already a Democrat and probably already voting.
posted by Justinian at 11:36 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]


I don't think putting immigrants in "military detention centers" will sell well. I also can't believe he's considering making being caught sneaking over the border a felony. Moral considerations aside, this will be hugely expensive. Is there no bottom to these people's hate? Does their stupid, pointless, massively expensive, un-Christian, amoral, racist, unpractical hate have to be the most important thing in the universe?
posted by xammerboy at 11:42 PM on April 6 [9 favorites]


Their entire sense of self is based on being superior to the "others" and either having power over them or keeping away from them (both of which are based on de-humanizing them). In their minds, America is only the most powerful and greatest nation in the world if the White Males are running it, and if Trump is a piss-poor example of a White Male and is still in charge, it means you don't have to be smart, honest or any of those other 'virtues', just powerful. And that's the mindset of his 'base'.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:52 PM on April 6 [19 favorites]


I guess I understood "take all comers" to be at least a little hyperbolic. I think letting in anybody who shows up at the border wanting to announce themselves and make a claim for asylum from a violent home country is a policy that would be widely supported if well explained and advocated for. The racists can win when they're riled up and everyone else is apathetic, but the tables will turn if the Democrats take on the mantle of moral right and economic realism and fairness vs. the flailing bigoted kleptocracy of the Trumpists. Or we're just fucked, but I'd rather make a go of it than not.
posted by contraption at 12:01 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


he's considering making being caught sneaking over the border a felony.

So, my only understanding of this comes from John Oliver, but would this at least make it so that they’re entitled to lawyers? If they’re not currently because immigration is a civil matter, wouldn’t making it a felony mean they get lawyers?
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:34 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


On a different point, I find myself wondering if Trump's whole will I/won't I with the SC depo is a matter of:
a) His instinct that this is reality-show moment with a big show down between two leading characters, and he's playing that for as much of that as he's worth
b) He really has broken with reality and believes that he's a unicorn that shits rainbows and Mueller will just be wowed by him
c) He's gone all in on the divine right of kings idea
d) All of the above

And that ultimately, he'll ride in, plead the fifth a bunch of times, and ride out, having a perhaps not unjustified idea that Congress will do nothing.
posted by angrycat at 12:51 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Illegal entry is already a misdemeanor, and felony if you do it after you've previously been deported. There are thousands of prosecutions a month to the point where it's a large portion of the federal justice system.

Absent special circumstances, my understanding is that there's not a ton a lawyer can usually do for an illegal re-entry charge besides argue for a shorter sentence. As one federal public defender put it:
Defending a person charged with violating Title 8 U.S.C. 1326 can be a challenging venture. At face value, you are defending a person who is sitting across a table from you and who is charged with being here. Ah. The multiple defenses should come easily to mind, right? And what complicates the matter is that many of these poor souls are facing astronomical jail terms. So the equation goes something like this: a pretty defenseless case with a hardcore sentence. And then you think to yourself, Today is a good day to retire.
posted by zachlipton at 12:58 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


I have a theory on Trump wanting to meet with Mueller to answer questions too. In short, he never seriously considered it, knows how that looks, and so had it leaked that he wants to meet with Mueller but his lawyers won't let him. It's what almost anyone would do in his circumstances.

And... It would be almost unthinkably stupid to meet with Mueller and answer questions even if you're innocent. There's no lawyer that would recommend a client do that ever under any circumstances. There's a real risk of inadvertently committing a crime just by remembering something wrong. Think about every TV show you've ever seen ever where the lawyer tells their client not to talk to the cops, not to talk to anyone without them present (to mainly object). Think about Clinton. He was impeached for lying to congress, not for anything he did. I guess the one difference here is that Trump's lawyers probably don't trust him to not blurt something incriminating out even after they tell him not to answer a question.
posted by xammerboy at 1:20 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


There's no lawyer that would recommend a client do that ever under any circumstances.

Counterpoint: These are the lawyers who drafted contracts and prior filings for Trump. There's no bottom limit to their stupidity.
posted by mikelieman at 3:52 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


And... It would be almost unthinkably stupid

I'm gonna stop you right there. This is a man who doesn't understand how the Post Office works, even after it was repeatedly explained to him. I suspect he is dumb enough that he has to be reminded to breathe.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:09 AM on April 7 [41 favorites]


The War on Science Is Over. The Republicans Won. New Republic, 5 April 2018
...An investigation published Monday by Reveal shows just how far the Trump administration will go to deny climate change. The Interior Department delayed the release of an 87-page report on flooding risks in U.S. national parks for 10 months, for the sole purpose of deleting every mention of the phrase. Doing so “prevented park managers from having access to the best data in situations such as reacting to hurricane forecasts, safeguarding artifacts from floodwaters or deciding where to locate new buildings,” according to the article...

Such interference has proven common for the Trump administration, and it appears to be influencing scientists and members of the voting public. Late last year, NPR released data showing that many researchers are now avoiding the phrase “climate change” in grant proposals to the National Science Foundation, the independent government agency that funds the bulk of U.S. research. And last week, a Gallup poll found that the percentage of independent voters who “believe global warming is caused by human activities” fell to 62 percent in 2018, and 8-point drop from last year. Only 35 percent of Republicans believe likewise, compared to 40 percent in 2017.
The article also talks at length about the ceaseless efforts of Lamar Smith, who's been the chair of the House Science Committee for five years, to impugn climatology and the people who study it. I sat in on the Science Committee's hearings three years ago and saw them wrecking shit left and right with Lamar Smith at the helm. I don't know what it's going to take to turn the country around on these issues.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 4:26 AM on April 7 [79 favorites]


I don't know what it's going to take to turn the country around on these issues.

Elections.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:46 AM on April 7 [67 favorites]


Sam Wang: An Antidote for Gobbledygook: Organizing The Judge’s Partisan-Gerrymandering Toolkit
We propose that mathematical tests fall into two categories: tests of unequal opportunity and tests of durable outcome. These tests draw upon ideas borrowed from racial discrimination law, while extending that doctrine in directions that are unique to the category of partisanship.

Opportunity is easily defined and corresponds to a core principle of democracy: it should be possible to vote out a candidate or incumbent.
...
Test of unequal opportunity are easily conceptualized as an extension of racial discrimination. Where partisans comprise a small fraction of the population, the appropriate procedure is to examine individual districts. Where partisans comprise close to half the voters of a state, a statewide evaluation is necessary.

However, party is a more mutable characteristic than race. Therefore one may ask whether a partisan advantage is durable. Our second standard, testing for inequality of outcome, addresses this problem by probing whether a particular arrangement is likely to be robust to likely changes within a redistricting cycle. This can be gauged not just by waiting for multiple elections to pass (which would vitiate the remedy) but by gauging the partisan effects of a map by examining likely outcomes under a variety of conditions. This is well within the reach of modern expert witnesses.
SSRN
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:08 AM on April 7 [17 favorites]


I don't know what it's going to take to turn the country around on these issues.

Elections.


And people who (should) care about these types of things voting.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:50 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


If you are strong of stomach and can stand staring into the abyss for a while, here's a devastatingly unwavering write-up of some days in the life of Milo Yiannopoulos in the Spectator. Aside from the profile it paints of an horrifically broken man, it casts light on those who used him, presumably while they recognised what he was, and the astonishingly facile use of cruelty as a tool. A trademark of the brutes that deserves special study.
posted by Devonian at 7:07 AM on April 7 [26 favorites]


Because the enemy of our enemy is still a monomaniacal capitalist with world-domination plans:

Trump's enemy is not your friend: why we shouldn't defend Amazon (Thomas Frank, Guardian)
Confronting concentrated, autocratic economic power is what Democrats used to do. It was the definition of the species. They fought against monopolies in oil and food and transport that ripped off producers with one hand and consumers with the other. But now it’s Trump who, in his clumsy and authoritarian way, is trying to swipe that legacy.

I am making a tricky point here, so let me be clear: I don’t like Amazon, and I don’t like Donald Trump either. I would approve enthusiastically if a president started enforcing antitrust laws, but that’s not what Trump is proposing to do. What we are being offered instead is a choice between the worst president of our lifetimes and one of the most rapacious corporate enterprises in the country. And, eagerly, we are lining up with one or the other.

This in turn seems to me an almost perfect representation of the wretched choices available to Americans these days, as well as the megadoses of self-deception we are swallowing in order to make them. It is everything that is wrong with our politics, and it extends from the most sweeping matters of state right down to the individual reader.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:22 AM on April 7 [34 favorites]


NYT, Kushner Partner in 666 Fifth Ave. Says It Has Deal to Sell

Oh hey, speaking of 666 5th Ave, in A Saudi Prince's Quest to Remake the Middle East, the New Yorker reports (via @kylegriffin1):
A financial analyst with knowledge tells New Yorker that, despite his previous claims, [renowned crook and father of Jared] Charles Kushner pitched a huge renovation of 666 5th Avenue to the Qataris.

The Qataris declined, citing dubious business logic. Jared's ally MBS then blockaded Qatar.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:42 AM on April 7 [21 favorites]


I'm not defending Amazon. I'm defending;

1) truth - the USPS is not losing money on the Amazon deal

2) the 1st amendment - Trump's attacks on Amazon are nothing but an obvious ploy to attack the Washington Post

3) Rule of law - Trump is trying to destroy any institution that can hold him accountable

Amazon isn't my friend, it's also not the threat to democracy, to millions of POC and LGBT, to world peace, to survival of our species that Trump is. If people want to play KPD vs. SPD while the Nazis take over, go ahead. I'm not.

And a repost of Josh at TPM's take on it.

McCabe, Amazon and Defending the Republic from Donald Trump
posted by chris24 at 7:51 AM on April 7 [115 favorites]


And another repost in the same vein...

WaPo (Ronald Klain) - I stand with Andrew McCabe
[McCabe], and others, may well have deserved to face some consequence, perhaps even to have their government service ended. But, in the era of Trump, that is not the right question. In these instances, we need to ask not whether an individual did something wrong; the question is whether there is any reason to believe that is why Trump took action. In McCabe’s case, the answer is obvious.

From Trump’s own words, it is clear that he had McCabe fired not for anything he did wrong, but for what he did right: His refusal to pledge political loyalty to Trump, his determination that the investigation of Trump and his campaign continue without compromise, and his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee corroborating Comey’s damning account of Trump’s obstruction.

McCabe’s firing serves Trump’s purposes, whether or not McCabe did anything wrong. And every FBI agent investigating matters that Trump finds uncomfortable, every intelligence officer reporting on Russian efforts to corrupt our democracy, every career civil servant doing his or her duty in the face of political pressure has been sent a chilling message: Cross the president at your peril. He will single you out, he will harass you publicly, he will find a way to end your career. He may even deny you a pension you have spent decades earning through selfless public service.

This, then, is the challenge that confronts Trump’s opponents dedicated to protecting the rule of law from his political power. Standing up to Trump may indeed involve standing unequivocally with imperfect people, people who may have done something wrong — to stop the president from perpetrating an even bigger wrong, with an even greater cost to our system.
posted by chris24 at 8:04 AM on April 7 [61 favorites]


Trump's enemy is not your friend: why we shouldn't defend Amazon (Thomas Frank, Guardian)

I notice you didn't quote from later in that both-sidesy bullshit piece:
Similarly, I despise what this president is doing to the US – but after watching CNN or reading the Washington Post’s op-ed page I sometimes want to like Trump too. That’s how their transparently unfair coverage affects me.
Yeah, if the dude is comfortable with that shit coming out of his manicured, pasty white fingers, he's not my friend either and I ain't gonna give him or his views the time of day.

Or my piss in his mouth if he's thirsty in a desert.
posted by anem0ne at 8:09 AM on April 7 [61 favorites]


The War on Science Is Over

While we're beating up on obnoxious and unhelpful writing, words can't express how fucking weary I am of this sort of glib facile self-indulgent defeatist clickbait hyperbole. Are there more than a token amount of professional writers, talking heads, journalists, media figures, what have you, left who are at all mindful of the fact that their words have power and influence and consequence in the world and exercise care in how they sling them around?
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:24 AM on April 7 [28 favorites]


Frank can be obnoxious, no doubt (his attachment to high society has always seemed odd given his avowed politics), but I'm not sure that confessing that his social position makes him feel vulnerable to ideological apparatus is 'both-sidesy.' I feel like most issues of The Baffler have had rougher patches than that one.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:26 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


Devonian: "If you are strong of stomach and can stand staring into the abyss for a while, here's a devastatingly unwavering write-up of some days in the life of Milo Yiannopoulos in the Spectator. Aside from the profile it paints of an horrifically broken man, it casts light on those who used him, presumably while they recognised what he was, and the astonishingly facile use of cruelty as a tool. A trademark of the brutes that deserves special study."

There doesn't seem to be a there there at all. What a completely empty person.
posted by octothorpe at 8:32 AM on April 7 [17 favorites]


Maybe if Thomas Frank wasn’t one of the chief voices of leftist misogyny and racism in denial for the past 2-3 years we would give him the benefit of the doubt. As it is, he’s one of the “it’s all about class“ mansplainers on the left, so when he talks about being seduced by Trumpian rhetoric, you’re goddamn right it’s terrifying.

And the Baffler is published by Win McCormack’s son, and has been supported by the McCormacks for a while. It’s always been a rich white boy’s plaything.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:37 AM on April 7 [22 favorites]


@NBCNews: NEW: Federal investigators obtained a search warrant tied to Paul Manafort on March 9, according to a Special Counsel's Office filing in the Manafort case. MORE: The filing states that Manafort has been served with seven search warrants for his property, banks, a hard drive, e-mail accounts, five phone lines, and a storage locker.

Politico has an update on another piece of Friday-night lawyering from Manafort's attorneys: Manafort Moves to Suppress Evidence Found in Storage Unit—Lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman say FBI illegally accessed the locker, then returned with warrant.
The FBI first got into the Alexandria, Va. storage unit last May with the assistance of an employee who worked at two or more of Manafort's companies, an agent told the federal magistrate judge who issued the warrant. Then, the agent used what he saw written on so-called Banker's Boxes and the fact there was a five-drawer filing cabinet to get permission to return and seize many of the records.

In a motion filed Friday night in federal court in Washington, Manafort's defense team contends that the initial entry was illegal because the employee did not not have authority to let the FBI into the locker. The defense also argues that the warrant was overbroad and that agents seizing records went beyond what limits the warrant did set.[...]

The warrant U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan issued for the storage locker on May 27 authorized FBI agents to seize virtually any financial or tax records relating to Manafort or his business partner Rick Gates. Also approved for seizure were any records relating to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, his Party of Regions, a pro-Ukraine think tank called the European Center for a Modern Ukraine and a slew of offshore companies connected to Manafort.
Lately Manafort's motions seem drenched in flop sweat (his lawyers also requested a last-minute extension on a Friday deadline to file a motion to suppress evidence found in a search of Manafort's Alexandria condo in July).
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:50 AM on April 7 [12 favorites]


supported by the McCormacks for a while. It’s always been a rich white boy’s plaything.

That explains a lot.

I didn't think he was saying he was seduced, more like...tempted? Given his track record and his tunnel vision, it's not surprising. But maybe that's not significantly less disturbing.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:00 AM on April 7


Hey guys, the solution to guns is more guns!
A South Carolina congressman pulled out his own loaded handgun during a meeting with constituents Friday to make a point that guns are dangerous only in the hands of criminals.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman placed the .38-caliber gun on a table during the "coffee with constituents" meeting at a Rock Hill restaurant, news outlets reported.

"I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords," Norman said, referring to the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot outside a grocery store during a constituent gathering in 2011.
But ... oh no, pesky facts! The first "good guy with a gun" on the scene of the Giffords shooting very nearly shot the bystander who had wrested the gun from the actual shooter!
But before we embrace Zamudio's brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let's hear the whole story. "I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready," he explained on Fox and Friends. "I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I at first thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it, drop it!'"

But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. "Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess," the interviewer pointed out.
This doesn't even get into the stupid fucking rambo fantasies of idiots like Ralph Norman. Dude, you are not a member of SEAL Team Six. You're a delusional old white dude who is significantly more likely to kill himself (purposefully) or others (accidentally) with his pistol than ever get a chance to react to a shooter with it in self defense.
posted by tocts at 9:04 AM on April 7 [79 favorites]


A South Carolina congressman pulled out his own loaded handgun during a meeting with constituents Friday...

Not just a constituent meeting, a meeting with women from Mothers Demand Action, a group fighting for sensible gun regulation to reduce gun violence. It's like showing up hammered to a meeting with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
posted by chris24 at 9:17 AM on April 7 [101 favorites]


If you are strong of stomach and can stand staring into the abyss for a while, here's a devastatingly unwavering write-up of some days in the life of Milo Yiannopoulos in the Spectator. Aside from the profile it paints of an horrifically broken man, it casts light on those who used him, presumably while they recognised what he was, and the astonishingly facile use of cruelty as a tool. A trademark of the brutes that deserves special study.

I found this quite interesting, though perhaps because on MetaFilter's advice before now I avoided learning anything about him apart from the titles of a few articles he wrote for Breitbart. Of his fans:
They are not all monsters but some are very stupid.
It was worth clicking on if only to see Spectator USA's illustration of Trump dressed up as Napoleon from Napoleon Crossing the Alps astride the Twitter logo instead of a horse.
posted by XMLicious at 9:20 AM on April 7 [5 favorites]


"I'm not going to be a Gabby Giffords," Norman said

Aside from the how offensive (to the Mothers and Giffords) a statement like this is, it's—once again—transparent idiocy. You're one person, up on a stage, in a room full of people you wish were armed, virtually without restriction, and you're saying your one weapon is going to protect you if somebody decides to shoot you? I'd ask who falls for this shit, but I guess we already know.
posted by Rykey at 9:39 AM on April 7 [49 favorites]


stupid fucking rambo fantasies of idiots like Ralph Norman. Dude, you are not a member of SEAL Team Six

These kinds of guys deserve all the mockery, but it's also true that actual SEALs are not immune to numbnuts gun culture, or validating (and, after their service, marketing to) its adherents.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:41 AM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman placed the [loaded] .38-caliber gun on a table during the "coffee with constituents" meeting at a Rock Hill restaurant, news outlets reported.

So there are safe ways to do this, but not many, and I very much doubt this yahoo practiced them. Basic gun-safety training: do not point the gun at something you do not intend to shoot. "On a table in a coffee shop" is not a gun-position that's likely to meet this criterion. Holstered is best, pointed at the ground acceptable if you absolutely must take the damn thing out.
posted by jackbishop at 9:43 AM on April 7 [21 favorites]


Also, (so as not abuse Edit, sorry): if the entire country is the Wild West fantasy the gun crowd imagines it to be... why wouldn't somebody pulling out a handgun—congressman or not—itself be perceived as a shooting about to happen, with the predictable carnage ensuing? If I shoot a congressman dead because I see him pull out a weapon at a town hall, is that justifiable self-defense in the eyes of these fucking morons?
posted by Rykey at 9:44 AM on April 7 [36 favorites]


South Carolina is also not an Open Carry state.
posted by chris24 at 9:47 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Basic gun-safety training: do not point the gun at something you do not intend to shoot. "On a table in a coffee shop" is not a gun-position that's likely to meet this criterion.

Now we can be friends again
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:47 AM on April 7 [3 favorites]


why wouldn't somebody pulling out a handgun—congressman or not—itself be perceived as a shooting about to happen, with the predictable carnage ensuing?

Because this congressman is white.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:47 AM on April 7 [66 favorites]


If I shoot a congressman dead because I see him pull out a weapon at a town hall, is that justifiable self-defense in the eyes of these fucking morons?

Depends; is he black?

(On preview, semi-jinx, Rust Moranis.)
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:05 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


"South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum." -- James L. Petigru
posted by kirkaracha at 10:44 AM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Oh my god, Devonian. What an excellent writer Tanya Gold is - with a little extra edge in devastating cruelty. I remember when she described Susan Boyle's first BGT appearance the cruelty was unwarranted: "[Subo in her gold lace dress] looked like a pork chop on a doily" but where Milo is concerned it's absolutely fitting to the target, like completing a jigsaw puzzle with a bang! and a cheer. "He looks like his mother." Woah, my eyes are sizzling just reading that. Had to rush in and comment before I read the rest.

Tanya Gold had a stint at the Guardian and reading the comments under her pieces was the very first time I saw what anti-semitism looks like disguised for respectable literate people. She had disgusting internet stalkers before it was a known thing in the UK, and the paper very slow and slouch to recognise it - disgracefully so. Anyhow I'm halfway through her article and suspecting I might even be feeling sorry for Yiannopoulos by the end, poor vain little deluded fascist fantasist moron that he is. Bringing in the hipster vote, Bannon, yeah, how brilliant, much strategy.
posted by glasseyes at 10:49 AM on April 7 [12 favorites]


I might even be feeling sorry for Yiannopoulos

If that doesn’t make you say hmmm, nothing will. Oh, that poor helpless boy!

Fuck him and fuck that.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:23 AM on April 7 [19 favorites]


Man, sometimes you feel sorry for awful people, because they are never going to be alright in themselves. Tanya Gold did enough of a demolition job in that article, I think neither ill wishes nor horrified expressions add anything to the devastating effect of it. In other words, I think you are reading things into me feeling sorry for the guy that I do not intend.
posted by glasseyes at 11:42 AM on April 7 [7 favorites]


Lots of gay kids with no so great childhoods grow up to be productive members of society, not self-loathing hate dragons and willing avatars of trolololol-Nazism. And isn't Milo still here on an O-1 "genius" visa? Can we get some Democrats campaigning on immigration reform that restricts O-1 visas to actual geniuses, not fucking Milo and Melania?
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:48 AM on April 7 [35 favorites]


Could you have shot the Senator for pulling out a gun? Maybe. My understanding is that if you're a cop the standard is merely that you feel threatened. As long as that's the standard, I don't see why a cop couldn't shoot anyone and any time and get away with it. It sure seems like its been working out that way.
posted by xammerboy at 11:52 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


I feel sorry for Milo, and awful people in general, because they are awful, and, I suspect, incapable of any genuine happiness or satisfaction. In fact it seems like their own incapacity for sympathy is one of the things that makes them awful.

Like, there's a massive list of people I feel more sorry for, but I genuinely do feel sorry for these awful shitgibbons, at the same time as desperately trying to figure out how to best counter their obvious harm.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:53 AM on April 7 [12 favorites]


There are lots of people who are likewise incapable of any genuine happiness or satisfaction, but still manage not to be awful shitgibbons. Save your sympathy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:57 AM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Sorry but this seems like an awfully silly fight. "Save your sympathy" i.e. don't have the feelings/reaction you are having, etc... come on - is it really necessary to do that? No one is saying that he's not horrible.
posted by Golem XIV at 12:02 PM on April 7 [22 favorites]


[Enough on whether people can/should/mustn't/etc feel whatever way for Milo Yiannopolis.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:03 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Axios Trump-whisperer Jonathan Swan has a post a piece that, without directly quoting even anonymous White House officials, sounds like Donald talking about himself in the third person: Trump's Freak-Out Moment
We can’t overstate the severity of President Trump’s buyer's remorse from signing last month's spending bill. It could even be a turning point in his presidency, on the issue of immigration and his level of cooperation with Republican leaders; Sources who’ve discussed it with Trump say it freaked him out to see the array of usually friendly faces on Fox News’ opinion shows ripping into him for signing a bill that spent a ton of money, but gave lots away to liberal priorities and did little for his signature promise to build a wall.

Truth is that Trump had little clue what was in the largest spending bill ever passed. Conventional wisdom on Capitol Hill has been that nothing will happen on immigration after the early failure to cut a deal this year. Republican leadership sources were telling us that the court decision to keep DACA alive took away Trump’s deadline and removed the pressure on Congress to act. But now some of those sources are nervous, realizing that Trump won’t let the issue fade into the background.

Trump wants action to toughen immigration laws, and he’s hopping mad that it hasn't happened. He’s grasping at whatever executive tools are available. But watch for him to force action before the end of September, when the government funding expires.
Trump's official schedule has no public appearances listed for the weekend, and indeed, he's had none since he derailed Thursday's West Virginia tax reform roundtable with his ranting. In short, it's bunker time at the White House as he and his cronies desperately try to come up with a plan for his spiralling presidency.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:06 PM on April 7 [14 favorites]


Will Sommer with a big dose of schadenfreude: Right Richter: Doxxin' Season
[…] Paul Nehlen — the Paul Ryan primary challenger who has decided affiliating himself with vile internet racists is a winning electoral strategy — went nuclear on a rival alt right figure.

Fed up with attacks from infamous Twitter troll (and Major League desecrator) Ricky Vaughn, Nehlen took to alt right Twitter alternative Gab and published what he claimed was Vaughn's real name.

Nehlen revealing personal details about someone else on the alt right was the equivalent of using chemical weapons — even his ideological allies weren't going to be happy about it. After HuffPost followed up on Nehlen's revelation and published what they say is Vaughn's real identity, Gab deleted Nehlen's account, further limiting his social media reach after his earlier Twitter ban.

This middle school-level social media slapfight is notable mainly because it shows how quickly the alt right is self-destructing. Within the course of a few days, Nehlen — the most prominent alt right politician — and Vaughn took one another out of their racist movement.

As for Vaughn, according to HuffPost, he turned out to be a lobbyist's son and Middlebury graduate.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 12:47 PM on April 7 [14 favorites]


In short, it's bunker time at the White House as he and his cronies desperately try to come up with a plan for his spiralling presidency.

"Harass minorites, enrich ourselves, deny everything."
posted by jaduncan at 12:50 PM on April 7 [11 favorites]


Lately Manafort's motions seem drenched in flop sweat (his lawyers also requested a last-minute extension on a Friday deadline to file a motion to suppress evidence found in a search of Manafort's Alexandria condo in July).

To emphasize this point, they forgot that "suppress" is supposed to have two Ps in the title of their storage unit motion and originally missed one of their redactions of the name of the person who originally let the FBI into the storage unit. The guy with perhaps the most well-known legal trouble in the country right now has stunningly mediocre lawyers.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on April 7 [10 favorites]


"I spent thirty years powerless and dependent and miserable and alone"

Oh honey, you're going to spend the next thirty that way, too.

He is angry: “It’s so boring! … I’m not a political pundit. I don’t know why people ask me about this shit.” This is his flaw as a political activist, and the reason he fell. He doesn’t know much and, worse, he doesn’t want to.

This absolutely defines him and pretty much everyone on the right: He doesn't know much and, worse, he doesn't want to.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:18 PM on April 7 [42 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
Lawmakers of the House Judiciary Committee are angrily accusing the Department of Justice of missing the Thursday Deadline for turning over UNREDACTED Documents relating to FISA abuse, FBI, Comey, Lynch, McCabe, Clinton Emails and much more. Slow walking - what is going on? BAD!

Bad boy! That's a bad Jeff Sessions! Go in your crate!
posted by Rust Moranis at 1:57 PM on April 7 [14 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
What does the Department of Justice and FBI have to hide? Why aren’t they giving the strongly requested documents (unredacted) to the HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE? Stalling, but for what reason? Not looking good!

Still poking Jeff. Not looking good.
posted by Rust Moranis at 2:07 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


I’m at today’s march for believers in the #QAnon conspiracy theory. Will post if I see anything interesting.

Come for the 24 hours live steam from "Dead Cat", stay for the admiralty law.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:19 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


On the wraithing of John Kelly. WaPo, Parker/Dawsey/Rucker, ‘When you lose that power’: How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian
After White House chief of staff John F. Kelly pressured President Trump last fall to install his top deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, atop the Department of Homeland Security, the president lost his temper when conservative allies argued she wasn’t sufficiently hardline on immigration. “You didn’t tell me she was a [expletive] George W. Bush person,” Trump growled.

After Kelly told Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier in a January interview that Trump’s immigration views had not been “fully informed” during the campaign and had since “evolved,” the president berated Kelly in the Oval Office — his shouts so loud they could be heard through the doors.

And just 11 days ago, Kelly grew so frustrated on the day that Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin that Nielsen and Defense Secretary James Mattis both tried to calm him down and offer pep talks, according to three people with knowledge of the incident.

“I’m out of here, guys,” Kelly said — comments some interpreted as a resignation threat, but according to a senior administration official, he was venting his anger and leaving work an hour or two early to head home to decompress.
He's introduced a new game show though:
Under Kelly’s watch, the president now has “Policy Time,” sessions once or twice a day where advisers present and argue their competing views over a specific issue, with Trump presiding. He has also implemented bi-monthly Cabinet meetings, with a focused agenda, as well as restored order to the morning senior staff meeting. And attendance for most Oval Office meetings is still run through Kelly’s office.
But none of it is really going that well:
Kelly requested that staffers back-brief him when the president violated his processes — for instance, by calling a staffer to demand action after watching a Fox News segment. But several aides said they found Kelly difficult when they retroactively filled him in. He often repeated a version of the same response: “I guess you’re the chief of staff now, so why don’t you handle it?”
...
In an off-the-record session with reporters, parts of which later were reported, Kelly also said that when he called Tillerson to let him know he was fired, the secretary of state was on the toilet with “Montezuma’s revenge.” Though White House aides said Kelly was simply joking — and the State Department contested his version of the phone call — many staffers found the comment unnecessarily crude and demeaning.
posted by zachlipton at 2:21 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


Trump is executing the opposite of the "First they came for the..." meme: meticulous alienating every possible ally as he spirals down. If Mueller doesn't seem to be in a hurry, that's probably why.
posted by msalt at 2:22 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


In short, it's bunker time at the White House as he and his cronies desperately try to come up with a plan for his spiralling presidency.

"Harass minorites, enrich ourselves, deny everything."


...start a war...
posted by Autumnheart at 2:30 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


This absolutely defines him and pretty much everyone on the right
Oh but, secretly, what he is, which Gold reveals him as underneath the denials and surface charm, is venal, vain, vacant, cowardly and actively malevolent*, which I guess goes for most of those other people too**. That article is a masterful piece of journalism. This is how you do 'what's going on with the Trump supporters', people!
**Who I am sorry for because they are pathetic to the same extent of their stupid evilness.

*They also said that he once used the password Kristallnacht for a joke.
I telephone him in Miami to ask if this is true and he says yes, instantly. After all this time, I wonder why he doesn’t lie to me. And then he says, and this is the most truthful thing he has said to me, though he says it calculatingly and without self-pity: “I’m drawn to the darkness. I’ve always been drawn to the darkness.”

posted by glasseyes at 2:39 PM on April 7 [9 favorites]


I also can't believe he's considering making being caught sneaking over the border a felony. Moral considerations aside, this will be hugely expensive.

Not if the program pays for itself by using the 20 years-life prisoners as unpaid farm and factory labor. Or it doesn't even need to pay for itself, if the people running the prisons and businesses make a huge profit.

11 million undocumented immigrants is a large population base for a slave economy. And if they extend the program to anyone who "looks illegal" that's potentially 40+ million Americans. From the white supremacists point of view, they would get the free labor, and it would suppress activism on the part of the Hispanic population.
posted by happyroach at 2:42 PM on April 7 [16 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
What does the Department of Justice and FBI have to hide? Why aren’t they giving the strongly requested documents (unredacted) to the HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE? Stalling, but for what reason? Not looking good!

Still poking Jeff. Not looking good.


Trump's going after Rosenstein here, probably because of he's catching up with his almost-lawyer's appearance on Fox News on Wednesday: ‘Joe DiGenova: “What we are seeing now is conduct by two public officials, Robert Mueller & Rod Rosenstein, that is unethical, unprofessional, an embarrassment to the U.S. government, and is undermining equal enforcement of the law.” #Hannity’ And also Fox & Friends on Thursday: "Rep. Devin Nunes puts Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein in the hot seat, threatening to sue for unredacted documents"

(And InfoWars is currently peddling the idea that Rosenstein's wife, a lawyer who apparently once represented Bill Clinton back in the 90s, represents some kind of conflict of interest. Watch to see if that fetid smear percolates up to the Fox News ecosystem in the next week.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:54 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]




Ooh! If white smoke comes out do we get a new president?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:32 PM on April 7 [107 favorites]


Second fire at the tower this year.
posted by popcassady at 3:34 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Fire at Trump Tower is out. Very confined (well built building). Firemen (and women) did a great job. THANK YOU!

@ChaseMit: Bragging about a building that was just very publicly on fire is a pretty perfect encapsulation of this entire presidency

@goldietaylor: Yannow, you can just say firefighters.

Reports of one serious injury at the scene.
posted by zachlipton at 3:51 PM on April 7 [70 favorites]


Oh wow, looked at some posts from QAnon believers talking all about Trump's secret genius. Bonkers. The thing they're hanging on now is that someone asked "Q" to tell Trump to say "tip top" in the SOTU in January, then he did—on Easter, not during the SOTU. But they conveniently ignore the fact that "tip top" is in his personal lexicon and it was only a matter of time before he said it again.

This was when he stood in front of the White House and said he didn't know what that building was called, which to these believers is "obviously" a secret code. Ugh.
posted by defenestration at 3:57 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


A prediction: one of Trump's people will decide to lean into the conspiracy and have him purposefully say things to embolden those who believe it. Since the "indictments" are private, his doing so will be enough evidence for confirmation of his heroic destruction of imaginary deep state pedophile rings, for these true believers. Based on the (admittedly very small group) of QAnon marchers, they appear to be a boomer crowd. They will be mobilized by this conspiracy to vote for his reelection, based totally upon unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

The political weaponization of conspiracy theories... Scary stuff.
posted by defenestration at 4:03 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


@CeFaanKim: Per FDNY: 3 alarm fire on 50th floor of Trump Tower contained but not under control. 1 civilian inside building critically injured. 3 firefighters suffered minor injuries.

