"Truth Isn't Truth"
August 20, 2018 3:36 PM   Subscribe

The New York Times breaks new details of how White House Counsel, Don McGahn, has cooperated extensively in Mueller inquiry and follows up on Trump lawyers’ sudden realization that they don’t know what he told Mueller’s team (@realDonaldTrump strenuously denied their implication his "Councel" was "a John Dean type ‘RAT’"). Writing for the Lawfare blog, Obama's White House Counsel Bob Bauer points out the issues how McGahn is handling his duties. And national security blogger Marcy Wheeler tears into his possible motives for leaking to the NYT. Meanwhile, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani may have coined the definitive meme for his defense on Sunday's Meet the Press: "Truth Isn't Truth" (NBC follows up, Team Trump still isn't telling the truth about that 2016 Trump Tower meeting.)

• So far in Omarosa Manigault Newman's machiavellian media campaign for Unhinged, she has released a secret tape of Lara Trump offering her $15K/month campaign job (NBC), "terrified" Trump staffers about her next ones, and totally triggered Trump's "death spiral" of spin (Vanity Fair). Trump's attempts to ban top aides from penning tell-alls have come to light (Politico) as a Manhattan judge says the Trump Campaign screwed up its NDA's wording (Yahoo). And Omarosa's publisher, Simon & Schuster, tells the Trump Campaign they will not be intimidated (CNN).

To distract from his apprentice's media blitz (WSJ), Trump rescinded the Security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan and is gearing up to strip more from officials tied to the Russia Investigation (Washington Post). Currently he's attacking Justice Department Official Bruce Ohr, putting pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire him (CNBC).

• In last week's primaries for the midterm elections, the Dems embraced diversity while the GOP pulled closer to Trump (NYMag) in a groundbreaking night for women and diversity (NYT). But while Trump hurls racial invective on the campaign trail, most Congressional Republicans stay silent—‘I’m not going there’. (Washington Post). With FiveThirtyEight's new forecast of the race for the House, Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) cautions, "The chances our model gives Democrats—between 70 and 75 percent depending on what version you look at—are pretty much exactly the odds that Hillary Clinton had of winning in 2016! So hopefully everyone's learned their lesson and won't mistake that for a sure thing."

• Kavanagh Supreme Court Nomination: Sens. Feinstein, Leahy, and Durbin say documents indicate that Kavanaugh misled Senate must be made public and Leahy writes to McGahn to disclose what was discussed at a private White House meeting that led Republicans to abruptly change course on Kavanaugh's document trail. In addition, Kavanaugh's newly released 1998 memo detailed explicit questions for President Clinton, where beyond the salacious questions, Kavanaugh took a harsh tone toward President Clinton that resonates with our present situation: "He has lied to his aides. He has lied to the American people. He has tried to disgrace you and the Office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush."

In Other Headlines:

Manafort Trial Day 16 (CNN live coverage): With closing arguments wrapped on Wednesday (ABC), Judge Ellis's revelation he's been receiving threats (Buzzfeed), and Trump telling reporters on Friday, "I think the whole Manafort trial is sad", jury deliberations went on for a third day and, with no verdict reached today, will continue Tuesday morning.

MN AG nominee Keith Ellison denies allegations he abused his ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan (CNN), while Monahan says she won't release her video of the incident (MPR News).

• The LA Times revealed Trump backed 'Space Force' after months of lobbying by officials with ties to aerospace industry, although polls show little public support for it (Ars Technica).

• Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Michael Cohen is being investigated for bank fraud in excess of $20 million (New York Times) even as his attorney says he's soliciting advice from John Dean, the lawyer who brought down Nixon (Politico).

• In the Government's Sentencing Memorandum, the Special Counsel says Papadopoulos harmed the Russia investigation by lying and should get up to 6 months in prison. (Buzzfeed)

• Rolling Stone broke the news last week of a successful cyberattack in the California congressional race against Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Reuters now reports that the FBI is probing a cyber attack on a Democratic congressional campaign in California's 45th Congressional district.

• New York Times Afghanistan Bureau Chief Rod Nordland asks Who Is Winning the War in Afghanistan? Depends on Which One, and Trump is showing renewed interest in a proposal by Blackwater founder Erik Prince to privatize the war. (NBC)

• Trump escalated his criticisms (Washington Post) of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and threatened the central bank's independence, telling Reuters he is "not thrilled" with Chairman Jerome Powell because "I should be given some help by the Fed."

• New records reveal that former EPA Director Scott Pruitt's $43,000 phone booth was used to place just a single five-minute phone call to the White House (the records do not show incoming calls). (Washington Post)

• ICE roundup: ICE arrested a man driving his pregnant wife to deliver baby (Talking Points Memo), forged a document to deport an immigrant who qualified for legal status (Slate), and set a bureaucratic trap for undocumented spouses of US citizens (Mother Jones).

• The President held a "Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection" today, during which he saluted them by repeatedly calling CBP "CBC" and called up a Latino Border Patrol agent for recognition with the phrase "speaks perfect English."

This is the 577th day of the Trump administration.

As always, please consider MeFi chat for hot-takes and live-blogging breaking news, the current MetaTalk venting thread for catharsis and sympathizing, and funding the site if you're able. Also, for the sake of the ever-helpful mods, please keep in mind the MetaTalk on expectations about U.S. political discussion on MetaFilter. (Thanks again to Zachlipton for collaborating on this FPP's draft on the MeFi wiki.)
posted by Doktor Zed (1708 comments total) 140 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here are some longish interviews with folks who had spent lots of time with him:
Investigative journalist David Cay Boyle Johnston: This one from just before the election, and that one from January 2018. Also, an old one with Tony Schwartz, the author of his book: All chock-full of salacious details about corruption and ignorance
posted by growabrain at 3:59 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


"Truth isn't truth" seems like an unfortunately-phrased sentence that would have been more artfully phrased as "Even honest and forthright testimony can be turned against you." I was nearly subpoenaed as a witness for a hit-and-run that I'd observed, a year after the fact, and I was really preoccupied by the thought of getting the details wrong in a way that would harm someone, and I wasn't even under suspicion of anything. I imagine that even if Trump makes every effort to be truthful there's a huge chance that he'd perjure himself.

Of course, everyone knows his personality and knows that he certainly can't be expected to even try to tell the truth. But I have some sympathy for for Giuliani when it comes to this "truth isn't truth" gotcha story.
posted by lostburner at 4:08 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


All these great, amazing links! And yet you missed this humdinger:

WATCH: Rand Paul Calls For Criminal Justice Reform Because The System is Too Hard on… Paul Manafort

"Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) believes Paul Manafort‘s legal troubles are so horribly unfair that there’s no choice but to remake the American justice system.

Paul shared this opinion with Neil Cavuto Monday while discussing Manafort’s alleged bank fraud, tax evasion, and the possible implications his trial will have for Robert Mueller‘s ongoing investigation. Since this doesn’t directly tie into the question of whether President Donald Trump colluded with Russia in 2016, Paul said he had “sympathy” for Manafort because the legal system might have “gone too far” to penalize him over “paperwork crimes.”
posted by pjsky at 4:09 PM on August 20 [26 favorites]


But I have some sympathy for for Giuliani when it comes to this "truth isn't truth" gotcha story.

That might be more believable if every word out of his mouth to date hadn’t been a Freudian slip.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 4:16 PM on August 20 [29 favorites]




More from that Reuters interview, and we're back to this again (emphasis added):
He again neglected to blame Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, a conclusion reached by the U.S. intelligence community.

The probe, he said, “played right into the Russians - if it was Russia - they played right into the Russians’ hands.”
posted by zachlipton at 4:20 PM on August 20 [12 favorites]


To me the most remarkable moment in the interview was after the "truth isn't truth" moment when Chuck Todd caused Rudy to sit with his pie-hole gaping open for a good 5-6 seconds, but it seemed like an eternity and it was delicious.

RUDY GIULIANI:
-- they have two pieces of evidence, Trump says I didn’t tell them and the other guy says that he did say it, which is the truth? Maybe you know because you’re a genius.

CHUCK TODD:
At that point, you’re right. Under two people, I, no, you’re right. I don’t read minds on that front. Let me ask you this final question.

RUDY GIULIANI:
No, we have, we have, no, no, no, let me finish. We have a credibility gap between the two of them. You’ve got to select one or the other. Now, who do you think Mueller’s going to select? One of his best friends, Comey, or the president who he has been carrying on a completely wild, crazy--

CHUCK TODD:
It it possible--

RUDY GIULIANI:
--unorthodox investigation.

CHUCK TODD:
-- is it possible he makes a conclusion based on who’s been more truthful over the years?

RUDY GIULIANI:
O.O

.................................................
posted by pjsky at 4:20 PM on August 20 [141 favorites]


Because as a former prosecutor Giuliani knows damn well the answer is not just "yes" but "hell yes". And that this isn't in favor of his client.
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


I posted that whole speech he gave that included this quote: "Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." That was in 1994. This is who he is.
posted by scalefree at 4:23 PM on August 20 [24 favorites]


That fits right in!

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength
Freedom is Authority
posted by kirkaracha at 4:25 PM on August 20 [30 favorites]


a Manhattan judge says the Trump Campaign screwed up its NDA's wording
In an ironic twist, President Trump was personally a party to the New York case that establishes the legal principle controlling Bluth’s decision. ... President Trump sought to avoid private arbitration in that [1993] case, and won the issue on appeal. Bluth specifically cited that decision in her ruling against Trump’s campaign.
I do like irony.
posted by clawsoon at 4:27 PM on August 20 [33 favorites]


[Just a reminder, this is not an "all current events" thread and certainly Aussie politics can have its own thread if someone wants to make one!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:36 PM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Rand Paul said he had “sympathy” for Manafort because the legal system might have “gone too far” to penalize him over “paperwork crimes.”

Failing to report $75 million on his income tax returns is a mere "paperwork" crime.

Libertarians like Paul think that white collar crime is non-violent even if it results in destroying people's lives, taking away their homes, taking away their jobs, cheating them, or defrauding them as long as you do it with a piece of paper instead of a gun.

Guys like Manafort do violence to government institutions, the justice system and people's sense of fairness and foster the idea that everyone is corrupt and you are a fool if you are not. They are a disease that infects if not stopped and creates a sick society.
posted by JackFlash at 4:41 PM on August 20 [166 favorites]


From Trump Lawyers’ Sudden Realization: They Don’t Know What Don McGahn Told Mueller’s Team:

The report by The Times also reignited a debate about whether Mr. Trump had been given bad advice by his former lawyers Mr. Dowd and Ty Cobb to allow full cooperation with Mr. Mueller’s team, including by waiving attorney-client privilege. Mr. Dowd and Mr. Cobb believed that the cooperation would help prove that the president had done nothing wrong and bring a swifter end to the investigation.

But the strategy “put Don McGahn in an impossible situation, because once you waive that privilege and you turn over all those documents, Don McGahn has no choice then but to go in and answer everything, every question they could ask him,” Chris Christie, a former United States attorney and a close ally of Mr. Trump

posted by JamesBay at 5:08 PM on August 20 [9 favorites]


But I have some sympathy for Giuliani when it comes to this "truth isn't truth" gotcha story.

I'm becoming uncomfortable by the anti-Trump memes entering my Facebook airspace. Some seem just as unfair as the anti-Obama screeds that used to drive me crazy. "X dollars go to [some thing] while homeless vets go hungry; share if you support our brave soldiers!" is not the nuanced argument I would hope for. And while Giuliani is puzzlingly incompetent, it's not really fair to always use that one photo of him with the popped-out eyes. And yet, "an eye for a [popped out] eye, a tooth for a [slur-inducing denture] tooth" is where we are. When I sit down with my Trump-supporting colleague and recommend that she read Paul Krugman's columns on trade agreements or check out "This American Life", I get exactly nowhere. I won't even try this nifty Adam Smith edition of "In Our Time" that I happened to hear this weekend. More and more I pin my hopes on John Oliver, who is as cruel and unfair as the latest meme while also being intelligent and lucid and funny and educational. I highly recommend last night's show.
posted by acrasis at 5:15 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


Libertarians like Paul think that white collar crime is non-violent even if it results in destroying people's lives, taking away their homes, taking away their jobs, cheating them, or defrauding them as long as you do it with a piece of paper instead of a gun.
Woody Guthrie had an answer to that sixty years ago..

Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home.


Nowadays, of course, we put the guys with the metaphorical fountain pens in charge of cabinet departments.
Guys like Manafort do violence to government institutions, the justice system and people's sense of fairness and foster the idea that everyone is corrupt and you are a fool if you are not. They are a disease that infects if not stopped and creates a sick society.
Yes, absolutely right. Furthermore, it has become painfully apparent that we have tolerated far too much of this behavior already. It didn't begin with Trump and it won't end with him, but Trump probably represents a significant inflection point -- if he is not stopped and suffers no consequences then it will become immeasurably harder to arrest our society's momentum towards corruption.
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:16 PM on August 20 [61 favorites]


[Just a reminder, this is not an "all current events" thread and certainly Aussie politics can have its own thread if someone wants to make one!]

Here's an Australian politics post for our own garbage fire today.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:20 PM on August 20 [24 favorites]


And yet, "an eye for a [popped out] eye, a tooth for a [slur-inducing denture] tooth" is where we are.

Have you seen any of Rudy’s recent appearances? I hate to break it to you, but that one photo is not unrepresentative.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:21 PM on August 20 [24 favorites]


"Paperwork crimes" has a real ring to it. "White collar crime" sounds stale, maybe it's time for an update. When a Republican Senator talks comfortably about the kind of malfeasance Manafort was involved with as though it were a missed checkbox on a form, the left should throw it right back in his face as evidence of how widespread corruption is along the wealthy and connected, and we should use his words.
posted by contraption at 5:39 PM on August 20 [31 favorites]


FBI is probing a cyber attack on a Democratic congressional campaign in California's 45th Congressional district.

Serious question: what happens when Democrats across the country are hacked in the 2018 mid-terms and the republican candidates squeak out just enough victories to control the House? Senator Bill Nelson got dragged by republican senate candidate Rick Scott last week for alleging Russians have "penetrated" some county voter registration databases in Florida ahead of the 2018 elections. Turns out Nelson is likely correct.

I'm convinced Trump's talk of a red wave is because he knows something the rest of us don't.
posted by photoslob at 5:46 PM on August 20 [21 favorites]


Russian interference in Florida Primaries?
posted by tilde at 5:55 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I'm convinced Trump's talk of a red wave is because he knows something the rest of us don't.

Regardless of where the truth lies in this, Donald J Trump is the last person anybody on any side of it is going to trust with any covert strategic information.
posted by scalefree at 6:01 PM on August 20 [27 favorites]


Serious question: what happens when Democrats across the country are hacked in the 2018 mid-terms and the republican candidates squeak out just enough victories to control the House?

American democracy dies.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:08 PM on August 20 [66 favorites]


I'm convinced Trump's talk of a red wave is because he knows something the rest of us don't.

Well, he owns coastal property in Florida, so
posted by Sys Rq at 6:11 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]



Regardless of where the truth lies in this, Donald J Trump is the last person anybody on any side of it is going to trust with any covert strategic information.
posted by scalefree at 6:01 PM on August 20 [+] [!]



To the contrary, it's worked brilliantly so far.. They don't even have to give him any facts, just a catchphrase.
posted by bird internet at 6:12 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I'm convinced Trump's talk of a red wave is because he knows something the rest of us don't.

We have to assume at this point that Trump is colluding right now with Putin and the approval of most Republicans to steal whatever isn't bolted down and burn down whatever they can't keep. We still have to resist in every way possible and can't let defeatism paralyze us, unless you are willing/able to flee the country and think you can escape America's influence in the world.
posted by benzenedream at 6:19 PM on August 20 [51 favorites]


Good News Dept: New York enacts law establishing permanent independent commission for investigating prosecutorial misconduct by DAs.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:29 PM on August 20 [22 favorites]


From that NYT story on White House counsel Donald McGahn talking to Mueller:
… Legal experts and former White House counsels said the president’s lawyers had been careless in not asking Mr. McGahn what he had planned to tell Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors. The experts said Mr. Trump’s lawyers had the right to know the full extent of what Mr. McGahn was going to say.
[...]
“It’s bad legal advice, bad lawyering, and this is a result of it,” Mr. Christie added.
[…]
Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, who had argued last summer against cooperating with Mr. Mueller, said, “This was a reckless and dangerously naïve strategy, and I’ve vocally said that since the time I left the White House, and I’ve said it to the president.”
I find it legitimately astonishing that the NYT is printing these remarks as if it were a discussion on the level of "should I let the nice police officer into my house?"

McGahn is the White House counsel and serves the the President in his official capacity only. Nobody even pretends that this decision should have been driven by Constitutional considerations. They're saying - probably correctly - that cooperation was a bad idea because it's in the President's personal interest to obstruct the investigation and “an early strategy of full cooperation with the inquiry was a potentially damaging mistake”. In other words, everybody knows Trump is guilty. It's not even worth reporting on that! The only thing of interest here is the soap opera centering around Trump and his cronies and their disputes over which one has the most cunning schemes. What a very bad paper.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:58 PM on August 20 [50 favorites]


Can someone remind me why the Manafort trial had to happen before the Cohen, and then Stormy Daniels (as plaintiff) ones?

And I know I'm really really reeeeaally not supposed to get into the 'reality show' aspects of this trainwreck, but wasn't Omarosa working in the White House when the Stormy Daniels allegations came out? Because I have a feeling that when those tapes come out it's going to be the best episode so far. Already popping the corn.

Also, have we started a pool for the date of Muellermas yet? Because put me down for November 7th.
posted by sexyrobot at 7:00 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Also, have we started a pool for the date of Muellermas yet? Because put me down for November 7th

Ya gotta give a year.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:18 PM on August 20 [25 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- AZ-08: Lake Research Partners poll has incumbent GOPer Lesko up 49-40 on Dem Tiperneni [MOE not listed]. This poll appears to be commissioned by the Tiperneni campaign. Notable that this is a rematch of the recent special election; subsequent general elections with the same matchup generally turn out the same way.

-- NC-02: Incumbent GOPer Holding has been touting an internal poll showing him *trailing* Dem challenger Coleman. District went 53-44 Trump and is rated Likely R by Cook, so hmmm.

-- Weekly check-in with the 538 generic polling average shows D+7.8 (47.7/39.9).
** 2018 Senate:
-- AZ: GOP hopeful Kelli Ward has enlisted Pizzagater Mike Cernovich to campaign for her.

-- MI: Strategic National poll has incumbent Dem Stabenow up 50-35 on GOPer James [MOE: +/- 3.7%]. Strategic National is a GOP-aligner pollster.

-- NM: Emerson poll has incumbent Dem Heinrich with 39, Libertarian Johnson with 21, and GOPer Rich with 11 [MOE: +/- 4.6%].
** Odds & ends:
-- KS gov: Independent Greg Orman had apparently qualified for the fall ballot, but signature validity is now being challenged by the Dems. Opinions are mixed on the effect Orman will have on the race, although it seems clear KS Dems think he's a threat.

-- MI gov: Strategic National poll above has Dem Whitmer up 45-36 on GOPer Schuette.

-- WI gov: PPP poll has Dem Evers up 49-44 on incumbent GOPer Walker [MOE: +/- 4.0%].

-- NV gov: Incumbent GOP governor Sandoval is declining to endorse GOP nominee Laxalt.

-- Virginia legislature called into special session to redraw lines for 11 House of Delegates districts found to be racially gerrymandered.

-- Wasserman: Vulnerable GOP House seats have very different geography from vulnerable Senate seats. I.e., a uniform swing in the vote that just gave the Dems the House, would actually lose them Senate seats.

-- Early look at state legislature predictions at Decision Desk. Dems favored to pick up trifectas in four states, good short at four more.

-- ACLU suing Arizona over failure to properly keep registered voters addresses update (and thus possibly disenfranchising them).
====
Tomorrow, primaries in Alaska and Wyoming. Previews from 538 and DKE.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:21 PM on August 20 [29 favorites]


Serious question: what happens when Democrats across the country are hacked in the 2018 mid-terms and the republican candidates squeak out just enough victories to control the House?

Riots. Or at least there should be a massive protest on the scale of the contingency plans for the firing of Mueller. Democrats cannot accept an indefinite status quo where every two years, a national win of 7 points is necessary to take or maintain control of the House. A massive country-wide shutdown in the name of restoring majority-rule democracy is considered a democratic revolution by the rest of the world. Gradual anti-gerrymandering legislation on the state level is not going to fix this for the red states, and gradual congressional action is unlikely given that at best Democrats will control all three chambers only 2 years out of 10 or 20, and even then will never get anything substantial passed if they allow the 60-vote Senate threshold to remain. That all means that the only significant fix to this fundamental anti-democratic injustice will have to be, in some form or other, revolutionary. We can put it off if we take the House in despite of our handicap in 2018. But at some point we'll have to accept that the damage done by 12 years (and counting) of stolen presidencies and ever more years of stolen House control outweighs the potential damage done by radical restorative action of some form.

Though of course the real answer will be: "Don't rock the boat, we don't want to ruin our chances for 2020."
posted by chortly at 7:22 PM on August 20 [76 favorites]


"Paperwork crimes" has a real ring to it.

It’s fucking theft. No cutesy names. Government theft. Tax theft. And we, the people are the ones with less money and services when they do it. So, yeah, they’re stealing from us.
posted by greermahoney at 7:33 PM on August 20 [63 favorites]


It's an elected official openly advocating that tax fraud should not be prosecuted. It's madness.
posted by The World Famous at 7:34 PM on August 20 [93 favorites]


Also, have we started a pool for the date of Muellermas yet?

As for the prosecutors in the Cohen case, they have said if an indictment doesn't come by the end of August, there won't be anything until after the election. This is in accordance with Justice Department guidelines that you don't do political indictments or subpoenas in the 60 days before an election. Note that the Chris Collins indictment was squeezed in between the primaries and the general election to meet the guidelines.
posted by JackFlash at 7:42 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Democrats cannot accept an indefinite status quo where every two years, a national win of 7 points is necessary to take or maintain control of the House.

I don't know what I'd call the political system of a country where the President gets fewer votes than his opponent, the Party which receives fewer votes in the House maintains a majority, and the Party which receives fewer votes in the Senate maintains a majority but I wouldn't call it a healthy democracy. And we're teetering on the verge of all of that being true though the view is complicated by the Senate's staggered elections.

Republicans will soon also have appointed 15 of the last 19 SC judges!. 4 of those appointments will have been made by a President who lost the popular vote.
posted by Justinian at 7:45 PM on August 20 [92 favorites]


Whoa. I just solved a mystery from my workday today. I'm a bartender, mostly days, everyday I give one thing away- a coffee, or a coke, or an iced tea. It is a good trick- if I'm crazy busy, I can give a low cost beverage away so I can get to work on the four margaritas three glasses of wine two Cape Pouge Punches and one Shirley Temple I need to make, and I say something like " put good vibes into the universe!"

Today I gave away a hot green tea to Lisa Blunt Rochester even though it was not slam busy, call it fate. We had a nice chat, she told me she was a congresswoman, and I did not have the presence of mind to ask her name. We had a more intense chat, It was very good. I told her the only thing I miss about NYC is there is nowhere to protest here in Dukes County. She is super awesome and I'm going to send her campaign fund 50 bucks and I've never been to Delaware. Check her out. Sometimes you can strike sparks anywhere.
posted by vrakatar at 7:57 PM on August 20 [65 favorites]


Don't worry, Rand is on the case, avoiding WWIII while securing our elections. (He is so very compromised)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:03 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, in news just to the north, Justin Trudeau correctly calls out a fucking Nazi for being a fucking Nazi (CBC, Le Devoir), and the chattering classes get the vapors.
posted by gimonca at 8:07 PM on August 20 [15 favorites]


I say fuck these antifa cosplayers in their ninja suits. The Oregon crowd needs to clean up their shit. They have coddled the violent wing for too long. Guys who just want an excuse for violence. (We're looking at you, Eugene.)

Here you see the antifas beat a guy over the head with a club because he dared to carry an American flag in protest against the fascists.

Back in the old days we used to shut these kind of guys down and box them out before they could do their damage. I'm guessing there was no organized protest leaders to do that in this case.
posted by JackFlash at 8:25 PM on August 20 [22 favorites]


and the chattering classes get the vapors.

The chattering classes in Canada are largely white supremacist.
posted by JamesBay at 8:25 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


If you understand French she is actually heckling him for supporting immigrants and not "Quebecois de souche" (or "pure Quebcers"). I think that qualifies as racist.
posted by JamesBay at 8:28 PM on August 20 [21 favorites]


I don't know what I'd call the political system of a country where the President gets fewer votes than his opponent, the Party which receives fewer votes in the House maintains a majority, and the Party which receives fewer votes in the Senate maintains a majority but I wouldn't call it a healthy democracy.