That tweet is from 7:05. Trump tweeted that the fire was out at 6:42. There is still no official word the fire is out or even under control.
posted by zachlipton at 4:24 PM on April 7 [49 favorites]


DJT engulfed in flames: What fire?
posted by Literaryhero at 4:40 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


did they save the “this is fine” dog?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:48 PM on April 7 [88 favorites]


CNN reports that a male resident of Trump Tower is dead. The fire, in the President's own building, which the President claimed was put out, and which he boasted was contained due to the quality of his building, is ongoing, and has killed someone.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:23 PM on April 7 [63 favorites]


Jesus, how fucking irresponsible is it to say that the fire is contained when it isn't? What if people didn't evacuate the building because the president said everything was OK?
posted by octothorpe at 5:25 PM on April 7 [37 favorites]


The President has had time to tweet about how great Scott Pruitt is, but he has not had time to correct or delete his tweet claiming that his well-designed building allowed a fire to be put out, while the fire is ongoing and has killed someone.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:25 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Anyone know who lives (on preview: lived) on the 50th floor? The residents of the tower — full-floor types — are pretty well documented (e.g. as of 2016, 48-49 was used car magnate and bank fraudster Ernie Garcia, and 51 was art dealer and illegal gambling ring proprietor Helly Nahmad), but I can find no info on who does live or ever has lived on 50.

Also, remember that the floors on Trump Tower are inflated, so floor 50 is really just the 40th one. I’m sure that shit’s a huge help to firefighters.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:25 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


CNN reports that a male resident of Trump Tower is dead

Not to make light, but the idea that he could have been watching Fox News and known that Trump said "NBD, all good now," after which he decides to stay in place.
posted by rhizome at 5:25 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


I don't know if anyone else listened to the Sam Harris podcast with Scott Adams (Dilbert Creator / Trump Supporter). It reminds me of QAnon. I checked it out just to better understand the perspective of a prominent supporter. It was crazy. In a nutshell, every statement, every action Trump makes is a brilliant piece of misdirection, carefully and calculatingly made to achieve his ultimate goals.

Obviously, I don't buy it. But if one does, you accept that we live in a kind of post-truth society where the real goals of politicians are understood by a kind of osmotic communication between them and their supporters. Every factual reality is fair game to be bent in achieving some never stated ulterior motive that constitutes "winning".
posted by xammerboy at 5:28 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


CNN: Gowdy on Pruitt: 'I don't have a lot of patience for that kind of stuff'

A few hours later:

@realDonaldTrump
While Security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA. Record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars. Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:37 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


I hadn’t realized anyone had died.

.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:39 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


They will be mobilized by this conspiracy to vote for his reelection, based totally upon unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

That crowd was already mobilized to vote for his reelection. The Trump base are mostly the foolish and easily led and do believe a number of conspiracy theories. That climate change is a fraud, that the gays, blacks, and Hispanics are going to destroy the country, that there's a conspiracy against coal which has nothing wrong with it, and so on and so forth. That "their" country is being taken away from them. And that base is still mobilized. The people that held their nose and voted for him may be falling off but don't think that the ones that ate up Trump's lies during the campaign are going to stay home in November.
posted by Candleman at 5:43 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


His bold actions where they just killed the Clean Air act, which was giving us the record clean air.

Uh-hunh.

Pull the other one, your Highness. It has bells on.
posted by Archelaus at 5:46 PM on April 7 [13 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
While Security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA. Record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars. Rent was about market rate, travel expenses OK. Scott is doing a great job!


I came for the totally stoopid random capitalizations in this tweet—but stayed for the asinine WTFs and non-sequiturs. Thanks Donald!
posted by Rykey at 5:47 PM on April 7


Pruitt’s round-the-clock security has cost taxpayers nearly $3 million (WaPo). He has 18 full time officers in his security detail. He took security with him to attend the Rose Bowl and Disneyland so those death threats haven’t slowed him down at all.
posted by peeedro at 5:50 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Clearly, Pruitt has all the pizzagate receipts...

But what possible situation would require that the head of the EPA has an SCIF? I just can't fathom any rational rationale for that...
posted by Windopaene at 5:58 PM on April 7


It never stops with this guy!

Banned From the Banking Industry for Life, a Scott Pruitt Friend Finds a New Home at the EPA
THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency has tasked a banker who was banned from the banking industry for life with oversight of the nation’s Superfund program.

In May, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation fined Oklahoma banker Albert Kelly $125,000. According to a consent order, which The Intercept obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the FDIC had “reason to believe that [Kelly] violated a law or regulation, by entering into an agreement pertaining to a loan by the Bank without FDIC approval.”

Two weeks later, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt appointed Kelly to lead an effort to streamline the Superfund program. In July, the FDIC went further, banning Kelly from banking for life. The “order of prohibition from further participation” explained that the FDIC had determined Kelly’s “unfitness to serve as a director, officer, person participating in the conduct of the affairs or as an institution-affiliated party of the Bank, any other insured depository institution.”

But Pruitt, who had received loans from Kelly’s bank, apparently didn’t find Kelly’s unfitness to serve in the financial industry as disqualifying his longtime friend from serving as a top official at the EPA. Since May, Kelly, or Kell as he was known in Oklahoma, has led the effort to streamline the Superfund program — which oversees remediation of some of the country’s most toxic sites.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:12 PM on April 7 [30 favorites]


Fabulous. The Bridgeton landfill will just be radioactive and on fire indefinitely now.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:19 PM on April 7


“Well-built building” now said on Twitter not to have sprinklers in higher units. WTF is that legal: couldn’t it doom the entire building in a bug enough fire?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:45 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I'd be more surprised if Trump's buildings didn't skimp on sprinklers and other safety measures.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:48 PM on April 7 [8 favorites]


According to USA Today, New York didn't start requiring sprinklers in new residential units and hallways until 1999. Trump Tower was built in 1983.
posted by biogeo at 6:52 PM on April 7


But you know, here's the thing: you can actually add safety measures to a building even if the law does not require it! Who knew?
posted by SPrintF at 6:54 PM on April 7 [39 favorites]


Fingers crossed for underinsured.
posted by Artw at 7:00 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


The political weaponization of conspiracy theories...

Isn't that redundant? They all seem to involve politics and weapons.
posted by petebest at 7:07 PM on April 7


US officials: Trump-Netanyahu call grew tense over plans to leave Syria
In his haste to withdraw from Syria, Trump stands alone. The Pentagon, the State Department and CIA are all deeply concerned about the potential ramifications if the US leaves behind a power vacuum in Syria, as are Israel, Arab leaders and other nations in the US-led coalition that has fought IS in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

The US president made clear his patience was running out as he met top national security aides on Tuesday. Yet the meeting concluded with no hard-and-fast deadline handed down, leaving Trump’s team struggling to deduce how fast is fast enough for Trump, according to officials briefed on the meeting who weren’t authorized to discuss it and requested anonymity.

The disagreement between Trump and his team has played out in chaotic and increasingly public fashion. […]
Why the urgency? Presumably because:
As the White House was talking up a US withdrawal on Wednesday, the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran were meeting in Ankara […]
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:07 PM on April 7 [12 favorites]


Re: “well-built building,” lest we forget:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
.@dubephnx If we didn't remove incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos & replace it with junk that doesn't work, the World Trade Center would never have burned down.
3:47 PM October 2, 2012

Also worth googling Trump+asbestos+EPA. Fun times.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:23 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


A man died, four firefighters (a term available for noting people who fight fires regardless of gender) are injured, and Trump's response was to brag about how well-built his building is and then go out to dinner at his hotel.
posted by zachlipton at 7:33 PM on April 7 [38 favorites]


Incidentally, the @ in that 9/11 tweet, Randy Lee Dube (@dubephnx) is a fun read right now. In relation to sprinkler code violations at Trump Tower, the phrases “negligent homicide” and “felony murder” come up.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:37 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


Well it's not shooting someone on Fifth Avenue, but...

That dube guy is a little too Seth Abramson for me to go through all of it.
posted by rhizome at 7:41 PM on April 7 [2 favorites]


Asbestos isn't even a fire retardant; it's an insulator.

SPrintF: "But you know, here's the thing: you can actually add safety measures to a building even if the law does not require it! Who knew?"

Very few residential buildings have anything but the minimum mandated safety equipment. Fewer still are voluntarily updated as requirements change. Even wealthy people would rather spend on granite countertops and platinum doorknobs.
posted by Mitheral at 7:42 PM on April 7 [5 favorites]


Asbestos isn't even a fire retardant; it's an insulator.

...which was commonly used for fireproofing. This seems way over on the "eating crackers" end of the spectrum.
posted by Justinian at 7:51 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Why the urgency? Presumably because:
As the White House was talking up a US withdrawal on Wednesday, the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran were meeting in Ankara […]

Syrian government accused of chemical attacks on civilians in eastern Ghouta

Trump is ready to pay back Putin and taking his orders to withdraw from our actual President. Assad knows it. Oh, and it's John Bolton's first day on the job.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:53 PM on April 7 [3 favorites]


The New York Times on the Trump Tower fire:
Dennis Shields, a resident who said he lived on the 42nd floor, described the scene.

“You could smell the smoke and you could hear things falling like through the vents,” he said. “It just smelled like sulfur.”

He said there were no orders to evacuate but he received a text message from Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Michael D. Cohen.

Mr. Shields, who said he grew up with Mr. Cohen, continued: “He said, ‘Are you in the building?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘You better get out ASAP.’ That’s how I knew to get out, otherwise I’d still be in there.”
Trump Tower’s fire alarm system is dependent on getting texts from childhood friends. Is that normal? It seems not normal
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:34 PM on April 7 [106 favorites]


Why would Cohen know whether or not to get out of the building?... Better even than someone that lives there?... I think I'm going crazy because I'm picturing Trump texting the world that the fire is over while telling Cohen to tell any friends to get out.
posted by xammerboy at 8:45 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]


Trump Tower’s fire alarm system is dependent on getting texts from childhood friends. Is that normal? It seems not normal.

High rises are designed to contain fires first to apartments and then to sections of floors (you've probably seen the fire doors with the magnetic release mechanisms holding them open in apartment building and hotel hallways. It is standard practice in cities for firefighters to instruct residents to remain in place in a high rise fire unless you are directly affected by it or its smoke.

The reason is that evacuating a building can both interfere with the firefighting and that people get hurt taking the stairs in a panic - heart attacks, falls, and such.
posted by srboisvert at 8:52 PM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Americans have, I think, a moral obligation to look at the photos coming out of Ghouta. They are horrifically graphic, and I have a little boy who is just a little younger than the one I've seen in the pictures, lying on a blanket next to a woman that I'm guessing is a female relative if not his mother. If it weren't for the stain by his mouth, he would look like he was taking a nap.

These are people our country refuses to admit as refugees.

This is what happens when we, as a nation, abdicate our moral responsibility and elect as president someone like Donald Trump.
posted by joyceanmachine at 9:13 PM on April 7 [62 favorites]


Americans have, I think, a moral obligation to look at the photos coming out of Ghouta.

Yeah. Just ran across a video. It's horrific, unimaginable. But you're right, we have a duty to bear witness.

WARNING Extremely graphic video of dead bodies, a lot of them. I cannot stress this enough. I'm on the bubble about even posting this but goddamnit it has to be stopped & failing that it must be witnessed to bring meaning to their deaths. This is what it means to be a supporter of Trump, to also support this senseless, brutal massacre of innocent lives.

@leahmcelrath
Videos from this latest chemical weapons attack by Assad against civilians in Syria distinctly bring to mind the types of effects we saw in the 2013 Ghouta attack, which involved neurotoxins.
posted by scalefree at 9:48 PM on April 7 [15 favorites]


Al Jazeera article on the chemical attack at Douma/دوما‎ in Eastern Ghouta, posted about an hour ago. A slightly higher-quality version of the video scalefree links to—with clean non-creepily-distorted audio—was posted by the White Helmets twitter account.
posted by XMLicious at 11:49 PM on April 7 [6 favorites]


I don't know what we can or should do militarily or diplomatically to stop the carnage in Syria. Maybe we can't stop it. I don't know.

But I do know this. Millions of Syrians have fled this nightmare. More than half of the country. They have lost their families, their possessions, and in some cases a hand or an eye or a child, in the process. And we can help them without going to war. We can let them flee here. We can keep them safe.

And each of us personally can donate to send money and supplies to the ones who are still living in camps.

The White Helmets
The International Rescue Committee
The UN High Commission on Refugees
The UN Children's Relief Fund
Doctors Without Borders
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:39 AM on April 8 [65 favorites]


It's the second fire in that building this year. Trump and Giuliani opposed and Trump lobbied against requiring sprinklers until 1999, because in 1999 they grandfathered in existing firetraps in New York. The building gets extra fire protection (not clear what that entails) whenever Trump stays there.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-tower-fire-second-2018-blaze-in-sprinkler-free-residence/

The below story lists six, not four, injured firefighters, of 190 who responded. Deceased is Todd Brassner, 67, an art dealer.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-tower-fire-todd-brassner-victim/
posted by Don Pepino at 4:14 AM on April 8 [18 favorites]


Someone close to me texted me that they were having recurring dreams about working in the WH. And I was like, yeah, sounds like a weird stress dream, imagining something like the walk down the hall to the Oval Office wherein the doors open and blood pours out something like out of The Shining except the blood is orange or something

and then he texted, 'no, my job was to make Obama happy.'

I haven't stopped bitterly laughing about it since because it's so fucking sad. Like, "Please, don't leave, I'll sneak you cigarettes. Do you want me to kneecap McConnell? Are you bummed your daughters are mocking your dad jeans? They look great, sir! No, sir, you do not have a broke-ass jump shot. Do you want to slap my face? Anything, just don't leave us."
posted by angrycat at 4:25 AM on April 8 [46 favorites]


45's staunch defence of his innocence has kicked Sunday off with a doozie...

Brian Klaas: Trump’s lawyers not having a good morning—paves the way for the obvious question: wouldn’t it be “rigged” if Mueller/the FBI ended the Russia investigation without putting Trump under oath?

@realDonaldTrump
“The FBI closed the case on Hillary, which was a rigged investigation. They exonerated her even before they ever interviewed her, they never even put her under oath.....” and much more. So true Jesse! @WattersWorld

posted by Devonian at 5:13 AM on April 8 [11 favorites]


As its Sunday and a slow news day lets revisit Just What Were Donald Trump's Ties to the Mob.
posted by adamvasco at 5:57 AM on April 8 [13 favorites]


It's probably not going to be a slow news day for long. 45's just tweeted that Putin and Iran have a 'big price to pay' for the CHEMICAL (sic) attacks in Syria. Not sure whether you can declare way by tweet, but these are exciting times for social media.
posted by Devonian at 6:09 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Oh is he going to bomb an empty shack again?
posted by Artw at 6:13 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Has there been any word from this administration about the current killings in Gaza?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:40 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I watched the video of the attacks. My stomach didn't turn, but I'm a mummy who can walk. Do not watch that if empathy is a human emotion you feel. It is horrific. Don't watch it. I'm a horrible person, I'm immune, so...don't.

The thing I came in to say is to expand on this:

Millions of Syrians have fled this nightmare. More than half of the country. They have lost their families, their possessions, and in some cases a hand or an eye or a child, in the process. And we can help them without going to war. We can let them flee here. We can keep them safe.

What happens when we let in refugees from war-torn regions, ones that even happen to be Muslim? What horrors does our country face? This. Or I mean, sometimes they even establish propaganda networks on our soil, with the support of our tax dollars...those filthy liberals, amirite? I know I'm being smarmy, but that's a link to the Somali-Minnesotan wikipedia explainer page and the Somali college radio station I used to listen to, and god forbid work for. I did nothing but benefit from the fact that these people ran away to where I was. I was lucky they were there. I would have been lucky even without the war, because I both lived in a state where Somalis were already and because I lived in a state that understood the value of taxpayer-funded music and news media, but ffs, they had a war and I had a community and I'm nothing but glad for their presence. Look up the number of terror attacks by Somali-Americans. Look up the drain on social resources. You'll find NONE. I'm gonna say the stereotypical thing, but hey, it's true - I'm lucky because of the food, the friends, and the welcoming people. I was just a dumb kid, and they were part of a community that took me in and was a part of what formed me.

If anyone says taking Syrian refugees is a net negative...I mean...no. No. It is not that. You're wrong if you think that. There is nothing else to say except things appropriate for the Fucking Fuck thread.

This is America and we are better than not welcoming them. We need them. It's coarse to say they belong here, but they do. If there are refugees, anywhere, I want them in my community, and I hope to high heaven you do too. This is what we're supposed to be about. I don't want to talk about if we're causing the war right now. I have no direct control over that. I have control over my attitude. My attitude, as a right-thinking American, is that if I can offer my home and my community and my resources, I will.
posted by saysthis at 6:43 AM on April 8 [81 favorites]


Meanwhile, in the not-a-trade-war with China, Trump tweeted an olive branch of sorts: "President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade. China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!" Meanwhile, Larry Kudlow was on Fox Business this morning to reassure everyone, "This process may turn out to be very benign." (coming from him, this is as sure an omen of a total shitshow as you could want).

Trump also defended his embattled Chief of Staff, or at least attack Jeff Bezos's paper: "The Washington Post is far more fiction than fact. Story after story is made up garbage - more like a poorly written novel than good reporting. Always quoting sources (not names), many of which don’t exist. Story on John Kelly isn’t true, just another hit job!"

The Washington Post's "‘When you lose that power’: How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian" of course quotes unnamed sources who make Trump look weak, e.g. "This official explained that Kelly initially viewed his job as babysitting, but now feels less of a need to be omnipresent, while Trump, who once considered Kelly a security blanket, feels increasingly emboldened to act alone."

And let us remember when Trump criticizes anonymous leaks, he's the biggest offender in the White House—and he regularly phones Philip Rucker, co-author of the WaPo piece.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:44 AM on April 8 [11 favorites]


Has there been any word from this administration about the current killings in Gaza?

That would depend entirely on if Fox and Freinds have been reporting on it.
posted by Artw at 7:02 AM on April 8 [6 favorites]


That would depend entirely on if Fox and Freinds have been reporting on it.

That half-hour turnaround between the Fox & Friends segment on the Syria chemical attack and Trump tweeting out one of his most threatening tweets during the conflict is stunning, even by Trump's standards of being triggered by what he watches on cable news.

More worrisomely, Fox & Friends ended by effectively daring Trump to act: "Segment closes with: 'All eyes now, guys, will now be on President Trump to see what his response is... after a chemical attack last year, he ordered airstrikes that decimated a Syrian airbase, a move that garnered praise from America's allies around the world.'"

It's bad enough that Trump can be baited with a tweet in international affairs, but if Fox News can dictate his reactions like this, we're in worse trouble than we feared. (OK, we probably feared exactly that in at least one of the megathreads.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:13 AM on April 8 [30 favorites]


So Fox and Friends is encouraging him not to follow the suggestions of his advisors and continue to maintain a military presence in the region using this as a good reason to do so, but to bomb, declare "mission accomplished" and leave? If Fox and Friends wants to be proxy president it would be cool if they would think things through.
posted by Selena777 at 7:25 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


The Washington Post's "‘When you lose that power’: How John Kelly faded as White House disciplinarian" of course quotes unnamed sources who make Trump look weak, e.g. "This official explained that Kelly initially viewed his job as babysitting, but now feels less of a need to be omnipresent, while Trump, who once considered Kelly a security blanket, feels increasingly emboldened to act alone."

They also show us Trump's great power, turning the people he hires into simpering puddles:
Both [Kelly's] credibility and his influence have been severely diminished, administration officials said, a clear decline for the retired four-star Marine Corps general who arrived with a reputation for integrity and a mandate to bring order to a chaotic West Wing.
Trump Wraithed yet again. Trump's fundamental skill is diminishing his underlings until they wither into wretched skeksis.
posted by dis_integration at 7:29 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]


President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.

Notice that the alliterative insulting nickname he chose for Putin alongside "Animal Assad" is..."President Putin." Strong words, as always.
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:33 AM on April 8 [14 favorites]


Huh.

@RealDonaldTrump (2013): Let the Arab League take care of Syria. Why are these rich Arab countries not paying us for the tremendous cost of such an attack?

@RealDonaldTrump (2013): President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your "powder" for another (and more important) day!

@RealDonaldTrump (2013): AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!
posted by scalefree at 7:39 AM on April 8 [12 favorites]


Susan Collins is on the Sunday shows rewriting the history of how she lied to Maine voters and sold her vote on the tax scam bill for absolutely nothing:

“No, I really don’t,” Susan Collins says to @jaketapper when asked if she believes she was lied to by GOP leaders that they would move on health care bills to win over her vote on tax bill
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:47 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


It’s not a lie if you are both winking to each other like crazy.
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on April 8 [9 favorites]




oh lol
greenwald himself is becoming a twitter joke at this point -- not a very popular one, tho
posted by halation at 8:31 AM on April 8 [21 favorites]


Greenwald has a fascinating habit of attacking precisely the same thing that Trump is attacking at any given moment. I watched him live on the Jimmy Dore (Seth Rich conspiracist/controlled-opposition-Left) Show yesterday for as long as I could stand it (about half an hour) and the entire time Glenn was ranting breathlessly about the evils of the Democratic Party while Dore beamed and nodded. No mention of the actual ongoing civilizational/existential crisis that's actually burning everything down right now.

I do not understand Greenwald's mind and probably never will. I don't think (don't think) that he's directly compromised or collaborating, but a definition escapes me. "Useful idiot" doesn't quite cut it. Maybe just "fucking asshole."
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:47 AM on April 8 [23 favorites]


A monstrous arrogance dwarfed only by an equally monstrous ego that is, nevertheless, so frail that it requires constant reward and approval, leading to inevitable radicalization and a shrinking, but intensifying, base of support.

If you’re a foreign power in the manipulating idiots game, Greenwald seems as easy to manipulate as Trump.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:53 AM on April 8 [7 favorites]


Mic.com (yeah, I know): Leaked neo-Nazi chat room shows a movement self-destructing in real time

Full chatlogs at Unicorn Riot: A Year Inside The Failed Neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party.

TWP was Matt Heimbach's creation and is the group that dissolved in March around the whole weird actual-cuckoldry scandal.

More discussion from Daily Beast.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:55 AM on April 8 [5 favorites]


In Greenwald's defense The Intercept Brazil is far from arseholish and the reporting and investigative journalism being done there is far superior from anything being produced by other news organizations, and highly necessary.
He is an American so I guess he is allowed to have views on that countries disfuncional political system as he likes even though some them go against the mefi grain.
posted by adamvasco at 8:58 AM on April 8


Holy Jeez, Greenwald's explicitly going to bat for Kevin Williamson and Ross Douthat (using the reactionary/alt-right terminology in saying that they "trigger" us) and linking a NYT article about liberals not being inclusive enough of differing opinions.

....guys I'm starting to think Glenn isn't on our side.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:03 AM on April 8 [34 favorites]


[Kinda feel like "Glenn Greenwald does a bad tweet" is a variety of consequenceless low-hanging fruit that we could just stop plunking given how the conversation rarely goes anywhere new or interesting.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 AM on April 8 [30 favorites]


RE: Syria and refugees....

So I went to listen to a talk here at UPenn back in February that featured Joe Biden, Jeb Bush, Anne C. Richard, Michael Doyle, and Dau Jok. The topic was People and Policy Adrift: A 21st Century Framework for Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and Immigration Policy.

It was 90% garbage and pablum, though I will say that Anne C. Richard (Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration under President Obama) and Michael Doyle had some interesting stuff to say, especially around the proposed Model International Mobility Convention.

But I digress.

At one point, the topic of how to "sell" a more liberal immigration policy to the American people came up. I'm paraphrasing, but Joe Biden said something to the effect of:

"EVEN IF you can't sell it to someone on the basis that it is the right thing to do, we oughtta be able to convince folks that it's in their naked self-interest. Look at Europe. When a million refugees are taken into Germany, into other places, there's a political cost to pay. That's reality. We didn't help! So what happens is, these far right groups get emboldened because they can make political hay out of it. And this means that Putin, who is working very hard to help embolden these forces and destabilize Europe, well, he gets stronger. This weakens American security! If we helped, if we took in more refugees, the political costs for Germany and Europe are reduced, and American security is strengthened. We oughtta be able to sell that to folks."

This just reinforced to me that the Democratic establishment really does think that this is an arc in the West Wing. That if we can just find the right way to sell this stuff, things will get better.

But the thing is, Putin getting stronger through far right groups gaining strength in Europe is NOT A BAD THING to many many many people in the US. The right wing of American politics is not some principled bloc that deep down will do the right thing for American security if they can just be persuaded to think of things that way. There is no redeeming the Republican party. A rapist is President, our domestic institutions are being actively dissolved or weaponized to enrich the few and destroy the many, children are fleeing from being gassed and we won't help, and we pose an active existential threat to all life on Earth. There's no Act 2 that redeems this in time to wrap things up in Act 3.

For all the major ways in which Joe Biden is problematic (and he is, I know) this fundamental flaw in thinking is emblematic of the larger problem. There's no making peace with cancer. There's only the targeted destruction of the cancer cells and constant vigilance should they ever start to replicate again, or there's death.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:14 AM on April 8 [21 favorites]


Because stupidest timeline... the Citigroup study where Trump gets his $1.50 per Amazon package? Even ignoring that it doesn't even apply to Amazon specifically, its dubious methodology, and that it was driven by competitors UPS and Fedex, it also makes a giant math error. Corrected, the $1.50 is actually 11 cents.
posted by chris24 at 9:17 AM on April 8 [16 favorites]


"If we helped, if we took in more refugees, the political costs for Germany and Europe are reduced, and American security is strengthened. We oughtta be able to sell that to folks."

This logic seems flawed. He posits an inevitable "political cost" to taking in refugees, and argues that spreading the risk means "American security is strengthened." But since he posits right-wing backlash as an inevitable consequence of accepting refugees... why would the same thing not happen in the US?

There are obvious arguments for the US taking in more refugees but this one makes very little sense. I see literally no way to "sell that to folks."
posted by halation at 9:23 AM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Yikes - must have missed it earlier, but ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR STAY PENDING APPEAL. (Re: Felons reestablishment of voting rights in Florida)

Was this judge in the military? Because I have never gotten a public ass-chewing like that outside the military.
posted by ctmf at 9:30 AM on April 8 [80 favorites]


But since he posits right-wing backlash as an inevitable consequence of accepting refugees... why would the same thing not happen in the US?

I think he was talking about the right-wing backlash in Germany being more effective because objectors could point to the US and say, "See? We didn't need to take these refugees in! The US didn't do it!"

If more countries accept refugees, the argument strengthens that they do so as a moral imperative to address the humanitarian crisis. There may be right-wing backlash in all such countries but it would be less likely to find a foothold in people not already immersed in that mindset.
posted by SpaceBass at 9:33 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Yikes - must have missed it earlier, but ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR STAY PENDING APPEAL. (Re: Felons reestablishment of voting rights in Florida)

Was this judge in the military? Because I have never gotten a public ass-chewing like that outside the military.


Any context on this ruling and what it means?
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:43 AM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I take it to mean the court ordered them to fix their broken sham system; the state whined that the court can't tell them how to do it and besides, that's not enough time; the court said they're not telling the state how to do it, only TO do it. By the deadline. Get hot.

Also, feel free to escalate over our head. Good luck with that. Clock's ticking.
posted by ctmf at 9:50 AM on April 8 [22 favorites]


And don't miss the court's last line there:
This Court does not play games. This Court is not going to sit on Defendants’ motion and run out the clock. If the Eleventh Circuit finds that a clemency scheme granting unfettered discretion to elected officials—with personal stakes in shaping the electorate—over Plaintiffs’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights passes constitutional muster, this Court must accept that holding. Until that day, if it ever comes, this Court DENIES Defendants’ request for a stay.
That is as close to a federal judge telling a state governor "fuck you and the horse you rode in on" as you will ever see in a public document.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:56 AM on April 8 [139 favorites]


Holy cow, that ruling is as beautiful a righteous ass-chewing as I’ve ever seen in a judicial ruling. It really is worth reading and, at only six pages, a wonderful little pick-me-up in these dark times.
posted by darkstar at 9:57 AM on April 8 [10 favorites]






That's a beautiful document from the Tallahassee court; I don't know how the Governor will be able to handle this panning
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:59 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Republicans Seize on Impeachment as an Issue ((direct NYT) via Politicalwire)

"As Republican leaders scramble to stave off a Democratic wave or at least mitigate their party’s losses in November, a strategy is emerging on the right for how to energize conservatives and drive a wedge between the anti-Trump left and moderate voters: warn that Democrats will immediately move to impeach President Trump if they capture the House."

Goin' Full Collusion, eh GOP? Well, hats off to your chutzpah. Frankly, you'll be doing us a favor going for broke like that. We'd probably wallow in better jobs or some other weak tea. Best to just put it all on the line. Elect Trump once, shame on you. Keep him in office, . . shame . on . . uh, we can't lose to Trump again.
posted by petebest at 12:21 PM on April 8 [16 favorites]


On second thought, elect Trump once, shame on us. What the actual fuck.
posted by petebest at 12:23 PM on April 8 [28 favorites]


I can't come up with some reason Democrats -wouldn't- impeach Trump the second they capture the House. I mean, he's colluding with foreign powers, and his entire administration is about as corrupt as it's humanly possible to be.

But hey, sure. Let's -defend- that as a strategy. See how far that works. I'm sure that won't backfire in any way, right?
posted by Archelaus at 12:30 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Yeah, isn’t that basically the Republicans admitting that Trump is guilty (if he’s not, then impeachment is a nothingburger), and openly calling to further obstruct justice?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:33 PM on April 8 [14 favorites]


Putting the wedge the other way, convincing potential voters who hate trump that the DNC/DCCC/other centrist bodies at the heart of the Democratic Party won’t do anything about him would seem a far more plausible and winning strategy, not that I’d want to give these fuckers ideas.
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Reasons not to impeach Trump: keep the presidency in the hands of a weak, manipulable twit with low approval ratings. Ride a blue wave all the way to 2020 when it’s needed for both the presidency and nationwide legislative redistricting.
posted by migurski at 12:37 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


More realistically the centrist reason not to impeach would be a theoretical future situation in whichRepublicans COULD impeach or otherwise be obstructive but decide not to out of gratitude.

This shit writes itself, scarily enough. They should look into shoring up against that.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


The problem is that Republicans impeached Clinton over what many Democrats considered to be specious reasons (let's not discuss that). So the Republicans can act (for the moment, before any reports are filed) as if any impeachment attempt against Trump would be for specious reasons also.
posted by acrasis at 12:47 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


Yeah, isn’t that basically the Republicans admitting that Trump is guilty (if he’s not, then impeachment is a nothingburger), and openly calling to further obstruct justice?

No, the Republicans are projecting their worldview of "power by any means" onto the Democrats. Because Republicans believe that the sole purpose of investigations and jurisprudence is to crush your enemies (e.g. people named "Clinton") regardless of whether there is actual criminal guilt, they think that Democrats believe the same thing. This is also why the House Intelligence Committee's investigation was such a joke, because Nunes didn't see any reason to continue an investigation that wasn't going to hurt any Democrats.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:48 PM on April 8 [24 favorites]


Reasons not to impeach Trump: keep the presidency in the hands of a weak, manipulable twit with low approval ratings. Ride a blue wave all the way to 2020 when it’s needed for both the presidency and nationwide legislative redistricting.

cons: further Russian theft of elections due to lack of consequences, nuclear winter
posted by leotrotsky at 12:53 PM on April 8 [32 favorites]


[None of us are going to decide whether or not Trump gets impeached, so maybe let's not keep armchair quarterbacking it an nth time.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:02 PM on April 8 [28 favorites]


As Democratic leaders scramble to ensure a Democratic wave in November, a strategy is emerging: promise that Democrats will immediately move to impeach President Trump if they capture the House.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:10 PM on April 8 [16 favorites]


It's been mentioned previously in the thread, but I'll 2nd that the New Yorker article "A Saudi Prince's Quest to Remake the Middle East" is a great deep-dive into some of the big players in the region's conflicts, with the bonus of more Cambridge Analytica fuckery.

The only thing they didn't mention was the 100 page glossy magazine put out here in the US by the Trump's buddy at the National Enquirer which heaps on praise for the new Crown Prince. They claim no one outside of their staff had any influence on it being published, including Saudi Arabia itself, which seems... odd.
posted by bluecore at 4:12 PM on April 8 [10 favorites]


Donald Trump Baltic States Cold Open - SNL
“First up, a big congratulations to Vladimir Putin,” Trump said. “He won a great, great, very transparent victory in the Russian election. Fantastic job, Putin. Even though no one has ever been tougher on Russia than I am, including Hitler.”
...
“Here is the thing that no one else is saying and I’m the only one who’s willing to actually say this,” Baldwin’s Trump concluded. “I don’t care about America, OK? This whole presidency is a four-year cash grab and admitting that will probably get me four more years, but I do not care about any of you.”
posted by kirkaracha at 5:21 PM on April 8 [34 favorites]


New York Times editor says Trump attacks on press are out of control.
Dean Baquet was responding to a tweet in which the president attacked his main rival.
posted by adamvasco at 5:41 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


The twitter machine is all abuzz with chatter about airstrikes happening in Syria. No one knows if it's the United States, Israel, or both, but lots of things are flying around very loud and fast.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:23 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Nice to see Baquet take a break from shrimp and cocktail weenies to raise a point of order.
posted by rhizome at 6:30 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Twitter speculation is its Israeli airstrikes, and the Pentagon denied it's US.