Representative Democracy.

It's what happens when you make up a country ad hoc based on thirteen participants who hate each other slightly less than King George III.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:34 PM on August 20 [15 favorites]


'Silent Sam' is down: Protesters topple Confederate statue on UNC campus

From the statue's 1913 dedication speech:

One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.

The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South – When “the bottom rail was on top” all over the Southern states, and to-day, as a consequence the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States – Praise God.


Tear them all down.
posted by Rust Moranis at 8:40 PM on August 20 [170 favorites]


I think that qualifies as racist.

I definitely agree that it's pretty clear... and this really just hits it home...

From the CBC article: A woman who identified herself on social media as a member of the right-wing group Storm Alliance took responsibility for the confrontation with Trudeau in a post on Facebook.

Storm Alliance is pretty much what you think it is.

The fact that the f'ing racists up here are starting (well intensifying) to pull this familiar xenophobic BS has me very worried. Our 'premier' Dough Ford *shudder*, proved that the politics of hate, division, fear, and selfishness work perfectly well in Ontario and now the Right has started to move in some very Trump like directions for our next federal election.
posted by cirhosis at 9:10 PM on August 20 [17 favorites]


I don't know what I'd call the political system of a country where the President gets fewer votes than his opponent... but I wouldn't call it a healthy democracy.

I'm not sure I would even call this Representative Democracy. In gerrymandered states, the edge is often so great that it amounts to a fix. There's no reason to run anything but a pro forma campaign. There's no reason to listen to your constituents. That's not any kind of democracy.
posted by xammerboy at 9:16 PM on August 20 [14 favorites]


"Paperwork crimes" has a real ring to it.

It’s fucking theft. No cutesy names. Government theft. Tax theft.


Strongly agreed. I originally read "Paperwork" as a belittling modifier. Just some "paperwork" mistake that is "technically" criminal.

But I also agree that "white collar" has so much cultural baggage. Financial Fraud is probably succinct but overly broad.

How about "Tax Cheat."? He made a bunch of money, he should pay a bunch of taxes on it like everyone else does.

Sure, he made that money doing dirty deeds in geopolitics (sometimes against the interests of America), but he still owes Uncle Sam!
posted by porpoise at 9:16 PM on August 20 [9 favorites]


As for the prosecutors in the Cohen case, they have said if an indictment doesn't come by the end of August, there won't be anything until after the election. This is in accordance with Justice Department guidelines that you don't do political indictments or subpoenas in the 60 days before an election.

Why would that apply to Cohen? He's not a politician and he's not running for office.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:19 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Which is not to say that tax evasion is more serious than participating in a conspiracy to compromise a US Federal election.
posted by porpoise at 9:19 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


-- AZ: GOP hopeful Kelli Ward has enlisted Pizzagater Mike Cernovich to campaign for her.

Update: @VaughnHillyard [video]: Kelli Ward tonight on bus tour inclusion of Cernovich, who has said "diversity" is "white genocide": Ward: "Attaching those things to me is ridiculous" NBC: "But you’re inviting him on your bus-" Ward: "We need to have a hook to get you guys interested in seeing the bus tour..."

She knows exactly what she's doing.
posted by zachlipton at 9:27 PM on August 20 [32 favorites]


No, but if we were prosecuting tax evasion all along, we likely wouldn't have anybody compromising elections today.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:27 PM on August 20 [30 favorites]


I just came here to post this video link -- from Oregon's 2nd Congressional District race -- because it's inspiring. At least, it is to me, an Oregonian. Here, we are getting to see a pro-resistance, pro-common human decency candidate rise up against the GOP#3, and Trump enabler, Greg Walden. We might not be able to directly fight Trump, electorally, this year, but we can support good people and go after his enablers.

Anyway, the 3-minute vid.
posted by slab_lizard at 9:28 PM on August 20 [9 favorites]


Why would that apply to Cohen? He's not a politician and he's not running for office.

It would suggest to me that there is a political aspect to the expected indictment.
posted by JackFlash at 9:32 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


It’s fucking theft. No cutesy names. Government theft. Tax theft.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of Republicans would cheer these names, as well tax cheat. After all, this just means the criminals are "smart", successful people outwitting the true enemy - our government. Personally, I think it's a form of treason. "Stealing from Americans"?

Also, don't forget Ukraine believes the money Manafort hid is related to war crimes. Money laundering often hides hideous crimes.
posted by xammerboy at 9:34 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


Money laundering often hides hideous crimes.

Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
—Balzac
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:50 PM on August 20 [39 favorites]


Agreed, Xammerboy. My dad excuses tax theft. I mean, taxes are practically theft to him, so stealing them back can hardly be a crime.
posted by greermahoney at 9:54 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Republicans love to talk about people having "skin in the game." Now they have skin in the game.

Microsoft says it has found a Russian operation targeting U.S. political institutions
SAN FRANCISCO — A group affiliated with the Russian government created phony versions of six websites — including some related to public policy and to the U.S. Senate — with the apparent goal of hacking into the computers of people who were tricked into visiting, according to Microsoft, which said Monday night that it discovered and disabled the fake sites.
[...]
Among those targeted were the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think tank active in investigations of corruption in Russia, and the International Republican Institute (IRI), a nonprofit group that promotes democracy worldwide. Three other fake sites were crafted to appear as though they were affiliated with the Senate, and one nonpolitical site spoofed Microsoft’s own online products.
New Russian Hacking Targeted Republican Groups, Microsoft Says
BOSTON — The Russian military intelligence unit that sought to influence the 2016 election appears to have a new target: conservative American think tanks that have broken with President Trump and are seeking continued sanctions against Moscow, exposing oligarchs or pressing for human rights.

In a report scheduled for release on Tuesday, Microsoft Corporation said that it detected and seized websites that were created in recent weeks by hackers linked to the Russian unit formerly known as the G.R.U. The sites appeared meant to trick people into thinking they were clicking through links managed by the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute, but were secretly redirected to web pages created by the hackers to steal passwords and other credentials.
posted by scalefree at 9:56 PM on August 20 [33 favorites]


Reuters, Exclusive: Pentagon raises alarm about sharp drop in Iraqi refugees coming to U.S.
Military officials are sounding the alarm inside the Trump administration about the sharp drop in admission to the United States of Iraqi refugees who have helped American troops in battle, said two U.S. officials aware of the internal discussions.

The Pentagon is concerned that not providing safe haven to more of the Iraqis, many of whom interpreted and did other key tasks for U.S. forces, will harm national security by dissuading locals from cooperating with the United States in Iraq and other conflict zones, the officials said.
...
One official said the White House meeting last week resulted directly from a smaller, higher-level meeting of senior national security officials earlier this month. They discussed the maximum number of refugees the United States will admit into the country next year. The administration must reach a decision on the ceiling by Sept. 30.

In the earlier, high-level meeting, the Pentagon and State Department both supported maintaining the admissions ceiling at 45,000, one current official and one former official informed of the discussions said. Other agencies’ positions on the cap were not yet clear.
...
The refugee ceiling Trump set last year of 45,000 is the lowest since 1980, when the modern refugee program was established. The United States is on track to admit about 22,000 refugees this year, approximately half of the maximum allowed.
@elisefoley:
Admission numbers for Iraqis who helped the US government and are trying to come to the US as refugees (FY)
2016: ~5,100
2017: 3,000+
This year: 48
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 PM on August 20 [45 favorites]


Microsoft: We are taking new steps against broadening threats to democracy
Broadening cyberthreats to both U.S. political parties make clear that the tech sector will need to do more to help protect the democratic process. Last week, Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) successfully executed a court order to disrupt and transfer control of six internet domains created by a group widely associated with the Russian government and known as Strontium, or alternatively Fancy Bear or APT28. We have now used this approach 12 times in two years to shut down 84 fake websites associated with this group. Attackers want their attacks to look as realistic as possible and they therefore create websites and URLs that look like sites their targeted victims would expect to receive email from or visit. The sites involved in last week’s order fit this description.

We’re concerned that these and other attempts pose security threats to a broadening array of groups connected with both American political parties in the run-up to the 2018 elections. That’s why today we are expanding Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program with a new initiative called Microsoft AccountGuard. This initiative will provide state-of-the-art cybersecurity protection at no extra cost to all candidates and campaign offices at the federal, state and local level, as well as think tanks and political organizations we now believe are under attack. The technology is free of charge to candidates, campaigns and related political institutions using Office 365.

An expansion of political targets

Last week’s order transferred control of the six internet domains listed below from Strontium to Microsoft, preventing Strontium from using them and enabling us to more closely look for evidence of what Strontium intended to do with the domains. These six domains are listed here:
http://my-iri.org
http://hudsonorg-my-sharepoint.com
http://senate.group
http://adfs-senate.services
http://adfs-senate.email
http://office365-onedrive.com
Our new Microsoft AccountGuard initiative

AccountGuard will provide three services that will cover both organizational and personal email accounts:

1. Threat notification across accounts. The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center will enable Microsoft to detect and provide notification of attacks in a unified way across both organizational and personal email systems. For political campaigns and other eligible organizations, when an attack is identified, this will provide a more comprehensive view of attacks against campaign staff. When verifiable threats are detected, Microsoft will provide personal and expedited recommendations to campaigns and campaign staff to secure their systems.

2. Security guidance and ongoing education. Officials, campaigns and related political organizations will receive guidance to help make their networks and email systems more secure. This can include applying multi-factor authentication, installing the latest security updates and guidance for setting up systems that ensure only those people who need data and documents can access them. AccountGuard will provide updated briefings and training to address evolving cyberattack trends.

3. Early adopter opportunities. Microsoft will provide preview releases of new security features on a par with the services offered to our large corporate and government account customers.

posted by scalefree at 10:35 PM on August 20 [29 favorites]


Why would that apply to Cohen? He's not a politician and he's not running for office.

I presume the theory is that prosecuting one criminal makes other criminals look bad.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:22 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


> Don't worry, Rand is on the case, avoiding WWIII while securing our elections. (He is so very compromised)
I did find myself wondering, while reading Sen. Paul's letter (linked from the quoted comment) about this claim:
My Russia trip was sponsored by a non-profit group. No campaign or government funds were used.
Do we have any idea who this non-profit group is that's funding Republican senators' travel to Moscow?
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:39 AM on August 21 [27 favorites]


That might be more believable if every word out of his mouth to date hadn’t been a Freudian slip.

A Freudian slip? Giuliani would come in first against a Teflon-coated Freud careening down a grease-covered 45 degree incline.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:59 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


A gem from the Reuters interview (excerpts here):

ON WHETHER HE HAS A TIME FRAME TO END TRADE DISPUTES WITH CHINA

“No. No time frame. I’m like them, I have a long horizon.”

Indeed.
posted by stonepharisee at 1:05 AM on August 21


Why would that apply to Cohen? He's not a politician and he's not running for office.

I think you avoid anything that might impact the elections, period. But... where is the Democrat that will run with this? Why aren't any journalists asking Giuliani, who's accused Mueller of dragging his feet, prolonging the investigation, arguing that the public wants this over as soon as possible, why the president doesn't ask Mueller to press on? Why the hold up?
posted by xammerboy at 2:39 AM on August 21


Everything Trump Touches Dies - Rick Wilson

Just got through this, written by a former GOP hatchet man and never-trumper. It's a collection of reddit zingers first and foremost. I gave this a look after hearing him on the With Friends Like These podcast on Crooked. I thought , this guy is so so close, he could be an ally.

No. While some of the witticisms are passable ('the bonfire of inanities'), the rest is reddit fodder. If he wants to put someone down, he'll compare them to a junkie, or someone that works at starbucks, or a prostitute, or... you get the idea.

The meat in this thin gruel is the insider perspective from the never trump camp, and there is something worthwhile there. The style is appalling though, it's written like an 80s standup routine.

2/5

The podcast linked above, which I recommend, is titled 'Almost Bravery w/ Rick Wilson', and that's a pretty good summary.
posted by adept256 at 2:40 AM on August 21 [16 favorites]


“No. No time frame. I’m like them, I have a long horizon.”

If Trump's base wants Rome to burn, Trump will keep Rome burning.
posted by xammerboy at 2:46 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Re: White collar crimes.

Why bother even qualifying them? They are just crimes, and those who do them are criminals, full stop.
posted by snortasprocket at 3:22 AM on August 21 [46 favorites]


Why bother even qualifying them? They are just crimes, and those who do them are criminals, full stop.

Paul said he had “sympathy” for Manafort because the legal system might have “gone too far” to penalize him over “paperwork crimes.”

Yeah, it does sound less good when you strip that out.
posted by jaduncan at 3:28 AM on August 21 [19 favorites]


How about just include the price tag. Millions of dollars? Those are megacrimes.
posted by adept256 at 3:34 AM on August 21 [59 favorites]


I love megacrimes. It also speaks to how many people are affected.

I listened to a podcast with my wife that interviewed criminals recently. All the poor ones were so clear about what they did and their reasons for doing it: "I stole, because I was greedy and wanted money for drugs. I'm a criminal." All the rich criminals just kept stating over and over again that they were innocent, and even if they did do it, they really hadn't done anything wrong.
posted by xammerboy at 3:41 AM on August 21 [75 favorites]


Paul says:

"My Russia trip was sponsored by a non-profit group. No campaign or government funds were used. None of my overseas trips have spent campaign money. Trips that were fund-raising in nature, did exactly that —raised money. Any money spent overseas was spent to raise money. Last year’s trip netted over $70,000 for my committee.

The fake news media, however, reported that I went to Europe and spent $11,000 of my campaign donors’ contributions there. Instead of noting that my campaign came home with more money than we left with, the group dishonestly reported only the expenditures for the group while ignoring the contributions gained." Link

Isn't it illegal to accept campaign contributions from foreign entities? Or am I wrong about that, because it sure seems like it ought to be.
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 5:29 AM on August 21 [48 favorites]


I'm not sure I would even call this Representative Democracy. In gerrymandered states, the edge is often so great that it amounts to a fix. There's no reason to run anything but a pro forma campaign. There's no reason to listen to your constituents. That's not any kind of democracy.

Oligarchy masquerading as a democratic Republic. We're on track to be permanently ruled by a minority government explicitly beholden to a tiny overclass of the uberweathly. Which will quickly slide into an outright kleptocracy. Exactly like Putin's Russia. We're already pretty close in just 18 months of rampant Republican looting without any oversight whatsoever. 2-6 more years of this will end the rule of law in the US just like Russia now.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:32 AM on August 21 [57 favorites]


The Oligarchy is already here.
It was just on a year ago that Jimmy Carter said that US had become more an 'oligarchy than a democracy' and Bernie pointed out last March that The corporate media ignores the rise of oligarchy. The rest of us shouldn't.
Most people don´t understand the term billionaire. ($1,000,000,000)
If you take $1 = 1 second of time then $1 million represents 11 and a half days.
1 billion is approx 32 years.
There are approximately 540 billionaires in USA
posted by adamvasco at 5:50 AM on August 21 [55 favorites]


> The fact that the f'ing racists up here are starting (well intensifying) to pull this familiar xenophobic BS has me very worried. Our 'premier' Dough Ford *shudder*, proved that the politics of hate, division, fear, and selfishness work perfectly well in Ontario and now the Right has started to move in some very Trump like directions for our next federal election.

Yep. And if even a small percentage of "left of centre" voters can be swayed by this messaging we're looking at a Conservative wave in the next election due to the FPTP voting system Trudeau promised to change but quickly decided not too because winning an unassailable majority with like 36% of the vote is the brass ring of Canadian politics.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:06 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


[A few deleted. Let's please not get off into the weeds with a flame war among members about the government being / not being the real enemy. The comment said that some republicans view it that way. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:19 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Morning moment of snark:

Donald Trump tweets that we should "Study the late Joseph McCarthy."
According to McCarthy biographer Richard Rovere,
He was “a chronic opportunist.” He was “a political speculator.” He was “a Republican who had started as a Democrat.” He was “a fertile innovator, a first-rate organizer and galvanizer of mobs, a skilled manipulator of public opinion, and something like a genius at that essential American strategy: publicity.” He was “a vulgarian.” He was “a man with an almost aesthetic preference for untruth.” He “faked it all and could not understand anyone who didn’t.” He “made sages of screwballs and accused wise men of being fools.” He was “the first American ever to be actively hated and feared by foreigners in large numbers.” He “favored the third person.”
Roy Cohn was McCarthy's chief counsel.
Roy Cohn was Donald Trump's mentor.
Roy Cohn died in 1986.
Steven Miller was born in 1986.
Coincidence? I think not.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:30 AM on August 21 [89 favorites]


This is in accordance with Justice Department guidelines that you don't do political indictments or subpoenas in the 60 days before an election.

Guidelines are not law and NOTHING about this is normal.

Mueller is a Marine and I expect he had long ago internalized "Improvise, Adapt and Overcome". I would like to hope that no mere guideline will prevent him completing his mission, and issuing criminal indictments to those who chose to commit crimes.

(Periodic Reminder: Despair is a sin.)
posted by mikelieman at 6:35 AM on August 21 [29 favorites]




The Pentagon is concerned that not providing safe haven to more of the Iraqis, many of whom interpreted and did other key tasks for U.S. forces, will harm national security...

I have seen this same sentiment on social media posts from recent veterans who are very grateful to the locals who worked alongside them as translators. They can't understand why the government isn't helping people who provided very specific & very important services in aid of American foreign policy aims.

I don't know them quite well enough to tell them, "It's racism, my dude," but it really just is.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:54 AM on August 21 [22 favorites]


Isn't it illegal to accept campaign contributions from foreign entities? Or am I wrong about that, because it sure seems like it ought to be.

52 U.S. Code § 30121 - Contributions and donations by foreign nationals
(a) Prohibition It shall be unlawful for—

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national....
posted by mikelieman at 6:57 AM on August 21 [22 favorites]


There are plenty of Americans overseas, or at least people with American citizenship. So, he may be getting from those.

IMO it would be much better if he was spending government money to visit overseas. It is part of his job, after all. He puts it as if it is a good thing that he doesn't spend government money but of course the voters interest would be much better served if his attention was fully focused on the job (instead of the shadow job, raising money) and could be fully disinterested in donors agendas.
posted by Bovine Love at 7:06 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Who was the non-profit that sent him to Moscow, and who did they get the money from?
posted by gucci mane at 7:29 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


I've been tempted to run as a caricature candidate. Nominally Republican, but with campaign slogans like, I'm only in it for the grift, and Talk to me about your bribing needs. A platform that sounds like a cross between Darth Vader and Snidely Whiplash. In the tradition of the Monster Raving Loony Party.

Only now, I think I'd get elected.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:30 AM on August 21 [55 favorites]


I've been tempted to run as a caricature candidate. Nominally Republican, but with campaign slogans like, I'm only in it for the grift, and Talk to me about your bribing needs. A platform that sounds like a cross between Darth Vader and Snidely Whiplash. In the tradition of the Monster Raving Loony Party.

So a moderate Republican then?
posted by ian1977 at 7:35 AM on August 21 [72 favorites]


The government is full of no good thieves out to rob honest taxpayers. It's time we made SecretAgentSockpuppet that no good thief!
posted by cmfletcher at 7:51 AM on August 21 [24 favorites]


Who was the non-profit that sent him to Moscow, and who did they get the money from?

Very small charity operation, called comintern
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:11 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


But a few Facebook ads and posts couldn't have affected the election...

Justin Hendrix (NYC Media Lab)
Landmark study in Germany scrutinized every anti-refugee attack in the country, 3,335 in 2 yrs, concluded that wherever per-person Facebook use rose to one standard deviation above the national average, attacks on refugees increased by about 50 percent. NYT: Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests
• Estimates "...this effect drove one-tenth of all anti-refugee violence. The uptick in violence did not correlate with general web use or other related factors; this was not about the internet as an open platform for mobilization or communication. It was particular to Facebook."
• "Other experts, asked to review the findings, called them credible, rigorous — and disturbing. The study bolstered a growing body of research, they said, finding that social media scrambles users’ perceptions of outsiders, of reality, even of right and wrong."
• "Could Facebook really distort social relations to the point of violence? The University of Warwick researchers tested their findings by examining every sustained internet outage in their study window. Sure enough, whenever internet access went down in an area with high Facebook use, attacks on refugees dropped significantly."
• This will be a pull quote in the space alien retrospective on the human race:
“Many people lie and fake things in the newspapers,” she said, referring darkly to matters of war and disease. “But with the internet, I can decide for myself what to believe and what not.”
posted by chris24 at 8:14 AM on August 21 [111 favorites]


I would bet a lot of money Facebook already knew this from their own internals, and did nothing about it.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:24 AM on August 21 [33 favorites]


Who was the non-profit that sent him [Rand Paul] to Moscow, and who did they get the money from?

He is just using non-profit as a nicer sounding word for his own 527 political action committee RAND PAC. He uses the committee as a slush fund to finance his trips abroad and personal expenses.

As for who he is collecting donations from overseas, Rand has been a stanch supporter of revoking the law requiring overseas ex-pats to report their foreign income and bank accounts -- the same law Paul Manafort is accused of violating. So there are lots of rich ex-pats that would give him money.

This is also the reason he thinks Manafort is guilty of a mere paperwork crime. He doesn't believe Manafort should be required to report his foreign income and assets at all.
posted by JackFlash at 8:33 AM on August 21 [20 favorites]


• This will be a pull quote in the space alien retrospective on the human race:

There's a short story out there I think about a lot these days (I swear it's on the internet somewhere, but can't find it); the end of the world is nigh, and before everything started to fall apart, the remainder of humanity decided to attempt to carve a giant message into the earth in a few places for whatever alien species found the planet later. The four words agreed upon were "Don't be like us".

Of course, my sense is that these days we wouldn't be able to agree on anything, and that what would likely be carved into the surface for North America would be "Fuck you, got mine."
posted by nubs at 8:36 AM on August 21 [19 favorites]


I mean it's thanks to gateway drugs like Facebook that our borderline-racist older relatives have waded into true cesspits of the Online Rightosphere (Alex Jones, Breitbart, /pol/, and so on) and emerged like some horribly radicalized fash Swamp Thing. I see grandparents at my kid's karate class wearing Alex Jones "Hilary for Prison" shirts like it's NBD to support a religious fanatic who calls for his ideological enemies to be murdered and leads a harassment campaign against victims of crime. I feel like without Facebook the hardest dose of fascism they'd be able to easily get their hands on is the occasional forgettable Pat Buchanan polemic that they'd skim once and leave to collect dust. That kind of fash-lite is like children's cough syrup compared to the fentanyl patch of content Facebook funnels their way.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 8:36 AM on August 21 [86 favorites]


So Many Guns, So Much Smoke - Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

"GOP obstruction is indefensible, but Democrats don’t need to see more documents to vote against Brett Kavanaugh."
There is, no doubt, a tantalizing mystery surrounding the hidden Kavanaugh documents. Like Omarosa’s Trump tapes, the missing papers have become an object of fascination for many progressives, who feverishly speculate that they might contain a smoking gun that could sink Kavanaugh’s nomination. Republicans’ resistance to their release only stokes their curiosity; the New York Times editorial board, for instance, openly pondered what the GOP is covering up by concealing the documents.

The likely answer? Nothing—or, at least, nothing more damaging to Kavanaugh’s nomination than the information that’s already in the public record. ... Kavanaugh is a Republican loyalist who has sided with the GOP on every major issue to come before the D.C. Circuit. We know [what he believes and how he's likely to act] because, over the course of more than 300 aggressively conservative opinions, he has told us what he believes in exhaustive detail. What more could the documents reveal? Kavanaugh, for instance, has already declared war on the constitutional right to abortion access. We have the smoking guns. More evidence would gild the lily.
...
Why, then, is McConnell so eager to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination before the documents are released? Aside from the looming election, there is one clear reason: The Supreme Court has stacked its October docket with major cases that will require Kavanaugh’s vote for a conservative victory. In the first 10 days of October, the court will hear cases involving environmental protections, age discrimination in employment, the execution of mentally disabled death-row inmates, mandatory arbitration, and immigrant detention. Without Kavanaugh’s vote, any or all of these cases could deadlock 4–4, allowing the liberal justices to thwart a conservative rout. With Kavanaugh’s vote, the Supreme Court could quickly begin rolling back the liberal components of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s legacy.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:36 AM on August 21 [18 favorites]


So the Manafort jury has sent a note to the judge asking what happens if they "cannot come to a consensus on a single count", and Twitter seems to have decided this means that the rest of the counts are all guilties, while I immediately take it to mean they cannot come to a consensus on any single count.