Maybe they wanted to act first this time before Trump tipped off where to move everything away from.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:21 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Oh man, about that New Yorker article...

Remember how, in the context of coordinated political campaigns aimed at reorganizing the ME, Mohammed bin Salman and reps from the UAE and Cambridge Analytica types and I assume like an actual cloven-hoofed consultant all met with The Rock?

And we only know about it because The Rock, who has long rumored to have political ambitions, was dumb enough to instagram it (and then delete it)?

I feel like an absolute crazy person, but there has been a lot of The Rock hagiography bubbling up on reddit recently. Like to the point where it’s kind of...weird.

I CANT FUCKING BELIEVE THIS IS A REALISTIC THING TO WORRY ABOUT
posted by schadenfrau at 7:48 PM on April 8 [40 favorites]




Brassner wasn't the only resident of Trump Tower to say "‘I have to get out of here". Remember Keith Olbermann moving out in '16? My comment at the time is "why would a person with a minimum of scruples and a right mind EVER live in a building with the name TRUMP on it?" And if you'd asked me in the '90s, I'd have said the same thing.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:24 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


I work in commercial real estate in a major metropolitan area. I don't know how things work in NYC, but I'm reading that Trump Tower wasn't retrofitted with sprinklers, and that there were no building-wide alarms or communications to other tenants triggered by the (very substantial) fire. That's bugfuck crazy to me.

Installing sprinklers wouldn't cost Trump anything, as costs like that are passed on to tenants as operating expenses, and tenants rarely grumble about fire-life-safety expenses. Sprinklers are STANDARD in all office towers in my metro. Assuming you don't have sprinklers, your alarm system must be fantastic. With sprinklers, it's more-or-less safe to assume a typical fire won't spread; without, who knows what could happen, so you need alarms going off on floors 45-55 immediately when a smokehead is triggered.

Conclusion: all Trump Tower tenants should leave ASAP. Fire codes were established for a reason, which was to prevent cities from burning down when one electrical short or loose cigarette activates a fire. Very basic property management didn't happen here, and someone may have died because of it. I would assume all corners were being cut until proven otherwise.
posted by johnny jenga at 9:33 PM on April 8 [39 favorites]


Art Collector and Bon Vivant Dies in Trump Tower Home He Couldn’t Sell
Friends of Mr. Brassner said he had been trying to move since the election of President Trump in 2016, which brought increased security and activity to the building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, but he could not sell his 50th-floor apartment, which he estimated to be worth $2.5 million in 2015.

“It haunts me,” said Stephen Dwire, 67, a musician and music producer who had been friends with Mr. Brassner since they were 14-year-olds in Harrison, N.Y., in Westchester County. “He said, ‘This is getting untenable,’” Mr. Dwire said. “It was like living in an armed camp. But when people heard it was a Trump building, he couldn’t give it away.”
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:38 PM on April 8 [27 favorites]


Forgive this tardy reaction, I've just been stupefied (which, shame on me).... Am I to understand that President Trauma points to what he sees as America's weakness on asbestos as being the actual, dominant cause of 9/11?

It should go without saying that it is beyond insane to have a president--anyone--in 2018 advocating for asbestos, and yet, here I am, saying it.
posted by riverlife at 10:05 PM on April 8 [11 favorites]


Trump argued against retrofitting NY City buildings with sprinklers (it's not as entirely crass as it sounds, and he did eventually retrofit one of his towers).

“People feel safer with sprinklers,” Trump said in 1999, according to The Times. “But the problem with the bill is that it doesn’t address the buildings that need sprinklers the most. If you look at the fire deaths in New York, almost all of them are in one-or two-family houses.”
posted by Rumple at 10:19 PM on April 8


Forgive this tardy reaction, I've just been stupefied (which, shame on me).... Am I to understand that President Trauma points to what he sees as America's weakness on asbestos as being the actual, dominant cause of 9/11?

Yes. He has a weird affinity for the stuff; just guessing but maybe something he had drilled into him by his father.
posted by scalefree at 10:19 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Very basic property management didn't happen here, and someone may have died because of it.
A solid description of the Trump Administration, and pretty much every Trump Enterprise before it.

meanwhile (about 500 comments ago):
The Whelk: "Progressive candidates to watch for 2018 midterms (The Nation)"
There are some pretty good folks on here. There's also Dennis Kucinich.

Kliph Nesteroff's nostalgia blog found a little bit of Kucinich history when he was interviewed by Tom Snyder right after the recall election he survived as Mayor of Cleveland.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:23 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Now this is intriguing. It suggests a roadmap for unwinding Trumpism altogether.

How Trump thrives in ‘news deserts’ Relentless use of social media and partisan outlets helped him swamp Clinton and exceed Romney’s performance in places lacking trusted local news outlets.
posted by scalefree at 10:24 PM on April 8 [27 favorites]


There's been quite a bit of commentary on Twitter that a high ROI move for Tom Steyer, etc. would be to make some investments in local newspapers.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:31 PM on April 8 [9 favorites]


billionaires aren't going to save us
posted by edeezy at 11:40 PM on April 8 [21 favorites]


No one thing will save us, and I'm not even sure if it's possible to recognize that saving has happened, but that doesn't make it wasted effort.
posted by rhizome at 12:20 AM on April 9 [33 favorites]


Very basic property management didn't happen here, and someone may have died because of it. I would assume all corners were being cut until proven otherwise.

Trump Tower is on 5th avenue right?

I guess Trump was right after all. He killed a guy on 5th Avenue and he didn't lose any supporters.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 AM on April 9 [165 favorites]


There was a significant ICE raid in Grainger county, TN this week. This is a good rundown, but it minimizes the fact that 97 people were arrested. This short piece is from the perspective of one of the people who was arrested. Local law students are trying to help. Religious leaders are speaking out against it. This business was a real shithole, paying workers in cash to avoid payroll taxes, and violating sanitation and safety rules; however, the people who run the place were not among the 97 arrested.

Autoplaying videos in all links after the first.
posted by heatvision at 3:16 AM on April 9 [24 favorites]


This business was a real shithole, paying workers in cash to avoid payroll taxes, and violating sanitation and safety rules; however, the people who run the place were not among the 97 arrested.

Perfectly illustrating why some GOP voters, particularly in agriculture, vote to keep immigrants illegal while at the same time using their labour: to maximise profits while keeping their workers scared of reporting terrible labour practices to the authorities.
posted by PenDevil at 3:31 AM on April 9 [54 favorites]


Who could possibly have forseen that one day we might need to be taken seriously about WMDs and about regime change in a Middle-Eastern dictatorship, and credibilty on those subjects wasn't a valueless thing to be thrown away in the course of military adventurism.

Now that we're facing such an insurmountable task in the form of getting everyone to take us seriously about those issues, it's fortunate that we didn't let Vladimir Putin install a U.S. Secretary of State whose bosom he'd pinned a medal on, to disassemble the State Department under the guise of saving money and handicap our diplomatic efforts on the international stage. Oh wait, we did let that happen.
posted by XMLicious at 5:02 AM on April 9 [33 favorites]


How Trump thrives in ‘news deserts’ Relentless use of social media and partisan outlets helped him swamp Clinton and exceed Romney’s performance in places lacking trusted local news outlets.

I think we've found a paid model for news! Use it as a loss leader to convince the population to elect leaders you can bribe to give you sweetheart deals and tax cuts!
posted by leotrotsky at 6:32 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


White House has no plan for countering Comey (Matthew Nussbaum, Politico)

“Former FBI director James Comey is about to return to the national spotlight with the release of his memoir next week — but the White House is doing little to prepare for the onslaught,” Politico reports.

“These officials said it’s understood within the West Wing that laying out an advance media strategy is largely a futile exercise since President Trump could blow up any prepared talking points with a single tweet.”


Yes, the Executive Branch is in a state of triple-guessing paralysis because of the addled tweetphasia the theoretical leader suffers from. Michael Wolff's book was accurate, and is proving to be more so every day.

Per the painfully insightful "Q anon" posts, Trump is not only preparing to topple all pedophiles and human traffickers with a single massive onslaught any minute now, but he's also laid out a brilliant strategy to wrest financial control from the bad guys and give everyone free money. Some say Trump is, himself, Qanon.

Which- wow. I don't think we could find a more bracing example of "black is white, night is day" than this. Perhaps facts, reality, empirical evidence - perhaps these things are functionally meaningless and and the only thing that matters is what makes it on Fox and Friends. (It isn't but damn. We're essentially shut down because the GOP elected a maniac and they're really goddamned pleased about it.) Corporate news clearly has no interest in fixing this.

Senior aides hope a trip to South America and summit with the Japanese prime minister will keep Trump's mind off the book.

Yeah, someone jangle some keys in front of him for 3 more years.
posted by petebest at 6:41 AM on April 9 [36 favorites]


Sean Sullivan, WaPo: GOP increasingly fears loss of House, focuses on saving Senate majority
To many, the Senate is emerging as a critical barrier against Democrats demolishing President Trump’s agenda beginning in 2019. Worse yet, some in the GOP fear, Democrats could use complete control of Congress to co-opt the ideologically malleable president and advance their own priorities.

Democratic enthusiasm is surging in suburban districts that House Republicans are struggling to fortify, causing GOP officials, donors and strategists to fret. They have greater confidence in the more rural red states Trump won convincingly that make up the bulk of the Senate battlefield.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies are seeking to capitalize on concerns about the House. He is leading an effort to motivate conservative voters by reminding them that his side of the Capitol has the unilateral power to confirm federal judges and Trump administration nominees.
On the other hand, Democrats are defending 26 Senate Seats, Republicans are defending 9.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:57 AM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Relentless use of social media and partisan outlets helped him swamp Clinton and exceed Romney’s performance in places lacking trusted local news outlets.

I'd suggest that it's more that Trump's base are likely to seek out partisan outlets (especially Fox News) because they want to be told what they want to hear rather than get actual news. I know a few Trump supporters through work and family. They have access to local and regional news that's at least moderately accurate, but spurn it as "fake" (long before that was Trump's catchphrase) and consume "real" news that's effectively propaganda.
posted by Candleman at 7:24 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Yeah but those folks are irredeemable. The folks who are redeemable—the ones who are “political” for only the few days in front of a Presidential election—don’t have informed local sources to turn to, and haven’t had in the months prior when they might have formed foundational opinions via osmosis, and so rely on the sources close at hand.
posted by notyou at 7:31 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


They have access to local and regional news that's at least moderately accurate, but spurn it as "fake" (long before that was Trump's catchphrase) and consume "real" news that's effectively propaganda.

In other words, they decide not to examine and read critically.
posted by rc3spencer at 7:32 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


From The Guardian: Fox News accidentally displays graphic showing it is least trusted cable network
During a segment on Sunday on Media Buzz, host Howard Kurtz was discussing with the Republican pollster Frank Luntz a Monmouth University poll which asked respondents if the media regularly or occasionally reports fake news.

The graphic that came up on screen showed results from another question, about what cable news outlets respondents trusted more. Fox News was last at 30%, behind CNN and MSNBC, both regular targets of attacks by President Donald Trump.
posted by Merus at 7:36 AM on April 9 [26 favorites]


Unfortunately that AP article in the Guardian has a glaring factual error: the poll wasn't asking which network was most trustworthy, it was asking whether people trusted each network more or less than they trust the President. So naturally, a lot of Trump supporters trust the President and Fox News equally, and don't show up in the low 30% figure given. The AP has screwed up here.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:39 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Thad Cochran's (R-MS) replacement, Cindy Hyde-Smith, will be sworn in later today.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:40 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


edeezy: "billionaires aren't going to save us"

I'm not saying they will. I'm saying that, if I'm a very wealthy person with liberal to progressive views, supporting local news reporting would be a good investment, certainly a better one than putting up ads for impeachment. It's like getting more people registered and voting - it's good for our civic culture and democracy in general, it also happens to benefit the left.

We shouldn't expect billionaires to save us. But to the extent they are interested in furthering progressive causes - and some of them are - this would be a good way to go about it, and we'd all benefit.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:17 AM on April 9 [39 favorites]


The twitter machine is all abuzz with chatter about airstrikes happening in Syria. No one knows if it's the United States, Israel, or both, but lots of things are flying around very loud and fast.

Following up on this from last night: multiple American officials have told NBC news that this was an Israeli air strike against a Syrian air base, which Israel informed the US of in advance.

Via Haaretz,
The Russian military said on Monday that two Israeli F-15 war planes carried out airstrikes on a Syrian air base near Homs on Sunday, the Interfax news agency reported. 14 people were reportedly killed in the strike, at least two of them Iranians.

Interfax cited the Russian Defense Ministry as saying the Israeli war planes had carried out the strikes from Lebanese air space. The Russian ministry said that Syrian air defense systems had shot down five of eight missiles fired, while the other three landed in the western part of the base. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that the strike was "a dangerous development."
...
Iran's Fars news agency reported that four Iranians were killed in the air strike, which it attributed to Israel. Media outlets associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps named the four dead, all members of the IRGC and including one with the rank of colonel.

Israel had attacked the T-4 base near Homs twice in the past, destroying an Iranian drone control center and communications systems, where defense analysts say there are large deployments of Russian forces, and where jets fly regular sorties to strike rebel-held areas.

There is a UN Security Council meeting happening today to discuss both this (at Russia's insistence, citing 'threats to international peace and security') and the recent chemical weapon attacks within Syria (at America's behest, with support from eight other council members).
posted by cjelli at 8:21 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Inside Elections/Gonzales ratings changes for gubernatorial races. These are a mix of good and bad for Dems. Note that Gonzales has a "Tilt" category the other two shops don't use, it means "really narrow advantage."
AK: Toss-up => Tilt R
MI: Toss-up => Tilt D
MN: Likely D => Lean D
NV: Toss-up => Tilt D
RI: Solid D => Likely D
WI: Likely R => Lean R
I think we've talked about this, but House results are pretty strongly correlated to who holds the White House and presidential approval. Senate results are somewhat correlated, but less so. Governor results aren't much at all, they seem to most be about local factors. So not a surprise we're seeing some races move right.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:23 AM on April 9 [22 favorites]


Reuters poll:
Nationwide, whites over the age of 60 with college degrees now favor Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a 2-point margin, according to Reuters/Ipsos opinion polling during the first three months of the year. During the same period in 2016, that same group favored Republicans for Congress by 10 percentage points.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:33 AM on April 9 [32 favorites]


Republican Governor and certified insane person Matt Bevin just promised to veto the Kentucky Republican's tax cuts for the rich and 2 year budget bills.

There's a good chance KY Republicans will actually override him, there's not much else they can actually do without raising taxes, which is obviously out of the question.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:33 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Matt Bevin just promised to veto the Kentucky Republican's tax cuts for the rich and 2 year budget bills.

Nice. Feeling the heat is an OK substitute for morality.
posted by rhizome at 8:37 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


CNN: Michael Anton, also known as the blogger "Publius Decius Mus" and author of the essay "The Flight 93 Election," resigned from his position as National Security Council spokesperson yesterday.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:37 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Nice. Feeling the heat is an OK substitute for morality.

I think you're misunderstanding here, Bevin wants FAR more spending cuts than the KY Republicans delivered, and it's not clear what he actually wants on tax "reform", but you can bet it's not increasing revenue. He's not feeling the heat from the left, at all. The Republicans in the legislature might be, because they restored most of Bevin's proposed cuts. He wants the state equivalent of the Ryan-Trump budget.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:41 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Oh. That wasn't at all apparent from the linked story.
posted by rhizome at 8:43 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying they will. I'm saying that, if I'm a very wealthy person with liberal to progressive views, supporting local news reporting would be a good investment

Or , you know, investing in public broadcasting cause the problem that a handful of rich people control the media is one we had at the start of the last century too
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 AM on April 9 [26 favorites]


Uh oh. Looks like McCain has some concerns again.
posted by Twain Device at 8:51 AM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Or , you know, investing in public broadcasting cause the problem that a handful of rich people control the media is one we had at the start of the last century too

It doesn't have to be one rich person making the purchase.
posted by scalefree at 9:00 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]




Looks like Virginia is on the brink of expanding Medicaid.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:17 AM on April 9 [29 favorites]


David Leonhardt has an op-ed, The Tragedy of James Comey. That's tragedy in the literary sense.
James Comey is about to be ubiquitous. His book will be published next week, and parts may leak this week. Starting Sunday, he will begin an epic publicity tour, including interviews with Stephen Colbert, David Remnick, Rachel Maddow, Mike Allen, George Stephanopoulos and “The View.”

All of which will raise the question: What, ultimately, are we supposed to make of Comey?
...
[numerous paragraphs devoted to explaining his independence and integrity and his obsessive need to publicly maintain that reputation].
..
Comey, however, decided that he knew better than everyone else. He was the righteous Jim Comey, after all. He was going to speak truth to power. He was also, not incidentally, going to protect his own fearless image. He developed a series of rationales, suggesting that he really had no choice. They remain unpersuasive. When doing the right thing meant staying quiet and taking some lumps, Comey chose not to.

His tragic mistake matters because of the giant consequences for the country. He helped elect the most dangerous, unfit American president of our lifetimes. No matter how brave Comey has since been, no matter how honorable his full career, he can never undo that damage.

As he takes over the spotlight again, I’ll be thinking about the human lessons as well the political ones. Comey has greater strengths than most people. But for all of us, there is a fine line between strength and hubris.
We're going to see a lot of Comey now and a lot of over-the-top praise for him. It's going to be sickening. I'm not sure viewing him as a tragic figure is the right lens to analyze his actions, but hero certainly won't be either.
posted by zachlipton at 9:30 AM on April 9 [76 favorites]


The Moscow Midterms - How Russia could steal our next election.

Bit of a weird speculative excercise, but the answer is very easily, given how utterly compromised the Republicans are.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Zuckerberg is testifying before Congress tomorrow (he's there doing meetings today, yes, in a suit), and his written statement is available. Most of it isn't new—long lists of bullet points of ways they'll surely get it right this time without changing their core business model—, but this bit seems significant:
Our security team has been aware of traditional Russian cyber threats — like hacking and malware — for years. Leading up to Election Day in November 2016, we detected and dealt with several threats with ties to Russia. This included activity by a group called APT28, that the U.S. government has publicly linked to Russian military intelligence services.

But while our primary focus was on traditional threats, we also saw some new behavior in the summer of 2016 when APT28-related accounts, under the banner of DC Leaks, created fake personas that were used to seed stolen information to journalists. We shut these accounts down for violating our policies.

After the election, we continued to investigate and learn more about these new threats. What we found was that bad actors had used coordinated networks of fake accounts to interfere in the election: promoting or attacking specific candidates and causes, creating distrust in political institutions, or simply spreading confusion. Some of these bad actors also used our ads tools.

We also learned about a disinformation campaign run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA) — a Russian agency that has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia. We found about 470 accounts and pages linked to the IRA, which generated around 80,000 Facebook posts over about a two-year period.
Unsurprisingly, this is pretty much the vaguest bit of the document. But I think it's new that DC Leaks was acting on Facebook. This also says that other "bad actors" were acting to interfere in the election who weren't the Internet Research Agency. We need way more public disclosure of what this was about, and pardon me if I don't particularly trust the House Energy and Commerce committee to ask the right questions.
posted by zachlipton at 9:39 AM on April 9 [33 favorites]


NYT:
The federal government’s top ethics official has taken the unusual step of sending a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency questioning a series of actions by Administrator Scott Pruitt and asking the agency to take “appropriate actions to address any violations.”
posted by Chrysostom at 9:42 AM on April 9 [36 favorites]


"As Republican leaders scramble to stave off a Democratic wave or at least mitigate their party’s losses in November, a strategy is emerging on the right for how to energize conservatives and drive a wedge between the anti-Trump left and moderate voters: warn that Democrats will immediately move to impeach President Trump if they capture the House."

Te Republicans tried this tactic with George W. Bush, too, only to have Nancy Pelosi unilaterally take impeachment off the table -- but before the full extent of W's incompetence, fecklessness, and mendacity were known.

I don't think Republicans really want to go there in 2018 -- they risk firing up more voters than their base. Trump is much more of a known quantity, and when the people of this nation look at him, they do not like what they see.

(We've debated the pros and cons of impeachment here on the blue many times, but the Democrats must not be tricked into unilaterally disarming this time. One possible line would be "We should reserve judgment until Special Counsel Mueller finishes his investigation," though that line may put Mueller's job even more at risk.)
posted by Gelatin at 9:45 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Editorial: As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved

Another factor: Critics on both sides of America’s ever-widening political divide heap blame for the loss of readership on claims — too many of them credible — that newsrooms have lost sight of their responsibility to be truly objective. Such criticisms help fuel spectacularly successful social media companies, which also reap profits from links to traditional newsroom offerings.

Another regrettable result of the fracturing of newsrooms has been the rush by political interests to lavish investments in echo-chamber outlets that merely seek to report from biased perspectives, leaving the hollowed-out shells of newsrooms loyal to traditional journalistic values to find their voice in the maelstrom.


They begin by calling their owners corporate raiders with no interest in news or civic responsibility. How often does an editorial piece say that about the newspaper's owners?

It's a resignation letter.
posted by adept256 at 9:54 AM on April 9 [29 favorites]


Is there any polling on the popular appeal of impeachment? I would have thought that "Vote dem and you'll get Day One impeachment for emolument violations and conduct unbecoming" or whatever would be reeaaaaally motivational.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:56 AM on April 9 [13 favorites]


Meanwhile, Trump ally Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is calling for "fast-tracking" the impeachment of the country's top judge. Reasons? The judge is a woman and she's critical of the president's deadly crackdown on drugs. PLEASE don't give Trumpy ideas...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:02 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark. Mueller just seized $10 million from a bunch of Manafort's bank accounts including one belonging jointly to his daughter and son in law, to pay his bail.

@big_cases New filing in United States v. Manafort: .Order
posted by scalefree at 10:04 AM on April 9 [40 favorites]


Is there any polling on the popular appeal of impeachment? I would have thought that "Vote dem and you'll get Day One impeachment for emolument violations and conduct unbecoming" or whatever would be reeaaaaally motivational. .

Well, maybe, but then when the impeachment dies in the Senate because the Republicans, once again, choose party over country, it'd have a proportionally large de-motivational effect. For the Democrats, simply promising to check the Trump agenda and perform oversight on his crooked administration should be enough.
posted by Gelatin at 10:13 AM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Is there any polling on the popular appeal of impeachment?

It's currently around 39%, sometimes a little higher. His 'strongly disapprove' numbers would probably have to get to around 70% before impeachment got majority support, and that 70% strong disapproval would necessarily require a minimum ~10 point drop in his approval rating.* Unfortunately his approval rating has been basically flat for over a year now. We seem stuck with the status quo until something big happens (e.g. Mueller indicts/gets convictions for Trump family members or current staff; Trump approves a military action that gets a lot of soldiers needlessly killed; Trump's economic policies unambiguously cause a major recession).

There are more popular, more effective platforms for Democrats to run on such as a federal jobs guarantee, the Dream Act, and preserving the ACA.

* This is possible, but only just. About two-thirds of Trump's supporters (i.e. almost exactly the 27% crazification factor) say they will never change their mind about supporting Trump, so there's a hard ceiling there that makes it unlikely that his approval rating will get much lower than 30% even if something really significant happens.
posted by jedicus at 10:15 AM on April 9 [7 favorites]


We've debated the pros and cons of impeachment here on the blue many times, but the Democrats must not be tricked into unilaterally disarming this time.

Brian Buetler: Don't Absolve Trump Of His Impeachable Offenses

We can't accept "look forwards, not backwards" again, and we should be ready for Democrats to try it anyways. We can't allow them to. If Obama had looked backwards, many of the people who enabled the rise of Trump, and are now serving in the Trump administration, would have been convicted felons and/or war criminals.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:16 AM on April 9 [64 favorites]


AP, Trump family hotel business asked Panama president for help, in which Trump Organization lawyers wrote the President of Panama and the foreign secretary to "URGENTLY" intervene in the judicial dispute over the hotel's management.

This is corrupt as hell.
posted by zachlipton at 10:17 AM on April 9 [85 favorites]


Impeachment will be impossible until the moment that it becomes inevitable. We shouldn't shy away from the subject. We should talk about it, explain it, justify it, normalize it, and wait to take action on it until the moment when Mueller's revelations or Trump's own damage to the economy or blundering into war kicks his legs out from under him.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:18 AM on April 9 [63 favorites]


Impeachment will be impossible until the moment that it becomes inevitable. We shouldn't shy away from the subject. We should talk about it, explain it, justify it, normalize it, and wait to take action on it until the moment when Mueller's revelations or Trump's own damage to the economy or blundering into war kicks his legs out from under him.

And one of the things that will make it inevitable is if Senate Republicans see refusing to convict Trump as dooming their own political careers because of the taint of being an accessory after the fact. Democrats should also point out that the information currently in the public domain indicates Trump is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, and that Republicans are selling the country out -- again -- by protecting him.

The Trump brand is toxic now, will be toxic in November, and will be especially toxic in 2020. For years, Reagan made Democrats second-guess themselves and surrender without a fight rather than face the perceived strength of the Republican brand. It's time to turn those tables.
posted by Gelatin at 10:24 AM on April 9 [26 favorites]


This essay by Doug Muder at the Weekly Sift is really good.

Trump’s long-term effect on American democracy: How worried should we be?
Is Trump simply a bad cold that American democracy will eventually throw off and return to good health? Or is his administration a cancer that our country might fight for a while, but will eventually succumb to? How do we even think rationally about such questions, rather than alternately give in to rosy denial or black despair as the mood strikes us?
...
The old model of democratic breakdown was the coup: Caesar illegally taking his army across the Rubicon, seizing Rome, and proclaiming himself Dictator for Life. That was the path of many 20th century dictators like Muammar Gaddafi in Libya or Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But 21st century autocrats have realized the usefulness of maintaining the trappings of democracy.
...
Unlike a coup, though, the subversion of a once-democratic system takes time. While you are corrupting some of the referees, suborning some opposition leaders, and rewriting some rules, the still-intact parts of the system can rise against you — if enough people recognize what is going on and transcend their previous differences. Putin, you may remember, did not become a dictator overnight.
...
Levitsky and Ziblatt don’t end with specific predictions, but my impression after reading their book is that 2018 is crucial. Neither complacency about American democracy’s resilience nor hopelessness about turning things around is warranted. The outcome is still undetermined.
...
Long term, both parties need to figure out how to strengthen the norms of forbearance and tolerance, which were in trouble long before Trump arrived on the scene. Unless we can re-establish them, getting past Trump will not solve our problems. His failure, if it happens, might simply be a training example for new and better demagogues.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:30 AM on April 9 [23 favorites]


That this is our reality alone should be impeachable.

Daniel Dale (Toronto Star): A Fox News guest advocating military action against Syria just turned his head away from the host, looked straight into the camera and said, "President Trump, I am speaking to you directly." True!
posted by chris24 at 10:31 AM on April 9 [61 favorites]


>Asbestos isn't even a fire retardant; it's an insulator.

>>...which was commonly used for fireproofing. This seems way over on the "eating crackers" end of the spectrum.

posted by Justinian at 7:51 PM on April 7 [13 favorites +] [!]


Point well taken. Oh the other hand, trading off fewer fire deaths (~10/M) for increased mesothelioma deaths (~25/M) is a losing proposition.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:42 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Hey, Tammy Duckworth had her baby.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:45 AM on April 9 [73 favorites]


Oh the other hand, trading off fewer fire deaths (~10/M) for increased mesothelioma deaths (~25/M) is a losing proposition.

Not to mention that this trade-off isn't even real, since asbestos has been replaced largely by other materials which are also fire resistant or fireproof (fiberglass, stone wool, even cellulose insulation has fire retardant chemicals added).
posted by biogeo at 10:55 AM on April 9 [8 favorites]


Hey, Tammy Duckworth had her baby.

Bowlsbey 2056!
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:57 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Stormy Daniels' opposition to compel arbitration is a delightful document, filled with using the words of Trump and Cohen against them. It features section titles like "Mr. Cohen Claims Mr. Trump Had Nothing to Do With the Agreement" and "Mr. Trump and the White House Deny Any Involvement With the Settlement Agreement," and "Mr. Trump Was Incapable of Consenting to a Contract Which Imposed Duties on Him That He Was Supposedly Unaware Of."

And it comes with a declaration from Clifford where she says of course she wouldn't have signed an agreement only with Essential Consultants, LLC, because that "would not have made any sense for many reasons." Indeed.
posted by zachlipton at 10:59 AM on April 9 [52 favorites]


Credit where due department: I've complained that NPR has an annoying tendency to frame the Oklahoma teacher's strike as a dispute about pay, and not about the appallingly underfunded condition of the state's education system in general.

But this morning, they were forced to admit it when they reported that teachers rejected a proposed funding increase for the state education budget as insufficient. So, progress, and good on the teacher for hanging tough.
posted by Gelatin at 11:00 AM on April 9 [32 favorites]


We can and should continue to support Mueller's investigation and hold Trump accountable for his actions, but impeachment is a political act that needs to be handled very strategically. Unless and until we have 67 Senators willing to convict, impeachment in the House will not only be a waste of time, it will actively backfire by emboldening Trump. He will say "See? The Senate didn't convict, therefore NO COLLUSION." As OnceUponATime said above, impeachment will be impossible until it is inevitable. We have to keep our powder dry and wait until things get so bad that removing Trump from office is the only conceivable outcome.

tl;dr: I think it's dangerous to set up an expectation that, if we win the House, we will impeach on day one.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:01 AM on April 9 [24 favorites]


Yes, Trump has touted various House Intelligence Committee proceedings, which are obvious whitewashes, as "exoneration," so a Senate acquittal would be a gift to him.

I hope Mueller sends a copy of his report to the NY State attorney general, who prosecutes Trump and his fellow crooks on a host of charges from money laundering to conspiracy.

I also expect a Democratic president (tttcs) would be unlikely to pardon Trump, if Federal charges are not forthcoming until after 2020. The point about "looking forward not backward" enabling more Republican bad acts should be fresh in Democratic politicians' minds, and more, the electorate will not likely be in a forgiving mood.
posted by Gelatin at 11:09 AM on April 9 [3 favorites]


It's 2pm, and you know what that means, right? The most anticipated event of the last five minutes or so...The CBO's new 10-year budget baseline!

Some lowlights include:

A $1T budget deficit by 2020 (nearly so in 2019), two years sooner than prior estimates
The tax cuts and spending deal add $2.7T to the deficit over 10 years, with public debt approaching 100% of GDP by 2028, but they will stimulate demand for labor, lowering the unemployment rate
Average GDP growth of 1.9% over 10 years, no matter what Trump says. 3.3% this year, 2.4% next year, then forecast to grow at 1.7%.

As a result of this debt:
The likelihood of a fiscal crisis in the United States would increase. There would be a greater risk that investors would become unwilling to finance the government’s borrowing unless they were compensated with very high interest rates; if that happened, interest rates on federal debt would rise suddenly and sharply.
And we've taken on all this debt not to invest in ourselves, not to build infrastructure or improve people's lives, but to hand out tax cuts to corporations and the rich. It's generational warfare, and the people who passed these tax cuts are going to be long gone by the time the rest of us really grapple with what they did to us.
posted by zachlipton at 11:09 AM on April 9 [96 favorites]


Stormy Daniels' opposition to compel arbitration is a delightful document, filled with using the words of Trump and Cohen against them.

As a follow-up act, Avenatti made an appearance on CNN to tease tomorrow's release of a composite sketch of the goon who threatened Daniels in 2011, along with the offer of "a significant reward" for finding him—and yesterday he tweeted a photo of Daniels with "the foremost forensic artist in the world" preparing the illustration. Say what you will about his sharp business practices in taking over the Tully's Coffee chain, the man knows how to work the news cycle.

Oh, and the Daily Beast reports that Daniels has crowdfunded over $305,000 for her legal fees.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:28 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Trump to decide on US response to Syria gas attack 'within 48 hours'

I expect the response will be "nothing". I don't know what the right response might be, but I wish the media would stop pretending that Trump is engaged in ratiocination.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:31 AM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Unless and until we have 67 Senators willing to convict, impeachment in the House will not only be a waste of time, it will actively backfire by emboldening Trump.

when it came to talk about impeaching bush, i was one of those who argued against it with that kind of logic and i still feel i was right, in that case

this is a more difficult case, i think - first of all, i think the american people need an investigation of trump and his administration that isn't going to be limited by republicans and it may be that impeachment and trial is the best way to accomplish that - remember that in the case of the iraq war, what happened wasn't really unknown and the bush administration's inability to prove WMDs was plain - here we have a situation where much is unknown and much is going to be controversial

second of all, the process itself may put so much political pressure on republicans that they may be forced to give in

i'm still not 100% sure, but i think there's a better argument for impeaching trump even if he can't be convicted
posted by pyramid termite at 11:34 AM on April 9 [7 favorites]


I would be perfectly happy with a parade of congressional committees, chaired by Democrats this time, investigating collusion, corruption and violations of the emoluments clause.
posted by SPrintF at 11:41 AM on April 9 [16 favorites]


I would be perfectly happy with a parade of congressional committees, chaired by Democrats this time, investigating collusion, corruption and violations of the emoluments clause.

Which is a subtext we should always read into the regular "Republicans fear loss of House" articles. Losing control of either house of Congress means Republicans there will no longer be able to help Trump cover up his incompetence and corruption. And furthermore, it's likely that Democratic investigators could learn just how complicit Republican members of Congress were in the Russia collusion and covering up Trump's crimes, rather than holding him accountable.
posted by Gelatin at 11:45 AM on April 9 [46 favorites]


i'm still not 100% sure, but i think there's a better argument for impeaching trump even if he can't be convicted

I'm working under the assumption that, if we're patient, information will come out that will ensure both impeachment and conviction. So I don't want to waste our chance too early.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:47 AM on April 9 [11 favorites]


we have to wait until the dems control the house, absolutely
posted by pyramid termite at 11:50 AM on April 9


Sean Hannity on Twitter: Glad our arrogant Pres. is enjoying his taxpayer funded golf outing after announcing the US should take military action against Syria

(2013)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:51 AM on April 9 [64 favorites]


I would be perfectly happy with a parade of congressional committees, chaired by Democrats this time, investigating collusion, corruption and violations of the emoluments clause.

Absolutely. It doesn't have to be an impeachment proceeding. Tie him up in investigations for the rest of his presidency. Make him seethe.
posted by scalefree at 11:55 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Sean Hannity, or at least my rendering of this pig ignorant hate monger and conspiracy theorist.

Happy Monday!
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 11:56 AM on April 9 [31 favorites]


And we've taken on all this debt not to invest in ourselves, not to build infrastructure or improve people's lives, but to hand out tax cuts to corporations and the rich.

This is the same model that many corporations have been destroyed to when they're bought out. Take on a ton of debt, pay the execs and shareholders, and then declare bankruptcy once the debt payments are untenable. It's no surprise that the nation is going the same route.
posted by azpenguin at 11:58 AM on April 9 [29 favorites]


Ode to Sean Hannity
by John Cleese (2008)

Aping urbanity
Oozing with vanity
Plump as a manatee
Faking humanity
Journalistic calamity
Intellectual inanity
Fox Noise insanity
You’re a profanity
Hannity


punk cover version
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:59 AM on April 9 [42 favorites]


Hoo boy. An Internal Email Contradicts Scott Pruitt's Account of Controversial Raises
An email that suggests Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt personally signed off on a controversial pay raise for a favored aide last month is roiling the agency.

In the last few days, top staffers became aware of an email exchange between one of two aides who received such a raise and the agency’s human resources division. In mid-March, Sarah Greenwalt, senior counsel to the administrator, wrote to HR in an attempt to confirm that her pay raise of $56,765 was being processed. Greenwalt “definitively stated that Pruitt approves and was supportive of her getting a raise,” according to an administration official who has seen the email chain.

A second administration official confirmed the exchange. The email “essentially says, ‘The administrator said that I should get this raise,’” the official told me. Both spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the private correspondence. A request for comment sent to an EPA spokesman was not immediately returned.
...
After the interview, top aides, including Pruitt’s chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, began corralling files that appeared to contradict Pruitt’s statements. Both administration officials described it as a way of “getting ahead” of the IG’s investigation. Greenwalt’s email, however, has proved the most troubling, according to the two administration officials. “It’s an ‘oh, shit’ moment that they’re trying to figure out before the IG finds the email,” said one. “Because it’ll be damn near impossible to have Sarah explain her way out of it.”
posted by zachlipton at 12:00 PM on April 9 [56 favorites]


i'm still not 100% sure, but i think there's a better argument for impeaching trump even if he can't be convicted

I also think it's not clear that it's a foregone conclusion he can't be convicted unless we have 67 Senators ready to vote that way at the moment articles of impeachment are passed. Public opinion can be fickle in general. In the case of Trump specifically, where so much of his support is based on his ability to flout the rules with impunity, actually putting him on trial and making him answer questions under oath in front of the Senate might just be catastrophic enough for his numbers to turn a few more Republicans against him. Someone has to run as the courageous vanguard of the new and improved country-over-party Republicans 2.0, why not Marco Rubio or whoever?
posted by contraption at 12:09 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Personally I think Ds should run on local issues and the promise that a D congress will fully investigate the Trump administration from top to bottom for corruption to collusion and hold them accountable. Avoids the I word, expands it beyond one man and one bad act, and yet basically gets us to the same place if/when crimes are found.
posted by chris24 at 12:14 PM on April 9 [44 favorites]


210 days, 8 hours, 45 minutes

Until the midterms.
posted by petebest at 12:15 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


Someone has to run as the courageous vanguard of the new and improved country-over-party Republicans 2.0, why not Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio is a sweaty quisling made of ambition and gelatin, a creature with neither spine nor brain. "Bravery" is not within his ability.
posted by emjaybee at 12:22 PM on April 9 [30 favorites]


I think we’ve more than once bemoaned the withering of the hopeful imagination in our politics, but if ever there was a time to offer a positive vision of what we can become, this is it. The past 18 months, save a few shining moments, have been an unrelenting parade of sordidness and bleakness. In my local district (CA-48) I’m leaning toward the Dem challenger who most convincingly leavens the usual Anti-Trump bromides with dollops of future-vision. My guess is there are other voters who feel similarly.
posted by notyou at 12:26 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Marco Rubio is a sweaty quisling made of ambition and gelatin

Right, that's why I picked him as an example of a Republican in the Senate who'd vote to convict Trump without a second thought if it were to his clear political advantage.
posted by contraption at 12:36 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


I’m leaning toward the Dem challenger who most convincingly leavens the usual Anti-Trump bromides with dollops of future-vision.

Beto O'Rourke is uncommonly good at this. His platform's uncompromisingly liberal but he always adds that he'll work with anyone on either side of the aisle, even Trump himself, if they'll work with him. Now we know Trump would never do that but Beto won't close that door in principle. He even couches his opposition to the Wall in strictly positive terms:

Rep. Beto O'Rourke Corrects Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Border Wall Assumptions
Monday evening, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared a pro-border wall opinion piece on Twitter and this comment: "Ask El Paso, Texas (now one of America's safest cities) across the border from Juarez, Mexico (one of the world's most dangerous) if a wall works."

El Paso replied.

"Walls have nothing to do with it," El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke tweeted back, less than an hour after Sanders' message. "We’ve been ranked 1st, 2nd or 3rd safest city for last 20 years, including before any wall. In addition to great law enforcement, our safety is connected to the fact that we are a city of immigrants. We treat each other with respect & dignity."
posted by scalefree at 12:40 PM on April 9 [118 favorites]


>Oh the other hand, trading off fewer fire deaths (~10/M) for increased mesothelioma deaths (~25/M) is a losing proposition.

>>Not to mention that this trade-off isn't even real, since asbestos has been replaced largely by other materials which are also fire resistant or fireproof (fiberglass, stone wool, even cellulose insulation has fire retardant chemicals added).
posted by biogeo at 10:55 AM on April 9 [4 favorites +] [!]


Not to extend the derail too much longer, but I was referring to the implication of Trump's lament that banning asbestos was bad due to the fire deaths it putatively prevented. Asbestos killed more people than it saved. Even under his own assumptions (that the things you mention don't exist), he's still wrong.

In summary, Trump: wrong in so many ways.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:42 PM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Exactly. There needs to be a consistent and constant ramping up of pressure both up to and beyond the 2018 midterms. We don't need everybody. Assuming the Senate stays roughly even, we need approximately 16 Republican Senators to turn on their moron traitor President.

We'll need them, but only a midterm drubbing of their party, after lengthy investigations in the House, followed by an impeachment vote in the House, finally followed by a lengthy and very public trial (bigger than the Clinton impeachment, certainly).

We just need to make their spinelessness and self-preservation work for us.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:47 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump
While Security spending was somewhat more than his predecessor, Scott Pruitt has received death threats because of his bold actions at EPA.


It didn't take long for Trump's bald-faced assertion, echoed by "EPA says 'unprecedented' number of death threats against Pruitt" (Fox News), to unravel:

First, Buzzfeed's Jason Leopold @JasonLeopold quickly responded:
This is bullshit of the highest order.

I had filed a #FOIA with EPA for any records of death threats made against Scott Pruitt.

EPA said it had zero recorss.
And Associated Press backed this up: "A nationwide search of state and federal court records by the AP found no case where anyone has been arrested or charged with threatening Pruitt. EPA's press office did not respond Friday to provide details of any specific threats or arrests."
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:50 PM on April 9 [86 favorites]


Like many people, I have no interest in Scott Pruitt dying early; I merely want him to die in jail
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:53 PM on April 9 [63 favorites]


NYT: F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen

The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing records related to several topics including payments to a pornographic-film actress.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but likely resulted from information he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.
posted by sporkwort at 12:59 PM on April 9 [172 favorites]


Wowzers. The wolves are circling awfully close, Mr President!
posted by notyou at 1:01 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


I feel like Michael Cohen absolutely doesn't want to go to jail and will absolutely spill the beans on decades of Trump criminality and he is our salvation 🙏 Person With Folded Hands Emoji
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:02 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Michael Cohen is not our salvation. He is a criminal and if he turns on trump it will be only for himself and won't give "us" a single thought.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:06 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


Michael Cohen is not our salvation.

Who cares, the gossip and the dirt and the tea will be fantastic.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:07 PM on April 9 [36 favorites]


Popehat: A federal search of an attorney's office is a Very Big Deal, requiring layers of approval, including at DoJ. See USAM 9-13.420
posted by PenDevil at 1:08 PM on April 9 [47 favorites]


If the raid truly is for a state criminal investigation, then Trump's pardon ability won't be able to save ol' Michael "Sez Who?" Cohen.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:09 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


The arguments that attorney-client privilege applies to a matter the client insists he was unaware of and had nothing to do with are going to be hilarious. As are the inevitable counter-arguments involving the crime-fraud exception.

That Cohen and Trump have tried to have it both ways by insisting Cohen is Trump's lawyer when it's convenient and that he's not when it's inconvenient is going to come back on them so hard.
posted by zachlipton at 1:12 PM on April 9 [56 favorites]


Which is a subtext we should always read into the regular "Republicans fear loss of House" articles. Losing control of either house of Congress means Republicans there will no longer be able to help Trump cover up his incompetence and corruption. And furthermore, it's likely that Democratic investigators could learn just how complicit Republican members of Congress were in the Russia collusion and covering up Trump's crimes, rather than holding him accountable.
and
Personally I think Ds should run on local issues and the promise that a D congress will fully investigate the Trump administration from top to bottom for corruption to collusion and hold them accountable. Avoids the I word, expands it beyond one man and one bad act, and yet basically gets us to the same place if/when crimes are found.

Que standard por que no los dos? I don't think anyone on any side respects when pols dodge answering a question completely, but folks running don't need to. "I don't know if we should or shouldn't impeach President Trump because for the last two years Republicans have either impeded investigations or flat-out refused to ask questions. Put me in office so we can actually do real investigations and I'll be glad to answer that question afterwards."

It's not like we have a shortage of news and evidence to back this up. Do we have Corey Lewandowsky cursing at committee members? Nobody who has seen 5 minutes of law or government tv fiction would believe that he left that room without sanction. Run that shit in every market. It's made to order "these people aren't really doing their jobs" fodder.
posted by phearlez at 1:13 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Six Trump Doral Conflicts of Interest in Miami - links to Miami New Times, owned by Village Voice Media
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:15 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


The F.B.I. on Monday raided the office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen

I wonder what is going on with the New York FBI these days. During the election campaign it seemed like there was a faction there which was friendly with (former federal prosecutor) Rudy Giuliani, who were leaking damaging anti-Clinton stuff, who re-assured the New York Times that the FBI had seen no link between Trump and Russia, and who may have threatened to leak the info about more e-mails being found on Anthony Wiener's laptop, causing Comey to send his infamous letter to Congress.

Felix Sater was an informant working with the New York FBI for many years, and Trump himself may have done the same at some point.

Are those same people now in charge of the raid on Michael Cohen?
posted by OnceUponATime at 1:15 PM on April 9 [17 favorites]


If the raid truly is for a state criminal investigation,

Looks like it's still federal. Per Cohen's lawyer, this is an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York based on a referral from Mueller.

That US Attorney would be Geoffrey Berman, "who Trump interviewed for the position in a huge breach of tradition"

Also, just before this broke: President Donald J. Trump Presides Over the Signing of One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding for Major Infrastructure Projects. Which...you know what that means...it's infrastructure week!
posted by zachlipton at 1:16 PM on April 9 [48 favorites]


Are those same people now in charge of the raid on Michael Cohen?

It's a good question. My hope is that the FBI agents who supported Trump against Clinton are facing the reality of a President who wants to destroy them and are now attempting to repent for their evil deeds. But who knows?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:21 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


🎶Cohen won't save you
Billionaires won't save you
I haven't got the faintest idea
Everything seems to be up in the air at this point 🎶
posted by condour75 at 1:21 PM on April 9 [20 favorites]


Also, just before this broke: President Donald J. Trump Presides Over the Signing of One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding for Major Infrastructure Projects.

If Trump has learned nothing else (assuming he's even marginally capable of learning at all, that is), you'd think he would realize by now that he should run screaming and hide anytime someone mentions a bridge, tunnel, viaduct, roadway, or infrastructure in general.

But thanks to the gods of hilarity, he hasn't.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:21 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Vanity Fair is reporting that the FBI also raided Cohen's New York hotel room (hilariously missed by the paparazzi staking out Conor McGregor).

This isn't really the point, but why is Cohen staying at the Loews Regency? Didn't he and his family go on a New York real estate binge, buying multiple properties in Trump buildings?
posted by zachlipton at 1:26 PM on April 9 [20 favorites]


This isn't really the point, but why is Cohen staying at the Loews Regency? Didn't he and his family go on a New York real estate binge, buying multiple properties in Trump buildings?

Who would want to live in one of those death traps?
posted by jedicus at 1:29 PM on April 9 [75 favorites]


Marco Rubio is a sweaty quisling made of ambition and gelatin

Let's not get personal, bub.
posted by Gelatin at 1:36 PM on April 9 [147 favorites]


Doug Mataconis: This is a big deal. Law enforcement usually needs a very good reason to raid the office of a lawyer and potentially seize documents that may be covered by the attorney/client privilege.


Julian Sanchez: It really can’t be overstated how extraordinary this is. And it seems dubious it’s just about a potential campaign finance violation.
posted by chris24 at 1:37 PM on April 9 [45 favorites]


Six Trump Doral Conflicts of Interest in Miami - links to Miami New Times, owned by Village Voice Media

I can't speak to any of the other events, but since I attended #4 at Doral both times it was there I can speak vaguely authoritatively. That event was there exactly twice and the first time was before the election, so if it was an effort to curry favor it was pretty farsighted; the contract was for two successive years, signed in 2015 and not renewed. This year, which was a location chosen after the election, they moved back to Miami Beach.

The same organization had booked other events at the Old Post Office building, which is now the Trump property in D.C. being sued (reasonably) for violating the emollients clause. They had a 2016 event, though were not real thrilled about it. They were contractually committed for 2017 and 2018 but actually cancelled the 2017 event with weeks to go, forfeiting their cost and moving to other locations.

You can certainly argue that was too late for the straw that broke the camel's back, though no-refund deals make decisions like that harder I think. But I'd argue the timelines don't back up the assertion that they chose that property to curry favor; this is more proof that presidents should divest because even if nobody is trying to be shady [1] the appearance of impropriety is inevitable and it's almost impossible to know what's really going on. This is either what I claim - an org getting sucked into the appearance of shenanigans - or actual efforts at corruption. Neither is good for the country.

1: I mean obvs TRUMP is trying to be shady but I was speaking in the hypothetical
posted by flag it and shut up at 1:40 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Make

Attorneys

Get

Attorneys

(Via Reddit megathread)
posted by memebake at 1:42 PM on April 9 [73 favorites]


Michael Cohen is so sketchy as a lawyer this could be about almost any case at all and I imagine they'd find something dirty. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they went into his filing cabinet and found nothing but swarms of spiders.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:42 PM on April 9 [49 favorites]


How long til the Syria bombing starts?

@stevebruskCNN
A White House official says President Trump has been watching TV reports of the FBI raiding the office of Michael Cohen, his longtime lawyer and confidant. (from @jeffzeleny )


@ddale8
Retweeted Steve Brusk
After this, Trump is going into his Syria-related meeting and dinner with military leaders.

---

And the tweets about how unfair the FBI is to Cohen compared to Crooked Hillary are going to be lit.
posted by chris24 at 1:46 PM on April 9 [25 favorites]


There really is a tweet for everything.

@MichaelCohen212 (January 2016): Freezing outside with my friend @Weatherford5 after having my office raided of my #MakeAmericaGreatAgain clothes!
posted by zachlipton at 1:50 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


The Wall Street Journal now confirms the FBI raided three locations with their warrant on Cohen: "Federal investigators on Monday searched the office, home and Manhattan hotel room of President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, seizing communications between the lawyer and his clients that cover topics including payments to the former porn actress known as Stormy Daniels, according to a person familiar with the matter."

And never-Trumper GOP political op Rick Wilson @The RickWilson puts this into context:
Process this fact, because right now the President is tearing out his wispy hair poof...

There's a meaningful chance Robert Mueller's team now has all of the many, many NDAs Trump had with his many, many women.

And Trump's tax returns.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:58 PM on April 9 [128 favorites]


NBC: "A person familiar with the matter told NBC News that this was not a subpoena requesting documents from Cohen. Instead, the source said, this was a court-authorized search, which means there was sufficient probable cause for a federal judge to agree that a search involving the President’s personal attorney could occur without any advance notice to Cohen."
posted by chris24 at 1:59 PM on April 9 [67 favorites]


I hope Michael Cohen's lawyer has a lawyer.

Can you imagine how much paperwork it took to raid the offices of the personal lawyer of the President of the United States!
posted by Sophie1 at 1:59 PM on April 9 [59 favorites]


Even Geraldo is saying:
Unfortunately for @realDonaldTrump-now confidential communications w his attorney @MichaelCohen212 have been seized-assuming seizure handled legally to honor attorney client privilege-then every & anything bad that’s ever been done between them can be fodder for a feast. Big Deal
posted by Brainy at 2:01 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


I hope Michael Cohen's lawyer has a lawyer.

Oh, but he does. Remember this guy?
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:03 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Make

Attorneys

Get

Attorneys


....and so on that occasion, Mr. Trump proclaimed that he was not worried about any investigations or lawsuits because he had the utmost faith in his attorney.

"Yes," the reporter said. "But Mr. Cohen himself is now under investigation."

Mr. Trump smiled. "Then my attorney will get an attorney."

The reporter sighed. "Yes, but then what happens when that attorney is investigated?"

"You can't fool me, young lady!" Mr. Trump smirked. "It's attorneys all the way down!"
posted by lord_wolf at 2:03 PM on April 9 [74 favorites]


Instead, the source said, this was a court-authorized search, which means there was sufficient probable cause for a federal judge to agree that a search involving the President’s personal attorney could occur without any advance notice to Cohen.

It's extraordinary. The amount of deference a judge would give to the President and/or his attorney would be considerable. No-one would want to put their signature to that Order without significant, compelling, and likely-undeniable cause.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:05 PM on April 9 [42 favorites]


I think this is a pretty good indication that there is definitely a there there -- you don't just raid an attorney's office without really good reason.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:06 PM on April 9 [22 favorites]


i'm guessing it's all the crime he's been criming
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:07 PM on April 9 [162 favorites]


No I mean obviously he's a lizard person
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:09 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


We need a giant metal chicken named Bob as a raid mascot. Knock, knock, motherfucker.
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:10 PM on April 9 [40 favorites]


2016:
Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Says.
Says who?
all the polls.

2018:
No Knock
Who's there?
The FBI, with probable cause to toss all your drawers
posted by Cold Lurkey at 2:11 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]


Bloomberg: "Special Counsel Robert Mueller went to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who decided the matter involving President Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen should be handled by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y. rather than Mueller's team, according to a person familiar with the matter."
posted by chris24 at 2:11 PM on April 9 [26 favorites]


There really is a tweet for everything.

Yes there is.

@MichaelCohen212
@HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free!
posted by chris24 at 2:14 PM on April 9 [39 favorites]


Aha, so Mueller found some dirty dirt-dirt-dirt on Cohen and, like the badass Boy Scout he is, passed it up the chain so the appropriate authorities could move on it. I like that in a person.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:14 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]


I’m bet all the best lawyers will be fighting over who gets to represent Trump after this.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 2:18 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]


This says MSNBC reported Cohen is staying at the hotel because there was a burst pipe at his home. And I believe his home is Trump Park Avenue.

It's not a good week for Trump real estate marketing.
posted by zachlipton at 2:18 PM on April 9 [52 favorites]


@KevinMKruse
When Trump learns all the details of this Cohen story, he's going to be angriest over the revelation that Cohen stayed at a non-Trump hotel.
posted by chris24 at 2:20 PM on April 9 [55 favorites]


@KevinMKruse
When Trump learns all the details of this Cohen story, he's going to be angriest over the revelation that Cohen stayed at a non-Trump hotel.


He may not have wanted his conversations overheard by the FSB.
posted by leotrotsky at 2:21 PM on April 9 [38 favorites]


Which presumably also makes it even harder for 45 to formulate any path that closes things down, because it's now metastasized into an investigation into Cohen under different and non-federal authorisation running in parallel.

Mr Cohen really must have been very naughty, given the collective intake of breath from legal Twitter.
posted by Devonian at 2:23 PM on April 9 [17 favorites]


Meanwhile...

@markmackinnon (Globe & Mail)
Turkish media reporting that the USS Donald Cook, a destroyer armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, has arrived off the coast of Syria - and is being harassed by low-flying Russian warplanes (CNN Turkey)...
posted by chris24 at 2:24 PM on April 9 [23 favorites]


Trump to decide on US response to Syria gas attack 'within 48 hours'

This makes perfect sense since the decision process probably goes like this:

Staffer puts mark on a park bench and places a newpaper with the question mark in a wastebin.
The next day Staffer buys a hotdog from a vender.
Putin's answer is written in ketchup on the hotdog.
posted by srboisvert at 2:25 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


Which presumably also makes it even harder for 45 to formulate any path that closes things down, because it's now metastasized into an investigation into Cohen under different and non-federal authorisation running in parallel.
While it is widely believed that multiple states (including New York) have their own investigations in progress, the comments above yours don't establish anything new in that regard. Presuming that you were responding to:
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller went to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who decided the matter involving President Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen should be handled by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y. rather than Mueller's team, according to a person familiar with the matter."
that only establishes that a separate group within the federal Department of Justice was pursuing this angle, not that any "non-federal" agencies were involved. (Or in other words: "the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y." is a federal, not New York, law enforcement official. Perhaps this is clear to you, in which case please disregard, but divisions between various overlapping governmental entities under our system can be confusing to people who are used to other systems.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:30 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


T.D. Strange: Oh, but he does. Remember this guy?

Interestingly, the lawyer quoted in the NYT piece is actually not that guy (David Schwartz) but a different lawyer, Stephen Ryan, who Cohen has retained since last year. At least on paper, this Ryan fellow seems a lot more put together than Schwartz.
posted by mhum at 2:33 PM on April 9


"Special Counsel Robert Mueller went to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who decided the matter involving President Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen should be handled by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y. rather than Mueller's team, according to a person familiar with the matter."

Is it not much easier for Trump to fire a US Attorney?
posted by leotrotsky at 2:33 PM on April 9


There's a meaningful chance Robert Mueller's team now has all of the many, many NDAs Trump had with his many, many women. And Trump's tax returns.

IIRC Mueller has had access to Trump's tax returns from the moment he took office. He can just call up the IRS and ask for them.

Could there be a technical issue over whether Cohen actually IS Trump's attorney? I'm pretty confident that just announcing he is, to a press conference, is not enough to create a privileged relationship. Cohen stopped working for the Trump Organization last year, for one thing.

Is a formal retainer agreement required? Payment of money? Since Trump also has other attorneys, how do courts differentiate between "his" lawyer and a fixer/spokesman who happens to have a law degree?
posted by msalt at 2:33 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


... Cohen is staying at the hotel because there was a burst pipe at his home. And I believe his home is Trump Park Avenue.

Jeez, there's been a lot of potentially document-destroying incidents at Trump properties recently.

(This is mostly a joke, but I did just read the "MetaFilter prescience" thread, soooo...)
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:34 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


Ah yes, I was getting my attorneys mixed up. Although any legal action against Cohen because of bad things he did qua NY lawyer would involve state authorities, right?
posted by Devonian at 2:35 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Is a formal retainer agreement required? Payment of money?

Those are helpful, but usually it's just the conduct of the parties that determines whether a solicitor-client relationship exists. Often it's not even that weak standard, if the lawyer is already on record somewhere else, and it's helpful to assume they are acting, until that perception is corrected.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:40 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Is a formal retainer agreement required? Payment of money? Since Trump also has other attorneys, how do courts differentiate between "his" lawyer and a fixer/spokesman who happens to have a law degree?

No. No. and They don't, really, unless it's a question of ineffective counsel on a criminal appeal. The attorney has to assume they'll be treated as an attorney even if they are acting in a non-law but still advisory-type role (like, if I'm a CPA and an attorney, I can't "just" be a CPA to some clients, I have to treat the relationship as if I'm an attorney to all of them). There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get out of that presumption, and Cohen is not a good enough lawyer to have done that properly.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:41 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


FBI Raids Home, Office of Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen, Who Could Be Guilty of So Many Crimes (NY Mag)
Cohen is clearly in a lot of trouble. This is not a case of a highly respected pillar of the community being suddenly revealed to have a dark side. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cohen’s career is that up to this point he has avoided prison. Cohen is fond of threatening people that Trump needs to intimidate; the subjects of his threats include journalists who report unflattering things about Trump. Cohen has been involved in Trump’s murky business dealings with Russia, along with his childhood friend, legitimate businessman Felix Sater, who once stabbed a guy and was also convicted of a mob-linked pump-and-dump scheme.

Perhaps more pertinently, Cohen facilitated hush payments to women who had sexual encounters with Trump. At the very minimum, he seems to have committed a clear campaign-finance violation by making a payment to Stormy Daniels in October 2016 that was intended to help Trump’s campaign and that exceeded campaign-finance law. Somebody also sent a person to threaten Daniels to keep quiet, and given Cohen’s handling of the matter, he would be a prime suspect for having arranged the threat, or at least having knowledge of it.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:44 PM on April 9 [25 favorites]


There's a meaningful chance Robert Mueller's team now has all of the many, many NDAs Trump had with his many, many women. And Trump's tax returns.

As mentioned before, the tax returns have likely been in the SC's files since the first round of requests. There's a well defined process, and the Prosecutors get assigned their very own IRS Officer to liaise.

BUT the idea that a big stack of Cohen's "NDA"'s are now in Mueller's team's hands.... That's got some meat on it..
posted by mikelieman at 2:47 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


Could there be a technical issue over whether Cohen actually IS Trump's attorney? I'm pretty confident that just announcing he is, to a press conference, is not enough to create a privileged relationship. Cohen stopped working for the Trump Organization last year, for one thing.

The Washington Post, from last year: Michael Cohen Will Stay Trump’s Personal Attorney — Even In The White House

Cohen left the Trump Org in January of last year to avoid "perceived conflict" and became Trump's personal attorney in an ambiguous capacity outside the White House Counsel's office. Cohen bullshitted explained, "I’m just going to continue technically in the role that I play for Mr. Trump as president of the Trump Organization. I’m just going to be doing it as Donald Trump as president of the United States." So make of that what you will.

@stevebruskCNN
A White House official says President Trump has been watching TV reports of the FBI raiding the office of Michael Cohen, his longtime lawyer and confidant. (from @jeffzeleny )


CNN's Jim Acosta @Acosta updates: "Raid on Cohen office sinking in at Trump World. One source close to WH saying 'Mueller has gone rogue.'"

There's an ominous ring to "Monday Night Massacre", isn't there?
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:52 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


"Special Counsel Robert Mueller went to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who decided the matter involving President Trump's longtime lawyer Michael Cohen should be handled by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y. rather than Mueller's team, according to a person familiar with the matter."

That's likely because of the privilege issues. There's going to have to be incredible firewall procedures to prevent Mueller's team from reading what would be privileged communications between Trump and Cohen, and an entire second team of investigators and prosecutors to determine what is privileged and what would be challenged under the crime-fraud exception to prevent contaminating the ongoing investigation.

Alternatively, the Cohen raid is only about the Stormy case, not Russia collusion, and Rosenstein decided that's collateral to the special prosecutor investigation. There's still privilege issues, but less critical to maintaining the credibility of the other Russia related investigation.

It's probably both realistically, the amount of crimes is seemingly endless, and so to are the privilege problems with the president's lawyer being part of all of them. It's a good day for DOJ job security, and a bad day for anyone who wants Mueller to on and hurry up with it.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:52 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


Robert Costa (WaPo): "Briefly reached a WH official. Official said the WH doesn't have a strategy for the Comey book. Paused. Then said that should answer my question of what's the strategy for dealing with Cohen news."
posted by chris24 at 2:53 PM on April 9 [94 favorites]


I'm just imagining what Mueller must have shown the US Attorney's office, to make them go "Holy shit, ok, raid that motherfucker."

I mean. Was it like, boxes of evidence? Or like one incredibly incriminating email chain?
posted by emjaybee at 2:56 PM on April 9 [29 favorites]


I used to wonder how my father could stay glued to our old black-and-white television set watching old Sam Ervin & Co. go after Tricky Dick when the weather was so nice, but here I am at midnight pressing refresh.
posted by pracowity at 2:57 PM on April 9 [138 favorites]


I'm just imagining what Mueller must have shown the US Attorney's office, to make them go "Holy shit, ok, raid that motherfucker."

Probably that CNN interview with the attorney’s attorney would do the trick, TBH.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Tomorrow's FOX and Friends is going to be critical (let that sentence sink in for a second...), if FOX goes all in on THIS IS THE DEEP STATE COMING FOR TRUMP, it could prompt him to lash out at Mueller and maybe even try to fire him. If FOX leads with Hilary Clinton for the 1000th day in a row and tries to ignore the Cohen raid, maybe he's calmer.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:03 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


From Wonkette: ...it’s worth noting that the Interim US Attorney for the Southern District of New York is Geoffrey Berman, a Trump appointee awaiting confirmation by the Senate. In other words another deep state shill who’s in the tank for Hillary.
posted by Capt. Renault at 3:03 PM on April 9 [30 favorites]


Could there be a technical issue over whether Cohen actually IS Trump's attorney? I'm pretty confident that just announcing he is, to a press conference, is not enough to create a privileged relationship.

Remember that last week or so (I'm sure it's been less than a Scaramucci...) that Trump said Michael Cohen was his lawyer. Cohen says he's Trump's attorney, Trump says Cohen's his attorney... the presumption there is going to be that, yes, Cohen actually is Trump's attorney.
posted by azpenguin at 3:11 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Geoffrey Berman, a Trump appointee awaiting confirmation by the Senate

Not only a Trump appointee who he *interviewed* against protocol, but a former law partner of one Rudy Guiliani.
posted by chris24 at 3:12 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]




And if Cohen isn't Trump's attorney...none of the privilege issues are relevant anyway, he's just a co-conspirator and apparent target of a criminal investigation. There'd be no legal benefit to Trump actually trying to claim Cohen isn't his attorney, they were trying to do that in a nonlegal setting in TV interviews to win the news cycle, or something, over the Stormy contract details.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:15 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Ryan, Cohens lawyer, said in his release that the material seized was privileged (though not specifying Trump). And surely Mueller would have had to demonstrate Cohen was Trumps lawyer for this to happen at all?

After years of seeing paranoid IANAL and IAALBIANYL on every anonymous internet board it’d be almost comical to see Cohen wriggle out of this relationship.
posted by Rumple at 3:17 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


@stevebruskCNN
A White House official says President Trump has been watching TV reports of the FBI raiding the office of Michael Cohen, his longtime lawyer and confidant. (from @jeffzeleny )


More from CNN:
A White House official said Trump had been watching TV reports of the FBI raiding Cohen's office, and that Trump knew about the raid before the news broke.[...]

A source close to the White House warned that Mueller's decision could push Trump in the direction of taking action against the special counsel's office.

This source, who has long said the President could still fire Mueller based on conversations with Trump and close advisers, believes the President could view the raid as crossing a red line and said among the actions Trump could take is replacing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight of the probe.
And their story also contains the fun fact that Cohen appears to have been let go from his "strategic alliance" with powerhouse international lobbyist-law firm Squire Patton Boggs:
A source familiar with the situation said agents visited Cohen's office this morning at the law firm Squire Patton Boggs in New York. Angelo Kakolyris, a spokesman for Squire Patton Boggs, said, "The firm's arrangement with Mr. Cohen reached its conclusion, mutually and in accordance with the terms of the agreement."

"We have been in contact with federal authorities regarding their execution of a warrant relating to Mr. Cohen," he continued. "These activities do not relate to the firm and we are in full cooperation."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:27 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Michael Cohen is so sketchy as a lawyer this could be about almost any case at all and I imagine they'd find something dirty. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they went into his filing cabinet and found nothing but swarms of spiders.