I hope I'm wrong.
posted by Gaz Errant at 8:44 AM on August 21 [17 favorites]


Per twitter - Manafort jury sends not to judge "if we cannot come to a consensus on a single count" how should they fill in verdict form and "what does it mean for the final verdict"

im really nauseated over here parsing whether this means they agree on all but one charge or dont agree on any. . .
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:45 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I take it to mean they have formed a consensus on all but one count. And per the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure: "If the jury cannot agree on all counts as to any defendant, the jury may return a verdict on those counts on which it has agreed ... If the jury cannot agree on a verdict on one or more counts, the court may declare a mistrial on those counts."

If Manafort is convicted on all but one count, regarding which there is a mistrial, and he declines to co-operate, he will be sentenced to jail for the rest of his life. And, the President will claim that he is completely exonerated. It is known.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:47 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


Twitter seems to have decided this means that the rest of the counts are all guilties, while I immediately take it to mean they cannot come to a consensus on any single count.

I would not at all be surprised if there's some MAGA chud in the jury that is refusing to convict on any count becuase QAnon or some shit. Because this is the worst timeline, what else could we expect other than a mistrial for a hung jury.
posted by dis_integration at 8:48 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


I feel the same way that Emperor Joseph II felt after listening to Mozart: there are simply too many notes.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:48 AM on August 21 [48 favorites]


I was going to post links to more folks (even reporters who have been watching the whole trial) but nothing will actually help us figure out which of those two possibilities is coming, so im here waiting with everyone else . . .
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:50 AM on August 21


Could we try to avoid speculating in-thread about what a close reading of a jury note might mean? We're going to have a real answer pretty soon no matter what it is, and then we can talk about the real thing rather than any number of speculative things.
posted by cjelli at 8:51 AM on August 21 [35 favorites]


So the Manafort jury has sent a note to the judge asking what happens if they "cannot come to a consensus on a single count", and Twitter seems to have decided this means that the rest of the counts are all guilties, while I immediately take it to mean they cannot come to a consensus on any single count.

My reason for optimism here is that I'd be very surprised if the form for one of the busiest federal courts in the country doesn't have a clear way to mark that the result is "no consensus on all charges," as opposed to the more complicated question of "guilty/not guilty on some, hung jury on others."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:53 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


as a distraction - NBC now reporting that a Michael Cohen plea deal is imminent, details not yet final but there could be a hearing on it as soon as today.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:53 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Also keep in mind there's another Manafort trial across the river...and then Trump can pardon him on all counts. This isn't close to the Manafort end game.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:54 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I would not at all be surprised if there's some MAGA chud in the jury that is refusing to convict on any count becuase QAnon or some shit.

Someone like that would not be subtle. If they somehow managed to make it through jury selection, I feel confident enough that another juror would have since complained about their blatant bias to the judge.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:54 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Twitter just lit up with a bunch of people saying that MSNBC (on air) is reporting Cohen is going to take a plea deal.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:54 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Twitter just lit up with a bunch of people saying that MSNBC (on air) is reporting Cohen is going to take a plea deal.

Says who?
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 8:55 AM on August 21 [82 favorites]


If Trump decides to pardon Manafort, then 'twere well it were done quickly. No point in letting Manafort sit around deciding whether to spill the beans to Mueller. It could happen today. History in the making.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:56 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Jonathan Dienst, chief investigative reporter for WNBC and a contributing nbc news correspondant.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:56 AM on August 21


as a distraction - NBC now reporting that a Michael Cohen plea deal is imminent, details not yet final but there could be a hearing on it as soon as today.

I was doing a magazine shoot of a lawyer yesterday and we were shooting at and around the courthouses at Foley Square. My assistant and I were standing in front of the SD NY Courthouse waiting for him when a couple reporters came up and asked if we were waiting for Cohen, since they assumed with the camera equipment we were photojournalists/paps and they had heard he was turning himself in yesterday with a plea. So I guess it was true.
posted by chris24 at 8:57 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


MSNBC's chyron is phrasing the jury's question as: "What if we cannot reach consensus on one charge?", which is how I interpreted it.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:00 AM on August 21


[Folks, let's ramp down the speculation and chatter. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:01 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


MSNBC: The judge has instructed the jury to continue deliberating on the remaining charge.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:01 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


(For those unaware, the “Says Who?” refrains are a nod to Cohen making a fool of himself with said phrase. More info here.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:05 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


My reason for optimism here is that I'd be very surprised if the form for one of the busiest federal courts in the country doesn't have a clear way to mark that the result is "no consensus on all charges," as opposed to the more complicated question of "guilty/not guilty on some, hung jury on others."

Lawyer here (but not a criminal lawyer and don't practice in NY): At least where I practice, in civil cases jury forms are often a custom-made document prepared by counsel, often using model jury forms as a starting point. If the parties' counsel can't agree, they submit the forms to the judge who makes a ruling. Those forms pretty much never would have a spot to fill in "not sure". That would invite the jury to pick that box, which is exactly what you don't want. They would instead have something like (and I can't stress how much this is completely made up, and purely for illustration, and how exact wording might be a battle or might be according to model jury verdict form): "On Count 18, for [insert crime], do you find beyond a reasonable doubt that Manafort is guilty? Yes ______ No ______.]

I do think it's relatively clear the jury agrees on 17 counts, disagrees on the 18th. Given the mountain of evidence, I'd be surprised if the other 17 were all not guilty. But we have no way to know that from the question itself, and juries do crazy things sometimes. (I mentioned in a much older thread, but I once participated in a mock trial training with fake facts designed to lead to equally reasonable conclusions of suicide or accident, and one of the juries came back thinking it could be a murder.) They could be all guilty, all not guilty, or anything in between.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 9:21 AM on August 21 [25 favorites]


I concur with kingjoeschmoe and, further, I expect the 18th count they're disagreeing on is one of the highly technical financial ones dealing with foreign accounts, with multiple or obscured owners and slightly murky facts around intent. The wording of those statutes is very technical and it can be complicated to figure out if the facts fit the necessary elements for the crime.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:30 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]




Most people don´t understand the term billionaire. ($1,000,000,000)

My standard way of explaining a billion: it's a thousand millions. Somehow that shocks people. Then you flip it around and say, would a thousand dollars make a difference in your life? In the life of anyone you know? Well, this guy has a million thousands.
posted by Caxton1476 at 9:35 AM on August 21 [52 favorites]


Midterm elections mean it's ballot measures season. We've got three that have made the ballot in Arizona, and all three have been facing all sorts of court challenges to get them tossed out. We're looking at likely slam dunks for passage as long as they stay on, which is why they're facing so many attempts to block them from going to voters. The three include restrictions on dark money, requiring 50% of power in the state to be renewable by 2030, and a tax increase on the top earners to go towards education. These have the potential to help drive Dem turnout in the state.
posted by azpenguin at 9:42 AM on August 21 [23 favorites]


This reminds me of the most recent episode of the podcast "Srsly Wrong", Blue Shell Bezos:

The Wrong Boys interview Matthew Lang of the Seattle Transit Riders Union, and Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project, to discuss HITTING JEFF BEZOS with a PEOPLE’S BLUE SHELL, knocking him back to fourth, and housing all homeless people in Seattle and across America!

Very funny and on-point show, I highly recommend it.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 9:56 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Author of Trump-Russia dossier wins libel case in US court.
Suit against Christopher Steele by three Russian oligarchs thrown out by judge.
posted by adamvasco at 10:02 AM on August 21 [45 favorites]


[Come on, folks, general chatter about eating the rich doesn't go here. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:14 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]




Sophie Weiner (SplinterNews) took a look at the above-mentioned Trump interview with Reuters, and came to this conclusion: Trump Has No Idea How Perjury Works
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:16 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


@LisaDNews: Sen. Collins just said Kavanaugh told her he agrees w Roberts' take on Roe V Wade - that it is settled law.

@samstein: As a tell of how sincere this proclamation is or is being taken, just watch how many anti-abortion Senators or even anti-abortion outside groups put out statements of concern on Kavanaugh now. The answer will be, approximately, zero.
posted by zachlipton at 10:16 AM on August 21 [50 favorites]


Rep. Steve Scalise: I might have attended white supremacist event

Like a GOP House Conference meeting?
posted by rocketman at 10:16 AM on August 21 [67 favorites]


Sometimes people don't appreciate the difficult task the jury is faced with in a financial crimes case. In comparison, the typical robbery or assault or murder case is pretty straight forward -- either they did it or not.

Financial crimes are much more complicated. You have to check off all of the technical elements that define each crime before you can find guilt. For example, did he have 50% ownership of the account, is the value of the account more than $10,000, did he have direct oversight of the account, did he conceal his ownership of the account, did he do so willfully, etc. The jury must find evidence for every single element in the crime to find guilt. And they have to do the same thing for all 18 counts in the indictment.

But here's the crazy thing. The jury doesn't find out these criteria until the very end of the trial, after all the testimony, after closing statements, after everyone is finished and the judge gives them the instructions. So the jury has to go picking back through weeks of testimony, relying only on their memories, to see if there are pieces of evidence supporting all of these elements that they only found out about after the trial was over. They may have half-dozed through portions of the testimony because no one told them of the importance or relevance of some arcane element in the instructions they would receive at the end.

It's a wonder that juries can come up with verdicts at all in these complex cases.

It would be much better if the jury was given a checklist of items at the beginning of the trial so they would know what to look out for. But that isn't the way U.S. trials work. They only get those instructions at the end.

Given this handicap, it might be better if prosecutors would narrow down their charges to only one or two that they think would have the biggest penalties and the clearest, simplest evidence. By flooding them with every possible charge, they risk confusing the jury and making their decisions more difficult.
posted by JackFlash at 10:18 AM on August 21 [34 favorites]


NYT, Lisa Friedman, E.P.A. Unveils New Coal Pollution Rules. In the Fine Print: More Deaths.
The Trump administration on Tuesday made public the details of its new pollution rules governing coal-burning power plants, and the fine print includes an acknowledgment that the plan would increase carbon emissions and lead to up to 1,400 premature deaths annually.

The proposal, the Affordable Clean Energy rule, is a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which was an aggressive effort to speed up the closures of coal-burning plants, one of the main producers of greenhouse gases, by setting national targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions and encouraging utilities to use cleaner energy sources like wind and solar.

The new proposal, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, instead seeks to make minor on-site efficiency improvements at individual plants and would also let states relax pollution rules for power plants that need upgrades, keeping them active longer.
...
Mr. Obama’s E.P.A. also estimated that, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan would result in 180,000 fewer missed school days per year by children because of ozone-related illnesses. Asthma instances would also drop significantly, according to the analysis.

By contrast, the Trump administration analysis finds that own its plan would see 48,000 new cases of exacerbated asthma and at least 21,000 new missed days of school annually by 2030 because those pollutants would increase in the atmosphere rather than decrease.
And while we're talking about lawsuits, this one wasn't thrown out by a judge: @kenvogel: NEW: A NY State judge rejects TRUMP's effort to dismiss a lawsuit against his private security team for roughing up protesters, writing that Trump "authorized & condoned the specific type of conduct of defendants @KeithSchiller45, GARY UHER & EDDIE DECK." In declining to dismiss TRUMP from the case, the judge specifically cited his justification after his supporters roughed up a #BlackLivesMatter protester at a 2015 campaign rally: "Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing."
posted by zachlipton at 10:21 AM on August 21 [25 favorites]


Rep. Steve Scalise: I might have attended white supremacist event

WhiteKKKongressman.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:22 AM on August 21 [35 favorites]


“I don't support any of the things I have read about this group, but I spoke to a lot of groups during that period. I went all throughout South Louisiana,” Scalise said. “I spoke to the League of Women Voters, a pretty liberal group ... I still went and spoke to them. I spoke to any group that called, and there were a lot of groups calling.”

You heard it here first, folks:
According to Steve Scalise, the KKK and the League of Women Voters are merely two sides of the same extremist coin.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:22 AM on August 21 [56 favorites]


, but by the lack of will to solve them.

Or rather the will of the minority to make sure they aren't fixed so that they can amass even more ridiculous fortunes and power.

The shadow-and-not-so-shadow finance behind all the populist far-right propaganda and machinations seems squarely aimed at making sure the oligarchs of the world are able to remain beyond both taxes and the law so their influence and wealth-theft remains unchecked.

If we survive Trump then the very minimum required to avoid someone even worse four years down the line is global action to make tax havens (and legal tax avoidance on large corporate profits) a thing of the past.

The propaganda tools used to put Trump in power aren't going away, if anything they'll just be refined and become more effective. Kinda need to make sure no group is so untouchable as to be able to use them again.
posted by Buntix at 10:22 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Financial crimes are much more complicated.

It's not just the complexity of the content, it's the framing favorable to the well-off. You don't have to prove that the guy who held up the 7-11 intended to commit a crime. For mega-crimes, the lawmakers make sure you often have to prove that the perps knew what they were doing was illegal and intended to do it. That's a pretty high fucking bar when you have high-paid legal help.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:23 AM on August 21 [29 favorites]


Rep. Steve Scalise: I might have attended white supremacist event

"I may have committed a little...light White supremacy."
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:25 AM on August 21 [51 favorites]


@NatashaBertrand: Just in: Mueller’s team has again delayed Flynn’s sentencing hearing. Next update will be September 17.

Not really sure what to make of delay, since they were moving forward earlier, but this sums up my feelings right now:

@kylegriffin1: I don't think I'm properly prepared for everything that could happen this afternoon.
posted by zachlipton at 10:28 AM on August 21 [23 favorites]


Yeah, if Manafort goes down and Cohen pleads, Trump is gonna go apeshit.
posted by chris24 at 10:29 AM on August 21 [20 favorites]


There is too much news. It's a Tuesday in August. Nothing is supposed to be happening.

@AlexPappas: Breaking: Ex-Dem IT aide Imran Awan gets no jail time. Federal judge sentences him to time served and three months of supervised release. No fine. Pleaded guilty to false statement on loan application in July. Awan blamed the "mistake" on being stressed over his dying father's deteriorating health, saying it was "the most stressful time in my life." He was emotional, as he referenced negative news stories about him, but said "I have no grudges in my heart for anyone. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan acknowledged that Awan did not end up on investigators radar because of fraud, but because of his work in House. But called those allegations "unfounded," and said they came from "highest level" of government.

More here from the Post. This is the man Trump called the "Pakistani gentleman" during his press conference with Putin, so the judge really meant "highest level" there.
posted by zachlipton at 10:34 AM on August 21 [20 favorites]


Yeah but I feel like his outrage level towards this investigation is already, like, full apeshit. He already just sends out tweets full of 10 slurs attached to Mueller's name, or whoever else is pissing him off that day. What's next - every single word all capped? Exclamation points in the middle of words? Literal F-bombs?
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:37 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Sometimes people don't appreciate the difficult task the jury is faced with in a financial crimes case. In comparison, the typical robbery or assault or murder case is pretty straight forward -- either they did it or not.

This is extremely not true. Any court case can be incredibly complicated.

My father deliberated on a jury for a bank robbery trail an extra 4 days because of just whether or not the main dude had a pistol in his hand during specific moments of the crime, and whether or not he was running the show during very specific moments in the crime.

With the pistol, it was an extra 10 years per felony (and there were lots of felonies). And if he was "in charge" (there's a legal term for this, not sure what it is) during certain moments vs on equal footing with the other crime doers, then there were all kinds of other considerations for other felonies that were committed.

In the end I think the four days were just deliberating about giving him 2 life sentences plus 500 years vs 2 life sentences plus 200 years, so it was all moot but the wheels of justice must complete their turn.
posted by sideshow at 10:40 AM on August 21 [14 favorites]


It's happening. @KFaulders: NEW: @ABC has learned that Michael Cohen has entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

There was another report (CNN's) that this is looking like a straight plea, not a cooperation agreement.
posted by zachlipton at 10:41 AM on August 21 [33 favorites]


Full apeshit to me is the risk of launching a war or firing Mueller. He's wanted to fire Mueller since day 1 and has not yet despite his total lack of self-control and morals. So I assume that somehow some Rs have convinced him behind the scenes that doing so would be catastrophic. But as an actual catastrophe gets closer and closer to him, the hypothetical one holding him back gets less and less persuasive. So any time there's a huge development IMO we get closer to when he snaps. May not be this time, but it's going to happen. He'd rather destroy the world rather than suffer any consequences himself.
posted by chris24 at 10:43 AM on August 21 [29 favorites]


So any time there's a huge development IMO we get closer to when he snaps.

A narcissist's rage will eventually translate into action of (to the narcissist) appropriate scale. No impulse control, no empathy, and an ever-increasing sense of injury must lead to lashing-out and there are really only a few paths this could take:

(1) Attack the rule of law. Fire Mueller, fire Rosenstein, fire Sessions, arrest enemies, who knows what else.
(2) Physically attack a nation perceived as weaker; literally punching down. Iran, presumably. It wouldn't go good.
(3) Rage-quit. Sudden resignation followed by a prolonged dotage of grifting and stoking grievance cultism.

In order of most-to-least likely.
posted by Rust Moranis at 10:55 AM on August 21 [26 favorites]


So any time there's a huge development IMO we get closer to when he snaps. May not be this time, but it's going to happen.

Trump has a campaign rally tonight, which should be -- 'interesting' isn't the right word, but.
posted by cjelli at 10:55 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


Vanity Fair taps its anonymous sources from Trumpland for their latest: “They’re Squeezing Don Jr. Right Now”: As the Mueller Siege Tightens, Trump’s Twitter Rage Crests
In recent weeks, Donald Trump has privately expressed doubts about White House lawyer Don McGahn’s loyalty. Trump has vented to aides that McGahn doesn’t support the House Freedom Caucus’s quixotic campaign to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—a bank shot that would leave Robert Mueller unprotected. McGahn has also clashed with Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, whom one Republican said McGahn “hates with the intensity of 1,000 burning suns.” There has been talk of Trump replacing McGahn with his outside lawyer Emmet Flood.

But The New York Times’ revelation that McGahn had spoken for more than 30 hours with Mueller’s investigators has rattled Trump and the West Wing to the core, according to three of Trump’s outside advisers, causing Trump to ratchet up his Twitter war on Mueller to new heights. Over the weekend, Jared Kushner described Trump’s mood as “rip-shit,” according to one of the advisers. “Total meltdown” was how another adviser put it. “He’s extremely frustrated,” a Republican close to the White House said.

Since news broke of McGahn’s extensive cooperation with Mueller, Trump has been lashing out on Twitter. “He’s got to frame the narrative. He thinks the media is like a shark: you’re either feeding it or it eats you,” one Republican close to the White House said. Privately, Trump blames his precarious position on the people who work for him. Trump’s fury at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, already raging, has been stoked thanks to Sessions’s refusal to resign after months of public abuse. “You can’t talk to Trump without him bringing up Sessions,” one adviser said.

Trump’s frustration with Sessions has even caused him to turn on Giuliani. Over the weekend, Trump blamed Giuliani for the entire Russia probe. According to a person to whom the conversation was described, Trump loudly said to his lawyer: “It’s your fault! I offered you attorney general, but you insisted on being secretary of state. Had I picked you none of this would be happening.”
And for the coda, a unnamed "person close to the Trump family" told VF's reporter, “A lot of what Trump is doing is based on the fact [that] Mueller is going after Don Jr. [...] They’re squeezing Don Jr. right now.”
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:09 AM on August 21 [48 favorites]


That Vanity far piece reminds me, I've been thinking for a while that the things Trump goes Twitter rants about aren't always directly related to the days events. I can't recall the specifics but there was something that came out here recently from way early in the Mueller investigation. It just so happened that when that interview, or event or what have you was taking place, Trump had a Twitter Tantrum. Everyone kind of logically chalked it up to whatever was in the news that day, but it was more likely about the stuff that people didn't know about yet pertaining to the investigation.

For all we know, that is what is happening now.
posted by Twain Device at 11:13 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


"A lot of what Trump is doing is based on the fact [that] Mueller is going after Don Jr. [...] They’re squeezing Don Jr. right now.”

If it's what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer.
posted by chris24 at 11:14 AM on August 21 [111 favorites]


Cohen watch:

@EamonJavers: CNBC cameras in Manhattan spotted Michael Cohen entering a building that houses the FBI field office in New York at about 1:45 pm.

@JenniferJJacobs: BREAKING: Federal court hearing set for Tuesday at 4p for Michael Cohen.
posted by zachlipton at 11:14 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


Over the weekend, Jared Kushner described Trump’s mood as “rip-shit,” according to one of the advisers. “Total meltdown” was how another adviser put it. “He’s extremely frustrated,” a Republican close to the White House said.

I know it's petty to revel in this, but I do. Or I would, anyway, but for two things: first, most obviously, the consequences for real people when he vents his frustration and rage, as he inevitably will; and second that his mood has been described in these selfsame terms at so many points in the last eighteen months, and on every single occasion he's failed to stroke out, rage-quit or do anything other than keep on keeping awfully on. One way or another, I'm afraid we're in this for the duration.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:15 AM on August 21 [28 favorites]


Does anyone actually believe any of these gossipy, behind-the-scenes stories of palace intrigue being continually dished out by "unnamed White House sources"? They all read like bad fanfiction to me.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:22 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


> He thinks the media is like a shark: you’re either feeding it or it eats you

All models are wrong, but some are useful. -Box (I think)
posted by klarck at 11:22 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


Over the weekend, Jared Kushner described Trump’s mood as “rip-shit,”

It's amazing how much new vocabulary I've learned from the Trump regime. Is this part of DeVos's education plans?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:23 AM on August 21 [23 favorites]


Personally, I don't have a very hard time believing that Trump goes through life in a state of constant rage fits and blaming others for his problems.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:24 AM on August 21 [37 favorites]


So if Cohen pleads guilty today, the discussion about whether or not the case proceeds before or after the mid-terms is moot, right?
posted by AwkwardPause at 11:31 AM on August 21


CNN:
As part of the plea deal under discussion, Cohen is not expected to cooperate with the government, one source said. However, by pleading guilty both Cohen and prosecutors would avoid the spectacle and uncertainty of a trial.
I find it sort of hard to believe DOJ would agree to a simple plea without cooperation simply to avoid trial when they're about to secure at least a partial guilty verdict against Manafort with similarly strong evidence. But if so, this could mean either Cohen really doesn't have anything to give up, or more likely, Mueller already has whatever Cohen told him.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:33 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Does anyone actually believe any of these gossipy, behind-the-scenes stories of palace intrigue being continually dished out by "unnamed White House sources"? They all read like bad fanfiction to me.


At any reputable outfit, the "unnamed sources" are only unnamed in print, the reporter tells the editor who the source is, and they keep track of each source's statements so they know if they are saying X to one reporter and Y to another. This has limitations, the sources can say different things to different papers without worrying too much about getting caught, and of course, they can exaggerate their stories to seem better/more important. And they can lie, of course, just like anybody else. But judicial use of an unnamed source by a respectable journalist shouldn't by itself be a cause for alarm. To the contrary, I'm very skeptical of criticism that takes aim primarily at the use of unnamed sources, it's an easy way to muddy the water and disingenuously suggest that a story someone doesn't like is just made up.
posted by skewed at 11:33 AM on August 21 [53 favorites]


I didn't know that, skewed! I thought unnamed meant unnamed forever and ever. Good to know!
posted by sperose at 11:35 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Trump has a campaign rally tonight, which should be -- 'interesting' isn't the right word, but.

I think it's time for protests to surround this dipshittery. Up to now, it looks like mainly the left has been hands off, knock yourself out in your shitty little enclaves, but these people need to be surrounded by other people yelling 'this is bullshit'.

Enough.

Time to confront, as if they were the bunch of racists they so clearly are.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:36 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


December 2015.

@MichaelCohen212
@HillaryClinton when you go to prison for defrauding America and perjury, your room and board will be free!
posted by chris24 at 11:36 AM on August 21 [96 favorites]


The Times adds a new detail: Trump’s Former Fixer, Michael Cohen, Reaches a Plea Agreement Over Payments to Women
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors investigating payments he made to women for Mr. Trump but has not agreed to cooperate, two people familiar with the matter said.
If that holds up, if the plea is specifically over the payments (and I note that "payment" and "women" are plural) and not his taxi medallions or loans or any of the other stuff, holy shit.
posted by zachlipton at 11:36 AM on August 21 [30 favorites]


That Vanity far piece reminds me, I've been thinking for a while that the things Trump goes Twitter rants about aren't always directly related to the days events.