I was picturing bats.
posted by Servo5678 at 3:31 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


MSNBC is showing Trump's on-camera reaction, which is like 5+ minutes of over-the-top defensive freakout.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:32 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


He says that Sessions should never have recused himself. This is an omnirant.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:33 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Let's check in on how Trump is taking the news:
Trump addressed the Cohen raid at the top of the military leadership meeting.
Quick comments: its a disgraceful situation.
I have this witch hunt constantly going on.
Its an attack on on our country...what we all stand for.
Also called the special counsel the most conflicted group of people I have ever seen.
Trump went on to criticize AG Jeff Sessions for recusing himself and repeatedly said no one is looking at the other side, referring to Clintons 30k emails and many many other things.
Holy crap it's an "attack on our country?" His constant conflation of what's good for him and what's good for the country is one of the most transparent things about his behavior as President.

Here he describes the execution of a judicially authorized search warrant as a break-in: TRUMP: "Just heard that they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys. Good man. And it's a disgraceful situation, it's a total witch hunt, I've been saying it for a long time." via @justinsink

@jdawsey1: Trump also criticized Jeff Sessions for recusing himself, per pooler @tparti, while angrily venting on Cohen raid. No one, he said, "is looking at the other side, referring to Clinton's emails and "many, many" other things.

And this then transitioned into: @stevenportnoy: "BREAKING: "It will be met with force," Trump says of Syrian chemical strike, per pooler @CeciliaVega."

The video is even worse. He's just angry and panicking. Link when we have one.
posted by zachlipton at 3:33 PM on April 9 [61 favorites]


Trump won't stop talking about Hillary's "acid washed" emails. Thought that was just for denim. Also- WOW deflect much?
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:34 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Here's some of that video. And here he is venting at Sessions for recusing himself without telling someone so he could fire him and replace him.

He doesn't seem well.
posted by zachlipton at 3:38 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


I mean. Was it like, boxes of evidence? Or like one incredibly incriminating email chain?

Predicted pleasant side benefit to Mueller investigation: Boomers suddenly motivated to upgrade their computer skills so they can convert their files themselves.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:39 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Now would be a very good time for Mueller to indict some people for "collusion".
posted by Justinian at 3:39 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


CNN has video of questions after the statement and someone yelled "why don't you just fire Muller?" "we'll see what happens."

There was more word salad but I can't even attempt to paraphrase. Nothing surprising, other than disparaging the investigation and saying it's found "nothing".
posted by Brainy at 3:39 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


That has to be the scariest press conference yet. It combined a constitutional crisis with threats of war.
posted by diogenes at 3:41 PM on April 9 [56 favorites]


Here's that "we'll see what happens" about firing Mueller clip too. Quick transcript:
"I think it's a disgrace what's going on. We'll see what happens..Many people have said you should fire him. Again, they found nothing and in finding nothing that's a big statement because you know the person who is in charge of the investigation -- you know all about that - Deputy Rod Rosenstein he wrote the letter very critical of Comey.

Well I turned out to do the right thing (firing Comey). If you look at all of the things he's done and the lies and you look at whats going on at the FBI..turned out I did the right thing. But it turns out he also signed the FISA warrant -- Rod Rosenstein whose in charge also signed the FISA warrant and he also wrote the letter that fired Comey and he was right about that. He was absolutely right about that."
posted by zachlipton at 3:41 PM on April 9 [6 favorites]


Alternatively, the Cohen raid is only about the Stormy case, not Russia collusion, and Rosenstein decided that's collateral to the special prosecutor investigation.

Well, if it's ONLY about Stormy Daniels, wouldn't Cohen's public statements that he was NOT representing Trump remove any privilege? "possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations, " suggests that is the case.
posted by msalt at 3:45 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


It certainly feels like he's going to fire Mueller. Or at least try.
posted by defenestration at 3:45 PM on April 9


It was also a totally inappropriately framed question! Instead of saying, "Are you considering . . . ? or Do you have comments on the status of . . . ?" it sounded like the journalist shouted out, "Well, why don't you just fire Mueller?" or something baiting like that. WTF, media? This is not a fucking game for ratings.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:45 PM on April 9 [27 favorites]


You don't know that it wasn't a Breitbart "reporter" or something, FelliniBlank. TrumpCo gives press passes to people like fucking Infowars. So it seems unlikely that question was yelled by a legitimate journalist.
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on April 9 [29 favorites]


It combined a constitution crises with threats of war.

As he sat next to Bolton, on how he'll act regarding Syria: "You'll find out very soon. Probably after the fact."

So we have a fact coming.
posted by Rust Moranis at 3:47 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


The smack he talked about Rosenstein just now also does not help Trump any wrt the pattern of obstruction of justice he's been building up over the last year.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:48 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


At the beginning of that rant, he described Cohen as one of his “personal attorneys” so that appears resolved.
posted by Rumple at 3:50 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


I don't understand Russia's game when it comes to Syria. Is Putin trying to orchestrate a conflict between the US and Russia in Syria? If so, to what end?
posted by diogenes at 3:55 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


Mueller, a Republican previously appointed FBI Director by a Republican, who was made Special Counsel by a Republican appointed by Trump, went to that Republican who referred it to a Republican US Attorney appointed by Trump, who went to an impartial judge and got a no-knock warrant of the president's attorney to be executed by an FBI led by a Republican Trump appointee.

Well played Deep State.
posted by chris24 at 3:55 PM on April 9 [195 favorites]


If Cohen claims he's acting as one of his own attorneys, does that mean he can't ever be searched?
posted by msalt at 3:55 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


The great part is, Mueller and DOJ just referred this matter out of his own inquiry over to the New York feds since it had to do with Stormy, etc. Totally proper, totally prudent. Yet Trump's entire tantrum was about Mueller. Hey, Donald, nobody even mentioned Russia, and yet you're frothing at the mouth about Russia and collusion for 10 minutes. Could he possibly telegraph any harder that Cohen is up to his ass in Russian shenanigans?
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:56 PM on April 9 [63 favorites]


I don't understand Russia's game when it comes to Syria. Is Putin trying to orchestrate a conflict between the US and Russia in Syria? If so, to what end?

Russia has one remaining airbase from which they can project power in the Middle East, and that's in Syria. The rebellion against Assad threatens that airbase, so they support Assad. I don't think it goes much further than that. It's exactly what we would do if we had an airbase in Syria.
posted by dis_integration at 4:00 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Russia has one remaining airbase from which they can project power in the Middle East, and that's in Syria. The rebellion against Assad threatens that airbase, so they support Assad. I don't think it goes much further than that. It's exactly what we would do if we had an airbase in Syria.

Isn't there a line of thinking that Russia is so closely aligned with Assad that a chemical attack would require Putin's tacit approval?
posted by diogenes at 4:05 PM on April 9


It's exactly what we would do if we had an airbase in Syria. Or, ahem say, . . a base in Qatar.
posted by rc3spencer at 4:06 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Russia also uses a warm water port in Syria and has a lengthy political and cultural relationship with Syria and the Baathists going way, way back into Soviet days.
posted by notyou at 4:08 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


Or, ahem say, . . a base in Qatar.

All bets are off when financing for 666 Fifth Ave is on the table.
posted by Existential Dread at 4:09 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up megathread.
posted by notyou at 4:10 PM on April 9 [145 favorites]


Stephanie Ruhle: Reminder - In addition to being the longtime personal lawyer to @realDonaldTrump, Michael Cohen is the Deputy National Finance Chairperson of the RNC.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:10 PM on April 9 [111 favorites]


So I don't know a whole lot about the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege, but the privilege belongs to the client -- not the attorney -- and typically in crime-fraud exception cases, courts look at the client's intent to determine whether the exception applies. That would be Trump's intent. Trump's intent to commit a crime. Trump's intent to use his lawyer to commit, cover-up, or further a crime.

I eagerly await commentary from lawyers with lots of expertise in the crime-fraud exception, to hear about the specifics of New York law and the decision-making process of the judge signing off on the warrant w/r/t criminal intent.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:15 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


Trump attorney Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations, according to a person familiar with the case

The Washington Post has updated its story with some small but significant details:
Among the records seized were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to another person familiar with the investigators’ work.

Investigators took Cohen’s computer, phone and personal financial records as part of the search of his office at Rockefeller Center, the second person said.
Meanwhile, there's trouble brewing among the Trumpists, says the Washington Posts's Robert Costa @costareports:
"Calling around the president's circle. His allies are taken aback. Rattled. Worry the president has a small legal team that lacks a heavy hitter. Worry that Mueller is making big moves and, in essence, prodding the president to finally sit down for an interview..."

In fact, it sounds more like some are engaged in wishful thinking:
Giuliani on phone w/ Post. Will POTUS now consider firing Mueller or Rod R?
"I don’t think that’s in the cards. Too explosive, the whole process is too near the end."

Giuliani: "The only thing that's happening, perhaps, is that Mueller is trying to compel the president to testify. There is the legal battle and the public-relations battle, and this kind of thing amps up the pressure to get it all over with."
Incidentally, The New Republic has to have experienced the worst journalistic timing with the publication this morning of its think piece If Everything Is a Russia Bombshell, Nothing Is.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:18 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


When DJT said "and an attack on our nation, truly," I the bone-chilling sensation that the little 'truly' is an artifact of somebody spinning that specific theory, that an attack on DJT is an attack on our nation, no wait hear me out it, it truly is.

Like, I doubt he has the mental acuity to make that leap, that an attack on me is tantamount to an attack on our nation. Maybe he does, or maybe these are just random bellicose words falling from his lips. But it doesn't feel that way in the clip? It feels very deliberate. Like somebody is in his ear reminded him of that construction.

Which is truly fucking scary. Because if that's where we are, Jesus.
posted by angrycat at 4:24 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


@jdawsey1 (Josh Dawsey-WaPo)
"He made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake," Trump says, ripping into Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


@speechboy71 (Michael Cohen-Boston Globe)
Retweeted Josh Dawsey
So we're clear: this terrible mistake is not obstructing justice on behalf of Donald Trump
posted by chris24 at 4:25 PM on April 9 [91 favorites]


@ShimonPro (CNN)
FBI’s Public Corruption squad in the New York field office conducted the Cohen raids today.
posted by chris24 at 4:31 PM on April 9 [22 favorites]


Ken White ("Popehat") expanding on his earlier tweet: Feds Raid Office of Trump Lawyer Who Paid Off Stormy Daniels. This Is a Big Deal.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:38 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Stephanie Ruhle: Reminder - In addition to being the longtime personal lawyer to @realDonaldTrump, Michael Cohen is the Deputy National Finance Chairperson of the RNC.

Lordy, I hope there are books.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:39 PM on April 9 [25 favorites]


Republican congressman (TX-23) speaks out in support of Mueller.

@Alex_Panetta (Canada Press)
Texas Republican lawmaker Will Hurd, on raid: "Bob Mueller should stay. He should be allowed to turn over every rock, pursue every lead... This was done by the US atty in NYC. A judge there agreed there was probable cause."
posted by chris24 at 4:40 PM on April 9 [36 favorites]


Ok, here's a transcript of The Rant, not including the post-presser Q&A, via Daniel Dale.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:40 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]




an attack on DJT is an attack on our nation

L’État, c’est moi (NYT May 2017)
posted by Rumple at 4:46 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


> It's my birthday so I would like to take this opportunity to ask you, O Universe, to deliver us one hell of a scoop this afternoon, please and thank you.
posted by Aubergine on April 6


Happy Belated! Please note: swamp-related birthday wishes may take at least one business day to process.

posted by Johann Georg Faust at 4:46 PM on April 9 [42 favorites]


Here's a full transcript from TPM, including the Q&A.

"I’ve been President now for what seems like a lengthy period of time." Lord knows that's true.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:54 PM on April 9 [50 favorites]


Michael Cohen is the Deputy National Finance Chairperson of the RNC.

Oh hey maybe this has something to do with the Russia --> NRA --> GOP money pipeline!
posted by Jacqueline at 5:00 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


Oh hey maybe this has something to do with the Russia --> NRA --> GOP money pipeline!

Wouldn't that have stayed with Mueller's team, then? It reads to me like the Russia investigation unearthed misbehavior that isn't directly related to the scope of Mueller's authority to investigate, which is why it was handed off to SDNY. Seems more likely it's just regular financial misbehavior rather than election-related crime.
posted by suelac at 5:02 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


an attack on DJT is an attack on our nation
Part of me goes, yep, Trump has symbolized America more than anyone for a couple decades before he got his current gig.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:03 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Carol Leonnig, the WaPo writer who helped break the story just told Chris Hayes that this FBI investigation has been going on regarding Cohen for many weeks. This was not something new that just popped up and happened.
posted by chris24 at 5:08 PM on April 9 [12 favorites]


Seems more likely it's just regular financial misbehavior rather than election-related crime.

Maybe not election-related as far as the Special Counsel's scope, but to reiterate the Washington Post's scoop:
Trump attorney Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud, campaign finance violations, according to a person familiar with the case. (Emphasis added because this could wind up tainting Trump's victory politically, even if it doesn't involve Russian interference.)

In fact, it's Trump who, unprompted during his Rant, brought up Russia: "So this has been going on — I saw one of the reporters, who is not necessarily a fan of mine, not necessarily very good to me. He said, in effect, that this is ridiculous; this is now getting ridiculous. They found no collusion whatsoever with Russia. The reason they found it is there was no collusion at all. No collusion." (What's the over-under that this reporter even exists?)
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:11 PM on April 9 [19 favorites]


Wouldn't that have stayed with Mueller's team, then? It reads to me like the Russia investigation unearthed misbehavior that isn't directly related to the scope of Mueller's authority to investigate, which is why it was handed off to SDNY. Seems more likely it's just regular financial misbehavior rather than election-related crime.

What's lovely, though, is that once they have him dead-to-rights on 27 felony counts for this stuff, Cohen will have lots of incentive to cooperate on other matters.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:11 PM on April 9 [10 favorites]


What's he talking about with the "insurance policy"?
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:21 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


In that very short rant, he used "disgrace/disgraceful" a total of 9 times, sometimes right after another:
And it’s a disgraceful situation.

And it’s a disgrace. It’s, frankly, a real disgrace.

And I think it’s a disgrace.

And you look at what took place and what happened, and it’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace.

So I just think it’s a disgrace that a thing like this can happen.

Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on.

I think it’s disgraceful, and so does a lot of other people.
The man is not well.
posted by zakur at 5:22 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


RNC removes National Deputy Finance Chair Michael Cohen from their website.
posted by chris24 at 5:23 PM on April 9 [83 favorites]


Did You Know? Nixon had a personal lawyer, Herbert W. Kalmbach. He handled the President's ratfucking payoffs and miscellaneous corruption, and was also the deputy finance chairman for CREEP. Wound up doing six months of prison time.
posted by theodolite at 5:27 PM on April 9 [26 favorites]


Search for MICHAEL COHEN on GOP website and you get 1 result from October 2011. Literally had article about his appointment as a National Deputy Finance Chair disappear as I clicked on it!
posted by pjsky at 5:28 PM on April 9 [53 favorites]


What's he talking about with the "insurance policy"?
one of the emails between Peter Strockz or whatever his name is and his paramour used those words, the goons say it proves a deep state conspiracy. He's trying to remind his base of that.
posted by vrakatar at 5:31 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


one of the emails between Peter Strockz or whatever his name is and his paramour used those words, the goons say it proves a deep state conspiracy. He's trying to remind his base of that.

Peter Strzok's 'insurance policy' text message looks bad. But it doesn't look like a smoking gun.
posted by scalefree at 5:33 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


(Thanks for providing all the twitter links, from someone who never got on the twitter train!)
posted by tarantula at 5:34 PM on April 9


Mueller is going to wind up taking down everybody around Trump, leaving him to assert "I had no idea!" all alone. Cakeworthy prediction.
posted by rhizome at 5:35 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


When it rains, it pours. From Schmidt and Haberman at the NYT:
The special counsel is investigating a payment made to President Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, according to three people briefed on the matter, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election.

Investigators subpoenaed the Trump Organization this year for an array of records about business with foreign nationals. In response, the company handed over documents about a $150,000 donation that the Ukrainian billionaire, Victor Pinchuk, made in September 2015 to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in exchange for a 20-minute appearance by Mr. Trump that month through a video link to a conference in Kiev.

Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer whose office and hotel room were raided on Monday in an apparently unrelated case, solicited the donation. The contribution from Mr. Pinchuk, who has sought closer ties for Ukraine to the West, was the largest the foundation received in 2015 from anyone besides Mr. Trump himself.
posted by yasaman at 5:36 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


Remember how Trump has Lou Dobbs dial into meetings? Funniest thing is all the people he wants fired for the "witch hunt" are Republicans appointed by Trump or by Trump appointees.

@LouDobbs
End the Outrageous Witch Hunt- @GreggJarrett: AG Jeff Sessions is incompetent, the FBI is corrupt & Robert Mueller & Rod Rosenstein are unethical & abusing the legal process. They all deserve to be fired. #MAGA #TrumpTrain #Dobbs


@woodruffbets (Daily Beast)
Joe DiGenova tells Lou Dobbs he thinks Congress should impeach Rosenstein and Wray
posted by chris24 at 5:37 PM on April 9


Lordy, I hope there are books.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:39 PM on 4/9
[11 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Probably two sets...
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:38 PM on April 9 [25 favorites]


and the understatement of the year award goes to Marcus S. Owens:
The payment from Mr. Pinchuk “is curious because it comes during a campaign and is from a foreigner and looks like an effort to buy influence,” said Marcus S. Owens, a former head of the Internal Revenue Service division that oversees tax-exempt organizations. He called the donation “an unusual amount of money for such a short speech.”
posted by murphy slaw at 5:39 PM on April 9 [14 favorites]


@jaketapper
Former sr. law enforcement official calls US Attorney Berman "a Boy Scout, a straight shooter. He would never do anything for attention. But he also would never look the other way. He does his duty. He does the right thing. For the right reasons."
- Also says "there's a really high standard for a raid on a lawyer's office. Not just the president's lawyer - any lawyer. Either they proved that he was so uncooperative they couldn't get the information from subpoena or they had proof there was destruction of evidence."
- Source says US Attorney would have had to have received sign-off for raid from head of criminal division of DOJ and perhaps DAG Rosenstein as well.
posted by chris24 at 5:40 PM on April 9 [21 favorites]


Why would Trump, who has a great deal of interest in enriching himself and zero interest in charity, take payment to his foundation for a speech instead of a check to him personally?
posted by zachlipton at 5:47 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Because the Foundation is a piggybank for him that he doesn't pay tax on?
posted by chris24 at 5:49 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]


And a foundation can spend or otherwise move money around more easily?
posted by vrakatar at 5:50 PM on April 9 [8 favorites]


In other words: to launder it.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:51 PM on April 9 [67 favorites]


Local Sinclair Update. KDNL does not have it's own news dept, but local garbage person Jamie Allman has his own right wing news and opinion show instead. He just got fired for his remarks about Parkland.

That's good and all, but he's been repping the batshitinsane for a while.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:55 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


another snippet from his rant featuring the "what's good for Trump is good for the Nation" idea:
Our economy is incredible. The stock market dropped a lot today as soon as they heard the noise of this nonsense that’s going on. It dropped a lot. It was up — way up, and then it dropped quite a bit at the end. A lot.
it's a nice economy you got here. it's be a real disgrace if the FBI set it on fire.
posted by murphy slaw at 5:57 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


Redditors discussing how all this is basically the plot of Arrested Development writ large and "Netflix is really upping their reboot game"
posted by Jacqueline at 5:57 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


Our economy is incredible...

Shut the fuck up Donny.

@matthewjdowd (ABC)
Stock market gains in the first 444 days of a Presidency:

Obama - 32.5%
Clinton - 32.2%
GW Bush - 21.4%
Trump - 20.7%
posted by chris24 at 5:58 PM on April 9 [39 favorites]


IIRC, Trump has used foundation money in the past for
a) a donation that was part of the settlement of a lawsuit against him, and
b) payment for a large painting of his face.

Also, all of the stock indices were up today.
posted by msalt at 5:59 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Well, on one hand, comparing stock market gains like that is pretty much meaningless. Obama came into office immediately after the recession, so it would be surprising if the percentage gain after a year and a half weren't unusually high. On the other hand, the way Trump talks about the stock market as if it bends to his every whim is even more meaningless, so c'est la guerre, I suppose.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 6:05 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


From his bio on the DOJ website:

"Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Berman was an Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for the Iran/Contra matter, where he successfully prosecuted a former CIA employee for tax fraud."

And Trump is now surprised that this guy, who he appointed in January of this year, is willing to go ahead and raid Michael Cohen's office and residence?
posted by The World Famous at 6:06 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


@maggieNYT: Trump is angrier than he has been at any point in the many fuming news cycles, according to two people close to him. What that ultimately translates to is unclear.

it translates to me wishing i had seen this 15 minutes ago when i was the grocery store so i would have had an excuse to buy that crazy-d triple peanut butter dreyer's ice cream
posted by entropicamericana at 6:25 PM on April 9 [55 favorites]


Meanwhile, tonight on Fox with Tucker Carlson... and [real]

PANDAS EXPOSED: Pandas are aggressive and sex-crazed.
posted by chris24 at 6:25 PM on April 9 [58 favorites]


I like how the Parkland kids are the electrified third rail of shooting your stupid mouth off, and people can't stop touching it.
posted by ctmf at 6:39 PM on April 9 [114 favorites]


CNN's Shimon Prokupecz @ShimonPro reports from inside Trumpland:
CNN: White House official said there was no discussion about the president not talking about Cohen raid. He wanted to talk about it, the official said, and react to the news that had enraged him for the last two hours.

“You can see how angry he is,” a White House official said.

CNN: There’s a sense those close to President Trump are scrambling behind the scenes in the wake of Cohen raids. This seems to have struck a nerve unlike anything else we’ve seen so far.

Sources talking to @GloriaBorger say President Trump is more angry at Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein than Robert Mueller.
Plus this from his colleague Jim Acosta @Acosta: "Trump learned of the Cohen raid earlier in the day from one of his aides, I’m told. Conversations on how the president should handle it followed. Trump is 'furious,' as so many of us are hearing."
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:47 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


Daniel Dale has a good recap of the day. It's worth highlighting that before the Choen apocalypse hit, there were at least three massively significant stories breaking today, not to mention the ongoing developments with Syria and whether we're about to strike it (and things that have effectively fallen off the radar, but shouldn't, such as say Gaza and the upcoming North Korea summit or even just Trump's declarations about the treatment immigrants from literally Friday night) (all have previously been mentioned in this thread, but I think there's value in grouping them together):

- Trump Organization lawyers threaten the government of Panama over Trump's hotel, confirming the worst fears of everyone who cares what a conflict of interest is. Compare and contrast this conflation of personal and national interests with Trump declaring that executing a search warrant on Cohen is an "attack on our country."

- Pruitt was caught lying about a raise for his staffers.

- And the CBO's 10-year budget baseline says we'll soon hit trillion-dollar deficits as a result of the tax cuts

I'm not saying this because I think the Cohen story and the Pinchuk speech story are distractions—they're all important stories—, but these are massive scandals in their own right, all directly impacting the rule of law and the fundamentals of our nation's government, and they don't even make the front page. Everything happens too much now, and nobody even has 30 seconds to ponder how much debt we're leaving our grandchildren and to what end.

Also in today's recaps, Matt Apuzzo, who broke the Cohen raid story today, summarizes the legal situation:
The searches open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice.
Pardon me if I don't care much for the target/subject distinction with all this going on.

Finally, @MattGertz: If Trump goes down over a paid speech involving a major Clinton Foundation donor all the writers should be fired.
posted by zachlipton at 6:47 PM on April 9 [95 favorites]



Tomorrow's FOX and Friends is going to be critical (let that sentence sink in for a second...)


Apparently, the new trade term is 'FOXINT briefing'. I'm not very sure that's a joke.
posted by Devonian at 6:49 PM on April 9 [23 favorites]


Anyone remember that time a guy burned to death in Trump Tower
posted by theodolite at 6:50 PM on April 9 [122 favorites]


@maggieNYT: Trump is angrier than he has been at any point in the many fuming news cycles, according to two people close to him. What that ultimately translates to is unclear.

@maggieNYT
But both Trump and Cohen believe this is really Mueller and that farming it out to SDNY was a fig leaf. Both sources say that this has crossed the "red line" that Trump laid out for Mueller going outside his purview in intvw w @nytmike @peterbakernyt and me last July


@brianstelter (CNN)
Trump's public venting about the Cohen raid being an "attack on our country" is "a fraction of what he is saying in private," @maggieNYT says on @AC360. "He's 'bouncing off the walls,' according to one source"

---

@samstein (MSNBC)
Hannity’s show, which must have spent 100s of hours talking about speaking-fee related donations to Clinton and Clinton foundation $$$, now wondering (without self awareness) what the big deal is over the $150k speaking fee Trump go from a Ukrainian oligarch
posted by chris24 at 6:53 PM on April 9 [63 favorites]


@maggieNYT: Trump is angrier than he has been at any point in the many fuming news cycles, according to two people close to him. What that ultimately translates to is unclear.

omfg you know what? I'm ready. do the thing, Trump, fire Mueller, blow everything up, send the country into constitutional crisis, we will take to the streets and find out once and for all whether the rule of law is fucking salvageable in this country. I'm tired of this slow jittery anxiety-inducing burn.

I'm sure this is a terrible thought for reasons people will probably explain to me, but that's where I'm at tonight. Do the thing, Trump, do it.
posted by lalex at 6:57 PM on April 9 [36 favorites]


Also I am ready but I bet Mueller is EXTRA FUCKING READY
posted by lalex at 7:01 PM on April 9 [56 favorites]


The $25 million Trump University fraud settlement was finalized today, so that must be a big relief for the president to have that off his plate.
posted by peeedro at 7:02 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


@maggieNYT: Trump is angrier than he has been at any point in the many fuming news cycles, according to two people close to him. What that ultimately translates to is unclear.

CNN's Brian Steltzer @brianstelter glosses Haberman's CNN interview just now: “Trump's public venting about the Cohen raid being an "attack on our country" is "a fraction of what he is saying in private," @maggieNYT says on @AC360. "He's 'bouncing off the walls,' according to one source"”

Trump's been deprived of Hope Hicks's calming influence for barely more than a week, and we're already witnessing him melt down in public, King Lear without Cordelia–style.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:06 PM on April 9 [18 favorites]


I think the next 24 hours may be some of the most critical in our nation.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:11 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


omfg you know what? I'm ready. do the thing, Trump, fire Mueller, blow everything up, send the country into constitutional crisis, we will take to the streets and find out once and for all whether the rule of law is fucking salvageable in this country. I'm tired of this slow jittery anxiety-inducing burn.

I'm sure this is a terrible thought for reasons people will probably explain to me, but that's where I'm at tonight. Do the thing, Trump, do it.
posted by lalex at 10:57 AM on April 10 [5 favorites +] [!]


That's the thing I thought. But then I saw this article on Vox

The past 48 hours of big Syria news, explained
Why Trump might be about to attack Syria — again.


and remembered that the movie Wag the Dog exists, which is about

a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer fabricate a war to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal

and I thought oh my god these people are too stupid to fake a war so they'll just fight a real one and this is the dumbest timeline so of course it'll be North Korea AND Syria (note that's not what the Vox article says, it's just me speculating) and here's Rorschach's death scene in Watchmen so who even knows what to think?
posted by saysthis at 7:14 PM on April 9 [7 favorites]


Trump's been deprived of Hope Hicks's calming influence for barely more than a week

I seriously would have said, if asked, that her leaving was at least 4 Scaramuccis ago. Time has lost all meaning.
posted by greermahoney at 7:14 PM on April 9 [84 favorites]


Washington Post's in-house Trump whisperer Philip Rucker recaps Donald's Case of the Mondays: ‘A Bomb On Trump’s Front Porch’: FBI's Cohen Raids Hit Home For The President
Shortly after the raids began Monday morning, Trump received a heads-up at the White House. He huddled in the Oval Office with Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer who oversees its handling of the Mueller probe, as well as with White House counsel Donald McGahn and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, officials said.

Other aides said they did not understand what was happening and struggled to pinpoint the significance of the seizures. Many officials sought to keep their distance from the developments, deferring comment until a strategy was determined.

Aides said they viewed Trump’s late-afternoon comments to reporters as a necessary venting session. He had been grousing privately about Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, a Trump appointee who oversees the Mueller investigation because of Sessions’s recusal.

He complained about Rosenstein again Monday in private, a White House adviser said, and stewed all afternoon about the warrant to seize Cohen’s records, at times raising his voice. Trump said that Rosenstein approved the warrant, that he wished Rosenstein was not in the job and there was no one making the prosecutors follow the rules, the adviser said. Trump complained sharply about Sessions and Mueller and asked detailed questions about who was behind the move — and said that people would be more critical of such a warrant if it wasn’t intended to damage the president.

Still, a senior White House official said late Monday that no “imminent” personnel changes were expected.[...]

Trump “won’t like that Cohen is in the crosshairs, but you have to remember: He’d prefer the heat be on Cohen than on him,” said one of the president’s advisers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share a candid assessment. “His goal will be to figure out how much vulnerability he has.”[...]

There was fear in Trump’s orbit that the president is liable to erupt in anger in coming days, escalating his attacks against Mueller at a time when his attorneys are negotiating a possible interview. And there was concern in some quarters that Trump, who has been shaking up his administration in recent weeks, may also seek to terminate Mueller.
We'll see if Trump tweets angrily about totally untrue and unfair leaks to the WaPo first thing tomorrow morning.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:29 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


All the rightwing nutjob talk about how some on Mueller's team donated to Clinton. Well, NY District US Attorney Geoffrey Berman was a max donor ($5,400) to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.
posted by chris24 at 7:34 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]


Hannity’s show...now wondering (without self awareness)

[citation needed]

Seriously I don't believe that fucker has been un-self-aware for even a moment. He knows he's manipulating the president and doing immense damage to our republic and doesn't give a shit. It's just a big ego trip to him, kingmaker, man behind the throne. When it comes to handing out treason awards he should be first in line and the tragedy is that he won't suffer even one bit no matter what happens.

Speaking of scum, does anyone know who was the reporter in the NYT transcript who was daring Trump to fire Mueller?
posted by xigxag at 7:36 PM on April 9 [19 favorites]


Trump complained sharply about Sessions and Mueller and asked detailed questions about who was behind the move — and said that people would be more critical of such a warrant if it wasn’t intended to damage the president.

There's a lot here.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:38 PM on April 9 [3 favorites]


Aides said they viewed Trump’s late-afternoon comments to reporters as a necessary venting session

Another step in the normalization of treating the President of the United States like a tantrum-prone toddler who has to be carefully managed to avoid disturbing the other restaurant patrons.
posted by allegedly at 7:44 PM on April 9 [63 favorites]


@JuddLegum (ThinkProgress)
I’d like to dedicate this day to everyone who dismissed the Stormy Daniels story as a “distraction”
posted by chris24 at 7:50 PM on April 9 [86 favorites]


@LouDobbs Twitter Poll
#LDTPoll: Do you believe the corrupt leadership and actions of the DOJ and FBI are now so outrageous and overwhelming that President Trump should fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein?

Yes: 34%
No: 66%
74,413 votes ` 14 hours 31 minutes left


You have to be logged in to twitter and have voted to see the results. These numbers are current as of 10.52pm est
posted by pjsky at 7:53 PM on April 9 [16 favorites]


Al Capone : tax evasion :: Donald Trump : Stormy Daniels and the illegal NDA
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:53 PM on April 9 [9 favorites]


Wow, I just got home from work and am seeing this Trump meltdown. It is delicious.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:06 PM on April 9 [11 favorites]


and remembered that the movie Wag the Dog exists, which is about

a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer fabricate a war to distract voters from a presidential sex scandal


Which was released roughly the same time that Bill Clinton ordered the firing missiles into the Sudan and Afghanistan trying to kill Osama bin Laden in retaliation for the Al Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (Operation Infinite Reach). A significant number of people thought a purpose of the attacks was to distract people from Clinton's sex scandal.

What a fucked up world we live in.
posted by srboisvert at 8:06 PM on April 9 [15 favorites]


Maybe outrage fatigue is finally catching up to me, but I feel like I just can't be moved to care all that much about this turn of events. This is what, only the nine thousandth day of stories about the "chaos" and "turmoil" in the White House, and hoo boy, nobody's ever seen Trump this close to snapping. A constitutional crisis is looming, and this latest step is the one that will break our system for certain, and surely this...

I dunno. This fucker's doubled down on every bit of his vile, willfully ignorant, autocratic traits and behaviors since the campaign, and he's only been rewarded for it. Even worse, the people in the world who can stop him don't just allow it—they fall all over themselves to justify why he should be allowed to stay in office, literally with the future of the human race in his hands.

You've kept me sane this past year and half, MeFi, so I promise I'm not directing this frustration at all of you. It's this fucking *reality,* is all. It's late, and I'm going to bed, hoping to wake up with a better attitude. For now, I'll believe there's some goddamn justice in the world when I see it.
posted by Rykey at 8:08 PM on April 9 [61 favorites]


I logged into the two twitter accounts I haven't touched in years just to vote NO twice on Lousy Dobbs' poll. After the first vote, the NOs had gone up to 69%... after the second it was 70% NO. I don't now if it's a sign that the Dobbs followers are not following him or that the word got out to people outside the bubble, but it seems a good sign. Maybe Comrade Dobbs forgot to notify his Russian Troll Network. Anyway, I now consider him the #2 fictional cult leader named Dobbs after Bob of the Subgenius.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:19 PM on April 9 [5 favorites]


The poll is now at 71% NO.
posted by apartment dweller at 8:21 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


[Let's not get into moment-by-moment updates on the poll?]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:23 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


Josh Marshall, for TPM Prime, talking about the Cohen raids:
It simply doesn’t add up. This is something you do when there is major criminal activity and delay or warning will lead to destruction of evidence. That’s not the NDA with Stormy Daniels.