Precisely. And that's really the only justification for passing along Vanity Fair's glossy magazine version of RUMINT. Sometimes, despite the dismally low signal:noise ratio, something accurate slips through, though confirmation comes long after, if ever.

Does anyone actually believe any of these gossipy, behind-the-scenes stories of palace intrigue being continually dished out by "unnamed White House sources"?

In VF's favor, they've be covering Trump closely for decades and have built up a network of sources that's as good as, if not superior to, the Washington Post and the New York Times (why else did the Grey Lady hire Maggie Haberman, who's been covering/cultivating Trump since her early days at the New York Post?). That said, we're only hearing filtered versions of the stories these anonymous sources want to spread. (For instance, that VF article's sources don't appear to have mentioned Omarosa even once, which fits the Trump White House's overall media strategy of distraction.) Caveat lector, as always.

Speaking of anonymously sourced reporting, the NYT says: Trump’s Former Fixer, Michael Cohen, Reaches a Plea Agreement Over Payments to Women "Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors investigating payments he made to women for Mr. Trump but has not agreed to cooperate, two people familiar with the matter said."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:36 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


To clarify: I don't take issue with quoting unnamed sources. It's that their content is so comfortingly schadenfreudelicious and also that they come from people who chose to work for this administration, which automatically makes me skeptical of their being given in good faith.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:39 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


To clarify: I don't take issue with quoting unnamed sources. It's that their content is so comfortingly schadenfreudelicious and also that they come from people who chose to work for this administration, which automatically makes me skeptical of their being given in good faith.

The other lens to unnamed sources is that a lot of what's given in good faith as true is still being selectively leaked to frame a story in a particular way, for purposes totally unrelated to the pursuit of truth: a lot of the leaks around Mueller-adjacent stuff, for example, are probably leaks by Trump's defense team & adjacent hangers-on, who might want to get stuff out in the air early, or want to signal what investigators know so that it's easier for people to keep their (false) stories straight, or who want to build a case for a pardon, or [whatever]. A lot of the Kushner & Kelly related leaks are (allegedly) because of in-fighting within the administration; stuff can be true but also not paint a complete picture of the truth. As ever, cui bono?
posted by cjelli at 11:47 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


VoteSaveAmerica.com is live now. This is the Pod Save America guy's tool for people to get involved, find events, look at sample ballots and all kinds of fun stuff. Give it a look!
posted by adept256 at 12:03 PM on August 21 [22 favorites]


None of these anonymice are leaking in good faith or with the best interest of the republic at heart. Schadenfreude has to be factored in, but every time we learn about the inner workings of the Trump White House, it comes off as a den of thieves, and an incompetent one at that. We just have to read between the lines to infer the possible motives behind the leaks.

For instance, just now an anonymous source told Politico's Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) that "Donald Trump's schedule ahead of the midterm elections is being held open for at least 40 days of travel, per person familiar. Predecessors G.W. Bush had 33 days and Obama had 36 days. States identified so far include N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Missouri, Nevada, Kentucky, Tennessee".

There's no reason why the Trump White House couldn't have announced that formally, unless they were afraid that Trump could cancel unpredictably or a major crisis could ground Donald in D.C. As it is, this leak gets the message out to Trump supporters and GOP faithful in those states. And Tiger Beat on the Potomac comes off looking like it has a special source for insider information. For the rest of us, though, it promises more insane Trump rallies, so buckle up…
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:06 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]




So, I'll guess we'll know more in an hour+, but doesn't the language of "taking a plea deal" but "agreed not to cooperate" just REEK of playing for a pardon? Like if I was Cohen and wanted to somehow use the media to get these tidbits to the Prez, this is how I would play it- all the quotes about avoiding the spectacle of a trial and not cooperating could minimize Trump's animosity toward him, yet serve as that "Hey, if you don't pardon me for this, we might have an issue" reminder.

I'm sorry for the idle speculation, and I believe others have pointed this out already, but doesn't this seem concerning? Either the sentence for the plea deal is so light that somehow he did give something up, or he's holding on hope for that pardon. Perhaps state charges are waiting in that event, but it's one more hiccup on the road to justice.

So looking forward to the day when we can stop attributing N dimensional chess to a bunch of assholes playing chutes n ladders.
posted by andruwjones26 at 12:08 PM on August 21 [10 favorites]


So, I'll guess we'll know more in an hour+, but doesn't the language of "taking a plea deal" but "agreed not to cooperate" just REEK of playing for a bargain?

Judd Legum: If Cohen pleads guilty to a campaign finance violation involving the payment(s) to Daniels and/or McDougal and agrees to a statement of facts that he discussed the payments with Trump it doesn't matter whether he is formally "cooperating" or not. Stay tuned.
posted by PenDevil at 12:13 PM on August 21 [35 favorites]


I think they're all playing Diplomacy.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:14 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


at the risk of engaging in more uneducated speculation - im not sure why the way this is coming out would suggest Cohen is (still trying to) work on a bargain - from his negotiating perspective, once hes agreed to plead guilty, he kind of doesnt have a lot of leverage there. The thought behind striking a cooperating deal is that he gives up information in exchange for getting out of a trial . . . but hes made it clear hes already going to plead guilty so why would prosecutors fear going to trial? Similarly, from Mueller's perspective, he would need to think Cohen had additional useful information which would imply that he doesnt know everything Cohen knows AND that he thinks Cohen has more info which Mueller needs to make his case (which also seems unlikely).

Guilty plea + non cooperation looks, to my eye, like hes hanging his hopes on a pardon. . . which is also a weird play from a guy who has so clearly alienated the person who would be pardoning him?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:14 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Neal Katyal: "Whether the agreement today specifies cooperation or not, Cohen can (and very likely will) cooperate given jail on line. The big news is that @nytimes is reporting his plea is to payments to silence women, a campaign finance vio that implicates Trump. NOT just taxis and taxes."
posted by BungaDunga at 12:15 PM on August 21 [21 favorites]


Josh Marshall at TPM:
According to current reports, Michael Cohen has agreed to a plea deal in which he will plead guilty to a number of charges tied to charges related to most of the issues we’ve heard about: hush payoffs, bank fraud, taxes. The deal includes jail time, though we don’t know how much yet.

Here’s the question. There doesn’t appear to be a “deal”, at least in the sense of agreeing to cooperate. So why not? The Times says negations for that kind of deal “fell part.” But if that’s true, why is Cohen pleading guilty?

There are a few possibilities here.

One is that the Special Counsel’s Office just doesn’t need Cohen. So he’s, to put it baldly, screwed. They don’t need him so there’s really nothing he can offer to limit his sentence. Another version of that possibility is that everything he has to offer they already know. Again, he’s not useful enough to get a deal.

Another, related possibility is that our assumptions have wrong: He just doesn’t know anything. Or he doesn’t know anything about collusion. Mueller may be going after Manafort for stuff unrelated to collusion. But I think that’s because he has high confidence that Manafort knows the real, big story of what happened. Maybe they simply don’t think Cohen knows enough.

Another possibility – the most plausible one, I think, from people I’ve talked to – is that Cohen is caught so dead to rights on these corruption charges that prosecutors in the SDNY (presumably in consultation with the Special Counsel’s Office and the highest level officials in the Justice Department) that they don’t think they need to promise anything. A more formal deal to cooperate may emerge post-plea. But there’s no guarantee. In this scenario, Cohen has no protection. He will have to be as helpful as he can going forward to try to reach a deal and hopefully (for him) some accommodation from the government.

Somewhat bolstering this last possibility is the fact there are contradictory reports about whether he’s agreed to cooperate. I suspect these may be semantic distinctions between having a formal cooperation agreement (which seems not to exist) and just a factual statement that he is going to be cooperating.
posted by lazaruslong at 12:17 PM on August 21 [21 favorites]


I'm sorry Exceptional_Hubris, I typoed bargain instead of pardon. Obviously very different things in this context...no way he can bargain with SDNY after taking the plea.

It does sound like either him cooperating or taking a pardon are inevitable- unless he's really willing to spend some time in prison. Not sure if he's looking at a few years or something more permanent though.
posted by andruwjones26 at 12:18 PM on August 21


For instance, just now an anonymous source told Politico's Christopher Cadelago (@ccadelago) that "Donald Trump's schedule ahead of the midterm elections is being held open for at least 40 days of travel, per person familiar. Predecessors G.W. Bush had 33 days and Obama had 36 days. States identified so far include N. Dakota, S. Dakota, Missouri, Nevada, Kentucky, Tennessee".

In this particular case, it's such a stupid use of anonymity that we know exactly what happened, thanks to one reporter giving away the game.

@kaitlancollins: The White House just held a conference call with reporters to discuss the president’s schedule for the midterms. But they required reporters to attribute the information to "a person familiar with the president's thinking." No name. Not even a generic title.

So the White House demanded it be an anonymous source. Then they turn around and whine about anonymous sources and call them "fake news." And everybody goes along with it.

Reporters shouldn't play this game with the White House. Not with any White House, but especially not this one. Even without breaking the agreement or just not reporting on it, why not be explicit about it? "Per a person familiar with the president's thinking, who organized a conference call for hundreds of reporters on the White House press list and then refused to be identified despite regularly decrying anonymous sources."
posted by zachlipton at 12:19 PM on August 21 [66 favorites]


Sen. Collins just said Kavanaugh told her he agrees w Roberts' take on Roe V Wade - that it is settled law.

Curiously, not a single hard-right anti-abortion Republican has come out opposing the nomination.

Gee, I wonder why?
posted by JackFlash at 12:19 PM on August 21 [24 favorites]


Another possibility is that everything Cohen knows about misdeeds by Trump etc. are tied up in his own malfeasance, such that his confession in the plea agreement will include everything he could offer Mueller regardless.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:21 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


If Cohen is expecting a pardon, wouldn't he want to fast-track the broadest possible conviction for himself?
posted by schmod at 12:22 PM on August 21


If he pleads guilty to crimes x,y, and z, but there is no connection between the conduct of x, y, and z and crimes p, q, and r, there is nothing preventing the feds from later indicting him for p, q, and r. So the 'deal' might be "don't fuck with us, we have plenty of other shit on you that we haven't burned yet, plead guilty now and we'll go relatively soft on you for sentencing."


At the federal level, prosecutors can ask the court for a reduced sentence after sentencing (up to a year I believe) for "substantial assistance". Generally, this is not as good a deal for a defendant as it would be to do a regular plea bargain, but it can still amount to a big cut, if the assistance so warrants.
posted by skewed at 12:30 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Curiously, not a single hard-right anti-abortion Republican has come out opposing the nomination.

That'd be an interesting false-flag-ish astroturf play if some bazillionaire was bored ("Wrong about Roe v Wade, Wrong for America"?), but that's probably wandering a bit too close to the flames of the fake news fire.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:31 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Wasn't the long-time Trump accountant accessed (not the right word) via the Cohen investigation? So Cohen could just be collateral damage now.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:33 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


"If Cohen is expecting a pardon, wouldn't he want to fast-track the broadest possible conviction for himself?"

If Cohen is pardoned, he can't plead the Fifth when asked to testify against Trump.

(I mean pleading out closes off a lot of avenues to plead the Fifth as well.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:35 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Isn't Cohen mobbed up to his eyeballs? Might be that he wants the appearance of not cooperating.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:38 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


I don't see why Trump wouldn't just pardon him again for refusing to testify.
posted by Justinian at 12:38 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Cohen is also open to any number of state government level charges from if a pardon were issued.
posted by cmfletcher at 12:41 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I don't see why Trump wouldn't just pardon him again for refusing to testify.

At the point where that's happening, I'm not sure why Trump wouldn't already have preëmptively pardoned Cohen already -- thinking about, say, Ford's pardon of Nixon. At the point where Trump is willing to tear up norms to that degree I'm not sure why he would want to wait until Cohen admits that a bunch of a crimes happened in relation to Trump's presidential campaign.

Technically, sure; but I'm not sure it seems likely given the events that have happened.

But also: back to not speculating about things we'll know way more about within a few hours.
posted by cjelli at 12:43 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


@Evan_Rosenfeld: BREAKING: Fox News’ @johnrobertsFox, citing sources, reports Michael Cohen’s guilty plea includes 3-5 years in jail
posted by zachlipton at 12:44 PM on August 21 [43 favorites]


Cohen is also open to any number of state government level charges from if a pardon were issued.

Not for the same or equivalent crimes for which he receives a federal pardon. NY has a double jeopardy law which attaches to any crime for which he receives a federal pardon. So any crime charged in NY would have to be new and different.

If he cheated on federal taxes it isn't unreasonable to believe he cheated on state taxes, though, and those would be chargeable.
posted by Justinian at 12:45 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


@Evan_Rosenfeld: BREAKING: Fox News’ @johnrobertsFox, citing sources, reports Michael Cohen’s guilty plea includes 3-5 years in jail

Cohen's plea should be enough on its own to charge Trump himself with criminal campaign finance violations and enough to impeach. If he were any other person in the world other than the President, he'd be going to jail too. If he were a Democrat, he'd be impeached already just on this alone. The President is inarguably a criminal.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:50 PM on August 21 [103 favorites]


If he cheated on federal taxes it isn't unreasonable to believe he cheated on state taxes, though, and those would be chargeable.

His business partner, the "taxi king," was originally charged with failure to remit MTA surcharges for his taxi business (a $0.50 per ride tax). So, there's likely a long list of state financial charges that Cohen could/may still face that have nothing to do with federal crimes or even federal tax filings.
posted by melissasaurus at 12:54 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Just because it feels good to be reminded how out of whack the world has become: The President of the United States' long time attorney is set to plead guilty to campaign finance and bank and tax fraud violations as a result of his paying, with the President's approval and knowledge, two women hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep silent about their prior sexual relationships with the President.

And nobody in a position to do something about it is doing anything about it.

(Yet?)
posted by notyou at 12:57 PM on August 21 [70 favorites]


The President of the United States' long time attorney

and Deputy Chair of the RNC Finance Committee...
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:02 PM on August 21 [93 favorites]


In obviously a coincidence in Michael Cohen's legal world, the Daily Beast's Olivia Messer (@ OliviaMesser) reports: "Judge Kimba Wood, who was overseeing the materials seized from Michael Cohen, on Tuesday accepted a final set of privilege recommendations by the special master, which found “7,146 of those items are privileged, 8 are partially privileged, and 285 are highly personal.” None of those items—out of 3.2 million—may be supplied to the government as part of its investigation, Wood ruled."

In addition, Michael Avenatti (@ MichaelAvenatti) promises: "The developments of today will permit us to have the stay lifted in the civil case & should also permit us to proceed with an expedited deposition of Trump under oath about what he knew, when he knew it, and what he did about it. We will disclose it all to the public."
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:02 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


And nobody in a position to do something about it is doing anything about it.

(Yet?)

Are you looking for the phrase "surely this"?
posted by jaduncan at 1:03 PM on August 21 [18 favorites]


@Evan_Rosenfeld: BREAKING: Fox News’ @johnrobertsFox, citing sources, reports Michael Cohen’s guilty plea includes 3-5 years in jail

Mikey doesn't need a plea deal to tell what he knows. He's now going to a not-so-nice place for a few years, while his client/boss faces no such penalty. All those years of loyal service in the muck, and what does he get? A sentence of 3-5. Mikey may well become a Highly Motivated Speaker.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:04 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


@JesseRodriguez: SOON: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Burr & Vice Chairman Warner to make a rare joint statement on camera @MSNBC

I, for one, am glad something is finally happening on this dead quiet news day.
posted by zachlipton at 1:06 PM on August 21 [79 favorites]


It's been quite an infrastructure week today, zach.
posted by Justinian at 1:13 PM on August 21 [82 favorites]


Outside of Roswell, a stunned alien looks out over an utterly empty press conference room.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:14 PM on August 21 [83 favorites]


the writers are just really letting it all out in today's episode - Cohen just walked in to court at literally the moment it is being reported there is another note from the jurors in the Manafort case.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:16 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


The Burr&Warner statement is essentially claiming Cohen likely perjured himself in his testimony about whether he had prior knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting if I interpreted what I heard correctly.
posted by Justinian at 1:21 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


If I see a single "surely this" said without a healthy dollop of irony and eye-rolling I will unplug the Internet for the rest of the week kiddo, and don't think for a second that I won't.
posted by Tevin at 1:22 PM on August 21 [12 favorites]


Manafort verdict, Cohen guilty plea, and Senate Intelligence joint statement, all in the next hour. Special thanks to Eris, Greek goddess of chaos, for making sure to line this all up on my lunch break. Super convenient!
posted by Rhaomi at 1:22 PM on August 21 [28 favorites]


Trump has a campaign rally tonight, which should be -- 'interesting' isn't the right word, but.

I'm waiting for the Hannity monologue. Shit is going to be 🔥 af.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:22 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Holy crap. Burr says they talked to Cohen again about the Trump Tower meeting, and he now says he knew about the meeting before it happened, which contradicts his testimony to the committee. They say they want him back and hope his plea deal won't interfere with that.

Cohen is in court. The plea agreement involves 8 counts. Details on what those are to come.

Waiting on word from the Manafort jury's note. NBC reports that they've reached an verdict on 8 out of 18 counts. Not on 10 counts yet. Unclear whether they'll be sent back to talk more.

Trump unscripted on stage in a couple hours.

Every good musical needs a Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number (caution: TV Tropes)
posted by zachlipton at 1:23 PM on August 21 [19 favorites]


The Manafort jury has indicated that they have reached a verdict on 8 counts and are deadlocked on 10. I have no idea if thats good or bad news.
posted by Justinian at 1:25 PM on August 21


Bit late, but
Isn't it illegal to accept campaign contributions from foreign entities? Or am I wrong about that, because it sure seems like it ought to be.
52 U.S. Code § 30121 - Contributions and donations by foreign nationals
(a) Prohibition It shall be unlawful for—

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national....
I am certain this law is why Rupert Murdoch created Fox News
posted by 6ATR at 1:25 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


From:
Verified account @spettypi (at Bloomberg)

MANAFORT VERDICT COMING
posted by Sophie1 at 1:26 PM on August 21


I expect the judge will send them back to deliberate further if they are deadlocked on 10.
posted by Justinian at 1:27 PM on August 21


Please don't be 8 counts of "not enough evidence for this highly technical charge" and 10 counts of "a MAGA hat infiltrated the jury and hasn't actually given away the game aside from deadlocking it."
posted by Slackermagee at 1:28 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


If they are deadlocked on 10 is that a hung jury?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:28 PM on August 21


Ten seems like a lot.
posted by notyou at 1:28 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I regret to inform you that there is more.

@HardballChris: Omarosa says she has video tapes. She's going to bring one to #Hardball tonight at 7.

NBC reports that the judge will poll the jury and try to see if additional deliberation will be productive.

For Cohen! @jriley8832: Counts 1-5 tax evasion. 6 — false statement to bank. 7 - causing unlawful corp camp contrib. 8 - making an excessive campaign contribution.
posted by zachlipton at 1:29 PM on August 21 [19 favorites]


The Manafort jury has indicated that they have reached a verdict on 8 counts and are deadlocked on 10. I have no idea if thats good or bad news.

In hindsight I guess there was no way this didn't end with Cohen and Manafort being convicted of the same number of crimes at the exact same time.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:29 PM on August 21 [33 favorites]


Every good musical needs a Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number (caution: TV Tropes)

This metaphor signifying we're only at the end of Act I is chilling but also pretty accurate. (I'm not gonna duck out at intermission but I'm tempted.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:31 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


If they are deadlocked on 10 is that a hung jury?

Yes, a mistrial on 10 counts and a verdict on 8.

The judge is now polling the jurors as to whether they think they will be able to reach any more unanimous verdicts. So he may indeed be considering declaring a mistrial on 10 counts tonight. Which means we'll have 8 verdicts in hours.

It seems likely to me that its either 8 guilty or 8 not guilty counts rather than a split but nothing this jury does would surprise me at this point.
posted by Justinian at 1:32 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


NBC News is confirming that verdicts reached on 8 counts, “hopelessly deadlocked” on 10 counts. We’ll be hearing a Manafort verdict tonight.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:34 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Manafort found guilty on five counts of tax fraud.

[“tonight” = in two minutes]
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:36 PM on August 21 [30 favorites]


MANAFORT GUILTY ON 5 COUNTS OF FELONY TAX CHARGES, more to come.

Here's the full Burr and Warner statement. They "recently reengaged" with Cohen and his lawyers after press reports that Cohen knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance, despite Cohen's testimony to the contrary. They want to hear from him again and hope this plea won't be a problem for that.
posted by zachlipton at 1:36 PM on August 21 [22 favorites]


Manafort guilty on felony tax fraud.

Hooray!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:36 PM on August 21 [10 favorites]


Guilty on 8 counts. We don't know what the other 3 are.

But he is manafucked.
posted by Justinian at 1:38 PM on August 21 [53 favorites]


Shimon Prokupecz: Manafort found guilty of 5 tax fraud charges, 1 charge of hiding foreign bank accounts, and two counts of bank fraud.


Ouch.
posted by Justinian at 1:41 PM on August 21 [16 favorites]


Hung jury on 10 counts of nuanced white collar crime. It's almost like the fucking judge should have given the fucking prosecution enough time to explain the fucking charges. It's eye opening to me just how many ways our system is fucked.
posted by H. Roark at 1:41 PM on August 21 [98 favorites]


Dearly Beloved we are gathered today to celebrate this thing called schadenfreude.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 1:42 PM on August 21 [108 favorites]


OMG I am so relieved. Not giddy with happiness, not luxuriating in schadenfreude. Just relieved that some parts of our system appear to be in mostly working order, facts are acknowledged as such, and judgments are rendered appropriately.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:44 PM on August 21 [50 favorites]


I hope the prosecution goes after him on the remaining ten. I demand more blood.
posted by nubs at 1:44 PM on August 21 [13 favorites]




Does he get sentenced today on the counts he was found guilty of?
posted by lazaruslong at 1:45 PM on August 21


I wonder if the government will decide to retry him (Manafort) on the counts for which the jury couldn't reach a verdict.

He's facing 240 years in prison (that's 2,880 months in federal prosecutor language). Not bad.
posted by holborne at 1:45 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


[Guys you need to clarify if you're talking about Cohen or Manafort, both male felons found guilty on 8 counts. CONFUSING!]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 1:46 PM on August 21 [222 favorites]


2 questions:

1. My friend said that’s 240 years in prison for those charges. Is that true?
2. He also said that on CNN ppl were cheering and clapping. Anyone have a clip of this?
posted by gucci mane at 1:46 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Does he get sentenced today on the counts he was found guilty of?

Nope. The court will set a sentencing date and the parties will make submissions arguing for this or that sentence.
posted by holborne at 1:46 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


He's currently in Air Force One, so that'll be a substantial audience.

And God help us all when he takes the stage in WV in....2 hours, 15 minutes.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:46 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


@PPVSRB: Cohen admits to working “at direction of the candidate” Trump and national enquirer to silence Karen McDougal. He also admits to Stormy Daniels payment that he made “with and at direction of the same candidate.”

Wow. He's pleading guilty to a criminal conspiracy involving the President.
posted by zachlipton at 1:47 PM on August 21 [197 favorites]


That is maybe my favorite mod note ever.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:47 PM on August 21 [114 favorites]


Called it. Cohen didn't need a cooperation agreement because the plea admission is his testimony implicating Trump.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:48 PM on August 21 [57 favorites]


My friend said that’s 240 years in prison for those charges. Is that true?

I'm assuming they were referring to the statutory maximums. As Popehat says: [T]his number — the sum of the maximum sentence for all the crimes charged in a federal case — usually bears almost no relation to the sentence the defendant actually faces.
posted by teraflop at 1:49 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Wow. [Cohen’s] pleading guilty to a criminal conspiracy involving the President.

I was told there’d be cake.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:49 PM on August 21 [67 favorites]


1. My friend said that’s 240 years in prison for those charges. Is that true?

If you mean the charges Manafort was found guilty on, not quite. 240 years was the maximum he could have been sentenced if he had been found guilty on all 18 counts. He was found guilty on 8. I believe the max on the ones he was found guilty of is more like 50 or 55 years but I haven't seen the math yet.
posted by Justinian at 1:49 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


So, will Manafort theoretically be out of prison before his natural life ends?
posted by Melismata at 1:50 PM on August 21




Today is shaping up to be quite the year, isn't it?
posted by mrjohnmuller at 1:51 PM on August 21 [145 favorites]


Oh damn I thought the 18 charges together was like 360 years and the 240 was these 8.
posted by gucci mane at 1:51 PM on August 21


Wow. He's pleading guilty to a criminal conspiracy involving the President.

Criminal conspiracy to do what? (geniune question, not Trumpy retort)
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:51 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


So, will Manafort theoretically be out of prison before his natural life ends?

He'll do 3-5 years and be released for good behavior.
posted by dilaudid at 1:52 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


He could easily be, but he could just as easily get 8 years (which at this point I expect because why wouldn't it be another 8) -- prison sentences for multiple convictions don't just add up in sequence. It all feeds into a complicated sentencing guideline that provides a recommended minimum and maximum for the judge.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:53 PM on August 21


So, will Manafort theoretically be out of prison before his natural life ends?

That is completely up to the whims of Judge Ellis, so ...
posted by JackFlash at 1:53 PM on August 21


SHIT IS GOING DOWN PEOPLE! I REPEAT! SHIT IS GOING DOWN!

@kept_simple: need a word for when it's all happening yet nothing is gonna happen
posted by zachlipton at 1:53 PM on August 21 [51 favorites]


Federal prison sucks ass (I assume, having first-hand experienced how hard a county jail sucked even for the short time I was there). Even 5 years in the pokey will be FUCKING MISERABLE for Paul Manafort. I mean, he's going to get pardoned basically instantly but a girl can dream.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:53 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]




He'll do 3-5 years and be released for good behavior.

Nope. No parole in the federal system. If he's sentenced to 55 years, that's what he serves, minus maybe five to six years.
posted by holborne at 1:54 PM on August 21 [17 favorites]


He'll do 3-5 years and be released for good behavior.

...and then, like Conrad Black, get a job writing for National Review.
posted by clawsoon at 1:54 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Criminal conspiracy to do what? (geniune question, not Trumpy retort)

Violate campaign finance law by arranging payoffs to former mistresses in order to avoid bad election PR by one or more of them coming forward.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:54 PM on August 21 [18 favorites]


I think in addition to the campaign finance law violations there’s some bank and tax fraud tucked in there, because God knows that’s the only way they know how to manage money.
posted by notyou at 1:56 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]




I still highly doubt the Republicans will do anything, but wouldn’t it be best for them and Trump to be impeached for campaign violations instead of conspiracy with a foreign nation? Wouldn’t the investigation go away then?
posted by gucci mane at 1:57 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


As one person on Twitter summed up TODAY:

—Manafort guilty on 8 counts
—Cohen guilty plea
—Trump nixes coal rules
—DJT hits Clapper
—Eliz. Warren speech
—Collins/Schumer meet Kavanaugh
—VP on Capitol Hill
—Nazi guard deported
—Chris Steele wins in court
—Rand on NATO/Russia
—Omarosa on Hardball
—Trump rally in WV
posted by Bella Donna at 1:58 PM on August 21 [56 favorites]


Violate campaign finance law by arranging payoffs to former mistresses in order to avoid bad election PR by one or more of them coming forward.

Per a thing I saw by one of Fox News' own talking-judge-heads a while back: It's important to remember that at least in one case (McDougal), she was paid by the Enquirer with the understanding that the story would be published. Instead, they bought the story to spike it.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:59 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I'm really hoping for a meltdown in WV.
posted by Tarumba at 1:59 PM on August 21 [16 favorites]


wouldn’t it be best for them and Trump to be impeached for campaign violations instead of conspiracy with a foreign nation? Wouldn’t the investigation go away then?

Michael Cohen was the Deputy Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee until this summer.

This is not going away.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:00 PM on August 21 [65 favorites]


As one person on Twitter summed up TODAY:
and (also metaphorically) Silent Sam torn down at UNC.
posted by Harry Caul at 2:00 PM on August 21 [33 favorites]


Popehat speaking for all of us: I took an Ativan.
posted by Justinian at 2:00 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


Boston Globe: Giuliani was never 'America's Mayor'. Nothing we don't already know, but a good refresher.
posted by Melismata at 2:01 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


What happens if 45 pardons both of them in an unscripted, off the cuff fit at the podium tonight?
posted by zrail at 2:02 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


What happens if 45 pardons both of them in an unscripted, off the cuff fit at the podium tonight?

Endgame.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 2:02 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I find some satisfaction that this is all happening on the day that prisoners across the country have started a labor strike.
posted by mcduff at 2:02 PM on August 21 [50 favorites]


I'm not really the best political strategist, but can Democrats run on the platform of impeaching the President now?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:02 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


Omarosa might have picked a bad night for this tape drop. She might have some media competition.
posted by greermahoney at 2:03 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Michael Cohen was the Deputy Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee until this summer.

This is not going away.


So hypothetically if the Republicans did actually impeach Trump and he was ousted, and Pence sworn in, would Mueller still be investigating all this?
posted by gucci mane at 2:03 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


What happens if 45 pardons both of them in an unscripted, off the cuff fit at the podium tonight?

Somebody upthread said a pardon means that they would have to answer questions that Mueller poses to them, so it may not be a good idea to pardon them. Likewise, Cohen just directly implicated Trump in his plea.
posted by gucci mane at 2:06 PM on August 21


Pfft. You’re all acting under the impression that the unnamed candidate Cohen is talking about is Trump. What if it’s... dunn dunn dunnnnnn... Clinton? That would explain EVERYTHING.

I bet someone somewhere at Fox is trying on that spin for size right about now.
posted by lydhre at 2:07 PM on August 21 [39 favorites]


Sentencing for Cohen is set for December 12th, and he's out on $500,000 bail. Going to be interesting to see what happens between now and then. I hear there's an election? A Supreme Court nomination? Does anything matter?

@eorden: Michael Cohen just exited federal court to screams of “Lock Him Up!”
posted by zachlipton at 2:08 PM on August 21 [71 favorites]


would Mueller still be investigating all this

You bet your ass he would.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 2:10 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


(SLCNBC) The White House is preparing a new executive order expanding rules favoring American-made products in government projects, according to four administration officials and two other people familiar with the matter.

The order, which is said to be nearing completion, would apply current "Buy America" provisions to programs where they do not currently exist. In particular, the rules will apply to infrastructure projects such as roadways, pipelines and broadband.

Earlier iterations of the order sought broader — and stricter — mandates for federal agencies to source U.S. goods and services, but the language was significantly tailored during the review process as procedural and ideological roadblocks arose, three of these people said.

The release of the order would conclude a contentious process that's lasted more than six months in which multiple federal agencies and offices — the Department of Defense, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Office of Management and Budget and the White House's Office of Legal Counsel — raised concerns about the potential purview of the order, originally proposed by one of President Donald Trump's key trade advisors, Peter Navarro.

Reached for comment, Navarro said: "It's not my job to correct fake news."
posted by Bella Donna at 2:10 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I made a new Fucking Fuck venting thread, coincidentally just as the Cohen and Manafort news hit.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:11 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


What happens if 45 pardons both of them in an unscripted, off the cuff fit at the podium tonight?

We’ll almost certainly find out. Maybe not tonight, but probably before the end of the week. Or does sentencing have to be handed down before a pardon can be made?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:12 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Who knew there were so many witches in the world.

Trump personal lawyer/RNC Deputy Chairman - GUILTY
Trump Campaign Manager - GUILTY
Trump Deputy Campaign Manager - GUILTY
Trump Senior Campaign Advisor - GUILTY
Trump National Security Advisor - GUILTY
Trump - Un-Indicted co-conspirator
posted by chris24 at 2:13 PM on August 21 [89 favorites]


Sentencing for Cohen is set for December 12th

So, almost four months from now. Is that normal?
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:15 PM on August 21


Somebody upthread said a pardon means that they would have to answer questions that Mueller poses to them, so it may not be a good idea to pardon them.

Wouldn't the fact that they might still be charged with, and convicted of, state crimes even after a federal pardon mean they could still avail themselves of their Fifth Amendment right not to testify, at least regarding things that might incriminate them on state charges?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:15 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


What happens if 45 pardons both of them in an unscripted, off the cuff fit at the podium tonight?

Cohen basically named Trump as a co-conspirator twice in his plea. I would doubt Trump is in a pardoning mood for him.
posted by chris24 at 2:16 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Manafort didn’t announce an appeal because presidential pardons are cheaper than appellate costs.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:16 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


As if it couldn't get any better, don't forget to buckle up for this year's edition of Muellerween!

It was just a little over a year ago that we first heard the good news.
posted by Krazor at 2:17 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Who knew there were so many witches in the world.

Trump personal lawyer/RNC Deputy Chairman - GUILTY
Trump Campaign Manager - GUILTY
Trump Deputy Campaign Manager - GUILTY
Trump Senior Campaign Advisor - GUILTY
Trump National Security Advisor - GUILTY
Trump - Un-Indicted co-conspirator


Can we please get a photo of their faces all in one photo with the word GUILTY pasted over them in red? Pretty please?
posted by gucci mane at 2:17 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Sentencing for Cohen is set for December 12th, and he's out on $500,000 bail.

Wonder if it'll be revoked like Manafort's for blabbing too much.
posted by Melismata at 2:18 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]




Sentencing for Cohen is set for December 12th

So, almost four months from now. Is that normal?


Well Michael Flynn plead guilty on December 1, 2017 and just had his sentencing moved back for the 4th time, to September 2018.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 2:19 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Trump doesn’t know what pardoning means. He thought the WH Counsel was his personal servant to order about. He has no understanding of his job or laws.

He’s gonna get up on the podium in WV and “pardon” will come out of his mouth or a tweet relatively soon because he has no idea what he’s doing. He’s like a trapped animal.

He is unpredictable.
posted by sio42 at 2:19 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


has anyone made the ‘art of the plea deal’ joke yet
posted by Sys Rq at 2:20 PM on August 21 [114 favorites]


Federal prosecutors in the Cohen case are speaking at a press conference: 5 counts of tax evasion for years 2012-2016 for not reporting ~$4m in income, including millions in interest from a personal loan, his taxi business, and smaller amounts of brokerage commissions, and consulting fees. They say he owed the government ~$1.3m he didn't pay.

Next count is false statements in connection with a $500k HELOC for failure to disclose $14M in debt.

Then two campaign finance charges. One for causing an unlawful corporate contributions and a second for making for the purpose of influencing the 2016 election. He worked to pay money to silence two women who had information that he believed would be detrimental to the 2016 campaign and the candidate and the campaign. He sought reimbursement for the payments by submitting untrue and false invoices to the candidate's company "for services rendered for the year 2017," but they were a sham as he did not provide legal services.

"He is going to pay a very very serious price."
posted by zachlipton at 2:20 PM on August 21 [36 favorites]


CAKE FOR EVERYONE.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:22 PM on August 21 [13 favorites]


So the Grand Old Party's chief financial officer pleads guilty to a number of financial crimes. The GOP has to be as dirty, or dirtier, than the President himself. By the time this is done, we're going to discover there is, in fact, a swamp--that over half of our elected and appointed government officials are utterly corrupt, going back years and years.

And because we're a society with a hell of a lot more racists than we were willing to acknowledge, and the GOP can count on their support, they might get away with it.
posted by maxwelton at 2:23 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


Riots. Or at least there should be a massive protest on the scale of the contingency plans for the firing of Mueller

General strike.

Start getting ready for it. Just treat it as any other disaster you're supposed to prepare for anyway. Stock up on shelf-stable foods, medicines, hygiene products, et cetera. Persuade your neighbors to do the same. Persuade your fellow left wing Deep State gay space communists to do the same. When enough ot the country is explicitly preparing for a general strike, it's 1. more likely to actually happen, and 2. the mere prospect of it will be enough to make the right peopel scared instead of us.
posted by ocschwar at 2:23 PM on August 21 [35 favorites]


Trump's mirror is the oily sheen on a filthy swamp, as it turns out.
posted by Rumple at 2:26 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


So the Grand Old Party's chief financial officer pleads guilty to a number of financial crimes. The GOP has to be as dirty, or dirtier, than the President himself. By the time this is done, we're going to discover there is, in fact, a swamp--that over half of our elected and appointed government officials are utterly corrupt, going back years and years.

Manafort worked for Reagan. That should be shouted from the rooftops.
posted by dilaudid at 2:26 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


So, almost four months from now. Is that normal?

In federal criminal cases sentencing is usually a month or two after plea/guilty verdict. For more complex cases it can be longer. They are often delayed on the government or defendant's motion, for pretty much any legitimate reason (vacation, difficulty contacting witnesses, etc.). Sentencing hearings can be like a mini-trial in some cases, even when there's been a guilty plea. Four months seems like it's on the high side, but maybe they wanted to wait until after the November elections.


Source: former fed court employee
posted by skewed at 2:28 PM on August 21 [10 favorites]


Nice Cohen capsule summary from Chris Hayes:

“Today, in federal court, the President's fixer said the president directed him to break campaign law to cover up an explosive allegation a few days before an election that the president won by 77,000 votes across three states.”
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:28 PM on August 21 [112 favorites]


And also Bob Dole!
posted by notyou at 2:29 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


> Manafort worked for Reagan. That should be shouted from the rooftops.

And also Bob Dole!

Hell, Trump already reminded everyone about this.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:31 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Truth is apparently something that can send your ass to jail though.
posted by East14thTaco at 2:31 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


In other news, Molly Tibbetts was apparently murdered by an undocumented immigrant, which means that Steve King is definitely getting reelected, and I think the chances are looking a lot more grim for any Democrat in Iowa this year. Sigh.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:31 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Robert Costa: standby for news

Does anyone have a brown paper bag.
posted by PenDevil at 2:32 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


Or does sentencing have to be handed down before a pardon can be made?

You don't even need to be indicted. See: Nixon. About the only thing that can't be pardoned are actions that haven't happened yet.
posted by BungaDunga at 2:34 PM on August 21


The pipedream I've harbored for the better part of a year:

GOP campaign financing undisputedly corrupt with organizations like the NRA funneling foreign, mostly Eurasian, money into various PACs with the approval and sometimes assistance of party elders and associated media personalities/networks. DJT fell into this money pit and, being DJT, could not help but help himself bigly. This gluttony shattered the GOP containment field and the whole fucking party goes the way of the Whigs and No Nothings. In its place, a sensible center-right party forms leaving us with two centrist parties and associated fringe elements. The whole ordeal scarring the republic to such an extent that serious campaign and election reforms are enacted with bipartisan support.

This is the only way history absolves us of this fucking mess. Today's news pushes this whole narrative closer to the surface.

[spelling and grammatical edits]
posted by Fezboy! at 2:36 PM on August 21 [16 favorites]


If you, like me, like reading the documents yourself, here's Cohen's plea deal.

Because today, eight shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be eight, the document is eight pages long.
posted by zachlipton at 2:36 PM on August 21 [59 favorites]




In the 8th month.
posted by Melismata at 2:38 PM on August 21 [25 favorites]


Everything I’m reading is “Cohen plea deal” but barely any mention that Cohen was instructed to do those things by Trump, which should be a fucking huge bombshell.
posted by gucci mane at 2:39 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


In two weeks the Republican Senate is going to confirm a Supreme Court Justice nominated by a criminal president, who has already said that that president can never be indicted.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:39 PM on August 21 [40 favorites]


Is there any way that this would be used to justify accelerating the nomination process for Kavanaugh? Or rather, how long before some one tries doing that?
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:40 PM on August 21


Trump just answered a question about Manafort. His answer was essentially "Paul who? Also, witchhunt."
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


GRAHAM: "I don't know how much you can expect President Trump to know about his business practices before he signed on. But I do believe that if the government knew Manafort was a shady character they should have told the Trump campaign..."

From dignity wraith to full soulless Nazagul (Nazigul?)
posted by jaduncan at 2:41 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Trump exiting AF1 on Manafort. He's "sad" about it: "This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as russian collusison. This has absolutely nothing to do. This is a witch hunt and a disgrace. This has nothing to do with what they started out. I feel very bad for Paul Manafort. He worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Regan...This was not the original mission, believe me. Had nothing to do with Russian collusion, we continue the witch hunt."

He does not respond to shouted questions about Cohen.

(Video)
posted by zachlipton at 2:41 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


Robert Costa: standby for news

Does anyone have a brown paper bag.


Trump adviser Larry Kudlow hosted publisher of white nationalists at his home
posted by zombieflanders at 2:41 PM on August 21 [21 favorites]


Forget Kavanaugh’s papers. We’ve got multiple felons involved at the highest levels of the campaign and administration. That’s grounds enough to call for at least stalling his confirmation. (I’m aware of the Senate math.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 2:42 PM on August 21 [30 favorites]


"I don't know how much you can expect President Trump to know about his business practices before he signed on.“

Aren’t the campaigns suppose to be vetting these people? It’s not the FBI’s responsibility to do it for you 🙄
posted by gucci mane at 2:42 PM on August 21 [40 favorites]


"This has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as russian collusison. This has absolutely nothing to do. This is a witch hunt and a disgrace. This has nothing to do with what they started out. I feel very bad for Paul Manafort. He worked for Bob Dole, he worked for Regan...This was not the original mission, believe me. Had nothing to do with Russian collusion, we continue the witch hunt."

Not to worry, the Manafort collision trial is up next!
posted by jaduncan at 2:43 PM on August 21 [19 favorites]


"I don't know how much you can expect President Trump to know about his business practices before he signed on.“

Trump has known Manafort for 40 years. He knew exactly what he was getting.
posted by ryoshu at 2:45 PM on August 21 [50 favorites]


As if being "a shady character" were a bug and not a feature for these clowns. Lindsey Graham is a disgrace.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:45 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Oddly, FoxN actually headlines with 'violating campaign finance laws 'at direction of' Trump'.
posted by Harry Caul at 2:46 PM on August 21 [15 favorites]


No, that indictment drops next week.

Mueller is laying a solid foundation, brick by brick. It's going to be wild watching Trump freak out about Russian Collusion as he's indicted for good old tax and bank fraud. If there's no-one who can get him to understand the truth here, that's theoretical 25th Amendment territory.
posted by mikelieman at 2:48 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


But I do believe that if the government knew Manafort was a shady character they should have told the Trump campaign..."

Didn't Obama specifically warn Trump about Flynn, to no avail?
posted by Rumple at 2:48 PM on August 21 [23 favorites]


[I know we're all eating cake right now, but try to slow down on riffing and context-free reaction to random talking heads saying exactly what we'd expect them to say on cable news; look for more substantive takes or at least put things in context.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 2:49 PM on August 21 [17 favorites]


Robert Costa: standby for news

From the Washington Post's Kudlow article, "Peter Brimelow attended the gathering, a birthday bash for Kudlow, one day after a White House speechwriter was dismissed in the wake of revelations that he had spoken alongside Brimelow on a 2016 panel.

"Brimelow [...] has become a zealous promoter of white-identity politics on Vdare.com, the anti-immigration website that he founded in 1999."

Kudlow claims that he never knew about Brimelow's offensive views—which, incidentally include writing on his site that Kudlow "certainly has the ancestral Jewish fondness for immigration and he's certainly toed the supply-side line on free trade etc., which some of them extend to immigration."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:52 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I mean, a different publisher of white nationalists was the White House chief strategist. That seems like a bigger deal than Kudlow's birthday party guests.
posted by zachlipton at 2:52 PM on August 21 [21 favorites]


Rod Rosenstein outlined scope for special counsel probe in August 2017
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explicitly authorized the Justice Department's special counsel to investigate allegations that President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman colluded with the Russian government.
...
In addition to authorizing the Russia collusion investigation of Manafort, Rosenstein also specifically authorized Mueller to investigate any crimes related to payments Manafort received from the Ukrainian government during the tenure of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters:
(b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James B. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:
(i) any links and/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).
(c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters
posted by kirkaracha at 2:54 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


I mean, a different publisher of white nationalists was the White House chief strategist. That seems like a bigger deal than Kudlow's birthday party guests.

There was never a Bannon & Cramer show on CNBC
posted by ocschwar at 2:55 PM on August 21


Fox News might be mentioning Trump in that headline, but putting "at direction of" in quotes is them saying "I'm not saying WE'RE saying this, but SOMEONE is saying this."
posted by emelenjr at 2:57 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Yeah, headlines should be leading with BREAKING: Trump ordered Cohen to make campaign finance violations.
posted by gucci mane at 2:58 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


The NYT website lede right now is "Cohen says Trump told him to pay off adult film star." Pretty close, and active voice was used.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 3:01 PM on August 21 [25 favorites]




The Cohen criminal information is out, and it's a read (count 7 is anyway, though check out the rest for Birkin bag shenanigans). This isn't great for American Media:
In or about August 2015, the Chairman and Chief Executive of Corporation-1 ("Chairman-1"), in coordination with Michael Cohen, the defendant, and one or more members of the campaign, offered to help deal with negative stories about Individual-1's relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided. Chairman-1 agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories.
...
Between in or about late August 2016 and September, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, agreed with Chairman-1 to assign the rights to the non-disclosure portion of Corporation-1's agreement with Woman-1 to COHEN for $125,000.
...
However, after the assignment agreement was signed but before COHEN had paid the $125,000, Chairman-1 contacted COHEN and told him, in substance, that the deal was off and that COHEN should tear up the assignment agreement. COHEN did not tear up the agreement, which was later found during a judicially authorized search of his office.
And this is just bad:
MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, caused and made the payments described herein in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. In so doing, he coordinated with one or more members of the campaign, including meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments.
...
In or about January 2017, MICHAEL COHEN, the defendant, in seeking reimbursement for election-related expenses, presented executives of the Company with a copy of a bank statement from the Essential Consultants bank account, which reflected the $130,000 payment COHEN had made to the bank account of Attorney-1 in order to keep Woman-2 silent in advance of the election, plus a $35 wire fee, adding, in handwriting, an additional $50,000. The $50,000 represented a claimed payment for "tech services," which in fact related to work COHEN had solicited from a technology company during and in connection with the campaign. After receiving this document, executives of the Company "grossed up" for tax purposes COHEN's requested reimbursement of $180,000 to $360,000, and then added a bonus of $60,000 so that COHEN would be paid $420,000 in total. Executives of the Company also determined that the $420,000 would be paid to COHEN in monthly amounts of $35,000 over the course of twelve months, and that COHEN should send invoices for these payments.
It goes on to say that the Trump Organization accounted for the payments as legal expenses, when they weren't.

Yeah that all looks really bad. What "tech services" are mixed up with his hush money reimbursement? How do you "gross up" a $180K payment to $360K? They just tossed him an extra bonus on top of that?
posted by zachlipton at 3:07 PM on August 21 [34 favorites]


And now Cohen's lawyer is straight up accusing the President of crimes:

@LannyDavis: Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?
posted by zachlipton at 3:09 PM on August 21 [110 favorites]


Could the Cohen plea lead directly to Trump's income tax returns? Is it likely Mueller already has those returns?
posted by Rumple at 3:09 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


And now Cohen's lawyer is straight up accusing the President of crimes:

@LannyDavis: Today he stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election. If those payments were a crime for Michael Cohen, then why wouldn't they be a crime for Donald Trump?

Unindicted but loudly tweeted co-conspirator.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:11 PM on August 21 [20 favorites]


Is it likely Mueller already has those returns?


I am absolutely sure Mueller has the returns.
posted by suelac at 3:11 PM on August 21 [25 favorites]


I wish I felt happier about these crooks having to answer for their crimes. Our country has been hurt by their greed (and racism) and it's going to take a lot more to put things right.
posted by stowaway at 3:12 PM on August 21 [10 favorites]


It goes on to say that the Trump Organization accounted for the payments as legal expenses, when they weren't.

That's tax fraud, isn't it?
posted by notyou at 3:13 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


California Republican congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife apparently just got indicted by a federal grand jury, because someone decided there wasn't enough political news today.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:13 PM on August 21 [72 favorites]


Rep. Hunter and his wife were indicted for using campaign money for personal expenses.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:15 PM on August 21 [19 favorites]


California Republican congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife apparently just got indicted by a federal grand jury, because someone decided there wasn't enough political news today.

The DOJ, in a rush to get its cases in or done before the 60 day pre-election "quiet period," breaks newsrooms coast-to-coast.
posted by notyou at 3:16 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


Here's the Duncan Hunter press release from DOJ (not seeing the actual indictment yet).