So what is this about? I don’t know. I will say however that a number of knowledgeable lawyers have suggested to me that we shouldn’t take at face value the idea that Mueller decided that this was unrelated to his case or outside his purview. This may be an effort to insulate himself, or attempt to insulate himself, from Trump’s retaliation. Mueller knows (likely with more detail than we do) that Trump has already tried to fire him.
We have ourselves a Nixonian constitutional crisis, just much, much stupider.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:36 PM on April 9 [26 favorites]


It simply doesn’t add up. This is something you do when there is major criminal activity and delay or warning will lead to destruction of evidence. That’s not the NDA with Stormy Daniels.

My guess is it's his money laundering.
posted by scalefree at 8:53 PM on April 9 [13 favorites]


Wow, I just got home from work and am seeing this Trump meltdown. It is delicious.

it's hard to enjoy how much he's suffering when the inevitable lashing out will hit so many undeserving people.

goddamnit trump, you've even taken my schadenfreude away from me.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:00 PM on April 9 [31 favorites]


Another bit of fuckery that's been swamped by the rest of the shitstorm today: Andy Slavitt gives a readout of the new proposed rules for the ACA for next year (Twitter | ThreadReader)
The “Bring Back 2007 Insurance Market” rule has been released.

Trump put out a final rule affecting the ACA for 2019. Here’s what it did:

-lowered protections for ppl w pre-ex
-increased the cost of coverage
-increased barriers to enrollment

How does it weaken pre-ex protections?

-allows states to create a lower benchmark for what a plan covers
-allows states and insurers to create “substitutes” for essential benefits
-taking a shot at risk adjustment (what creates the ability to cover sick ppl wout penalty)

How does this increase the cost of coverage?

-Insurers will now be able to raise rates by up to 15% without justification
-lowers requirements that premiums be spent on claims or given back
-Allows insurers to skip the shopping/exchange process
-Continuing non compliant plans

Time out: read the last tweet again. These are rules coming from the “free market”, “shopping is good” party.

Abdication if profits to insurers at the cost to consumers. Why?
How do barriers to enrollment increase?

-Reduce access to impartial navigators
-Increase burden of eligibility to low income populations

This rule sits on top of:
-repeal of mandate (10-15% prem increase)
-short term plans
-end CSR
-reduce act value of plan
-cut 90% of ads
-end in person help
-cut OE in 1/2
-burdensome payments added
-5 or 6 more

I hear folks saying “bottom line this for me Slavitt. How bad?”

1) It’s an effort to create a very different vision that looks like 2007. To the extent allowable by law,Mort insurers charge what they want, cover what they want & make what they want in profits.
2) Insurers are making a lot of money in the exchanges. A lot. Which means they don’t need these incentives and loosening of the rules. They need the opposite. We should be commoditizing and forcing shopping not the opposite. Silly.
3) But the resiliency of the ACA prevails to a large degree. Most protections can’t be gotten rid of without Congress. So they take swings at it 4 now.

All while people want the opposite. Improve, repair, make the law work.

More analysis and insights in coming days. Thx /end
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:08 PM on April 9 [46 favorites]


Speaking of normalization, Boston Globe columnist Michael Cohen @speechboy71 observes, "It's pretty remarkable to see TV analysts openly discussing firing Mueller as a 'choice facing the president' ... as opposed to an impeachment-level offense to obstruct justice"
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:09 PM on April 9 [104 favorites]


O to be a spider under the table at the Clinton household today.
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 9:11 PM on April 9 [4 favorites]


When the Muslim ban hit and it was time to take to the streets, I had the flu.
I have a major commitment to be at a convention out of town this weekend. Like, personal commitment, professional, financial.
I would really like it if I wasn't that guy who was always absent when it's time to take to the streets, please. Can we maybe hope for not firing Mueller? At least not this week?

(Additionally, the closer we get to the mid-terms before this all caves in, the better, right?)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:14 PM on April 9 [2 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 Senate:
-- TN: Enten: Senate polling this far out isn't super predictive, which is reason to be skeptical of Bredesen pulling this one off.

-- FL: Gov Rick Scott finally formally jumped into this race. Ratings outfits have moved the race to Tossup. Polling Twitter is more skeptical of him, and feels it's more (Enten, for example). Pro-Scott argument is: he won the governor's race twice. Anti-Scott is: a) both times were under 50%, b) both times were in pro-GOP environments, not at all like this year, c) Nelson is well liked and Scott is not so much.

-- IN: Joe Donnelly is probably the most endangered Dem incumbent, but he's putting up big fundraising numbers, while the GOP is locked in a bloody primary battle.

-- TX: Inside the Beto O'Rourke fundraising machine.
** 2018 House:
-- TX-27: Farenthold's resignation from this seat sets up a special election - there was initially some confusion over this, but it looks like it is happening. Seat is pretty solidly red (Trump 60-37).

-- Noted earlier, this WP article on the GOP starting to give up on the House and focus on the Senate. To the extent this is actually accurate, it may be self-fulfilling. The GOP shot at keeping the House is still pretty decent - I'm bullish on Dem chances, and I'd still say they still have at least a 1/3 chance. But if they start pulling cash and people out, a fair number of marginal seats could tip over.

-- In a classic case of Dems can't ever do right in the eye of the media, CNN asks if we're getting too cocky about taking back the House. The prospect of success can excite people, you know!
** Odds & ends:
-- Enten (who has been busy) also takes a look at the accuracy of Cook House ratings this far out from the election: Tossups won by the party holding the seat 45% of the time, Leans 69%, Likelies 84%, Solids 99%.

-- Noted earlier, Gonzales moved a bunch of governor ratings, some left, some right.

-- TN Dems running in 97 of 99 TN House districts and 15 of 17 Senate districts.

-- Voter pre-registration of teens in California is skyrocketing.

-- DC City Council to examine lowering voting age to 16 for all elections.

-- The long-running effort by the NV GOP to force recall elections of Dem state senators they didn't care for has finally been killed off.
***
Reminder that we have special elections in Florida (probably safe Dem hold) and Iowa (decent shot at Dem pickup) tomorrow.

Also, I'm way late on May special elections write-up, try to get that out tomorrow.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:46 PM on April 9 [43 favorites]


[Let's not get into moment-by-moment updates on the poll?]

I get this, but at the same time can we acknowledge the likelihood that the President is watching this poll, and that your vote on this shitty fucking Lou Dobbs Twitter poll is thus, without being hyperbolic, quite likely to exert more influence over the fate of the Republic than your 2016 ballot?
posted by contraption at 9:56 PM on April 9 [40 favorites]


AP, Trump family hotel business asked Panama president for help

Update: the law firm representing the Trump Organization in Panama would like it to be known that they did this all on their own, it's totally routine for them, and nobody at the Trump Organization knew about the letter until today.

So, uh, wouldn't you think lawyers would normally mention "hey, we're writing the President of Panama on your behalf" sometime before sending such a letter? Trump's lawyers sure seem to (claim to) freelance a lot.
posted by zachlipton at 10:10 PM on April 9 [41 favorites]


-- “Trump's public venting about the Cohen raid being an "attack on our country" is "a fraction of what he is saying in private,"
-- "Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Berman was an Associate Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for the Iran/Contra matter, where he successfully prosecuted a former CIA employee for tax fraud." And Trump is now surprised that this guy, who he appointed in January of this year, is willing to go ahead and raid Michael Cohen's office and residence?


Two important parts of the Trump world view are behind these developments, IMHO:

1) He thinks every government employee (that he picked) works for him directly and owes him personal loyalty;

2) He has the impression that attorney client privilege creates a cone of legal immunity around lawyers, like they're a "base" in a grade school game of tag. There are situations where he seems to have believed that simply having an attorney in the room, or on a conference call, magically allowed everyone else to safely discuss crimes, even if the attorney just listens.
posted by msalt at 11:14 PM on April 9 [34 favorites]


Jamie Lees writes on the wonder that is a Stormy Daniels performance at a strip club in St. Louis.

... Stormy Daniels dancing here neutralizes all of that. Tonight, everyone paid $50 just to be in the same room as her. That takes any advantage that the men might've had and flips the power balance upside-down. You're paying just to exist in her orbit and then you're going to pay even more if you want even 30 seconds of her personal attention. If you want a t-shirt, a photo or an autograph, you'll be paying again. It's $5 for an autograph, $20 for a photo .... all cash. Who has the power now?

And then the lights go low and there she is, the woman who might play a big part in saving us from the 24/7 shitshow that is the current administration. She's just about the only person that our "grab 'em by the pussy" leader won't publicly trash, which just proves her omnipotence. And it seems extra poetic that our savior could end up being a smart, take-no-shit sex worker and mother. The boss lady is walking right in front of us, where we can all hand her cash just for existing, bless her. (I’d like to hand Robert Muller some cash, too, but until he books his own strip tour, we’ll just have to make it rain on Stormy.)

posted by Bella Donna at 12:43 AM on April 10 [95 favorites]


@joshscampbell (former FBI, CNN analyst):
This tonight from a former FBI colleague:
👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
“I’ve been an FBI special agent for 20 years and have only seen a handful of searches executed on attorneys. All of those attorneys went to prison.”
posted by chris24 at 3:21 AM on April 10 [119 favorites]


And it begins...

@realDonaldTrump
Attorney–client privilege is dead!


@realDonaldTrump
A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!
posted by chris24 at 4:11 AM on April 10 [35 favorites]


Going along with Josh at TPM's doubts posted earlier that this is just about Stormy, here is a thread where Preet Bhahara and and former DOJ spokesman and current MSNBC Justice Analyst Matthew Miller basically agree that it's possible that the reason SDNY executed this is because they have a "clean" team to handle the attorney-client issue and Mueller doesn't. So it's possible it's still related to Mueller and Russia even though SDNY did it. (Reminder: Preet is the former US Attorney for SDNY.)

@PreetBharara: I need to see more specific reporting before I'm 100% convinced this is a full-on "referral" to SDNY. I could be completely wrong but such a referral seems peculiar. Of course much is peculiar these days. If Cohen flips, for example, and has Russia-related information to testify about, Special Counsel and SDNY are going to share this witness?

Matthew Miller: any possibility that what happened is SDNY executed it as the clean team?

Preet Bharara: Yes that's what I was thinking

Preet Bharara: As @matthewamiller just suggested, it seems that if the Mueller team were retaining the Michael Cohen piece, they would still need a "clean team" (or "taint team") to deal with the sensitivities of A-C privilege. That could be SDNY

Sam Stein (MSNBC): explain for us non-lawyers please

Matthew Miller: would mean that sdny collects all the evidence, sorts out non-privileged material and gives it to Mueller. I.e. the case wasn’t really referred to them.
posted by chris24 at 4:26 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


taint team

let's go with "clean team" on this one OK?
posted by thelonius at 4:35 AM on April 10 [86 favorites]


I don't know: a crass double-entendre such as “taint team” does convey the appropriate level of gravitas for this particular state of affairs.
posted by acb at 4:39 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Just heard on the radio that the fact that this was an attorney's house means it's a much more stringent set of hoops to jump through to get the warrant.

Instead of "detective gets approval from supervisor, then they get a judge to sign it", they have to go to the SDNY first and then to also get the okay from the US District attorney in the area - who would have been appointed by the president. (I may be forgetting someone; basically, it's more people and more of them higher-up.)

This was all cheering because a) this means that they must really have cause to search, and b) even people appointed by Trump were forced to admit "yeah, something stinks, go get 'em."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:40 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


For those who like me are on anti-anxiety meds and worried they can't handle any more, Paul Krugman's sweet calming voice is here to sooth us today: Obamacare’s Very Stable Genius
posted by mumimor at 4:46 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Axios: First look: Harvard poll sees wave of young voters this fall
"A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29-year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the Kennedy School of Government, finds a marked increase in the number of young Americans who indicate that they will 'definitely be voting' in the upcoming midterm Congressional elections."

The big picture: "37 percent of Americans under 30 indicate that they will 'definitely be voting,' compared to 23 percent who said the same in 2014."

"Young Democrats are driving nearly all of the increase in enthusiasm; a majority (51%) report that they will 'definitely' vote in November, which represents a 9-percentage point increase since November 2017 and is significantly larger than the 36 percent of Republicans who say the same."
posted by chris24 at 4:48 AM on April 10 [25 favorites]


Adam Davidson (New Yorker):
Michael Cohen is the most important non-Trump in the Trump business world.

He oversaw nearly all the foreign deals as the Trump Org shifted its focus to sketchy third-tier overseas oligarchs. He was not part of the Trump Org legal team in any real sense. Trump Org lawyers either set up contracts for deals others had brought or they handled litigation.

Cohen did neither. He was a deal maker. The only non-Trump deal maker doing all those international deals. He, Ivanka, and Don, Jr., were the entire global development team at a time when the company was exploring dozens of deals all over the world.

If he were to flip, it would be Ivanka and Don, Jr. who should be most worried. We know, of course, that the Trump Org did business with corrupt politicians, sanctions-violators, money launderers, etc. The only open question is how much they knew about their partners' activity.

Cohen knows how much they knew. He knows what he told them. He is also the most obvious link between Trump and Russia. He oversaw the deal in Georgia which was, explicitly, a first attempt at a former Soviet deal with the goal of a ring of Trump properties all over the CIS. Cohen flew to Kazakhstan and negotiated the failed deal there with Timur Kulibayev, a close ally of Putin's.

Cohen then worked on the Trump Moscow deal in 2015/2016. In none of these deals was he acting like a traditional lawyer--simply advising, writing contracts, etc. He was in the country, meeting with the partners, structuring the deal, going back to NY and explaining the deal to the big boss and his kids. Other than the President, nobody knows as much as Cohen. (And Cohen does seem to have a good memory).

It was stunning that Trump made Cohen his sole personal attorney post-election. Cohen left the Trump Org to form a firm with one client: the President. But Cohen had never acted as a regular attorney for Trump. He had always been the fixer/deal-maker. So, the move to his new private firm seems solely designed to provide attorney-client privilege. To get his documents out of the Trump Org and into a private office.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:53 AM on April 10 [65 favorites]


Kellyanne's husband DGAF.... (Reminder, George Conway was also Paula Jones attorney in her suit against Bill Clinton and worked with Ann Coulter and Matt Drudge in the 90s to go after the Clintons.)

@realDonaldTrump: Attorney–client privilege is dead!

George Conway @gtconway3d
Retweeted Donald J. Trump
https://www.justice.gov/usam/usam-9-13000-obtaining-evidence#9-13.420

9-13.420 - Searches of Premises of Subject Attorneys

posted by chris24 at 5:02 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


Lost in yesterday's craziness...

Buzzfeed: The White House Won't Say If Trump Thinks It Should Be Illegal To Pay For Sex
Last Friday, two weeks after a former Playboy model alleged Donald Trump tried paying her after sex, the Trump administration seized backpage.com, an adult personal site that was allegedly facilitating sex work.

The move raised questions about whether Trump supports the Justice Department busting backpage.com, which officials alleged in an indictment Monday was "notorious for being the internet's leading source of prostitution advertisements."

BuzzFeed News asked the White House if Trump supports the bust, how he responded to allegations that he tried to pay for sex, and if he believes sex work should be criminalized. A White House spokesperson said to ask Trump's personal lawyer.

"I refer you to the President’s outside counsel," said deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters.

Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was raided by the FBI on Monday afternoon, did not respond to questions.
posted by chris24 at 5:14 AM on April 10 [53 favorites]


let's go with "clean team" on this one OK?

The US Attorney's manual uses the term "Privilege Team", since they sort out the privileged documents.
posted by mikelieman at 5:15 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


It was stunning that Trump made Cohen his sole personal attorney post-election. Cohen left the Trump Org to form a firm with one client: the President. But Cohen had never acted as a regular attorney for Trump. He had always been the fixer/deal-maker. So, the move to his new private firm seems solely designed to provide attorney-client privilege. To get his documents out of the Trump Org and into a private office.
Oh, I didn't understand this before. This is interesting.
posted by mumimor at 5:16 AM on April 10 [21 favorites]




All the rightwing nutjob talk about how some on Mueller's team donated to Clinton. Well, NY District US Attorney Geoffrey Berman was a max donor ($5,400) to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

This is the type of stuff that makes my brain short circuit. Last night I heard how Berman is an honest, smart, upstanding person.
posted by armacy at 5:25 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


All the rightwing nutjob talk about how some on Mueller's team donated to Clinton. Well, NY District US Attorney Geoffrey Berman was a max donor ($5,400) to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

This is the type of stuff that makes my brain short circuit. Last night I heard how Berman is an honest, smart, upstanding person.


I think a lot of Republicans thought they could manage Trump like they had managed Bush Jr. They were wrong.
Also, they imagined that a criminal couldn't rise to the presidency. That all the rumors were "fake news". They were wrong about that, too.
posted by mumimor at 5:28 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


New from CNN this morning...

Search warrant reveals Mueller's interest in Manafort's actions during Trump campaign
Search warrant documents used by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators reveal how agents zeroed in on potential criminal activity related to Paul Manafort's time as Donald Trump's campaign chairman. The documents, used to obtain a search warrant in building the case against Manafort, were revealed in a court filing late Monday night. Manafort has pleaded not guilty in two federal cases, and the charges he faces do not include allegations about his time on the campaign. The search warrant makes clear -- despite recent criticisms from the White House and others that the pursuit of Manafort was not connected to Trump or the 2016 election -- that Mueller is also focused on actions connected to the campaign.

Investigators in a search warrant application last July told a judge in Virginia that they sought evidence related to Manafort's interactions with a Russian real estate magnate and were suspicious of possible campaign finance violations. Specifically, the investigators sought from Manafort's apartment records "involving any of the attendees of the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower" and anything involving Aras and Emin Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire and his son tied to the meeting, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and to a possible earlier unsuccessful attempt to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Manafort attended the meeting, which was facilitated by the Agalarovs and attended by their publicist and an employee of their company, and a Russian lawyer who was believed to be bringing revealing information about Hillary Clinton. Manafort was in the meeting, along with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner.
posted by chris24 at 5:28 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


Also overshadowed last night, the budget rescissions seem dead in the water.

WaPo: Key Senate Republicans warn White House against pursuing spending cuts
An incipient push to reverse some of the $1.3 trillion in 2018 spending that Congress pushed through last month might already be dead, given early opposition from two key Republican senators who said Monday that they were unlikely to support the move.

Aides to President Trump are working with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to craft a “rescission” bill that would take advantage of special legislative procedures to roll back tens of billions of dollars in federal appropriations.

While the omnibus spending bill that passed last month was the product of a compromise between Republicans and Democrats, largely due to Senate rules requiring a three-fifths majority votes, the Trump administration could send up a package of cuts that could pass the Senate on a simple majority vote under procedures set out in the 1974 statute governing the federal budget process. But it is not at all clear that a rescission bill could get a simple majority in the Senate, with Republicans holding a slight 51-49 majority and Democrats inclined to oppose cuts to the deal they already negotiated and passed.

Two Republican “cardinals” — powerful lawmakers who chair Senate Appropriations subcommittees — said Monday that they were perplexed by the talk of a rescission bill just weeks after the passage of the omnibus.

“I’d obviously have to look at what’s in it, but I do not understand reopening a hard negotiation on a budget package that has just been completed,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who chairs the subcommittee on transportation, housing and urban development, and related agencies. “To me, the administration would be better advised to focus on this coming fiscal year. We’re just starting up the hearings in the Appropriations Committee, and that would be a far better approach.”

Asked Monday if appropriators were throwing cold water on the notion of pursuing rescissions, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said, “Well, this one is. Just off the top, my initial response is no,” said Murkowski, who chairs the subcommittee on interior, environment and related agencies. “You know, we worked hard. It’s not a perfect package. Nothing is. But as individual appropriators, I know we all worked hard on our accounts and tried to get the priorities that we could.”

Opposition from Collins and Murkowski — as well as the indefinite absence of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — would mean that Republicans would be unable to muscle through a rescission bill on their own. GOP leaders would need to peel off several Democrats, and while some red-state Democrats seeking reelection this year might be compelled to vote with Trump, they would also come under considerable pressure to stick with the deal that they had already voted for.
posted by chris24 at 5:43 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


"involving any of the attendees of the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower" and anything involving Aras and Emin Agalarov, an Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire and his son tied to the meeting, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and to a possible earlier unsuccessful attempt to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

I remember first reading about this and going OMG about 2 decades ago ( subjective time ), and that I was in shock, since it was so clearly egregious.

And here we are, all this time later, and it looks like Mueller's making my dreams come true.

I need to step away for a while, and have a good cry.
posted by mikelieman at 5:45 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


from the Axios link (above):
Take a minute to think about the history unfolding before our eyes. You have the president’s top lawyer getting raided by the FBI, prompting the president to warn of an epic attack on government and signaling he might try to can the special counsel investigating him.

This is on the eve of the arguably most powerful and well known CEO of our generation getting grilled by Congress, in part because the Russians used his platform to try to elect the man at the center of it all.

History books will be written about this — and you were there to see it all unfold.
yay?
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:46 AM on April 10 [112 favorites]


That dumb “Chinese curse” thing about interesting times turns out to be true then.
posted by Artw at 5:51 AM on April 10 [27 favorites]


I've frequently wished we could just fast-forward to the tell-all books in about a decade or so.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:52 AM on April 10 [73 favorites]


In a recent hate-read thread about dating Jewish men, some of the commenters mentioned that there are parts of America in which people love to have Jewish doctors and lawyers because they assume that anybody with a Jewish last name must be brilliant at doctoring and lawyering.

I can only assume that this is how Cohen got his job with Trump.
posted by clawsoon at 5:56 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


@jessehawken: Trump is like the Michael Bay remake of BEING THERE
posted by chris24 at 5:56 AM on April 10 [78 favorites]


IIRC there's at least one biography that describes Trump saying he prefers Jewish accountants to handle his money because they're supposed to be so good at it...so, yeah.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:57 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


History books will be written about this — and you were there to see it all unfold.

If those history books don't constantly point out how Burn-After-Reading level *stupid* it all is, I'm going to throw a fit. We're living through the most remarkable parade of idiots in known memory. Truly world historically stupid shit going down now, and you're all here to witness it, folks. Can't wait to see how dumb the documents coming out of Cohen's office are. Probably a file cabinet marked "PRESIDENTIAL CRIMES".
posted by dis_integration at 5:58 AM on April 10 [60 favorites]


In a recent hate-read thread about dating Jewish men, some of the commenters mentioned that there are parts of America in which people love to have Jewish doctors and lawyers because they assume that anybody with a Jewish last name must be brilliant at doctoring and lawyering. I can only assume that this is how Cohen got his job with Trump.

@paulkrugman: One under-appreciated virtue of Trump is dispelling ethnic stereotypes. The next time someone talks about smart Jewish lawyers, think Michael Cohen. The next time they talk about clever Jewish financiers, think Steve Mnuchin.
posted by chris24 at 5:58 AM on April 10 [32 favorites]


The next time they talk about smart brain surgeons, think Ben Carson.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:00 AM on April 10 [70 favorites]


As I was getting the hell out of lower Manhattan during the 9/11 attacks, I had that same sudden realization of hey this is history, and it's happening around me right now!

It was no consolation at all.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:01 AM on April 10 [92 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Let's drop the side conversations on how rich people are and ethnic stereotypes, and stick more to focusing on the news. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:16 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


In none of these deals was he acting like a traditional lawyer

Apparently not a wartime consigliere, either
posted by schadenfrau at 6:25 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


I can only assume that this is how Cohen got his job with Trump.

I know for a fact that it is.

You remember my lunch with Trump, yeah? At the conclusion of that meeting, when my dad came to pick me up, he and Donald caught up for a few minutes, during which the entirety of the conversation pivoted on the fact that he'd been beaten in litigation. He'd been forced to settle at terms he resented, and he blamed it entirely on not having competent lawyers.

"Listen, [name]," he told my dad, "I really need some better lawyers. You must know some real sharks. Killers.*" He went on in this vein for awhile, and the context made his thought process, his little onboard syllogism, absolutely crystal clear: the guy before me has a Jewish name, and therefore identifies as a Jew; all Jews know one another, and especially all Jewish lawyers; all Jewish lawyers deploy their sneaky Hebraic wiles to best advantage in court; if I want effective representation, I want a Jew; there is no better way to find one than to ask the Jew standing in front of me."

I have no reason at all to believe his thinking has changed differently in the intervening 29 years.

*This language was so vivid, and weird, and memorable, that it was both shocking and somehow not-shocking to hear the same sentiments expressed virtually word-for-word at various points in the debates, in the course of post-election table talk, etc. It's so vivid, in fact, that I knew immediately when some reported chunk of Trump mouthfartery was authentic — these words are fixations, reliable indicators that he is in fact the one speaking.

And, of course, it also sheds curious side-light on his reported fascination with Shark Week.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:27 AM on April 10 [166 favorites]


@CNNPolitics
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) says he doesn't think President Trump will oust special counsel Robert Mueller: "I think it would provoke some sort of reaction by Congress, I think he knows that"
VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 6:29 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


I think it would provoke some sort of reaction by Congress

Yeah, I'm sure they would find it "concerning".
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:37 AM on April 10 [40 favorites]


Yes, reasons to doubt them, but we're getting more pushback from elected Rs than normal.

@GarrettHaake
“I have confidence in Mueller, the president ought to have confidence in Mueller, & I think ... it would be suicide for the president to fire Mueller, to want to talk about firing Mueller, the less the president said on this whole thing, the better” @ChuckGrassley on FBN
posted by chris24 at 6:39 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


And their story also contains the fun fact that Cohen appears to have been let go from his "strategic alliance" with powerhouse international lobbyist-law firm Squire Patton Boggs

Carole Cadwalladr has pointed out that Squire Patton Boggs were the lawyers who sent The Guardian a "Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation" ahead of her initial May 2017 story on Cambridge Analytica.
posted by rory at 6:41 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Politico: Inside Puerto Rico’s Plan to Influence the Midterm Elections: Frustrated by Congress’ response to Hurricane Maria, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is preparing to drop a ‘hammer’ in targeted states in 2018
“We need to demonstrate that we have a hammer,” Rosselló said. “Congressmen need to know that if we go to their office, they can’t just give us a happy talk, as has happened in the past. So, if you’re going to give us happy talk and then take actions that clearly affect the people of Puerto Rico, then the only strategy that we have left ... is to go to your districts.”

Rosselló kicked off the effort in January with a trip to Florida, which was already home to many Puerto Ricans before they were joined by many more displaced by the hurricane—but which also holds critical elections this year for governor and U.S. Senate in addition to a collection of tight House races.

With Senate and House races getting priority, Rosselló and allies have already started voter-registration drives in Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, and are eyeing New Jersey, Ohio and Texas. They’ll build a list of voters to activate, put money and effort into keeping after them all year long and push them to the polls for the primaries and midterms. There will be more travel and fundraising to support the efforts.

Rosselló’s model: Cuban-Americans, who for 60 years have mobilized what is still fewer than 2 million people into a force that’s shaped American politics and foreign policy. Compare that with the 5.6 million Puerto Ricans concentrated in just a few states. Details are still coming together, but Rosselló thinks that under these circumstances he can kick-start that kind of action in just a few months and keep building it into the 2020 election.

“Puerto Rico has never had a structure like the one that we’re forming. It has never demonstrated to have the national wherewithal and political power that we hope to showcase in this election,” he said. “And if we do that, I think it will start pressing on these issues of second-class citizenship, equality, and then what are the solutions for Puerto Rico.”
posted by chris24 at 6:54 AM on April 10 [167 favorites]


As always I'm completely behind in the megathreads so pardon the randomness of this comment, but I wanted to share something hopeful with all y'all. While driving around the State to talk to residents last weekend Beto O'Rourke found a dog, Blondie, in Matador, TX pop. 589. That was one of the larger towns he went to that day. He called the owner (facebook link). Dog safe and clearly by that twitter video she endorsed Beto for Senate 2018. This is who I get to vote for this November.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:10 AM on April 10 [87 favorites]


Simon Maloy (MMFA): fun to remember that the only reason Bob Mueller is even in the picture is because Trump threatened Comey (via tweet) with audio recordings that didn't exist. really shaping up as one of the great world historical self owns
posted by chris24 at 7:18 AM on April 10 [40 favorites]



Rosselló kicked off the effort in January with a trip to Florida, which was already home to many Puerto Ricans before they were joined by many more displaced by the hurricane—but which also holds critical elections this year for governor and U.S. Senate in addition to a collection of tight House races.


Austin, TX.

Right now it's gerrymandered to have 0 congressional representatives.

And influx of Puerto Ricans could turn it into 5 reps overnight.
posted by ocschwar at 7:19 AM on April 10 [36 favorites]


This happened on Fox.

Aaron Rupar (Think Progress)
Incredible. @RandPaul argues Mueller's investigation is bad because it's too expansive, immediately gets called out for his hypocrisy by @BillHemmer.

"How did you feel about Ken Starr in the 90s?" Hemmer asks.

"You know, I may not have been as consistent back then," Paul says.

VIDEO
posted by chris24 at 7:25 AM on April 10 [73 favorites]


Last week Homeland Security advisor Tom Bossert pushed back against the view of the Trump White House as chaotic, saying: “You won’t believe this, but this White House seems to function just about the same as every other White House."

He just resigned.
posted by neroli at 7:37 AM on April 10 [82 favorites]


I have witnessed Tom Bossert saying some crazy shit on CNN. He is not a shrinking violet when it comes to defending this administration and its crimes. If he's resigning voluntarily there is something significant going on.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:39 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


Take a minute to think about the history unfolding before our eyes. You have the president’s top lawyer getting raided by the FBI, prompting the president to warn of an epic attack on government and signaling he might try to can the special counsel investigating him.
[...]

History books will be written about this — and you were there to see it all unfold.


I'll just wait for the satiric historical novel, Infrastructure Week, thanks.
posted by dannyboybell at 7:43 AM on April 10 [116 favorites]


If he's resigning voluntarily there is something significant going on.

Something like Bolton coming in an cleaning house/replacing existing staff with his own folks? I am not saying its impossible/implausible that Bossart is leaving because of something too sketchy even for him, but seems more likely he got axed by the new not-quite big boss.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:46 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Jennifer Jacobs, White House reporter for Bloomberg, says Bossert is basically being fired at the request of Guy Who Really Loves Wars John Bolton.
posted by Emmy Rae at 7:46 AM on April 10 [17 favorites]


Josh Marshall has a roundup of key TPM Cohen articles going back thirteen months.
posted by mikepop at 7:48 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


I called the DC offices of my Iowa U.S. Senators (both Republican) to ask whether they agreed with the President that Special Counsel Mueller has committed "an attack on our country" and on "what we all stand for". Neither had issued a statement regarding this matter. Senator Ernst has not issued a recent statement on her website regarding the Special Counsel's investigation, but, said the staffer, she may have said something on CNN yesterday. Senator Grassley has issued repeated statements saying that Special Counsel Mueller should be permitted to complete his investigation. I applauded these statements and asked whether Senator Grassley had sponsored legislation to protect Special Counsel Mueller. I was informed that he had not.

I told Senator Grassley's staffer that people like me who have not been elected as a U.S. Senator are expected to impotently wish for things, but in the case of people who have been granted legislative power by the populace of a state, such as Senator Grassley, it is more appropriate to, when possible, pass legislation effectuating change in the universe, using the power that has been granted unto them by the populace.

I told Senator Ernst's staffer that my understanding of the founding of this country was that the people were rebelling against a Monarch who was above the law and could commit moral obscenities without repercussions. I said that it is vital that we adhere to the Founding Fathers' wish that their President should not be above the law. I expressed my wish that she should immediately issue a statement in support of Special Counsel Mueller being able to complete his investigation, and that she should sponsor legislation to protect his critical mission, and to protect the nature of our country as a democracy and not an autocratic regime in which the head of state is above the law. I was thanked and my messages will be passed along
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:50 AM on April 10 [125 favorites]


Sinclair TV chairman to Trump: 'We are here to deliver your message' (Jon Swaine, Guardian)
David D Smith, whose company has been criticised for making its anchors read a script echoing Trump’s attacks on the media, said he briefed officials last year on a system that would enable authorities to broadcast direct to any American’s phone.

“I just wanted them to be aware of the technology,” Smith said in an interview. He also recalled an earlier meeting with Trump during the 2016 election campaign, where he told the future president: “We are here to deliver your message.”

Sinclair is the biggest owner of local TV in the US, and may soon reach 72% of American households if a proposed $4bn takeover of a rival is approved by federal regulators. It is accused by critics of having a conservative bias, which it denies.
It's nice to see real journalistic integrity in these days of modern time.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:50 AM on April 10 [35 favorites]


Here's your CSPAN link for Zuckerberg in Congress later. Here's the link for chat for all your hot-take, spicy quips, and facepalming needs.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:51 AM on April 10 [9 favorites]


may soon reach 72% of American households

Since fewer than 50% of Americans actually get their news from TV, this is somewhat inaccurate; I assume if this claim is based on anything substantive it should be something more like "72% of American retirees."
posted by aspersioncast at 8:25 AM on April 10 [13 favorites]


In general I'm skeptical of generational arguments, especially ones involving "inevitability." The same Baby Boomers who fueled the hippie movement brought us Reagan, for example, and hypocritically refused to legalize marijuana as soon as they had their own kids to fret over.