He and his wife accused of illegal use of campaign funds from 2009-2016 for vacations, school tuition, and other personal expenses, mischaracterizing them in FEC filings. From the press release: "Family dental bills paid with campaign funds were charactirzed as a charitable contribution to 'Smiles for Life'...Tickets for the family to see Riverdance at the San Diego Ciivic Center became 'San Diego Civic Center for Republican Women Federated/Fundraising'"
posted by zachlipton at 3:20 PM on August 21 [12 favorites]


In or about January 2017, COHEN left the Company and began holding himself
out as the "personal attorney" to Individual-1, who at that point had become the President of the United States.
Anyone with any idea who this Individual-1 could be? I have a hunch it's James K. Polk.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:21 PM on August 21 [80 favorites]




The Trump Arrest Montage gets more and more real.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:21 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Duncan Hunter is a huge Trumpist, too
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:21 PM on August 21


In the Cohen plea agreement, although the penalties for the crimes total to 65 years, under federal sentencing guidelines as a first offender, prosecutors are asking for 46 to 63 months.
posted by JackFlash at 3:22 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


[Yo, the women who slept with Donald Trump are not "whores" and you are all very above that shit.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:25 PM on August 21 [210 favorites]


On a day when news sites can't figure out whether the PRESIDENT'S LAWYER IMPLICATES HIM IN CRIME headline should come before the PRESIDENT'S CAMPAIGN MANAGER DID A TON OF FRAUD headline, Fox News has figured what should be at the top of their website: Brown Person Commits a Murder, Maybe
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:25 PM on August 21 [21 favorites]


My favourite part of the Hunter story below in italics.

(CNN) Rep. Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, were indicted Tuesday on charges related to the misuse of $250,000 worth of campaign funds for personal expenses and the filing of false campaign finance records.

The charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy were the culmination of a Department of Justice investigation that has stretched for more than a year, during which the Republican congressman from California has maintained his innocence.

Republican Party leaders had long worried that with a potential indictment looming, Hunter's traditionally safe district which makes up much of eastern San Diego County could be at risk of Democratic takeover in November's midterm election.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:29 PM on August 21 [22 favorites]


GOP's Chief Goalpost Mover.

Well I think Graham is performing a real public service here:

The American legal system is working its will in both the #PaulManafort and #MichaelCohen cases.

Thus far, there have yet to be any charges or convictions for colluding with the Russian government by any member of the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

He's just pointing out we're only part way through the story with plenty more charges and convictions to come, so keep the popcorn popping.
posted by gusottertrout at 3:29 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Ammar Campa-Najar is the dem running against Hunter in CA-50. RCP has the race as lean republican, but that was obviously based on polls that were done before today's news.

Can the republicans substitute another candidate for Hunter at this point?
posted by nathan_teske at 3:40 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


@tparti
Source close to the White House says what a lot of people are thinking, with Trump on his way to W. Va.: "What if he pardons Manafort live on television? This is crisis PR firms worst nightmare.."

Does he not have to at least wait for sentencing?
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on August 21


No, he could have issued blanket pardons even before a crime was charged. Ford issued blanket pardons for uncharged crimes after Watergate.
posted by Justinian at 3:46 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Come on, guys, it was just locker room campaign finance violations.
posted by snofoam at 3:46 PM on August 21 [81 favorites]


In the Cohen plea agreement, although the penalties for the crimes total to 65 years, under federal sentencing guidelines as a first offender, prosecutors are asking for 46 to 63 months.

Cohen still has loads of legal jeopardy ahead, though, right? Just today they made a decision on which of the 8 million items seized from Cohen's office were privileged as attorney-client communication and which weren't (about 7k were deemed privileged).

Or does today's action in court wrap it up for Cohen?

(I understand that Manafort still has more courtrooms to visit.)
posted by notyou at 3:47 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


@mattdpearce: The Rep. Duncan Hunter indictment starts out with a... glum overview of a his finances.

Glum as in "$37,761 in overdraft fees" because that's what happens when you overdraft your bank accounts more than 1,100 times in a seven-year period.

The DOTA 2 charges also make an appearance; they're accused of falsely telling the bank, the FEC, and the public that they were fraudulent charges.
posted by zachlipton at 3:47 PM on August 21 [18 favorites]


does today's action in court wrap it up for Cohen?

Cohen's guilty plea agreement was from the U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York. Regarding Cohen, Special Counsel Mueller hasn't shown his hand yet.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:49 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


You know what’s utterly infuriating? The Trumpists are so bogged down with sunk cost that they don’t even care that Trump took their donations to make America great again and used them as his own personal slush fund to pay for his... indiscretions...

If it turned out Hillary sloshed my money around for Bill I’d be calling for blood. I’m sure Republicans would have impeachment on the floor by COB and demanding either her out or Civil War 2 starting.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 3:49 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


The Trumpists are so bogged down with sunk cost that they don’t even care that Trump took their donations to make America great again and used them as his own personal slush fund to pay for his... indiscretions...

This should be the talking point. He took your MAGA money and paid off his mistresses. Is that how you want your democracy to work?
posted by greermahoney at 3:53 PM on August 21 [51 favorites]


Duncan Hunter took your campaign contributions and went to Costco.
posted by notyou at 3:54 PM on August 21 [18 favorites]


Giuliani is actually trying to pretend Individual-1 is not President Trump.
Trump outside counsel GIULIANI: "There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government's charges against Mr. Cohen. It is clear that as the prosecutor noted Mr. Cohen's actions reflect a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time.”
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 3:55 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Trumpists and the GOP will put up with literally anything so long as doing so affords them the opportunity to brutalize POC and steal money from the public sector.

Appealing to their better senses is simply not worth anyone's time. They are not opponents to be reasoned with, they are enemies to be smashed.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 3:58 PM on August 21 [66 favorites]


nathan_teske: "Ammar Campa-Najar is the dem running against Hunter in CA-50. RCP has the race as lean republican, but that was obviously based on polls that were done before today's news.

Can the republicans substitute another candidate for Hunter at this point?
"

Apparently
he is on the ballot regardless:
At this juncture, Duncan Hunter’s name will remain on the ballot regardless of what he chooses to do. No other GOP candidate can run for CA-50. The only way to remove his name is if that is ordered by a judge. That is a huge development in race for control of US House.
Keep in mind this is a pretty red district (Romney 60-38, Trump 55-40). Cook is moving it to Likely R, but this is still a pretty steep climb.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:00 PM on August 21 [16 favorites]


Rudy: Trump Not Implicated by Crime He Definitely Committed
...there may be a loophole upon which Giuliani can rest his case. Cohen’s plea agreement does not actually name Donald Trump as the co-conspirator. Instead, it simply states that Cohen went to work as an attorney for “Individual 1,” who “became President of the United States.”

That Individual 1 could be anybody.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:00 PM on August 21 [45 favorites]


Stephen Colbert sure picked the wrong week to go on vacation.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:05 PM on August 21 [50 favorites]


> Graham: "if the government knew Manafort was a shady character they should have told the Trump campaign"

Anyone whose been on these threads over the year knows this is complete bullshit; Manafort was extremely well known the world over as the shadiest of shady political operatives.

And Trump, who had worked closely with the Manafort-Stone lobbying firm closely from 1980 through the early 1990s on a wide variety of extremely shady deals, certainly knew it better than most.

But actually proving this might take up to five minutes of googling, so I decided to save everyone the effort.

Apologies for the length. I tried to condense as much as possible, but there is just so much of it, and so much variety of crookedness and criminality. And this list is far from exhaustive.
  • Manafort's lobbying firm, Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, was included in a 1992 report by the Center for Public Integrity titled "The Torturers' Lobby." (NPR, 16 July 2016)
  • Manafort served as adviser to Viktor Yanukovych, Ukrainian presidential candidate with ties to Vladimir Putin. Yanukovych ultimately won his election in 2010 but was removed from office in 2014 after years of suppressing his opposition and the press. . . . spokesman for the Ukraine Freedom Support Group saying that Manafort should not be allowed within 100 feet of government buildings. (Heavy.com, 27 May 2016)
  • helped a scandal-plagued Ukrainian oligarch with ties to political and criminal figures in Russia vpark millions of dollars in offshore real estate investments, according to documents released as part of a federal racketeering suit. (Free Beacon, 31 March 2016)
  • Manafort ... has always been in the Trump orbit ... he did lobbying work for Trump's gambling and real estate interests ... in private business Manafort seemingly went to the dark side, with a shabby but deep-pocketed client list that reportedly included the likes of Mobutu Sese Seko, of Zaire, and Ferdinand Marcos, of the Philippines, both crooked dictators who stole national wealth worth billions of dollars. (29 May 2016, Sydney Morning Herald)
  • a Russian aluminum magnate has accused Manafort in a Cayman Islands court of taking nearly $19 million intended for investments, then failing to account for the funds, return them or respond to numerous inquiries (Washington Post, 26 April 2016)
Bonus Trump crony early-crookedness warning: Broidy pleaded guilty to committing a felony by giving nearly $1 million in illegal gifts (25 May 2016).

None of this is a surprise in the least. Many of us were screaming to high heavens about it back at the time.

The shady shit wasn't some kind of "problem" that no one knew about at the time. It was very well known and in fact the very reason Trump was attracted to him.
posted by flug at 4:05 PM on August 21 [124 favorites]


Can the democrats please run at least partly on an anti-corruption platform to clear government of tax cheats and campaign-finance abusers? We sooooo need more money for the IRS investigate tax fraud, and for more FBI investigations into campaign-finance violations. I'm thinking of what good the democrats can do if (as seems likely to me) they win the house but not the senate. Passing strong ethics-related legislation out of the house and having the republican senate and white house refuse to pass them would be almost as good as them actually passing meaningful legislation.
posted by skewed at 4:06 PM on August 21 [19 favorites]


He took your MAGA money and paid off his mistresses.

Yeah, probably not gonna work. Paying off those women got him elected. They have no morals - they voted for Trump - so they'll see it a smart move. Getting him elected was what they were donating for.
posted by chris24 at 4:07 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


It goes on to say that the Trump Organization accounted for the payments as legal expenses, when they weren't.

Yeah that all looks really bad. What "tech services" are mixed up with his hush money reimbursement? How do you "gross up" a $180K payment to $360K? They just tossed him an extra bonus on top of that?


Grossing-up a number is a common way of making sure that you net-pay the amount you're supposed to, eating the additional tax expense on the behalf of the payee.

There's a very well laid out demonstration in that information about how the Trump Organization accepted and paid fraudulent invoices. I expect when they drill down into the corporate finances, it's going to get really messy.
posted by mikelieman at 4:07 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Duncan Hunter took your campaign contributions and went to Costco.

To be fair, anyone who looked at the Brosentative of Vape Nation and thought "he seems trustworthy with campaign funds" should really know what they're in for.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:09 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Is that how you want your democracy to work?

They don't want democracy. They want an autocracy that promises them status and dehumanises everyone not like them.

Fascism isn't a kind of democracy, and these people want fascism, and they'll gladly pay for it.
posted by Devonian at 4:09 PM on August 21 [76 favorites]


We sooooo need more money for the IRS investigate tax fraud, and for more FBI investigations into campaign-finance violations.

At this point I want the US military to blockade places like Panama and St. Kitts and Nevis to enforce US tax law. Or cut out such tax haven countries from access to the US banking system on the scale of sanctions we use against North Korea and Iran. The root of all of this is a global elite opting out of national laws and the social contract, and usurping national governments to do so.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:10 PM on August 21 [32 favorites]


Can the democrats please run at least partly on an anti-corruption platform to clear government of tax cheats and campaign-finance abusers?

I was saving this story for a break in the news that never came, but since you requested it... One thing that happened this morning that's now maybe the 25th most important politics story of the day is this.

WaPo, Weigel, Elizabeth Warren unveils anti-corruption plan, takes aim at Trump
If Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has her way, federal judges will face steep new ethics standards, high-ranking government officials will be banned from ever becoming lobbyists — and any candidate for president will have to release at least eight years of past tax returns.

“Padlock the revolving door between big business and government,” Warren said Tuesday at the National Press Club. “It’s insane that we have to beg the president of the United States to put the American people ahead of his own business interests. Insane.”

Warren’s speech, focusing on the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act that she’s introducing this week, highlighted a set of transparency reforms that would affect everything from how lobbyists have to report meetings with members of Congress to what would be accessible in Freedom of Information Act requests.
What I don't know is how you break through with this anti-corruption platform when everyone is focused on the non-stop corruption.
posted by zachlipton at 4:11 PM on August 21 [129 favorites]


Ken Starr Just Produced the Most Incredible Hypocrisy in the History of Cable News
“The mandate that Bob Mueller received has some broad language, including ‘related-to’ type of language, which tends to open the door, but there are some checks and balances,” Starr continued to say, “We don’t want investigators and prosecutors out on a fishing expedition.”
posted by kirkaracha at 4:12 PM on August 21 [80 favorites]


Keep in mind this is a pretty red district (Romney 60-38, Trump 55-40). Cook is moving it to Likely R, but this is still a pretty steep climb.

As was pointed out in the long-ago time last week when the other early Congressional supporter of Trump was indicted, this is why you have a 50-state, 535-seat strategy. Hunter only got 47% in the top-two primary (down from 63 percent in the primary in 2016), so Ammar Campa-Najjar is suddenly an actual candidate rather than a sacrificial lamb.
posted by Etrigan at 4:13 PM on August 21 [34 favorites]


Omaraosa's video was absolutely nothing. It's Michael Cohen saying hi as he gets onto a campaign plane in 2016. It's of no interest whatsoever, and I am only posting a comment about it to note that it's over and everyone can stop caring about it.
posted by zachlipton at 4:15 PM on August 21 [36 favorites]


So help me... against my better judgement I'm watching President Shithole's rally in WV out of some morbid curiosity about how much more madly unhinged than usual he may be. Preparing for major SAN damage...
posted by jammer at 4:16 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I'd encourage anyone who wants to subject themselves to the rally (live link) join us in chat and BYOMFB.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:19 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Looks like he's just playing the hits for now. Sadly, if he makes it through without imploding he'll be adored as presidential by the awaiting partisan hacks pundits.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:19 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


@dhm:
This is the funniest part of the Duncan Hunter indictment:
116) On or about March 20, 2015, when DUNCAN HUNTER told MARGARET HUNTER that he was planning "to buy my Hawaii shorts" but had run out of money, she counseled him to buy the shorts at a golf pro shop so that they could falsely describe the purchase later as "some [golf] balls for the wounded warriors."
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:19 PM on August 21 [78 favorites]


What I don't know is how you break through with this anti-corruption platform when everyone is focused on the non-stop corruption.

Is that sarcastic? Honestly don't know. Seems like it would be a no-brainer to introduce a bill to remove the president's exemption from conflict of interest rules.

If Republicans want to oppose it before this tough election, please proceed sir.
posted by msalt at 4:20 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


> Graham: "if the government knew Manafort was a shady character they should have told the Trump campaign"

Recall that Obama, in their meeting in the Oval Office shortly after the election, warned Trump face to face about Michael Flynn -- and Trump still hired him as National Security Advisor.

So, warnings just don't matter to Trump. Shadiness is a positive attribute in his sphere.
posted by JackFlash at 4:21 PM on August 21 [34 favorites]


against my better judgement I'm watching President Shithole's rally in WV out of some morbid curiosity about how much more madly unhinged than usual he may be.

You can at least content yourself in the knowledge that you’re not alone, and at that not even giving up the most to indulge your morbid curiosity. It’ll be one in the morning for me, here on London time, by the time any of this kicks off, and probably a couple-few minutes after that before the real fireworks start. So what I’m confessing is that I actually value the possibility of witnessing a full-on Trumponian meltdown/rage-infarction more highly than I do sweet, merciful sleep.
posted by adamgreenfield at 4:24 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Having taken a look at his website, I can report that Ammar Campa-Najjar has some sound policy proposals and is also really, really ridiculously good-looking.
posted by nonasuch at 4:25 PM on August 21 [18 favorites]


NYT, Facebook Identifies New Political Influence Operation Ahead of Midterm Elections
Facebook said it had identified a new political influence campaign on its platform that appeared intended to disrupt the midterm elections, with the social network finding and taking down 652 fake accounts and pages that were trying to sow discord around social issues.

Some of the accounts in the new influence campaign originated in Iran and Russia, Facebook said.

The campaign’s scale exceeded that of another influence operation that Facebook revealed last month, in which the company said it detected and removed 32 pages and fake accounts that had engaged in activity around divisive social issues ahead of the midterms.
Not really any further details at this point.
posted by zachlipton at 4:27 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Stormy Daniels, a single mom and adult performer – despite physical threats to her and her child, despite ridicule and harassment, despite a politically motivated arrest and detainment – took on the most powerful person in the world and his righthand man and took down Cohen already, implicated Trump in multiple felonies and might help end his presidency.

Hero.
posted by chris24 at 4:29 PM on August 21 [234 favorites]


Um, they're chanting "lock her up," about Hillary Clinton, at the Trump rally. This followed a round of "drain that swamp" chants. I did not detect any hints of irony.
posted by zachlipton at 4:31 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


anti-corruption platform

While a good idea in general, Bob Menendez might not be on board... (and he is unfortunately important if Dems have any chance at flipping the Senate).

Still think its possible to run on that, but would have been nicer if Dems had chosen a different candidate in NJ.
posted by thefoxgod at 4:31 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


So help me... against my better judgement I'm watching President Shithole's rally in WV out of some morbid curiosity about how much more madly unhinged than usual he may be. Preparing for major SAN damage...

I outsource all my sanity-draining Trump rally–watching duties to the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale (@ddale8), who's live-tweeting this gonzo affair. Here are some highlights so far:
—Trump begins by attacking the NFL, which he describes as unpatriotic, and ESPN, for not televising the national anthem. "So while the players are kneeling..."
—Trump lies that U.S. Steel is opening "seven different plants," which is down from eight plants but up from six plants. He varies the lie depending on the day.
—Trump repeats his ludicrously inaccurate monologue about how coal is "indestructible" and you "can do whatever you want" to it, unlike windmills and other kinds of energy, which are not indestructible.
—Trump on West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who is tall and hefty: "He is the largest, most beautiful man."
—After Jim Justice finishes speaking, Trump says, not trying to be funny, that Justice is "6-foot-11." Justice is 6-foot-7. "He's a big man. He's ALL man," Trump says.
—Hours after Trump's lawyer pleaded guilty to crimes and implicated Trump and Trump's campaign chairman was convicted of crimes, the crowd at the Trump rally is chanting "drain that swamp."
—The crowd then proceeded to a "lock her up" chant.
More madness to come!
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:32 PM on August 21 [24 favorites]


I've seen a lot of people saying that Flynn's sentencing being delayed repeatedly is a sign of continued cooperation - is the implication there that the special counsel keeps coming back to him with new evidence to corroborate, and each time for his cooperation he gets a little bit more time on the outside before prison? Like, it wouldn't be Flynn withholding and parceling out info when the sentencing gets close, right? I feel like Mueller wouldn't play that game. Either way, seems like he's done a loooot of talking over the past year.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:34 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


From ddale8: "Trump: "The Democrats want to turn America into one big fat sanctuary city for criminal aliens. And honestly they're more protective of aliens, criminal aliens, than they are of the people.""

That is some straight-up Nazi-ass shit that, even at this hour of this day, sent my eyebrows rocketing up so fast they have yet to decelerate and are rapidly nearing the moon. Democrats and aliens vs. "the people."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:43 PM on August 21 [104 favorites]


—Trump on West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who is tall and hefty: "He is the largest, most beautiful man."
—After Jim Justice finishes speaking, Trump says, not trying to be funny, that Justice is "6-foot-11." Justice is 6-foot-7. "He's a big man. He's ALL man," Trump says.


Every time I think I can't be surprised by anything this man says, he slips in something so utterly baffling that it makes me take notice.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:46 PM on August 21 [20 favorites]


Trump just now: This is the greatest American economy in history. Also, we've "gone up $10 trillion," whatever that means.
posted by Rykey at 4:50 PM on August 21


That is some straight-up Nazi-ass shit that, even at this hour of this day, sent my eyebrows rocketing up so fast they have yet to decelerate and are rapidly nearing the moon. Democrats and aliens vs. "the people."
posted by Eyebrows McGee


🤨
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:53 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


@johnrobertsFox: .@MichaelCohen212 attorney @LannyDavis tells @FoxNews “This is just the beginning” and that Cohen will speak with any investigators (including Mueller) “to make sure the truth about @realDonaldTrump gets out”

@LannyDavis: This is a new beginning for Michael Cohen, his chance to tell the “rest of the story.” On July 2nd Michael announced his independence and his commitment to tell the truth. Now @MichaelCohen212 is committed to continue to do so going forward as can be seen from his sworn statement in federal court today about @realDonaldTrump instruction to @MichaelCohen212 to pay money to 2 women that Mr. Cohen admitted was a campaign finance law violation.

[There's supposed to be a part 3 to Davis's tweet, but it doesn't seem to be forthcoming.] I think Cohen "flipped." Or he wants a pardon.

Oh, and Bret Stephens is now in favor of impeachment. Nobody will care.
posted by zachlipton at 4:53 PM on August 21 [13 favorites]


Trump says, not trying to be funny, that Justice is "6-foot-11." Justice is 6-foot-7. "He's a big man. He's ALL man,"

Trump lies about his own height, so he must also exaggerate the heights of people standing nearby so as not to give himself away.
posted by contraption at 4:54 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]




LOL NYT : For a witch hunt, Mr. Mueller’s investigation has already bagged a remarkable number of witches. Only the best witches, you might say.
posted by Rumple at 4:57 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


Also, in the United States we have the worst human trafficking problem in history right now. And it's because of the internet. [Real]
posted by Rykey at 4:58 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


At this point I want the US military to blockade places like Panama and St. Kitts and Nevis to enforce US tax law. Or cut out such tax haven countries from access to the US banking system on the scale of sanctions we use against North Korea and Iran. The root of all of this is a global elite opting out of national laws and the social contract, and usurping national governments to do so.

I'm no fan of tax havens, but maybe we should fix those at home first before we start going after other countries?
posted by Tsuga at 5:06 PM on August 21 [13 favorites]


AL Franken endorsing my long-held view of Manafort: My wife Franni has been saying for months that Trump won’t pardon Manafort—because he doesn’t have to. Her theory is simple and chilling. Manafort knows that if he talks, the Russians will seek retribution.

[Facebook link]
Franni has been saying for months that Trump won’t pardon Manafort—because he doesn’t have to. Her theory is simple and chilling. Manafort knows that if he talks, the Russians will seek retribution. Trump knows this too, Franni believes. Perhaps, even, he and Putin discussed this in Helsinki.

PUTIN: Have no worry about Manafort talking. He knows is dead man if takes plea.

TRUMP: Wow! Good to know.

PUTIN: Same goes for interpreters. You hear me, you two?! Yuri, tell American interpreter I am serious.

RUSSIAN INTERPRETER: He means it. He’ll have us both killed.

PUTIN: Very painful death.

RUSSIAN INTERPRETER: Very painful. Most likely a nerve agent.

Okay, I don’t know if that actually happened. Maybe they just talked about adoptions. The point is, under Franni’s theory, Trump doesn’t have to pardon Manafort to keep him quiet. So, he won’t.

Which would be pretty telling. Look, I don’t like Donald Trump. Like many of us, I am sickened by his words and actions on an almost daily basis. And, in the grand scheme of things, his behavior towards the other sickening people he has surrounded himself with since getting into politics isn’t the biggest deal. I mean, separating children from their parents at the border is infinitely worse than letting your former campaign chairman spend the rest of his life in prison. For one thing, Manafort kind of deserves it.

But, if, down the road, Trump starts pardoning every other player in this collusion scandal who didn’t cop a plea, but not Paul Manafort, it will say something so deeply disturbing about Donald Trump.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:06 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


MAGA rallygoers aren't supporting Trump in spite of everything because "the economy is strong."

Funny the flag and all the handheld signs all say 2016 still. These are supposed to be 2020 campaign events but from the bits and pieces a hear, DJT never seems to talk much about the 2020 race.

Maybe it'll turn out to be a good thing that these people are donating to the campaign early so they'll have less to give if and when he makes it to the actual campaign season.
posted by p3t3 at 5:10 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


During the rally, Trump announced "We are going to put a tax of 25% on every car that comes in from the European Union."

Officials had previously said that talks would continue and tarriffs wouldn't be imposed. I have no earthly idea if he's just saying stuff and nobody will remember it tomorrow or if this is an actual announcement of policy that's really happening and therefore major news.

He also said something about his mom cooking turkey that wouldn't really make any more sense if I gave you the context.
posted by zachlipton at 5:11 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


> Manafort worked for Reagan. That should be shouted from the rooftops.

Hell, Trump already reminded everyone about this.


And he did it again, just before his WVA rally (VOA): "Paul Manafort's a good man. He was with Ronald Reagan. He was with a lot of different people over the years. I feel very sad about that. It doesn't involve me, but I still feel, you know, it's a very sad thing that happened. It has nothing to do with Russian collusion. This started as Russian collusion, this has absolutely nothing to do… it's a witch hunt, and it's a disgrace!"