That said, structural changes in technology combined with generational change can matter a lot -- GenXers did tend to have more fragmented views than Boomers because cable TV, zines and the Internet inform one very differently than 3 big TV networks everyone watches.

So when as crabby old farts transfixed by Fox News die off, things will change. They might not get better, as InfoWars and the Daily Stormer replace Hannity and Jeanine Pirro, but I think they might simply because web alternatives can't command cable TV's mass audience.
posted by msalt at 8:50 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


if the CSPAN link above doesn't appeal, you can fire up your Oculus Rift and watch Zuck's testimony in VR
[real]
posted by halation at 8:50 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Ah, yes, the Oculus Rift, a product which enriched shit-head creator and Trump-supporter Palmer Luckey.
posted by defenestration at 8:56 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]




may soon reach 72% of American households
...that means AVAILABLE to 72% of American households. Like FoxNews and CNN are available to nearly all households that get cable or satellite TV, which is not quite all households, and their actual reach is only 2-3 million viewers for their most popular shows, which is still less than The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory (chosen because they're the most popular series right now, not as an indicator of general TV quality).
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:58 AM on April 10


Remember when Trump insisted on personally interviewing US Attorney candidates? Norms are there for a reason.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:01 AM on April 10 [25 favorites]


"Listen, [name]," he told my dad, "I really need some better lawyers. You must know some real sharks. Killers.*" He went on in this vein for awhile, and the context made his thought process, his little onboard syllogism, absolutely crystal clear: the guy before me has a Jewish name, and therefore identifies as a Jew; all Jews know one another, and especially all Jewish lawyers; all Jewish lawyers deploy their sneaky Hebraic wiles to best advantage in court; if I want effective representation, I want a Jew; there is no better way to find one than to ask the Jew standing in front of me."

(1) The Jews Trump most respects (and fears) are the ones that in his eyes are the toughest and most sharklike.
(2) When Trump made Stormy Daniels watch 4 hours of Shark Week, he told her that he hated sharks and wanted them all dead.
(3) I'm tired of this shit.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:05 AM on April 10 [51 favorites]


So, that NYT scoop - who is leaking that? Who does it help? It seems to me like someone trying to get Rod Rosenstein fired.

This whole administration is so disorienting.
posted by Emmy Rae at 9:05 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Suddenly, Michael Cohen, the bag-walking, dick-swinging swagger-monkey wannabe thug attorney and consigliere for Donald Trump’s far-flung penile enterprises is scared. If Cohen had a lump of coal in his ass the moment those search warrants arrived, he could have popped out a diamond. He realizes how deep this hole can become if he doesn’t roll over. He doesn’t have the resources to defend himself, and Trump isn’t exactly known for paying his bills in the first place. Cohen is scared, and he’s not alone.
posted by growabrain at 9:10 AM on April 10 [22 favorites]


(note that the above delightful shit-talking is from Rick Wilson, so apply as much salt as you are accustomed to)
posted by murphy slaw at 9:14 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Roger Stone said in July 2016 Russians were 'most likely' behind WikiLeaks emails and doing it to help Trump
Longtime Trump associate Roger Stone said several times in July 2016 that Russia was most likely the source for hacked emails released during the Democratic National Convention and that it was not far-fetched to say the purpose was to help Donald Trump's presidential campaign, according to a CNN KFile review of Stone's interviews and appearances.
...
Asked Monday for comment, Stone told CNN, "I'm publishing my own time line that will only make you look foolish."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:17 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


It seems to me like someone trying to get Rod Rosenstein fired.
On the other hand, now that this information is out, isn't firing Rosenstein even more unambiguously obstruction?
posted by neroli at 9:17 AM on April 10 [15 favorites]


The NYT sources "three government officials."
The early-morning searches enraged Mr. Trump, associates said, setting off an angry public tirade Monday evening that continued in private at the White House as the president fumed about whether he should fire Mr. Rosenstein. The episode has deeply unsettled White House aides, Justice Department officials and lawmakers from both parties, who believe the president may use it as a pretext to purge the team leading the investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.
Since his staff is clearly in "every man for himself" mode I don't think it's possible to read into that whether they see it in their interest to hurt Rosenstein, or that they want to signal the heightened risk to people in Congress in order to get more protection for Rosenstein and Mueller, or that they're trying to induce press panic over obstruction charges in order to affect the coverage in a way that gets their message across to Trump. With three sources, all three approaches could be true.
posted by fedward at 9:19 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


In memory of Tom Bossert's sad departure let's revisit his corpse-eyed 17-minute defense of Nazis at Charlottesville.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:19 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


Special Counsel Mueller plans to issue a report on Obstruction of Justice this summer, prior to the completion of his investigation. This is what I have wished for since the day he was appointed.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:20 AM on April 10 [28 favorites]




So, that NYT scoop - who is leaking that? Who does it help? It seems to me like someone trying to get Rod Rosenstein fired.

Yes and no. On one hand, Rosenstein is definitely in Trump's crosshairs—per the NYT article, "Mr. Trump is now again telling associates that he is frustrated with Mr. Rosenstein, according to one official familiar with the conversations."—and currently under attack by Capitol Hill Trumpists on the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

On the other, this leak portrays Rosenstein, and Mueller, as scrupulously executing departmental procedures for obtaining this warrant, which ought to undercuts Trump's accusations of impropriety, again per the NYT article, "The involvement of Mr. Rosenstein and top prosecutors in New York in the raid of Mr. Cohen’s office makes it harder for Mr. Trump to argue that his legal problems are the result of a witch hunt led by Mr. Mueller."

Meanwhile, ABC's Jonathan Karl updates his earlier scoop with this significant detail: "A sourced briefed on the matter says the Berman recusal was approved by ... Rod Rosenstein"
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:30 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Rosenstein still has the Comey letter. Feels like some sort of boss-level unlockable acheivement to get it.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 9:34 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Here's a thought/question.

Since this case was (apparently) referred to the New York office, does that mean it continues, even if Mueller is fired as Special Counsel?
posted by Tabitha Someday at 9:35 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


President Trump 'less inclined' to sit down with special counsel for interview after raid on personal attorney: Sources

I think Mueller is very good at his job and knows that if he could have persuaded Donald Trump to ignore his lawyers and make the legally irresponsible decision to sit down for an interview, he would have done so. Instead he has gone through the many legal hurdles required before ordering an unanticipated raid on the records of the President's personal lawyer. Wheels are turning.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:36 AM on April 10 [6 favorites]


Mueller isn’t going to be able to issue a report on obstruction of justice if Trump fires everybody in a rage.
posted by gucci mane at 9:37 AM on April 10


If Rosenstein signed off on it, then firing him (which seems like it'd be necessary in order to fire Mueller anyway) would likely get rid of whatever part of the Cohen matter is outside Mueller's purview as well.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:37 AM on April 10


Since this case was (apparently) referred to the New York office, does that mean it continues, even if Mueller is fired as Special Counsel?

This investigation will continue until the Attorney General (Acting or otherwise un-recused) quashes it. This is one reason that Trump supporters suggest that firing Mueller would be ill-advised,
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:38 AM on April 10


Special Counsel Mueller plans to issue a report on Obstruction of Justice this summer, prior to the completion of his investigation.

I'm already looking forward to the sequel.
posted by Gelatin at 9:39 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


President Trump 'less inclined' to sit down with special counsel for interview after raid on personal attorney

It seems apparent (slash I-predict) that Trump is just going to retreat further and further until he's in a fetal position under the Resolute Desk while nobody is left to wonder where he is.
posted by rhizome at 9:41 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


On the other, this leak portrays Rosenstein, and Mueller, as scrupulously executing departmental procedures for obtaining this warrant, which ought to undercuts Trump's accusations of impropriety

lol facts. I mean, seriously, talking about something undercutting Trump's accusations against people on these issues implies there's anything resembling support there anyway. The fig leaf is irrelevant. His supporters will believe him over any other source - that's part of what his behavior grooms them for (whether he does it knowingly or instinctively I wouldn't guess but it doesn't seem to matter). Congress has shown no sign of being serious about his behavior so why would that matter either?

I'm not saying it doesn't matter but I'm not sure I think it changes anything whether his idiotic assertions have vague deniability or not.
posted by phearlez at 9:41 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


New York Times: Raid on Trump’s Lawyer Sought Records of Payments to Women
The F.B.I. agents who raided the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday were looking for records about payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, and information related to the publisher of The National Enquirer’s role in silencing one of the women, several people briefed on the investigation said.

The search warrant carried out by the public corruption unit of the Manhattan federal attorney’s office seeks information about Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model who claims she carried on a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Trump shortly after the birth of his son in 2006. Ms. McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, whose chief executive is a friend of Mr. Trump’s.

Agents were also searching Michael D. Cohen’s office for information related to Stephanie Clifford, better known as Stormy Daniels, who says she also had sex with Mr. Trump while he was married.
In addition, CNN's Shimon Prokupecz @ShimonPro reports, "The FBI search warrant on Michael Cohen included seeking documents related to Cohen's taxi medallion business." This could be related to the NY Daily News's scoop last year that Cohen owed New York State nearly $40G in unpaid taxi taxes. (On top of that, as any New Yorker will tell you, the taxi medallion racket in the city used to be one of the most egregiously corrupt businesses.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:46 AM on April 10 [31 favorites]


I love the fact that it's the public corruption unit targeting Cohen, and that the focus is narrowly on payoffs to sex workers. Both facts hem in Trump and hit him where it hurts the most politically.
posted by msalt at 9:49 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


It seems apparent (slash I-predict) that Trump is just going to retreat further and further until he's in a fetal position under the Resolute Desk while nobody is left to wonder where he is.

He's not, though. That's the problem. He's going to continue to lash out, and I fear for what (or who) gets destroyed when he does so. I refer you to this very detailed post about malignant narcissists:

"It can be very tempting to try to argue with them, to present facts that contradict how they act or what they say. The impulse to unravel their game, to expose them, can be very high. But this is not a logical person. They are by nature extremely impulsive, and will go down fighting, refusing to ever admit guilt, even if all the facts are laid out. You cannot win against their faulty logic, so the best option is to remove yourself from the situation before it gets worse.

Malignant narcissists are both impulsive and patient, which is one reason they can be so destructive to others. They may lash out sporadically one moment, and plot revenge the next, taking a small situation (sometimes something seemingly unimportant) and striking months later in revenge. If possible, removing yourself from their influence is the best course of action."

posted by anastasiav at 9:50 AM on April 10 [35 favorites]


Since this case was (apparently) referred to the New York office, does that mean it continues, even if Mueller is fired as Special Counsel?

Yes. This is now under the purview of the SDNY. It no longer has anything to do with Mueller.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:51 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Reports are that Mattis is staying in town, too, after saying he was going to be heading to NV. I guess now that the gang's all here for the forthcoming Syria announcement, we're getting our war (crimes) on.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:00 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Let's not dig further into doomsday scenarios, we all know things are bad and nobody's under any illusions there; we don't need to keep repeating the most alarming hypotheticals we can think of. Let's stick to things actually happening.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:09 AM on April 10 [11 favorites]


and information related to the publisher of The National Enquirer’s role in silencing one of the women, several people briefed on the investigation said.


The National Enquirer gets caught up too! Now that is a delightful cherry on top.
posted by srboisvert at 10:18 AM on April 10 [24 favorites]


This is now under the purview of the SDNY. It no longer has anything to do with Mueller.

We don't know enough to know that. As was pointed out earlier in this thread, the DOJ could be using SDNY as the source of the privilege/taint/clean team that is isolated from Mueller's team and only passes along documents subject to the rules of the investigation. Like how the new Manafort charges were filed in Alexandria and not DC there could be some venue-specific stuff related to crimes committed solely in NY (say, any fraud related to taxi medallions), but I wouldn't begin to speculate on the possible permutations of what is prosecuted where and by whom.
posted by fedward at 10:19 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


As for this, or anything else really, hurting Trump with his base/cultists it isn't and won't. On the pro-Trump boards they're literally, no fooling, calling for Trump to order the US military to raid the FBI and DOJ in retaliation.

It's asking the wrong question to ask what they think a raid by the US military on the FBI would discover. It isn't about facts and discovery, it's about payback for perceived slights to their leader (and, presumably, them longing for a military dictatorship headed by Trump).

Their position is that Trump is beset by evil people who are acting maliciously to hurt him because those people are anti-Trump. To them that's what matters, not facts, not laws, not reality, they boil it all down to one simple question: is this pro-Trump or anti-Trump? If the latter they're against it, if the former they're for it.

Likewise, absolutely anything Trump does or says is 100% correct and genius. He hasn't fired Mueller? That's because he's too smart to fall for that and clearly Mueller **WANTS** to be fired so as to fuel the anti-Trump brigades but Trump outfoxed him and is letting him run his pathetic little investigation. If Trump ever does fire Mueller then that would obviously be the proper course of action because Trump took that action therefore it was proper. It's tautological.

The question, then, is not how anything will play out among Trump's supporters, but how it will play for everyone else. Will it inspire Democratic turnout, will it turn up enough filth that even the supposedly mainstream Republicans will get fed up and skip voting? That's
posted by sotonohito at 10:20 AM on April 10 [43 favorites]


The F.B.I. agents who raided the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday were looking for records about payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, and information related to the publisher of The National Enquirer’s role in silencing one of the women, several people briefed on the investigation said.

I wish the article was clearer about what the underlying federal crime is here. Campaign finance related?
posted by phearlez at 10:24 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Will it inspire Democratic turnout, will it turn up enough filth that even the supposedly mainstream Republicans will get fed up and skip voting? That's

Oh, no, they got sotonohito!

Seriously, you nailed it. Trump is their sports team now, and they want the team to win no matter what, even if it takes cheating and even if it hurts them personally.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:27 AM on April 10 [33 favorites]


I wish the article was clearer about what the underlying federal crime is here.

Pretty sure it's crimes plural, probably covering a variety of areas. Cohen is a dirty dirty boy.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:33 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


As for this, or anything else really, hurting Trump with his base/cultists it isn't and won't.

On the other hand, his base keeps shrinking. For instance, the final results of Lou Dobbs's aforementioned poll "Do you believe the corrupt leadership and actions of the DOJ and FBI are now so outrageous and overwhelming that President Trump should fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein?" finished with only 25% voting yes. That's right, Trump missed the Crazification Factor by two points.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:35 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Based on the reporting so far my top bet for the primary target of the search would be campaign finance violations and/or money laundering related to the payoffs, but the sky's the limit on what else they might find.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:35 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I wish the article was clearer about what the underlying federal crime is here. Campaign finance related?

Money laundering, says Popehat in a new Op-Ed in the NYT.
There are reports that the warrant sought evidence of bank fraud and campaign finance violations, which is consistent with an investigation into allegations that the Daniels payment was illegally sourced or disguised. (For example, routing a payment through a shell company to hide the fact that the money came from the Trump campaign — if that is what happened — would probably violate federal money-laundering laws.)
He also goes into the implications of the raid and the stuff about what he calls a "dirty team" when privilege is involved:
Second, the search demonstrates that federal prosecutors and supervisors in the Justice Department concluded that Mr. Cohen could not be trusted to preserve and turn over documents voluntarily. The same regulations that require prosecutors to seek high-level approval for a warrant to search a law office also instruct them to use the least intrusive means to obtain evidence from a lawyer, and to consider requesting voluntary cooperation or serving a subpoena. Mr. Cohen’s lawyer has loudly protested that he had been cooperating. This search warrant means that prosecutors — including the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, and the criminal division at the Justice Department — believed that Mr. Cohen could not be trusted to respond fully to a subpoena or might destroy documents.

Third, the search suggests that prosecutors most likely believe that Mr. Cohen’s clients used his legal services for the purpose of engaging in crime or fraud. Attorney-client communications are privileged, which is why it’s so unusual and difficult for prosecutors to get approval to search a law office. Justice Department regulations require federal prosecutors to set up a system to have a separate group — a so-called dirty team — review the files and separate out attorney-client communications so that the investigators and prosecutors won’t see anything protected by the privilege.
The kicker, of course, is something I edited out of my comment above about SDNY: "And the law is clear: If investigators executing a lawful warrant seize evidence of additional crimes, they may use that evidence." SDNY executed a lawful warrant and presumably scooped up an entire office full of evidence of additional crimes. The dirty/clean/taint/privilege team will go through it for any evidence that Cohen was involved in the planning or commission of other crimes (Trump, RNC, or other) and maybe a bunch more people will get caught in the nets.
posted by fedward at 10:37 AM on April 10 [28 favorites]


I wasn't awake for the whole thing, but Fox and Friends seemed to spend more time talking about the border (I couldn't see the TV but it sounded like they had aerial video of people sneaking across). When they finally did get around to talking about the Cohen raid, it was very low key and they seemed to be trying to spin a narrative that it might be over something unrelated to Trump.

I was only half awake / half listening (the guy I'm seeing is the one who watches it and I just overhear it and occasionally shout at the TV) so I might have missed a more in-depth segment.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:39 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Scott Pruitt update - AP News:
Confidential security assessments in the Environmental Protection Agency show no evidence of specific, credible, physical threats against Administrator Scott Pruitt, despite claims that an “unprecedented” number of death threats justify his outsized security spending, according to a review by Senate Democrats.
...
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said last week there had been an “unprecedented” amount of death threats against Pruitt and his family. Wilcox doubled down on that assertion Tuesday, but did not immediately respond to a request from AP to release details of the specific incidents to which he was referring.
...
The Democrats said they found no records describing specific, credible threats against Pruitt. An internal EPA document recounted such threat as attempts by protesters to disrupt a speech and a post card sent to Pruitt that said: “CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL!!! We are watching you.”

The Democrats also obtained a Feb. 14 assessment from EPA’s Office of Homeland Security Intelligence that concluded “EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator.” The review said an earlier threat assessment by Pruitt’s security team “does not employ sound analysis or articulate relevant ‘threat specific’ information appropriate to draw any resource or level of threat conclusions regarding the protection posture for the administrator.”
The EPA finding that the EPA affirmatively found that there were no credible threats seems like a slight wrinkle in the claim that the EPA, er, found there to be credible threats. In that it did not.
posted by cjelli at 10:42 AM on April 10 [59 favorites]


2016 lesson #1: Credible is in the eye of the beholder
posted by Golem XIV at 10:44 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


If it helps anyone, my Trump-supporting brother apologized to me for voting for him and Trump being "such an idiot." I kept my more bitter thoughts to myself because we were at a baby shower surrounded by his grandchildren and it would have been rude to utter them.

I have high hopes he'll stay home in 2018/2020. Wishing for him to vote Dem seems a little much, but I'll take staying home.
posted by emjaybee at 10:52 AM on April 10 [86 favorites]


As the march to (further) war continues, Max Fishes has a column analyzing the options, America’s Three Bad Options in Syria (cw: picture of victims at the top of the article).

He lays out three categories of military actions. We can do something useless like bomb an empty runway again, which doesn't materially change anything other than make the President look tough for domestic audiences. We can escalate the conflict by arming rebels, which means Russia and Iran will escalate, and more Syrian civilians die. Or we can have a full on war with the intent of toppling the Syrian government, which has the negative consequences of a disturbingly high likelihood you wind up fighting Russia and the usual question of what hell you've unleashed once you've created a power vacuum.

All these options suck. Bombing a runway (maybe President Two Scoops will do two runways this time?) isn't going to stop more children from being gassed. Invading and taking out the Assad government, with Russian troops in the way, can't possibly go better than the last several times we've tried that particular strategy.

I honestly don't know what any President is supposed to do in this situation, but I also know we've picked the very worst person among us to decide and surrounded him with some of the worst advisors.
posted by zachlipton at 10:52 AM on April 10 [37 favorites]


John Barrasso, who chairs the Senate environment committee, put out a dueling press release after the Democrats' saying that there have too been credible threats, and that the Dems are selectively quoting the documents they reference.
The Carper-Whitehouse letter directly quoted “law enforcement sensitive information” that “should not be further disseminated without the concurrence of the [Office of the Inspector General] OIG” of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or “without Secret Service approval.”

“I am deeply troubled that members of the committee would publicly release law enforcement sensitive information regarding the safety and security of a cabinet member and his family,” said Barrasso. “This letter selectively quotes non-public documents. Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General’s statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a ‘variety of direct death threats.’ This is exactly why members should not publicly disclose information that relates to the safety of a cabinet member. It is also why this committee will not hold a hearing on this issue.”
So it seems like we have contradictory findings from within EPA, where the OIG (which works independent of Pruitt and is headed by Obama appointee Arthur Elkins Jr.) has found at least one "direct" death threat against Pruitt, but the Homeland Security office doesn't agree.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:55 AM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I would absolutely not be surprised that there are threats against Pruitt. People are angry, and he's a prime target because people can see changes in environmental protection as affecting them and their communities in immediate ways. I expect we don't know the full extent of the threats.

That said, do other cabinet heads get the same kind of security? Does the head of DHS have a 20-person security detail? Does the head of DOI? DOD? I suspect not.

And at least part of his problems are self-inflicted: people would not be nearly so enraged at him if he were not so self-aggrandizing, arrogant and presumptuous.
posted by suelac at 11:00 AM on April 10 [7 favorites]


So it seems like we have contradictory findings from within EPA

What it seems is that John Barrasso claims there is super-secret evidence that Pruitt has faced death threats, but refuses to produce it. That means that the Democrats are right -- there is no public evidence of death threats that might attempt to justify, albeit slightly, Pruitt's obvious corruption.

If there is, put up or shut up. We are past the point where any Republican can claim with any credibility that a "reasonable reading of these documents" supports their position, but no they can't show them, because security concerns.
posted by Gelatin at 11:01 AM on April 10 [18 favorites]


Grassley and Graham have both come out with statements [asserting] urging that Trump [will] not fire Mueller, using similar language essentially saying you're too smart to do that/it would be suicidal. Grassley and Graham (and Ryan and McConnell, not to mention a whole lot of other high-ranking Republicans and White House staff) have to know that Trump's dirty. There's no other way to read the public evidence. I'm not sure what their endgame is, though, because they're walking that fine line between calling the President a crook and supporting his criminality. My guess is that they're secretly hoping that Trump goes down without taking the party with him, but they know that is a tricky thing to accomplish. It will take both houses of Congress looking the other way plus a boost from the courts, which they know they control the top of. But I'm not sure exactly who is and isn't implicated and how they plan to navigate through the public and legal courtrooms to preserve themselves. It's clear from his remarks regarding Trump and Rohrabacher getting paid by Putin that Ryan knows the game, and I can't help but believe McConnell knew in advance about the fix, because he was so confident about denying Merrick a seat on SCOTUS. Whether Mueller has the goods on this or not, I am dying to know, but I guess I have to be patient.

We truly live in interesting times.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:02 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


So it seems like we have contradictory findings from within EPA, where the OIG (which works independent of Pruitt and is headed by Obama appointee Arthur Elkins Jr.) has found at least one "direct" death threat against Pruitt, but the Homeland Security office doesn't agree.

Do you have a link to Barrasso's actual statement? The Hill quotes him as talking about 'evidence of direct threats,' but never as talking about 'credible' threats.

It's impossible to really evaluate this with out access to the underlying documents, but I'd note that the 'competing' claims are actually making two distinct claims that aren't necessarily in opposition at all: no 'specific, credible, direct threat[s]' does mean that there weren't 'direct...threats' -- it could mean that there were non-credible direct threats.

This is, obviously, moot if he does directly contradict the Democratic claims, but from what I've read this looks very carefully stated to look like a rebuttal without actually being one.
posted by cjelli at 11:04 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Republicans warn Trump against axing Mueller
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is pressing for the Senate Judiciary Committee to take up his legislation aimed at insulating Mueller from any attempt to fire him. Tillis is in discussions with Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) about merging two separate Mueller protection bills and then persuading Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley to pass them.

“It’s a good bill that’s going to have enduring value beyond this presidency. I think the president’s frustrated, I may be if I were in the same position,” Tillis said. “But I do think it’s a bill that’s worthy of a mark-up in Judiciary and sending it to the floor.”
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:04 AM on April 10 [22 favorites]


What I quoted is the statement, as it appears in my email inbox. It doesn't seem to be posted online anywhere.

What it seems is that John Barrasso claims there is super-secret evidence that Pruitt has faced death threats, but refuses to produce it. That means that the Democrats are right -- there is no public evidence of death threats that might attempt to justify, albeit slightly, Pruitt's obvious corruption.

Both sides are citing to unreleased, internal documents to make their case. The Democrats' money quote that "EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator" comes from an Office of Homeland Security memo that has not been released in full (but note that even the quote refers to EPA Intelligence and not the agency as a whole). Barrasso counters that by saying OIG disagrees, without releasing that finding. Without primary sources to assess on either side, I'm just trying to parse their words.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:09 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


I honestly don't know what any President is supposed to do in this situation, but I also know we've picked the very worst person among us to decide and surrounded him with some of the worst advisors.

This is part of how the whole American view on the situation causes nothing but despair. You can believe military action is always bad, sure, but the end result of "don't intervene because that's also bad" means the suffering just goes on. You can believe military action can be a good thing as long as it's done carefully and purposefully (I do), but we have a terrible track record for that. Like, once upon a time there was a thing called a "raid" where you go in with boots on the ground to take out a thing and then, y'know, leave, but America doesn't do that apparently. It's not a "win" unless conditions on the ground are such that the place is a fully functioning peaceful democracy ready to apply for statehood.

Politics always shifts those goalposts. Always. (I wanted Obama to act, but I also fully believed Republicans would support him only until he took action, whereupon they'd turn Syria into an albatross around his neck forever.)

But even if you believe military action can be executed to some good... it definitely won't be that way with these guys.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:10 AM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Barrasso counters that by saying OIG disagrees, without releasing that finding. Without primary sources to assess on either side, I'm just trying to parse their words.

posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:09 AM on April 10 [+] [!]


Yeah, but that's the thing. Barrasso doesn't quote, he just asserts.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:13 AM on April 10


Needy, Rage-Filled Trump is the Perfect Candidate for Conservatives Now
I believe Trump remains popular precisely because he's under siege. The more he's attacked -- by liberals and the Resistance, by anti-Trumpers on the right, by law enforcement -- the more his sense of grievance inspires fellow-feeling in the deplorables, who also feel sorry for themselves because everyone doesn't defer to them. [...]

Trump unrealistically expects universal adulation, fails to get it, and cries out in anguish. Past presidents, most of whom were emotional adults, knew they'd be attacked and tried to appear above the fray, not just reveling in the admiration of their supporters but ignoring, or appearing to ignore, their antagonists and critics. Trump can't do that because he's so emotionally needy -- when he's under attack, the attack is completely distracting to him.

And that's precisely what resonates with his admirers. They wouldn't want the Reagan of "Morning in America" and the 49-state landslide; they certainly wouldn't want a Barack Obama, who tried to remain presidential even as antagonists endeavored to drag him down. Trump happens to have a whiny, aggrieved personality, and that suits heartland white voters perfectly. They feel sorry for themselves, and they like a president who feels the same way about himself.

Every attack on Trump resurfaces his sense of grievance, and that strengthens the bond between Trump and his base. So no wonder the anti-Trump movement is failing. Attacks are nutrients to the Trumpers.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:14 AM on April 10 [79 favorites]


He does quote, though: "Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General’s statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a 'variety of direct death threats.'"
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:15 AM on April 10 [1 favorite]


Without primary sources to assess on either side, I'm just trying to parse their words.

I am not attacking your credibility, HZSF, but that of any Republican. We're way past the point where we can accept "we have proof of what we say, but you can't see it" from any Republican. The truth is not in them. The default stance on anything they say should be "prove it." If they can't, too bad for them.

In addition, there's the fact that independent FOIA requests also failed to get any information about death threats from EPA, which supports the Democratic position. And again, discussing the issue does not at all concede that the existence of any death threat, credible or no, justified Pruitt's obvious corruption.
posted by Gelatin at 11:16 AM on April 10 [10 favorites]


He does quote, though: "Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General’s statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a 'variety of direct death threats.'"

posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:15 AM on April 10 [+] [!]


Well, kinda. The quoted part is sort of contextless, and since he's grinding an ax, it's sort of suspiciously abbreviated, compared to the full sentence quoted by the Democrats.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:19 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Wait a minute...

What if Pruitt is actually citing fears of a natural death at the hands of the.... the environment?

This explains his actions regarding trying to -proof everything and the many hands on his security detail that are, apparently, sworn to protect him from what end may come. Moreover, maybe he thinks his actions of shitting on the environment have either A) caused Mother Nature to want him dead in earnest and/or early or B) serve as his means of attempting to defeat the environment itself and, thus, live forever, all shiny and chrome.

This seaon's writers should be fired or lauded. I don't know which.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:22 AM on April 10 [20 favorites]


And not to abuse the edit window, Barrasso's assertion is a derail, since the question isn't whether any death threats have been leveled, but whether the number were extraordinary enough for a cabinet member to justify the elaborate security Pruitt demanded. The GOP is very good at moving the goalposts and we are very bad at noticing.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:22 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


So no wonder the anti-Trump movement is failing.

Is it?
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:23 AM on April 10 [12 favorites]


chris24: Hannity’s show, which must have spent 100s of hours talking about speaking-fee related donations to Clinton and Clinton foundation $$$, now wondering (without self awareness) what the big deal is over the $150k speaking fee Trump go from a Ukrainian oligarch

A general comment on how people view the world, recently certified through a non-political discussion about how you do polling right: it's not biased if it's supporting something you believe.


suelac: That said, do other cabinet heads get the same kind of security? Does the head of DHS have a 20-person security detail? Does the head of DOI? DOD? I suspect not.

The cost of Betsy DeVos’s security detail — nearly $8 million over nearly 8 months (Emma Brown and Devlin Barrett for Washington Post, April 7, 2017)
Federal marshals are protecting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a cost to her agency of nearly $8 million over nearly eight months, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

The Education Department has agreed to reimburse the marshals $7.78 million for their services from mid-February to the end of September, said a marshals spokeswoman — an average of about $1 million per month.

Marshals will continue providing security for the education secretary for the next four years, or until either agency decides to terminate the arrangement, under an agreement signed last week. There was no information immediately available about what that would cost beyond September.

While the department is spending the additional money on DeVos’s security, members of the in-house security team that guarded previous secretaries remain on the payroll. But they are not guarding DeVos and have not been assigned new duties, said a department employee who was not authorized to speak to a reporter and asked for anonymity.

A department spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he could not comment on personnel decisions. He said the agency deferred to the federal marshals’ threat assessment and determination about what would be necessary to keep the secretary safe and able to do her job.
Pruitt isn't the only one running scared and/or fond of pretending they're part of a paramilitary organization.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:24 AM on April 10 [39 favorites]


It's not a "win" unless conditions on the ground are such that the place is a fully functioning peaceful democracy ready to apply for statehood.

And this is the problem of the hypocritical stance of the US acting like the police of the world.
We ourselves are not (and never have been) a fully functioning peaceful democracy.

Funding and using our military might around the world (hundreds of bases inflicted on other countries), and deciding when to correct the behavior of other governments while our behavior has always been just as reprehensible. We just choose as a culture to not examine the countless invasions, murders, bombings, regime changes, election meddling, and bribery we employ for our ends. The rest of the world sees it plain as day.
posted by rc3spencer at 11:25 AM on April 10 [22 favorites]


He does quote, though: "Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General’s statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a 'variety of direct death threats.'"

My point of contention here is that he quotes the OIG as talking about 'direct...threats' and asserts that this contradicts the quote on the Democratic side from the EPA that 'EPA Intelligence has not identified any specific, credible, direct threat to the EPA administrator" (emphasis mine).

That's not necessarily a contradiction, and the quote from OIG isn't necessarily a refutation. If threats were made that weren't serious or credible, OIG's statement could be perfectly correct and in-line with the EPA's. We only have Barrasso's assertion that it is a contradiction -- from the quotes he's given, that hasn't actually been shown. The EPA statement doesn't say that there weren't threats; it only says that, to the degree that there were threats, none were found to be credible; OIG's statement, seemingly, doesn't say that credible threats were found. It might say that, but if it did, Barrasso didn't quote that part.

Particularly given that no action has been taken to arrest or charge anyone with threatening Pruitt, as the AP notes, I think the burden of proof here is really on Pruitt/Barrasso to show that credible threats exist -- and neither one of them has done that. That was true before the Democratic claims to which Barrasso is responding, and it's still true now; the assumption before this back-and-forth should have been that Pruitt needed to justify his massively expanded security detail & expenses, which he had not. Even if we assume that Barrasso is totally correct, we're still right back at Pruitt needing a justification, rather than at the new normal of Pruitt needing a justification and also an explanation for misleading the press about his department's findings.
posted by cjelli at 11:26 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


This letter selectively quotes non-public documents.

Barrasso should talk to that Nunes guy, who has actual experience selectively quoting non-public documents for political purposes. It didn't work out well for him.
posted by fedward at 11:26 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Moreover, maybe he thinks his actions of shitting on the environment have either A) caused Mother Nature to want him dead in earnest and/or early or B) serve as his means of attempting to defeat the environment itself and, thus, live forever, all shiny and chrome.

C. Montgomery Burns: Oooh, so Mother Nature needs a favor?! Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys! Nature started the fight for survival, and now she wants to quit because she’s losing. Well I say ‘hard cheese.’
posted by Mayor West at 11:28 AM on April 10 [37 favorites]


>> So no wonder the anti-Trump movement is failing.

> Is it?

Are you talking about the anti-Trump movement on the right (to the extent that there is one) or the larger set of people who oppose Trump across the political spectrum?