Meanwhile, Trump's more or less off the rails in WVA, and Daniel Dale gauges, "I'd currently assess Trump's hingedness level as above-averagedly hinged, by his rally hingedness standards. This is subject to change."

More highlights:
—The crowd delivers bigger boos for Maxine Waters than for Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
—Trump makes the same case in all of his speeches in red states with Dem incumbents, such as North Dakota and West Virginia: a vote for the local incumbent is effectively a vote for Schumer, Pelosi and Waters.
—Trump lies: "By the way: the wall, right now, that wall is coming along...it's moving along very nicely...it's going up."
Construction of Trump's wall has not begun. There are scattered fence-replacement projects.
—"Sir" alert: Trump claims he came to West Virginia before the election and told coal miners he'd help them learn how to make "little widgets or gidgets or gadgets," but they responded, "Sir, we wanna keep coal."
—Trump is boasting of West Virginia having achieved GDP growth near the top of the nation. That was the first quarter of 2017. In the fourth quarter of 2017, West Virginia had fallen to 44th in the country, at a mere 1 per cent growth.
—Trump chides "fake news," then the Russia "witch hunt." He says, "Where is the collusion?...You know, they're still looking for collusion! Find some collusion!"
—Trump on Rocket Man: "I won't say it because I don't want to insult Chairman Kim...Elton John! I don't wanna insult, so I'm not gonna mention it. But the fake news back there said heee is going to get us into a war! He's craaazy! This guy is craaazy! Our president is craaazy!"
—Best "sir" yet: Trump says he was blasting NATO members for not paying their bills, and then: "Somebody said 'sir' - this is the president of a country calling me sir!"
—Trump repeats his lie that the U.S. is paying "close to 90% of the cost of protecting Europe." U.S. defence spending is 72% of total NATO defence spending, not all of which goes to protecting Europe.
At this point, Dale observers, "As per usual, Trump is getting less hinged." More to come!
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:11 PM on August 21 [24 favorites]


This is the funniest part of the Duncan Hunter indictment:

The list of things in the indictment is incredible and absurd. Along with the shorts there is:

$14261 on a family trip to Italy (After telling the Nazy to "go fuck themselves". Hunter represents San Diego.).
$463 on tequlia shots at a bachelor party
$300 on the water bill and $700 at the dentist
$300 at a horse track
$250 on flying a pet to DC
$1912 at a Steelers game
$1582 on video games on Steam (I would give anything to see the list of PC games he purchased)
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:18 PM on August 21 [36 favorites]


"We have the cleanest country in the world right now. No other country is cleaner."

His brain might be so swiss-cheesed with tertiary syphilis that he has more spirochetes than neurons, but he still has his finger on the pulse of the authoritarian personality.
posted by Rust Moranis at 5:19 PM on August 21 [16 favorites]


More from the WVA rally, via Shareblue managing editor Kaili Joy Gray (@ KailiJoy): “'It's got to gestate. The word gestate. It's like when you're cooking a chicken. Turkey for Thanksgiving. My mother made the best turkey.'

“A thing Trump just said. Yes, really.”

This was in reference to asking Congress members to be patient on tariffs.

Seriously, Trump is cognitively impaired.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:22 PM on August 21 [69 favorites]




@TwitterSafety: Working with our industry peers today, we have suspended 284 accounts from Twitter for engaging in coordinated manipulation. Based on our existing analysis, it appears many of these accounts originated from Iran.

----

This is not the most important thing that happened today, but one weird detail is that Cohen was asked the standard question of whether he had drugs or alcohol in the last 24 hours (judge isn't taking your plea if you're too drunk or high to understand what you're doing), and he responded:
“Yes, your honor. Last night at dinner I had a glass of Glenlivet 12 on the rocks,” he said to some laughter.
This has been bothering me. He was not asked to identify the brand; "It was clearly a bit of showmanship."

I know I’d at least pick up the 18 year if I was about to plead guilty to a bunch of felonies and implicate the President in crimes, but he’s the expert here.
posted by zachlipton at 5:26 PM on August 21 [55 favorites]


Ten Takeaways from the Craziest Day Yet of the Trump Presidency:
.... 10) Believe it or not, all this remarkable news will all be largely forgotten by Monday. That is until the NEXT time we have the nuttiest news day of the Trump presidency...
posted by growabrain at 5:28 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


David Roberts:
The dominant theme of the Trump years: He is what he seems to be. The people around him? They are as they appear. What's going on? Just what it looks like. It's all right there. It's just taking everyone a long time to believe/accept that it is what it is.
posted by gwint at 5:29 PM on August 21 [108 favorites]


Trump: Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem was a brilliant move, because it took Jerusalem off the table for future negotiations with the Palestinians.

Um, also: the "elite" aren't the elite. It's the people here, in West Virginia, who are the elite, who actually have more money than the so-called elite do. [Real]
posted by Rykey at 5:30 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


"You are all already rich" is an interesting evolution of the "I will make you all rich" canard.
posted by penduluum at 5:43 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


The real richness was in their hearts all along, penduluum.

Can someone explain the Embassy thing? How does it improve the negotiating position when you reduce the number of items you can use to offer concessions?
posted by Justinian at 5:45 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


(I haven't had time to find out who #3 was...)

Jeff Sessions. Not being flippant. Totally true.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 5:50 PM on August 21 [27 favorites]


Can someone explain the Embassy thing? How does it improve the negotiating position when you reduce the number of items you can use to offer concessions?

Ron Howard: No one could explain it.
posted by Rykey at 5:52 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


The Duncan Hunter indictment taught me a new word: malversation.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:53 PM on August 21 [17 favorites]


How does it improve the negotiating position when you reduce the number of items you can use to offer concessions?

Giving things up makes you look weak, and the person who makes the most concessions in a deal is the loser. Thus, burning your bargaining chips on an arbitrary whim before negotiations even begin is a Power Move.
posted by contraption at 5:53 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Last round of WVA highlights via Dale:
—Trump with his 12th lie about how he had the first tax cuts since Reagan: "How come it's been Ronald Reagan since you got the last big tax cut. And they looked at me and said, 'We don't know!'" Even if he's only talking Republicans, George W. Bush passed major tax cuts.
—Trump denounces social media "censorship": "I would rather have fake news than have anybody, included liberals, socialists, anything...stopped and censored...we'll live with fake news."
Trump called in October for the revocation of networks' broadcast licenses.
—Trump on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh: "Central casting. How do you vote against him?"
—"The Space Force. That's very exciting. We need it. That's the new frontier...militarily, that's where it's at."
—Trump on what happened when he was contemplating moving the embassy to Jerusalem: "Every country: don't do it, don't do it, don't do it, please don't do it. DON'T DOO ITTT." He says he thus stopped taking foreign leaders' calls for five days.
—Trump to his supporters: "We're the smart ones. Remember. I say it all the time: you hear, 'the elite'...you're smarter than they are, you have more money than they do...let them have the word elite. You're the super-elite."
—Trump on himself and "the elite": "I'm smarter than they are. I have many much more beautiful homes than they do. I have a better apartment at the top of Fifth Avenue. Why the hell are they 'the elite?' ...To me, I'm insulted."
—Trump says Patrick Morrisey will come to him and say, "THEY DON'T WANNA WIN SO MUCH. THEY CANNN'T STANNND IT." He says, he'll respond, "I don't care WHAT THE HELLLL THE PEOPLE OF WEST VIRGINIA WANT WE'RE GONNA KEEP ON WINNING ANYWAY."
Dales concludes, "Trump has concluded after about an hour and 15 minutes, longer than usual. No mention of Cohen, Manafort, or Mueller, and less time spent on the Russia probe - just a couple sentences - than at most events."

All in all, Trump's behavior wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated, certainly not after today's breaking news, but excerpting his speech at length serves as a reminder of how badly abnormal he is. (The transcript doesn't convey how much he's playing to his audience or how easily it comes to him, like a mad medicine showman or vaudeville MC.) The media's continuing problem with covering Trump is that the few sound bites that will be shown on cable news and the excerpts that will appear in print can't convey the cumulative effect of his rallies.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:56 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


So here is a twitter link to a picture of the Manafort jury verdict form. (Click on the picture to embiggen). I doubt this is the actual form filled out by the jury. More likely it is an identical copy filled out by a journalist in the courtroom as the verdicts were read. But it is still interesting to look at either way.

You can see what the jury was faced with. Notice that the counts go up to 32, but only 18 of them are listed. That suggests that the prosecution pruned down their original list of charges before submitting them to the jury.

They found guilty on all five of his falsified tax returns from 2010 to 2014.

Note that in a couple of cases the jury found guilty of "bank fraud" but not "conspiracy to commit bank fraud" for the same loans of $3.4 million and $1 million. Apparently conspiracy is harder to prove.

And then it looks like they just kind of gave up on bank fraud for his most recent loans of $5.5 million, $9.5 million and $6.5 million.
posted by JackFlash at 5:57 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Notice that the counts go up to 32, but only 18 of them are listed. That suggests that the prosecution pruned down their original list of charges before submitting them to the jury.

The other charges were against Gates
posted by edeezy at 6:00 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


No other country is cleaner

I mean, I know its Trump, but he was just in Singapore a few months ago and he says this?
posted by thefoxgod at 6:05 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


The other charges were against Gates

Ah, thanks edeezy.
posted by JackFlash at 6:08 PM on August 21


(It’s so weird to hear Michael Cohen described, on every NPR news break, as the President’s “former lawyer and fixer.”) Mob lingo is now in the news writer style guide.
posted by notyou at 6:10 PM on August 21 [17 favorites]


Can someone explain the Embassy thing? How does it improve the negotiating position when you reduce the number of items you can use to offer concessions?

There are specific situations where irrevocably committing to a course of action can force the other party to make concessions. If you can credibly say "I am doing this no matter what," you can (sometimes) coerce the other party into doing whatever would be best for them if you do the thing. There are a bunch of examples, but all the ones I can think of are in games, like ripping out your steering wheel and throwing it out the window when playing Chicken. You might notice that this is an extremely dangerous strategy: if your counterpart is suicidal, or you misjudge their desires, or they think you threw a decoy steering wheel, or they try the same strategy, or they just plain didn't see that you tossed the steering wheel, then you die.

How might this apply to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by reventlov at 6:10 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


I know I’d at least pick up the 18 year if I was about to plead guilty to a bunch of felonies and implicate the President in crimes, but he’s the expert here.

This is one of the things that most annoys me about the super-rich (or more broadly, governments that facilitate the acquisition and hoarding of huge wealth due to their lack of eye-watering progressive tax bands, i.e. basically all of them nowadays):

The people who are driven to hog all of the money have terrible taste, never enjoy their money and - worst - never spend it properly. They're so cheap! Why shouldn't Cohen get whatever 50 year-old single cask they have behind the bar, at $200 / measure? Dude, you got away [for a while] with not paying $1.4 million in taxes, at least put that back into the economy! Paul Manafort may be an utterly ammoral scumbag, but at least he's buying $15,000 ostrich-leather jackets with his blood-soaked and ill-gotten gains. More respect for that than sitting on a pile of money so large that you will never touch 99% and neither will anyone else. I mean, my estimation of Mark Zuckerberg would instantly go up a hundred times if he were, say, buying jackets made of spidersilk woven by cocaine-addled Golden Orb Weavers reared in special farms in Monaco, instead of his stupid hoodies.

Naturally I am assuming that none of the above would consider doing something more useful with their money beyond "just spend it, for god's sake". We're not talking schools and hospitals here, just gold-plated helicopters upholstered with vellum or whatever.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 6:13 PM on August 21 [41 favorites]


Federal grand jury today indicted seven men, all former officials of President Nixon's Administration or of his 1972 reelection campaign, on charges of covering up the Watergate scandal.

Never before have so many close and trusted advisers of an American President faced criminal accusations in a single indictment.

All were charged with conspiracy — a conspiracy, the Igrand jury said, that continued “up to and including” today six were charged additionally with obstruction of justice; two with perjury and three with false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the grand jury or both.
(NYT - MARCH 2, 1974)
posted by growabrain at 6:19 PM on August 21 [13 favorites]


This is the happiest day of my life.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:20 PM on August 21 [17 favorites]


@StormyDaniels
How ya like me now?! #teamstormy

---

@Yates4Prez
Replying to @StormyDaniels
Heroes dont always wear capes. Sometimes they wear nothing at all ❤
posted by chris24 at 6:22 PM on August 21 [120 favorites]


Note that in a couple of cases the jury found guilty of "bank fraud" but not "conspiracy to commit bank fraud" for the same loans of $3.4 million and $1 million. Apparently conspiracy is harder to prove.

Conspiracy requires two or more people acting together. [At least one member of] The jury may have felt the prosecution did not prove that element.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:25 PM on August 21


The guy in the office next door to mine follows the Mueller investigation closely, but I swear, every time I’d want to go lean in his doorway and say, “Wow! Can you believe this day!?” he is on vacation.

He is set to retire within the year. I’ll have to find out the exact date and place a bet that the day after will be Trump’s indictment.
posted by Kriesa at 6:29 PM on August 21 [29 favorites]


Conspiracy requires two or more people acting together.

It must be a bit more than that. I assume that Gates and Manafort are the two people. Gates confessed guilt and they found Manafort guilty. Did they work together?
posted by JackFlash at 6:32 PM on August 21


On Rachel, Lanny Davis just said that Cohen has information that should be of interest to Mueller, including on collusion and also about Trump having foreknowledge of the hacking. And is willing to cooperate.
posted by chris24 at 6:34 PM on August 21 [26 favorites]


This is the happiest day of my life.

Matt Yglesias: Scheduling the season finale for a late-August Tuesday was weird.
posted by JackFlash at 6:34 PM on August 21 [34 favorites]


When the next season starts the following morning, the writers can pull whatever kind of scheduling stunts they want.
posted by nubs at 6:39 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


On Rachel, Lanny Davis just said that Cohen has information that should be of interest to Mueller, including on collusion and also about Trump having foreknowledge of the hacking. And is willing to cooperate.

Can I get a link to a clip of this or an article?!
posted by gucci mane at 6:40 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Davis on Maddow
posted by Brainy at 6:44 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Can someone explain the Embassy thing? How does it improve the negotiating position when you reduce the number of items you can use to offer concessions?

If the compromise is going to be each side gives half of what is on the table, then putting fewer of your chips on the table is a good move.

This is actually very standard in the pre-negotiations to set ground rules for any diplomatic discussion. E.g., I only want to discuss nuclear disarmament but you want to discuss that plus my military exercises. If you get the agenda set the way you want you have won the pre-negotiation, as it is.

The flip side of course is if you are truly constrained it might be impossible to make a deal. That is a valid concern. But if a deal is going to be made the side that has more constraints often gets the better deal. A lot of time in negotiations is spent asserting that I can't possibly concede that, my wife / boss / corporate policy / voters will never stand for that, sometimes but not always with the subtext that maybe I could concede it but you better give me something big.
posted by mark k at 6:44 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


NYT, Adam Liptak and Jim Rutenberg, Cohen Implicates President Trump. What Do Prosecutors Do Now?
When a lawyer tells prosecutors that his client directed him to commit a crime and pleads guilty to related crimes himself, an indictment of the client is very likely to follow.

The nation is about to find out whether there is an exception to that general rule when the client is the president of the United States.

Although there is no explicit prohibition in the Constitution against indicting a president, the Justice Department has long taken the position that sitting presidents are not subject to criminal prosecution.
Can I get a link to a clip of this or an article?!

Lanny Davis clip for you.
posted by zachlipton at 6:45 PM on August 21 [30 favorites]


Trump personal lawyer - GUILTY
Trump Campaign Manager - GUILTY
Trump Deputy Campaign Manager - GUILTY
Trump Senior Campaign Advisor - GUILTY
Trump National Security Advisor - GUILTY

Note that the LLC Cohen pled guilty to using for the Stormy Daniels stuff also recieved over $1 million indirectly from Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

The money Manafort was convicted of hiding came from Putin crony Viktor Yanukovich and Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The "conspiracy against the United States" Rick Gates pled guilty to also involved hiding money from Yanukovich.

Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying about the fact that he knew Russia had hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.

And Flynn pled guilty to lying about the fact that he was discussing sanctions relief for Russia with the Russian ambassador before he ever even took office.

So when Trump says these guilty pleas and convictions have nothing to do with Russian collusion he is lying. And reporters need to stop going along with that narrative. You do not have to stretch AT ALL to say these charges are related to collusion with Russia. You have to stretch to say they aren't. And too much of the media is bending over backward to say that right now.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:50 PM on August 21 [124 favorites]


> Ammar Campa-Najar is the dem running against Hunter in CA-50. RCP has the race as lean republican, but that was obviously based on polls that were done before today's news.

Chrysostom's answered this already.

The name نجار is Arabic, Farsi and Urdu for "carpenter", all ultimately from Sumerian. In Latin transcription, it's spelled Najjar, with a double J. (The name's etymologically identical with my user name, thus the nitpick.)
posted by nangar at 7:05 PM on August 21 [17 favorites]




Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) passes along Team Trump's reaction to today's news: "Trump folks are worried about impeachment more than before. The thinking goes like this: this is something tangible, not a theoretical. And it didn't come from Mueller. Does not mean it will happen, but this has moved to a different stage in their minds." Also, "Important and/but on predictions of how this will play politically - Trump when cornered can be at his most dangerous, according to ppl who know him well. And the day after Access Hollywood tape, Ryan and Heller were booed for voicing any distance from Trump."

She then spent a while on Twitter in sniping with the WSJ's James Grimaldi over who should get and who should give credit for breaking Cohen stories, because that's what's really important to our Fourth Estate…
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:25 PM on August 21 [15 favorites]


I just filled out ten postcards to encourage voters in far-off districts (from needtoimpeach.com), and the back door is open so cool air is blowing around my legs as I sit on the couch. With this news on my laptop screen I am feeling DAMN GOOD tonight.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:27 PM on August 21 [24 favorites]


As giddy as today’s events have made me, I am still chastened by two little words...President Pence.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:59 PM on August 21 [15 favorites]


Conspiracy requires two or more people acting together.

The defense strategy was to cast doubt on the credibility of Gates -- he cheated on his wife, stole money from Manafort, etc. I'd bet $20 that the convictions were counts with clear paper trails, the hung jury counts depended on Gates' testimony (conspiracy) and there were a couple holdouts who bought the disparagement strategy, or fixated on "reasonable doubt."
posted by msalt at 8:00 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Etrigan: "Hunter only got 47% in the top-two primary (down from 63 percent in the primary in 2016), so Ammar Campa-Najjar is suddenly an actual candidate rather than a sacrificial lamb."

Sure, and I'm not saying Hunter will pull this off. But it's worth noting that while he personally only got 48.2% in the primary, Republican candidates as a group got 63.2%. That's pretty red.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:13 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


In the Wyoming GOP Senate primary, incumbent John Barrasso wins easily, with 65-ish percent over more moderate rich guy Dave Dodson. That's actually pretty low for an incumbent.

On the Dem side, Gary Trauner was unopposed.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:18 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


It turns out President Deals was actually President Crimes the whole time!
posted by Going To Maine at 8:29 PM on August 21 [31 favorites]


@waltshaub:
The criminal information in the Cohen case shows that Trump paid Cohen $35k per month for 12 months in January 2017. This means that TRUMP KNEW HE HAD A DEBT TO COHEN WHEN HE OMITTED IT from the liabilities section of the financial disclosure report he filed in June 2017. He certified that his financial disclosure report was "complete" and that certification was subject to criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 208 and 5 U.S.C. app. § 104. Some of you will remember @bykowicz reported that his attorney asked that he not have to certify the report.

Until now, we didn't know for sure that the payments started in January 2017. So, although it was extremely unlikely, there was at least a very remote possibility that (as the White House claimed) he didn't know about his debt to Cohen in June 2017. Now we know he did.
Love when finding out about crimes means we learn about more crimes.
posted by zachlipton at 8:34 PM on August 21 [88 favorites]


chappell, ambrose: "The people who are driven to hog all of the money have terrible taste, never enjoy their money and - worst - never spend it properly."

Remember that pic of the practically empty Halloween basket one of the trump kids managed? These people's entire social circle are incredibly cheap. The only reason the Cheeto looks like he spends money frivolously is because he steals everything.

We're seeing what happens when the Cheeto doesn't pay his soldiers like a good king pin; not looking like a good move Cotton.
posted by Mitheral at 8:45 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


Love when finding out about crimes means we learn about more crimes.

Wish there were a metaphor involving Russian things nestled within slightly larger Russian things and so forth.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:47 PM on August 21 [121 favorites]


The conviction, well, it didn't restore my faith in society or anything, but it saved it from complete collapse. With the super-fast voir dire and the non-sequestration, if there had been a hung jury 10-2 or 11-1 or something on all counts, I would have been convinced that Trump supporters or bribed jurors were just stopping anything from going ahead and the rule of law was dead and buried.

Instead we have the American justice system like it always has been, flawed, never quite satisfying, but still breathing. It's better than the alternative.
posted by mark k at 8:51 PM on August 21 [38 favorites]


ELECTIONS NEWS

** 2018 House:
-- CA-50: GOP incumbent Duncan Hunter and his wife were indicted for personal use of campaign funds. Hunter has been removed from his committee assignments. There is no way for Hunter to be removed from the ballot; Cook moving the seat to Likely R for now (it's still pretty red).

-- NY-25: Siena College poll has Dem Morelle up 55-31 on GOPer Maxwell [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

-- CA-49: Trump tweeted an endorsement of GOPer Harkey, which may have been unwanted, given that Clinton won the district 51-43.

-- GA-07: Tulchin Research poll has Dem Bourdeaux up 46-44 on GOP incumbent Woodall [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. This poll was commissioned by the Bourdeaux campaign.

-- KS-03: Global Strategy Group poll has Dem Davids up 46-43 on GOP incumbent Yoder [MOE: +/- 4.9%]. This poll was commissioned by the Davids campaign.
** Odds & ends:
-- PA gov: This long-time Jeopardy! host will be moderating the upcoming gubernatorial debate. Who is: Alex Trebek?

-- IL gov: Marist poll has Dem Pritzker up 46-30 on GOP incumbent Rauner [MOE: +/- 4.4%]. This is getting into the area where Rauner's poor performance may have downballot effects.

-- NH gov: UNH poll has GOP incumbent Sununu up about 15 points versus either prospective Dem candidate [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

-- Judicial panel in NC pulls two constitutional amendments from the fall ballot due to misleading descriptions crafted by the NC GOP. The amendments would have further centralized power in the legislature. The decision is near certain to be appealed.

-- Byler: How to make your safe seat into a competitive one.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:57 PM on August 21 [24 favorites]


chappell, ambrose: "The people who are driven to hog all of the money have terrible taste, never enjoy their money and - worst - never spend it properly."

It's a truism:
"This only makes sense if you picture it as a whacky AM sports radio call-in show. 'Our next caller is "DONALD FROM QUEENS"...' -- Mick Hargreaves

(warning: link to Facebook)
posted by mikelieman at 9:00 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I am still chastened by two little words...President Pence.

I do not want us worried about the chance of President Pence. Or at least, I don't want that to be a reason to do less than full-strength fighting against POTUS45 and his pack of thieves. (Although, do keep sharing that idea around - nothing disturbs Mr. Mango more than the idea of someone else being in charge; if he knows Mike's ready to jump into his place, he'll make sure there's dirt on Mike to go around.)

Pence doesn't have his populist support. He does play better with the "moderate" conservatives, but in a climate where solid liberal democrats are being primaried from the left, that's not going to be enough to keep R's in office. He doesn't have the Russian support network, either. He'd be a lot more scary because he's got some skill at getting things done, but he's not going to become the media's new darling because he won't say ratings-hiking outrageous lies on camera.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:01 PM on August 21 [56 favorites]


In the Wyoming GOP gubernatorial primary, state treasurer Gordon wins with about 32%. Gordon was the most moderate candidate (well, for a Wyoming Republican), with the rest of the field contending on who could be nuttiest.

On the Dem side, Mary Throne wins with about 71%. Throne's nomination brings the number of Dem women nominees to 10 so far, the largest number ever.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:02 PM on August 21 [14 favorites]


I don’t understand the “Donald from Queens” joke. Is this a New York City thing?
posted by gucci mane at 9:07 PM on August 21


Overnight overseas friends, I am very curious how non-US media is reporting and analyzing all this, if any of you want to share links or a general sense of how your local media is taking it on and what they're emphasizing, shocked by, etc. (I mean of course I can look at different papers around the world and read it myself, but that's not quite the same as hearing from someone immersed in the local reaction, and it's not always easy to find the analysis pieces from talking heads that have a lot of influence (because you have to guess which talking heads matter.))
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:10 PM on August 21 [12 favorites]


I've been sitting on these links for a while!