In terms of setting the agenda for the GOP, I see very little evidence that so-called #NeverTrump has a seat at the table. There are mutterings of passing bills to prevent him from firing Mueller, which amounts to little more than a hedge so they can say Trump was never really a Republican if it turns out he's up to his ears in crimes. (Ron Howard, please pick up the white courtesy phone.) And at the end of the day, if the most they're willing to do is not let him fire the guy investigating him, well, I don't see much to celebrate there.

But yeah, in terms of opposing Trump's agenda in a broader sense, sure, there are some successes. The legal process has to play out, and public pressure, some hard work getting people to the polls in special elections, and a large uptick in activism on a wide array of issues makes it feel like maybe Trump isn't going to get tired of winning anytime soon. But the quote there was about anti-Trump sentiment within the GOP, and I really think that's what matters as long as they control Congress.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:33 AM on April 10 [2 favorites]




That sounds like grounds for a full make-good on the ads.
posted by azpenguin at 11:39 AM on April 10 [33 favorites]


"Any reasonable reading of these documents supports the Office of the Inspector General’s statements that Administrator Pruitt faces a 'variety of direct death threats.'"

Any number of people have said on Twitter that he should GDIAF. Lack of the word "credible" is important here.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:40 AM on April 10 [5 favorites]


While the department is spending the additional money on DeVos’s security, members of the in-house security team that guarded previous secretaries remain on the payroll. But they are not guarding DeVos and have not been assigned new duties

Wow, so DeVos insists on massive personal security, but doesn't trust her own department security to provide it? How paranoid is that?

So do those unused DOEd security guards just sit around the break room watching Fox?
posted by suelac at 11:41 AM on April 10 [3 favorites]


You don't know that it wasn't a Breitbart "reporter" or something, FelliniBlank. TrumpCo gives press passes to people like fucking Infowars. So it seems unlikely that question was yelled by a legitimate journalist.

Following up on this; it appears the person who yelled "So why don't you just fire Mueller?" a couple times was Jon Decker, a Fox News Radio reporter.
posted by Justinian at 11:45 AM on April 10 [38 favorites]


DeVos insists on massive personal security, but doesn't trust her own department security to provide it?

Well but her brother needs to make payroll.
posted by rhizome at 11:45 AM on April 10 [35 favorites]


Since those editorial messages were delivered before & after a purchased ad slot, would there possibly be legal recourse to sue for the advertising fee to be refunded?

It seems that such a vigorous denouncement of an ad would certainly contradict the purpose of the advertisement. If I'd paid for an ad hyping my mattress store & the network wrapped my advertisement with "perspective" indicating that it's important to consider that there are many, many fine mattress stores in the area & that Kevin's Mattress is exceptionally well recommended and that my ad didn't properly appreciate this fact, I'd sue.

But then, given Sinclair's contractual stipulations re: their on-air journalists, I wouldn't be surprised if the ad contract had some sort of language supporting Sinclair's right to add content before, after, or mid-ad if desired.
posted by narwhal at 11:45 AM on April 10 [16 favorites]


@EamonJavers: Asked if Michael Cohen is still the president’s attorney, Sanders says: “I’m not sure, I’d refer you to Michael Cohen on that.”

Ahhhhhha. Trump and Cohen just had dinner at Mar-a-Lago and Cohen is actively litigating the Stormy Daniels case, but, sure, let's just pretend they don't know each other.
posted by zachlipton at 11:51 AM on April 10 [48 favorites]


But then, given Sinclair's contractual stipulations re: their on-air journalists, I wouldn't be surprised if the ad contract had some sort of language supporting Sinclair's right to add content before, after, or mid-ad if desired.

I work in advertising and our contracts have language allowing us to make alterations to approved ads. However, we would only do that if necessary and we would never do anything that changed the intent of the ad. We also wouldn't run art or copy around the ad that says "this ad here is misleading" "this ad is from a company with shady business practices" etc. Doing any of that would be grounds for a lawsuit and I don't exactly think our contract would protect us.
posted by azpenguin at 11:54 AM on April 10 [17 favorites]


I work in advertising and our contracts have language allowing us to make alterations to approved ads. However, we would only do that if necessary and we would never do anything that changed the intent of the ad. We also wouldn't run art or copy around the ad that says "this ad here is misleading" "this ad is from a company with shady business practices" etc. Doing any of that would be grounds for a lawsuit and I don't exactly think our contract would protect us.

Aside from the lawsuit aspect, ad revenue is the lifeblood of a tv broadcaster, no? Start meddling with your advertisers and you could be facing dire financial repercussions fairly quickly, I would guess. Even if you are as large as a Sinclair.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:57 AM on April 10 [14 favorites]


In normal world, you'd hope this would be more than enough to scuttle their approval for acquiring even more stations, but in the actual world, they seem to be actively banking on Trump somehow just forcing it through the approval process.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:08 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


Re Barrasso's actual statement, please do recall that former rodeo doctor John A. Barrasso III is a lying and corrupt sack of sage grouse droppings who will say anything he feels he can get away with as long as it's good for the extraction industry.

WY politics is a Good Ol' Boys club full of rootin'-tootin' gun-waving cowboy LARPers (the top three of whom are all blatant DC insiders who somehow don't get associated with "The Swamp").
posted by aspersioncast at 12:11 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Jordan Fabian (The Hill): Q: Does Trump believe he has the power to fire Robert Mueller as special counsel?

.@PressSec: “He certainly believes he has the power to do so.”

Bianna Golodryga (CNN): When pressed by @PaulaReidCBS (twice) that he have to fire Rosenstein to set that into motion, Sanders referred to unnamed Justice officials who told her otherwise.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:13 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


Queen jokes that noisy plane 'sounds like President Trump' during cordial chat with Sir David Attenborough

... and then added 'or president obama' but that's a lifetime of practiced impartiality kicking in. As for David, he abhors climate change denialists.
posted by adept256 at 12:14 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]


But the quote there was about anti-Trump sentiment within the GOP, and I really think that's what matters as long as they control Congress.

i really wish that people like david brooks would stop talking until they admit that the propaganda machine they've spent decades supporting and enabling, coupled with their constant destruction of social structures and denigration of expertise is pretty much one of the biggest contributors to trump's floor.

this is the republican party, this is american conservatism.
posted by anem0ne at 12:17 PM on April 10 [48 favorites]


New from Quinnipiac:

PUBLIC SUPPORTS MUELLER. New Q Poll--By 5-to-1, Americans OPPOSE firing Robert Mueller (69%-13%). Even Republicans said by 55%-22% that President Trump should not fire Mueller.
posted by chris24 at 12:20 PM on April 10 [47 favorites]


Queen jokes that noisy plane 'sounds like President Trump' during cordial chat with Sir David Attenborough

That's a bad headline. She was comparing the plane noise to the loud aircraft engines that would accompany any U.S. president's visit. (Not that I believe she doesn't secretly loathe trump. She almost certainly does just that.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:21 PM on April 10 [13 favorites]


I think Zuck is starting to get some of the questions he didn't anticipate. Minors' texts collected by Messenger app? Browser activity collected by facebook even when logged out? He stonewalls professing ignorance. Really? Also some interesting q's from Cantwell about connections between Palantir, CA and Facebook during Trump campaign.
posted by rc3spencer at 12:42 PM on April 10 [39 favorites]


Lindsey Graham just asked Zuck who was Facebook's biggest competitor, and he couldn't come up with one. Then, "do you think you have a monopoly?" and Zuck replied, "I don't feel like I have one", which drew laughs from the entire room. That hurts.

Except then Graham went on to suggest Facebook could self-regulate, so same ole Graham. He's so close to the right answer sometimes, but has never once gotten there, much less followed through.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:54 PM on April 10 [50 favorites]


Or does the taint team take care of the taint so the clean team can do its work taintless?

Yes, this. The taint team keeps tainted stuff (outside the scope of the warrant) from the clean team.
posted by exogenous at 12:55 PM on April 10


Did we know this?

Yashar Ali (New York mag): Zuckerberg says that Facebook employee(s) have been interviewed by the Special Counsel's office.


Jim Sciutto (CNN) #MarkZuckerberg confirms FaceBook is "working with" the Special Counsel's office and that FaceBook employees have been interviewed in the probe.
posted by chris24 at 12:56 PM on April 10 [18 favorites]




[A few deleted. Sorry, let's skip the taint jokes; everyone's got one, doesn't mean we need to bring them out in company.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:04 PM on April 10 [56 favorites]


@KevinMKruse: "The Senate will now adjourn for two hours as we try to track down one of our grandchildren to help us come up with some actual questions here."

@Bakari_Sellers: Man, Zuckerburg could’ve walked into a senior center and gotten the same if not better questions.

@KFILE: How many of these questions to Zuckerberg could be answered by having staff do a Google search prior to hearing?

@brandonmakes: Is this how a Genius Bar employee feels every day?
posted by chris24 at 1:08 PM on April 10 [78 favorites]


Facebook hearing update: after an hour and a half of largely wasted time with questions asked by people who don't understand what they're asking, Sen. Durbin finally cut to the core of the issue by asking if Zuckerberg would share what hotel he stayed in last night and all the people he's messaged this week." A long deer-in-the-headlings moment before he finally answered "uhhhhh.....no."

It's a stunt question to be sure, but it's also a big part of the actual question at the heart of this. Should Facebook, or anybody else, track that kind of information and keep it in a database forever?

Zuckerberg ducked what could have been some real questions about tracking and behavioral advertising (including tracking of people who aren't Facebook users), questions that apply not just to Facebook, but to the entire industry. Unfortunately, the Senators asking them largely don't know enough about the subject to understand how significant those questions are and what it means for Zuckerberg to duck them.
posted by zachlipton at 1:11 PM on April 10 [50 favorites]


Dick Durbin: "Would you tell us what hotel you stayed in last night?"
Zuckerberg: "Uh... no, Senator."
Dick Durbin: "Do you tell us who you messaged this week?"
Zuckerberg: "No, Senator"
Dick Durbin: "I think that's what this is all about."
posted by Sophie1 at 1:12 PM on April 10 [108 favorites]


If the privilege team finds evidence of an unrelated crime in communications where privilege applies, am I right to assume that this would not be actionable?

For sake of argument let's say it's a document that implicates the client but was given to the attorney after the crime was committed so it's not something where the attorney conspired.
posted by duoshao at 1:14 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, it would be great to hear Facebook grilled by people who know what technical questions to ask. On the other hand, at this point, technologically clueless septuagenarians are Facebook's core demographic, so a tough question at that level might be more effective.
posted by condour75 at 1:16 PM on April 10 [7 favorites]


Hey, don't underestimate Senator Grassley's tech savvy:

Chuck Grassley [via Twitter] —
I now h v an iphone
3:32 PM - 13 Feb 2012

posted by Atom Eyes at 1:20 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


If the privilege team finds evidence of an unrelated crime in communications where privilege applies, am I right to assume that this would not be actionable?

There is a crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. This applies if the client was in the process of committing or intended to commit a crime or fraudulent act, and the client communicated with the lawyer with intent to further the crime or fraud, or to cover it up. So, I believe the evidence would be actionable.

This is covered in the excellent Popehat NY Times op-ed that fedward posted above. Note that the author, Ken White, is a criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor.
posted by exogenous at 1:33 PM on April 10 [6 favorites]




SHS gets a lot of flack for a lot of good reasons. But it wouldn't at all surprise me if they did have Justice officials who told them that Trump has the power to fire Mueller. I think it's more likely that she's bullshitting because she always does, but it's not unreasonable to believe the core argument that Trump could fire Mueller. Unlike Starr, who was operating under Congressional (ie Legislative Branch) authorization, Mueller is a special counsel operating under Executive Branch authorization. As a member of the Executive Branch he can probably be fired by Trump, even directly, if Trump wants to go nuclear enough.

What's that? The special counsel regulations say the AG has to do it and since he's recused the deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, is the guy? True enough. And as head of the executive branch Trump could himself revoke the regulations which contain those provisions. And since those provisions are no longer operative he could fire Mueller.

It would be the executive equivalent of McConnell getting rid of the legislative filibuster. Completely nuclear power grab. But I think he could do it.
posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


There is a crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege. This applies if the client was in the process of committing or intended to commit a crime or fraudulent act, and the client communicated with the lawyer with intent to further the crime or fraud, or to cover it up. So, I believe the evidence would be actionable.

It could be, but the crime-fraud exception would have to apply to that specific crime. Any documents related to a crime committed by one of Cohen's clients that he was not a party to would still fall under attorney-client privilege.

Going back to Pruitt...

Politico: EPA removes staffer who OK’d report on Pruitt’s security

Supposedly over issues from his military service.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:36 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Justin Sink (Bloomberg): zuck left his notes open and out during the recess, so those photos may hit the wires shortly
posted by chris24 at 1:37 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


While we can hope that the whole shitshow will get a happy ending, all of this demonstrate how fragile democracies are. All the checks and balances, all the vettings, all the procedures, all these finely-tuned safeguard mechanisms have been rendered useless because a few bad actors - and not even smart bad actors - have decided that they don't give a fuck. It's democracy eating itself. How it is even possible that the POTUS is able to micromanage the country according to his whims and fancies without any sort of procedural oversight? And how come 40% of the voters are still fine with that? The US democracy may prove ultimately resilient, but some post-trauma analysis will be necessary. I wish that other democracies are better prepared and hardened against such a frontal assault, but I'm not really sure.
posted by elgilito at 1:39 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


In Russian poisoning news, Yulia Skripal has been released from the hospital.
Her father Sergei remains hospitalized after the poisoning, which Britain says took place on the orders of the Russian government.

"This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone," said Dr. Christine Blanshard, medical director of Salisbury District Hospital.

She said she would not provide details about Yulia Skripal's condition for reasons of patient privacy. The 33-year-old has been taken to a secure location.
posted by hanov3r at 1:39 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


@KevinMKruse: "The Senate will now adjourn for two hours as we try to track down one of our grandchildren to help us come up with some actual questions here."

@Bakari_Sellers: Man, Zuckerburg could’ve walked into a senior center and gotten the same if not better questions.

@KFILE: How many of these questions to Zuckerberg could be answered by having staff do a Google search prior to hearing?

@brandonmakes: Is this how a Genius Bar employee feels every day?


Hey, look at all the assholes!

When gun rights activists do this sort of shit to try to disqualify gun control advocates, we rightfully treat them with contempt. Perhaps the same should be done here.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:40 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


@Bakari_Sellers: Man, Zuckerburg could’ve walked into a senior center and gotten the same if not better questions.

Why does media persist in playing along with the idea that hearings are always about getting answers? It's been half a century since HUAC, can we not just acknowledge that many hearings - possibly all hearings that are this high-profile - are about making appearances and creating future campaign ads? Yeah, many of these questions could have been answered by Google. But then there wouldn't be video of the Senator asking the question or video of Zuckerberg giving the answer.

I don't mean to exclusively denigrate the value of that, either. Certainly a public drubbing that doesn't get any follow-up is pretty pointless, but perception matters. Seeing execs answer questions matters. As far as I know there was never a single legal consequence for the cigarette company execs who sat there and said, one after another, that they didn't believe their product caused cancer. But that unquestionably mattered in the public discourse.
posted by phearlez at 1:40 PM on April 10 [27 favorites]


What's that? The special counsel regulations say the AG has to do it and since he's recused the deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, is the guy? True enough. And as head of the executive branch Trump could himself revoke the regulations which contain those provisions. And since those provisions are no longer operative he could fire Mueller.

Because those regulations create binding legal obligations they would have to be revoked through a formal rulemaking process governed by the Administrative Procedure Act, involving a proposal that DOJ would take public comments on (with a window that's supposed to last for 60 days absent an urgent need to move quicker) and a final version that shows the department considered the input from those comments. Moreover, the official signing off on the rule can't have decided to definitely make the proposed change in advance, or they're not honestly considering the public comments. Rules made outside of this process get overturned in court.

So no, it's not that simple. Thankfully.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:43 PM on April 10 [12 favorites]


When gun rights activists do this sort of shit to try to disqualify gun control advocates, we rightfully treat them with contempt. Perhaps the same should be done here.

Yeah no. It's possible to have a valid opinion on something without being an expert. But it's not really possible to ask good probing questions of a company at a Senate hearing when you know basically nothing about them, not even that they are an advertising-based company.

I'm not sure how being disappointed that septuagenarians who've never used computers or Facebook were asking useless questions is some affront to democracy, but hey...
posted by chris24 at 1:46 PM on April 10 [27 favorites]


I will take your word for it, HZSF. Here's hoping the law still matters!
posted by Justinian at 1:47 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Just in the environmental context, courts have already smacked down a decent number of attempted rollbacks for trying to dodge the APA process, so it's definitely still a thing. I'm not saying Trump wouldn't try, of course, but he'd have a rough time. Even in the Supreme Court, the conservatives are big on proper rulemaking procedure because it keeps the dreaded "administrative state" in check.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:52 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how being disappointed that septuagenarians

I'm eagerly awaiting the explanation of why this is pertinent and not just shitty agism.
posted by phearlez at 1:54 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


Just in the environmental context, courts have already smacked down a decent number of attempted rollbacks for trying to dodge the APA process, so it's definitely still a thing. I'm not saying Trump wouldn't try, of course, but he'd have a rough time.

I know this is sort of unknowable, but: what would the timeline on that look like? Let's say Trump fires Mueller. How long before the firing is remedied? How much of a delay can Trump induce in the investigation?

If Trump can buy himself, say, three months of time, that might start to look appealing even if he expects to lose the case at the end of that clock.
posted by cjelli at 1:56 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


I think there's a middle ground here:

@ASankin: While it's totally legit to dunk on old senators for asking dumb questions about Facebook, this is the level of knowledge that most people have about a thing they use every day. You shouldn't have to be a tech expert to understand the privacy of your online data.
@zeynep: Look, Senators have smart people briefing them, and they have tried to ask reasonable questions. But they often get lost in the details and that's the point. An ordinary person *cannot* meaningfully consent to this level of complexity and obscurity.

I, too, wish the vast majority of these questions were more well-informed, and the lack of knowledge of most of these Senators have made most of these hearings a tremendous waste of time, in that they're occasionally asking questions that cut to the heart of online tracking and behavioral advertising and they don't even realize when Zuckerberg is ducking them.

But I do think Tufekci has a point. That Senators don't understand this is a problem, but it's also indicative of the fact that Faebook's users (not to mention the non-users Facebook tracks) don't understand it either. And in that environment, consent is meaningless. Even if we, as one Senator asked about, went to an opt-in regime instead of opt-out, we'd just have European-style cookie banners on every webpage, the web would be less usable, and there'd still be all the same tracking that happens now. If Senators can't begin to frame meaningful questions about the topic, it's equally unreasonable to expect users of technology to exercise meaningful control over how their data is used.
posted by zachlipton at 1:56 PM on April 10 [52 favorites]


Hey, look at all the assholes!

When gun rights activists do this sort of shit to try to disqualify gun control advocates, we rightfully treat them with contempt.


Uh, no. As someone who is probably less fond of gun control than the average Mefite (but still a fan of much better rules than we currently have) I fully support disdain for any sort of attempt to question, let alone legislate, a thing without some reasonable baseline understanding of said thing.

I don't care if said thing is guns or online social media. I heard some of the questions on NPR while I was driving home from work and they varied from uncomfortably supportive ('what do people expect from a service that is free', which, well, yea, if only other folks understood that as well) to woefully worded/not comprehensible/irrelevant.

So, yes, if someone's job is authoring bills that will or will not regulate a facet of society then yes, they should understand it or they should burn the midnight oil and drink some coffee (decaf, whatever) to have it explained to them by their aids, nieces/nephews, grandkids, or interns cousin's friend who is a freshman CS major or something. This is not a bridge too far for folks working for us in government.
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:57 PM on April 10 [17 favorites]


I'm eagerly awaiting the explanation of why this is pertinent and not just shitty agism.

The second half of the sentence that says "who've never used computers or Facebook." I'll gladly retract the septuagenarians. While more common among septuagenarians I'd feel the same regardless of age. And I'd feel the same if a senator asked stupid questions about guns. You have staff and resources to ask pertinent and valuable questions. Having people with no knowledge of the topic in an expert setting was counterproductive.
posted by chris24 at 1:59 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


I was hoping someone would ask Zuckerberg if he still thinks Facebook users are "dumb fucks" for trusting him.
posted by defenestration at 2:04 PM on April 10 [49 favorites]


elgilito And how come 40% of the voters are still fine with that? The US democracy may prove ultimately resilient, but some post-trauma analysis will be necessary. I wish that other democracies are better prepared and hardened against such a frontal assault, but I'm not really sure.

You sort of answered your own questions with the first sentence I quoted.

Why can Trump get way with what he does? Because around 40% of the country is OK with that.

When people say things like "America is better than this" they're wrong. America isn't better than this. Those 40% are part of America. We'd like to pretend they aren't, just as they'd like to pretend that we aren't, but we all are. And that's where things get complicated.

The simple, regrettable, fact is that a large number of Americans are not only uncommitted to the ideals of democracy but actively hostile towards those ideals. They do not want a representative democracy with rights assured for all. They want a dictatorship under a dictator they like and approve of. The have looked at democracy, they have rejected it, and they have decided that an authoritarian government with theocratic and white supremacist leanings is more what they're after.

The critical difference between Trump and Bush, or Trump and Reagan, or even Trump and Nixon, is that Trump is sufficiently stupid/senile/privileged that he's willing to go further than they were. Truth is, I think Nixon could have weathered the Watergate storm if he'd been as shameless and stubborn as Trump, he didn't fall because he committed crimes, he fell because he had a vestigial sense of shame and an insufficient egotism to think he could get away with it. If he'd brazened it out, dared Congress to impeach him, gotten on TV and the radio and boldly declared that anyone who made a fuss about Watergate was a Communist agitator he'd have survived.

Because, then as now, a whole lot of Republican voters are basically looking for a quasi-fascist dictator to turn America into a white Christian ethnostate.

The flaw is not in our system, it's in our voters, in our population.

Why are our prisons so awful? The answer is simple: our prisons are awful because a sizable percentage of Americans actively want them to be awful. Why do our prisons exist as brutal places where institutionalized torture and abuse are commonplace? Because many/most Americans want that, and the rest don't care enough to fight against it.

Why do the police get away with murdering black men? The answer is simple: the police get away with murdering black men because a sizable percentage of Americans actively want young black men to be killed by the police.

All these problems are deeply related, in fact I'd argue they're all basically the same problem.

We on the white liberal side of things deluded ourselves into believing that while we might have differences with conservatives we were, at least, all on the same page with regards to things like democracy, justice, and civil rights. But we aren't, and we never were.

Because we've been in such deep denial for so long, in part because we were very successful at driving overt expressions of the authoritarian and white supremacist beliefs of our fellow Americans into the shadows, we failed to address the root problem.

You can't solve a problem if you don't acknowledge that it exists, and while our black fellow citizens were screaming warnings at us, we on the white side of liberalism pretended they were hysterical and their warnings could not possibly be rooted in reality.

And now here we are.

Where we go from here is up in the air. But if we want to make any progress at all the very first thing we have to do is recognize that the people of color, women, LGBT people, and other minorities we'd been steadfastly ignoring were 100% right and that a large portion of America is genuinely, no fooling, devoted to the idea of America as a white, Christian, ethnostate.

As long as we keep trying to pretend that Republicans are fellow believers in America as a democratic, multi-ethnic, nation with liberty and justice for all we will never be able to make progress. Because that is a lie.

Why can Trump get away with what he's doing? Because somewhere between 40% and 50% of Americans want what he's doing.
posted by sotonohito at 2:05 PM on April 10 [142 favorites]


If Trump can buy himself, say, three months of time, that might start to look appealing even if he expects to lose the case at the end of that clock.

That's the beauty of the preliminary injunction. When a judge finds that the rule being challenged is hurting the plaintiff right now (e.g. by stopping any independent federal investigation of the 2016 election) and that there is "a reasonable likelihood" that they'll win the case in the end, then that judge can order it suspended immediately while the suit proceeds.

That's the tool courts have used to block enforcement of Trump's travel bans, and it would serve just as well for the special-counsel rule.

(Note that the special counsel bans were not APA rulemakings -- the relevant law explicitly allows the President to set immigration limits within certain boundaries, and the question is about where those boundaries are. This would be a different legal question, and one where Trump would find it much harder to convince Roberts and Kennedy, at least, that he's not full of shit.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:06 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


I was hoping someone would ask Zuckerberg if he still thinks Facebook users are "dumb fucks" for trusting him.

If ever there was a time to turn someIM transcripts and screenshots into an absurd congressional floor prop, today was that time. a missed opportunity.
posted by halation at 2:08 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately, the Senators asking them largely don't know enough about the subject to understand how significant those questions are and what it means for Zuckerberg to duck them.

What we need is more technologically adept Senators, for instance Beto O'Rourke who's been online since the days of BBSes & founded & ran his own ISP in New York before moving back home getting into politics.
posted by scalefree at 2:10 PM on April 10 [21 favorites]


Report: Mueller Is Investigating New Seychelles Meetings
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating previously unreported meetings in the Seychelles that included several foreign power players, according to an investigation by NJ.com. The January 2017 meetings were attended by “foreign influencers” from countries like “Russia, France, Saudi Arabia and South Africa,” and were "part of a larger gathering" hosted by United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, according to the report.

Several of the meetings occurred around the same time as an already-reported gathering between Blackwater’s Erik Prince, Russian businessman Kirill Dmitriev, and the crown prince. That meeting was brokered by George Nader, who has been of interest to Mueller. Flight records show that people in the Saudi financial system, and others holding passports from Egypt and Singapore flew into the Seychelles in the second week of January.

Alexander Mashkevitch, an “alleged financier of Bayrock, an investment vehicle linked to Trump,” was also reportedly on the islands during that time period. Nader flew to the islands on January 7, and Dmitriev flew in on January 11. Mueller has been expanding the scope of his investigation to look at the relationships that Trump and his associates may have had with foreign funds in the years running up to the election.
posted by chris24 at 2:10 PM on April 10 [34 favorites]


> Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating previously unreported meetings in the Seychelles that included several foreign power players ... The January 2017 meetings were attended by “foreign influencers” from countries like “Russia, France, Saudi Arabia and South Africa,” and were "part of a larger gathering" hosted by United Arab Emirates’ Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

GODDAMNIT is there any country that has *not* tried to buy this administration?

And if so, why the hell not? It seems like the US government is on sale, for cheap.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:13 PM on April 10 [19 favorites]


Mueller is Sysiphus.
posted by klarck at 2:17 PM on April 10 [12 favorites]


Is Mueller really just looking into some of this stuff now, or is this just the first we're hearing about it?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:18 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Certainly he didn't just start today.
posted by rhizome at 2:19 PM on April 10 [1 favorite]


You get a raid! You get a raid! Everybody gets a raid! /oprah

European Commission raids Murdoch's Fox offices in London
The British offices of the Murdoch entertainment empire 21st Century Fox have been raided by investigators from the European Commission, The Daily Telegraph can reveal. It is understood that competition watchdogs gained access to the company’s offices in Hammersmith, west London, early today to seize documents and computer records.

The precise nature of the confidential investigation, which is believed to be in its early stages, is unclear. The building is home to Fox Networks, the company’s channels business. The European Commission has powers to raid businesses suspected of abusing their dominance of a market or being involved in a price fixing cartel. Investigators are able to take copies...
posted by chris24 at 2:19 PM on April 10 [50 favorites]


American whites are not going to just stand, bow, and gesture to the throne as they back away from the dais of majority. Before 2010, they were largely complacent, as everything was -- as far as they could tell -- going okay. Obama was a shot across the bow. Now they're awake. Wearing red hats. GOTV. Buying assault weapons. I'm having a hard time envisioning a peaceful transition of power from an endless succession of old white dudes to e.g. young black women. If only more old white dudes were as frothingly ineffective as Trump is.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:19 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


They want a dictatorship under a dictator they like and approve of.

Jeet Heer posted a quote yesterday that I felt encapsulates our current moment.
Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit:

There must be in-groups whom the law protectes but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.
[source]
posted by Existential Dread at 2:22 PM on April 10 [157 favorites]


If only more old white dudes were as frothingly ineffective as Trump is.
Well, they're at least as old and out of touch. It's a waiting game in the long run (5-20 years). A waiting game they simply can't win. Re: death, etc.
posted by rc3spencer at 2:23 PM on April 10


they're making more old white dudes every day, bro
posted by entropicamericana at 2:24 PM on April 10 [41 favorites]


They're actually making less old white dudes every day. More non-white dudes and women according to most demographic projections. Thus the old white dude panic of the last 10 years.
posted by rc3spencer at 2:27 PM on April 10 [10 favorites]


they're making more old white dudes every day, bro

well, but it's kind of like take-a-penny-leave-a-penny
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:27 PM on April 10 [26 favorites]


Sen. Sullivan (R-AK): "Dorm room to billionaire.. only in America, right?"
Zuck: "Well, you see, ah,"
Sullivan: "But you couldn't do it in China, right?"
Zuck: "Uh, well, there are actually some large Chinese internet companies.."
Sullivan: "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY YES."
posted by theodolite at 2:27 PM on April 10 [16 favorites]


They want a dictatorship under a dictator they like and approve of.

Seems similar to the attitude by the Pence-types towards religion. They want a repressive caliphate with sharia law, but it should be flying the banner of their God not somebody else's.
posted by duoshao at 2:30 PM on April 10 [32 favorites]


Haberman reports that Alan Dershowitz is dining with Trump at the White House tonight. He's probably there to advise Trump about the Mueller investigation I should think. But I can't help feel like Trump might do something crazypants like fire Sessions and try to make Dershowitz the next AG. He... wouldn't do that would he?
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on April 10 [3 favorites]


Nationals of Chad are being unbanned from the United States, with the White House saying the country has "improved its identity-management practices."

Do we know any former officials who are lobbying on behalf of Chad now?
posted by zachlipton at 2:36 PM on April 10 [5 favorites]


they're making more old white dudes every day, bro

Yeah, but while old white dudes of today are exactly as backwards relative to their non-old-white-dudes contemporaries as previous generations of old white dudes were, they are marginally less backwards relative to their old white dude forbears.

So progress.
posted by duoshao at 2:37 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


they're making more old white dudes every day, bro

But probably not as many as are dying off. Remember what a giant demographic bubble the Boomers are. I'm personally approaching old white dude status but my generation is comparatively small.
posted by octothorpe at 2:38 PM on April 10 [4 favorites]


Haberman reports that Alan Dershowitz is dining with Trump at the White House tonight. He's probably there to advise Trump about the Mueller investigation I should think. But I can't help feel like Trump might do something crazypants like fire Sessions and try to make Dershowitz the next AG. He... wouldn't do that would he?

Sure. And then Trump will appoint Jeffrey Epstein czar of child sex trafficking and they can have a reunion.
posted by ryoshu at 2:39 PM on April 10 [8 favorites]


Millennials are expected to outnumber Baby Boomers within a year. Within a decade, Gen X will overtake the Boomers as well. In that time, the ranks of the Silent Generation will also decline by almost two-thirds. (I don't want to look forward to the decimation of a population that includes my parents, older relatives, mentors, and family friends, but I also don't want that cohort to take me with them.)
posted by Iridic at 2:43 PM on April 10 [20 favorites]


Do we know any former officials who are lobbying on behalf of Chad now?

Remember how it was bullshit that Chad was even on the list to begin with?
US officials say an office supply issue was a major reason the African country of Chad was hit with travel restrictions by the United States.

Donald Trump’s administration added Chad in an order last month that a judge put on hold this week. Chad’s inclusion was perplexing because the country cooperates closely with the US on counter-terrorism.

It turns out a seemingly pedestrian issue was to blame: Chad ran out of passport paper.

All countries had been given 50 days to take several steps that included providing a recent passport sample. Chad couldn’t comply, and its offer to provide a pre-existing sample wasn’t sufficient.

The homeland security department says there were other reasons Chad was added, too. The department says the US is working with Chad to resolve them.
posted by chris24 at 2:44 PM on April 10 [11 favorites]


That's the tool courts have used to block enforcement of Trump's travel bans, and it would serve just as well for the special-counsel rule.

Katy Tur has Geoff Bennett on MSNBC and he has the source of SHS' assertion that there is DOJ opinion that Trump has the power to fire Mueller. He didn't reveal the name but the guidance they are giving Trump is that Trump, as head of the executive branch, has Constitutional authority to fire Mueller and the Constitution supercedes any regulation.
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on April 10 [2 favorites]


He didn't reveal the name but the guidance they are giving Trump is that Trump, as head of the executive branch, has Constitutional authority to fire Mueller and the Constitution supercedes any regulation.

Stupid Watergate continues.

"Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal." - Nixon
posted by chris24 at 2:48 PM on April 10 [13 favorites]


ordering an unanticipated raid on the records of the President's personal lawyer.

Since the NY arm of the FBI was supposedly at-odds with the Comey/DC branch, which prompted much scuttlebutt over why and why-then of Comey's "reopening the email investigation" press conference that GOT US IN THIS GODDMANED MESS . . *cough* excuse me. /breathe

I wonder if it was in fact as mythically tight as we currently believe the Mueller-squad tactics to be such that they got this apparently high-level approval to toss the Sez Who guy's office, apartment, AND hotel without some MAGA-infected fucknut blabbing to Giuliani about how the shit was a-comin'.

If so, sweet. And what does that say about that alleged former NY-DC FBI feud? Is that all Com