To Supporters, Trump Isn't Just Right—He Controls the Truth - "It has been clear for some time that Trumpism has all the seeds of a genuine authoritarian movement. " Maybe we could call it The Trump Effect: " Their study finds a correlation between white American's intolerance, and support for authoritarian rule. In other words, when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy." We Can Probably Go Ahead and Start Calling Fascists Fascists Now:
The news, in other words, isn’t “Member of Congress Likes a European Fascist.” It’s “Member of Congress Is Fascist.” Print that.

Does he not espouse authoritarian politics with little regard for human rights, a philosophy that “exalts nation and often race above the individual”? Hasn’t he repeatedly tried to enact unconstitutional policy? Sure, the Extremely Online right could accuse you of “calling anyone you disagree with a fascist,” but that’s sort of unavoidable when you’re disagreeing with a literal fascist. Anyone defending King, or in the same governing party, should have to answer for his direct and uninhibited fascist statements, not rest easy knowing the media still alludes to him “flirting” with white nationalism
Lest we think this is an old-white-men problem, start noticing The Housewives of White Supremacy. Instead of wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross, it's Fascism With A Reality TV Face. Let's take a step back and get some perspective, maybe understand The Assault On Reason. While it may be tempting to say that American politics has been worse, stay sharp and remember How Horrific Things Come To Seem Normal. Can we set politics aside?

more at OMNIVORE

The Centrist Grievance Against “Victim Politics”
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:10 PM on August 21 [75 favorites]


>I don’t understand the “Donald from Queens” joke. Is this a New York City thing?

It's how you identify callers (ie, insane, crank-type callers, the type who typically call in and go on extended rants with little/no connection to reality) on, for example, radio call-in shows or on CSPAN. It's a reference to his regular morning call-ins to Fox and Friends which are, to put it mildly, somewhat different in tone that any previous known presidential communications in U.S. history.

On a more important note, somehow one of the links in my 5-minute-google expose of Manafort's lengthy criminal history got horched up, and I know everyone would be dreadfully disappointed to not be able to track it down to the source: posted by flug at 9:17 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


[Pence] doesn't have the Russian support network, either.

Talking Points Memo, Do We Remember That Manafort Picked Pence? (Josh Marshall doesn’t think there’s necessarily a Russia connection, but it’s a data point worth considering.)
posted by donatella at 9:32 PM on August 21 [22 favorites]


Sports Talk Radio... the Golden Hour, from 5:00pm until 6. Very few who are not under the influence or flat out cranks call in to slur and/or shout their sort of topical point. The rest of'em? Yeah. Announced by their first name and where they're from.

"Slap from Rhode Island, you're on! Go!"
"Tom Brady is a beautiful space alien, inflating the footballs with his home atmosphere should be legal! What a railroad! I hear Roger Goddell is a disguised Predator type alien. Totally unfair!"
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:33 PM on August 21 [12 favorites]


[Talk radio riff is thoroughly riffed.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:34 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


Lest we think this is an old-white-men problem

chills me to the bone when I remember the major movers and shakers at The Daily Stormer are basically my age.
posted by The Whelk at 9:44 PM on August 21 [19 favorites]


A quiet time on a megathread on a day like this feels different somehow, a calm vigilance. Sleep well Mefite politos
posted by dagosto at 11:04 PM on August 21 [23 favorites]


For the person who asked: BBC Radio 4 Today Show coverage this morning has very much been about Cohen being convicted for the campaign stuff, and that this (and his lawyer's) statements by definition mean Trump is a co-conspirator. It's the lead item by far.

We did have to listen to some Tea Party chairman trying to claim Obama was worse and asking where the collusion was, but the BBC North America Editor, John Sopel is now laying down the facts - and explaining the gravity of it - pretty well.

"I don't like to be hyperbolic. I haven't liked the tendency to compare Trump to Nixon. But it is true now. This is the same as Nixon."

He's also pretty much tore through all the tea party points and then explained the importance of this being a NON RUSSIA crime and something both domestic and now a matter of simple criminal fact.

Lots of discussion of impeachment and its chances of happening.

Put it this way: we haven't had a single Brexit story all morning. This has monopolised all the time normally given to some element of our own clusterfuck.
posted by garius at 12:39 AM on August 22 [64 favorites]


Meanwhile, the dissolution of NATO proceeds apace:

Russia to deliver S-400 missiles to Turkey in 2019 (Al Jazeera)

Trump-Berater Bolton: "Die Türkei hat einen schweren Fehler gemacht" (Der Spiegel, in German)
posted by stonepharisee at 1:00 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


Surely the US will demand access to those S-400 missiles in order to appraise their effectiveness? As a member of NATO (if it's still there in 2019) can Turkey reject them?
posted by PenDevil at 1:08 AM on August 22


In Russia, Kommersant leads with the fact that additional sanctions on Russia come into force today. A little lower we have Trump calling the conviction "sad" as the headline, and quoting him as saying it has nothing to do with the Russian affair.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 1:25 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


Eyebrows, Norwegian news media today:

Aftenposten (biggest conservative (in Norwegian terms) newspaper) leads with this, calling the Cohen thing a "bombshell" and bringing in their US correspondent to explain it all. The biggest piece on the front page leads with Stormy Daniel's "how ya like me now" quote. They bring a lot of other quotes from Guiliani, Pelosi and others. Manafort's case is summoned up in a single sentence. They summarise a bit of Trump's rants, but do not convey how unhinged it was.

Dagbladet (biggest tabloid, but a bit more serious than other European tabloids, I think) also leads with Trump's woes, bringing in a senior researcher on US matters (American Studies are a thing in foreign universities, y'all) who basically shakes his heads but anyways try to give a coherent summary. There's some video of Trump's statements and a look back at Watergate for perspective.

NRK (the state broadcaster) also leads with Trump, with a summary from the foreign desk, trying to make sense of it all. They also bring out Manafort on the front page, not just Cohen.

All media are pretty light on how unhinged both Trump and some of his closest supporters come off. The narrative is mostly "Trump's darkest hour yet" but the framing is still a bit like it is a normal presidency that's run into a bit of trouble. FWIW, however I think mostly the Norwegian public feels like it's not "business as usual" but something quite different. However, I think the impression is that US democracy is robust enough to weather this as well.
posted by Harald74 at 1:35 AM on August 22 [32 favorites]


I am very curious how non-US media is reporting and analyzing all this, if any of you want to share

Not front page news in Australia at present, but our government is dissolving so maybe the public is politically satiated. Also, it's early evening here, so it's out of sync with the news cycle. Maybe we'll see more tomorrow.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:37 AM on August 22 [12 favorites]


Eyebrows, here in China the media outlets are mostly uninterested in the Manafort and Cohen stories. The non-stop coverages have centred on the trade dispute.

You can find some schadenfreude from state-controlled media mocking His Trumpiness, but they're careful enough not to focus on the Mueller investigations. A head of the state struggling with the rule of law, this isn't a message the state media wants to send.

A Chinese-language commentary focuses on Trump's verbal hostility in trade and security issues towards China, interpreting this as a weak leader's diversion tactics as he's being swamped by domestic opposition.
posted by runcifex at 1:38 AM on August 22 [23 favorites]


Oh, by the way, unless I've missed it, I've not seen anyone explain exactly why it was Glenlivet 12 Cohen was boasting about drinking, rather than going for the 18.

It's because Glenlivet 12 hasn't been available in a lot of places for three years now. The short version is that they seem to have accidentally oversold to the Asian markets somehow and screwed their reserves.

Given the timeline we seem to be living in, it would not surprise me if it turns out Cohen has actually been part of a Triad/Mafia conspiracy to corner the world's supply of Glenlivet 12, and that this statement turns out to be the thing that tips off the FBI.

Hopefully Jackie Chan and Chris Rock can team up again and solve the case.
posted by garius at 1:49 AM on August 22 [81 favorites]


Here in France it's getting passing mention as well. Not quite front-page, but not stuffed down either.

Le Monde and Libération reporting it as blows to Trump. Both use language that put it across as cinematic and symbolic, and they conclude there's not much realistic danger for Trump even though it further confirms he consorts with escrocs (crooks, con men). Strongly implied is that con men do as con men are, i.e. those who voted Trump got exactly what they wanted, which is why there won't be serious consequences.

Not much word on the street, no one in our offices had heard of it until it briefly came on the TV news channel broadcast in our little cafeteria (in general I don't bring up Trump, don't read news about him – because it's never surprising – and as such don't talk about him). No one who's brought it up with me thinks that there's any real risk for Trump.

Lots more talk here about Venezuela, Brexit, and France-specific politics.
posted by fraula at 1:57 AM on August 22 [25 favorites]


Headlines from Poland: "Trump's Darkest Hour", "Trump's not knocked out but the count is on", "The lawyer will bring Trump down?"

Corner-of-front-page news. Too much else going on, including yet another child-death saga (three siblings drowned in the Darłowo seaside resort)...
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:01 AM on August 22 [20 favorites]


The round-up from a variety of global perspectives is really useful at a time like this. Thanks to everyone!
posted by stonepharisee at 2:03 AM on August 22 [57 favorites]


This morning's Graun leads with a punchy take on Trump's "worst hour," but Omnigate cedes first place in the opinion section to a George Monbiot piece on a proposed Oxford-Cambridge expressway that could have run at any time in the past (or next) six months without altering its meaning or significance.

It's a slow(er) Brexit news day, and there appear to be no new Grenfell or Windrush revelations today, which means that what's probably happening is that the Trump material is displacing what would ordinarily have been the morning's furcup news in a more-or-less 1:1 proportion, without mussing everything else going on in the background.
posted by adamgreenfield at 2:10 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


not so much from the press, but the Malaysians I know have a bit of a knowing wink about that whole 'Individual 1' bit since we had our own MO1 named by the US DOJ as well.
posted by cendawanita at 2:12 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


Overnight overseas friends, I am very curious how non-US media is reporting and analyzing all this, if any of you want to share links or a general sense of how your local media is taking it on and what they're emphasizing, shocked by, etc.

Might be because of timezones, but yesterday's US politics bombshells made exactly one of all of today's print front pages here in Italy, the Corriere della Sera just matter-of-factly titling a summary quote of Cohen's admission plea. This morning the most with-it online newspage il Post went with the NYT pic of Cohen, "A horrible hour for Trump" and an excellent in-depth summary, conveying the gravity of the situation, while the other main three have it in third or fourth place (behind the Asia Argento, the Genoa bridge, and 10 dead in a ravine-flood), all of them with the treasured Italian word "pornostar" in their title, corriere.it most salaciously on its homepage, with pictures of both women framing one of Trump.

(Elsewhere online in Europe, libération and taz both have it front and center, demurely.)
posted by progosk at 2:14 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


New Yorker, Adam Davidson, With the Manafort Convictions and Cohen Plea, President Trump Has Been Implicated in a Criminal Conspiracy
The day had a feeling, on one level, of history, of recognizing that one is living through moments that will become central parts of the Trump Presidency. At the same time, the day felt small and shabby, as we learned more details about the crude crimes of those who surround the President. Manafort and Cohen did not commit clever, subtle crimes; they blatantly and crudely lied. They lied to banks to get money; they lied to the I.R.S. In Manafort’s case, he instructed countless support people to lie on his behalf. In Cohen’s case, it was Trump demanding that a subordinate do the lying. The crimes were not unravelled by brilliant detective work. All it took was law-enforcement officials looking.

It is conventional wisdom these days that views of Trump are fixed: those who hate him can’t hate him more and those who love him can’t be budged, and, all the while, Republicans in Congress will do nothing, no matter what he says or does. There is another way of understanding the impact of Tuesday’s news. Trump was widely viewed to be morally challenged, a man comfortable with pushing the limits of legality, before he was elected. Perhaps he did business with some bad characters, maybe he engaged in some light civil fraud. But that fact had been priced into the election and, anyway, we don’t impeach Presidents for things they did before they were in office. The possibility of the Trump campaign colluding with Russia was a separate matter that was worth investigating because it had to do with his election. Keeping these two matters separate—Trump’s private business and possible campaign collusion—has been an obsession of Trump’s, for obvious reasons. His business cannot withstand this level of scrutiny.

The Cohen plea and the Manafort indictment establish that this separation is entirely artificial. Trump did not isolate his private business from his public run for office. He behaved the same, with the same sorts of people, using the same techniques to hide his actions. It is impossible, after Tuesday, to imagine that a responsible congressional investigation wouldn’t thoroughly examine every deal with which Cohen was involved and wouldn’t even more aggressively seek to understand Manafort’s links to Russian figures. These two men are now convicted financial fraudsters, each found guilty of precisely eight counts of various financial crimes, though nobody, glancing at their record, would imagine this is an exhaustive list. Tuesday was not the end of an examination of their record; it is much more like a beginning. Manafort has another trial ahead, as well as a possible retrial for the ten counts for which the jury could not reach a consensus; Cohen is all but screaming that he has more to share.
...
We will know far more about Trump, his business, and his campaign in the months to come. The country will be moving down two tracks simultaneously. There is one track of investigation and prosecution in which more of the people close to Trump fall or coöperate and the man himself appears increasingly vulnerable and desperate.

There is the other track, though, in which he remains President. He will likely successfully transform the Supreme Court and imperil the environment, immigrants, consumers of financial products, and others. Those who carefully study Trump and those around him know where this story likely ends—in humiliation and collapse—but we can’t underestimate his embrace of mendacity and deflection. Shortly after the fateful hour, Trump flew to West Virginia for a rally with some of his strongest supporters. The crowd, referring to Hillary Clinton, chanted, “Lock her up.”
posted by zachlipton at 2:14 AM on August 22 [48 favorites]


Surely the US will demand access to those S-400 missiles in order to appraise their effectiveness? As a member of NATO (if it's still there in 2019) can Turkey reject them?

No obligation to allow inspection as far as I'm aware. Aside from that, the list of things Turkey has done that are theoretically disallowed for a NATO member is quite long at this stage.
posted by jaduncan at 2:16 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Overnight overseas friends, I am very curious how non-US media is reporting and analyzing all this,...

Trump is screwed, is the general gist of it.
S-Z (liberal-leaning paper from Munich) says "The shame is in the White House" and kind of imply/ take it for granted that Manafort and Cohen are going to jail.

FAZ (conservative-leaning out of Frankfurt) says, "buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride." A much more neutral report - it also mentions that Cohen ties Trump in on it all.

Notably, all three mention that Bolton said Turkey fucked up not letting the priest go - and as prominently as the news of Trumps legal problems. Of course, Germany has a large population with interests in Turkish politics, so its not a surprise - but I haven't heard this out of any US media. (An on the third hand, shit is kind of blowing up all over, so I might have missed it, too.)
posted by From Bklyn at 2:32 AM on August 22 [13 favorites]


NYP, but:
“Mr. Cohen has knowledge on certain subjects that should be of interest to the special counsel and is more than happy to tell the special counsel all that he knows,” Davis told the [MSNBC] network.

“Not just about the obvious possibility of a conspiracy to collude and corrupt the American democracy system in the 2016 election, which the Trump Tower meeting was all about, but also knowledge about the computer crime of hacking and whether or not Mr. Trump knew ahead of time about that crime and even cheered it on.”
Well, that's a thing.
posted by jaduncan at 2:46 AM on August 22 [28 favorites]


Just a little request to those of you that can actually change things by voting: make sure you are still enrolled.
I keep seeing people post on Twitter that they were purged for apparently no reason at all and had to re-enroll.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:51 AM on August 22 [28 favorites]


Leading article in NRC: "Former lawyer Cohen violated law "on Trump's orders"". With a solid exposition of the amount of problems Trump is now facing. A second article on the Manafort trial, with a similar amount of detail. They've been covering the various developments since the elections, digging deeper since Mueller really got going; before that they were rather "So. Um. Trump. Well.".

NRC is a national Dutch newspaper with a liberal tinge on economic matters, slightly to moderate leftish on social and environmental issues.
posted by Stoneshop at 3:10 AM on August 22 [17 favorites]


Front and center of the BBC News homepage and World sections: Michael Cohen trial: Trump accused of directing hush money

And since I'm commenting, I'll take a slice of cake and thank everyone for the international coverage - its a real bubble expander.
posted by Molesome at 3:41 AM on August 22 [49 favorites]


The two things you're hearing from the rightwing nutosphere are 1) a president can't be indicted, and 2) No Russia!

Well, if your only defense/excuse/protection is an unlitigated and uncertain DOJ policy, that's not a great spot to be in. And no Russia? The idiots don't seem to realize this is actually worse for Trump. Why? I'll let the conservative WSJ explain.

"Michael Cohen not only directly implicated Donald Trump in a federal crime but undercut the belief that if the president could show there was no collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives in 2016, his legal problems would crumble." - WSJ: Michael Cohen Deals Grievous Blow to His Former Boss
posted by chris24 at 3:51 AM on August 22 [47 favorites]


Just a little request to those of you that can actually change things by voting: make sure you are still enrolled.

I received my card telling me I'm registered for the primary and general elections in NYC (the one that tells you what table to go to) a week or two ago. So if yours hasn't shown up, double check your registration.
posted by hoyland at 3:59 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: I am very curious how non-US media is reporting and analyzing all this,...

From Bklyn: Trump is screwed, is the general gist of it.

Hmm. Do any of the foreign outlets have a grasp on just how craven our Republican Party is? That they should start shifting the story's template from "Watergate all over again" to something more like "government at some risk of instability", as they would with a story on a head of state attempting unilateral changes to his country's constitution or whatever? (I recall a New Yorker profile of former agent Christopher Steele, wherein he became increasingly surprised by certain American officials behaving as partisans rather than civil servants.)

To be clear, I don't think Trump's position is totally safe at all. (He's a lot more screwed now than he was just a couple days ago.) In fact, I think the more that media (both American and international) makes impeachment noises, the better chance it has of happening (it's not a normal process and has to be normalized before it's doable). But those noises need to be coupled with a full understanding of the game's state of play, so that the half-informed bystander doesn't think "Huh, if this were as bad as it looks we'd be on a fast track to impeachment, but we're not, so I guess it isn't."
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:31 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


Beyond “pornostars,” Italian newspapers are also concerned about the impromptu 25% tariffs on European cars that Trump trotted out at last night’s rally. This is what happens when no one knows when or how to take the idiot seriously.
posted by lydhre at 4:40 AM on August 22 [15 favorites]


The biggest problem is that Trump is extremely popular with the Republican electorate at large. He's sitting at 80-something percent which means any Republican who defects to either impeachment or conviction will be signing their own political death warrant. As long as he keeps steam shooting from the ears of liberals he could eat a baby on live TV and the Republican electorate wouldn't abandon him.
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 4:42 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


At this point in the non-stupid Watergate, it was B. Goldwater who had had enough of the lies, and went to the WH with back up from Hugh Scott and John Rhodes to tell Nixon to resign. I'm wondering who (besides McCain?) would be the self righteous equivalent in today's Congress.
Of course by this point, the GOP had lost hope of getting Agnew in, as the VP had gone down on counts similar in nature to Manafort's.
Also Nixon could, in the non-drinking, non-paranoid part of the day listen to reason and tactics from his former peers. Not so much with our Diapered Dictator.
posted by Harry Caul at 5:03 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]




I put on my waders and ventured into /r/The_Donald/ to see how things look from the Russian troll farm swamp. The main theme there seems to be the Mollie Tibbetts death.
posted by Slothrup at 5:11 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I saw someone comment somewhere that he was outraged that MSNBC was ignoring the Mollie Tibbets story as if some random local crime was more important than two of the president's aids being convicted.
posted by octothorpe at 5:24 AM on August 22 [21 favorites]


Of course it's all-Mollie-all-the-time. It's a perfectly timed distraction from the Orange Cosa Nostra that can be pointed at and screeched at, that the REAL problem facing America isn't Trump's bimbo eruptions or his criminal associations but that we'll all be murdered in our beds by illegal aliens. Because the alleged killer's illegal alien status is in-and-of-itself more significant than his personal conduct.

The right-wing defense du jour for Trump-Cohen is adorable, by the way. You see, there is not a SHRED of evidence that Trump directing Cohen to pay hush money was intended to influence the Presidential election... despite Trump being months out from a Presidential election at that exact moment... because Trump did not SAY THE WORDS "election" or "federal law" or "campaign finance violation" on the tape, so it was the furthest thing from his mind and therefore no campaign finance violations can have happened. This was just one of the NORMAL hush-money-to-porn-stars-to-keep-embarrassing-information-from-surfacing-months-before-a-Presidential-election transactions.
posted by delfin at 5:28 AM on August 22 [14 favorites]


So, Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, was just on NPR and straight-up, unequivocally declared that Donald Trump is a criminal. Court jester Giuliani aside, attorneys generally pick their words very, very carefully, so...
posted by Thorzdad at 5:34 AM on August 22 [52 favorites]


This was just one of the NORMAL hush-money-to-porn-stars-to-keep-embarrassing-information-from-surfacing-months-before-a-Presidential-election transactions.

Stormy Daniels was paid off on October 27th, 12 days before the election. The affair happened in 2006, so of course it had nothing to do with the election to do it right then.


Yeah, I saw someone comment somewhere that he was outraged that MSNBC was ignoring the Mollie Tibbets story as if some random local crime was more important than two of the president's aids being convicted.

The local crime where the undocumented immigrant had been employed by a senior Republican official in the state for 4 years?
posted by chris24 at 5:39 AM on August 22 [45 favorites]


If the senate refused to vote on a supreme court justice with more than a year left in President Obama's term how can the senate possibly be in favor of voting for a justice when the president is now an unidicted co-conspirator?

Seems like we have fresh ammunition to keep Kavanaugh off the bench and the court at 8 justices for the foreseeable future. I know the entirety of the republican party is based on naked hypocrisy but there's no tenable position to argue Kavanaugh should be pushed through now.
posted by photoslob at 5:45 AM on August 22 [42 favorites]


Seems like we have fresh ammunition to keep Kavanaugh off the bench and the court at 8 justices for the foreseeable future. I know the entirety of the republican party is based on naked hypocrisy but there's no tenable position to argue Kavanaugh should be pushed through now.

I mean, there obviously is, because the Republicans don't give a shit about hypocrisy, coherency, or morals and they control all three branches of the government. There was no tenable position to argue against Merrick Garland's nomination either and yet here we fucking are.

I'm not saying the Dems shouldn't be screaming that from the rooftops, I'm saying that pretending that logic and integrity have any place in this Republican controlled Senate is a recipe for crushing disappointment.
posted by lydhre at 5:49 AM on August 22 [36 favorites]


For anybody overwhelmed by yesterday’s news deluge, Dylan Matthews (Vox) summarizes:

Cohen, Manafort, Hunter, oh my: Donald Trump’s nightmare news day, explained.
Tuesday was a ridiculous news day. Here’s everything that happened.

——

And, uh, the president is tweeting:

If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!
8:44 AM · Aug 22, 2018 [real]
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:50 AM on August 22 [29 favorites]


If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!

I have a feeling that Cohen is unavailable for new work for the foreseeable future...
posted by Servo5678 at 5:52 AM on August 22 [38 favorites]


I'm taking Lanny Davis with a grain of salt for now. As some have pointed out, if Mr. Cohen DOES have extremely interesting knowledge that the special counsel WOULD find valuable enough to cut deals for, one would think that he would be speaking directly to the special counsel in a very loud voice and obtaining "cooperating witness" status... rather than to MSNBC after not obtaining that.
posted by delfin at 5:53 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]




He's sitting at 80-something percent which means any Republican who defects to either impeachment or conviction will be signing their own political death warrant.
That seems to be the fundamental problem here. At this stage any Republican candidate who is no 100% behind Trump is going to be perceived as a traitor by the voters, so the choice for a sane Republican candidate is either to give up now (and be replaced by a crazy Republican candidate) or bend the knee to the Great Leader. Democracy and cult of personality is an ugly mix. Are there precedents for this situation in modern democracies?
posted by elgilito at 6:00 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Definitely Not Sean Spicer: He's sitting at 80-something percent which means any Republican who defects to either impeachment or conviction will be signing their own political death warrant.

Yes and no: we can't extrapolate national stats into local ones.

For example, Trump is obviously massively unpopular with Democrats. Ergo, no Democrat would be dumb enough to openly embrace Trump (not just side with some of his policies in the usual sometimes-Dems-are-disppointing way, but consistently avow support for him), right? But of course, Joe Manchin exists, and his Trump support is more smart than stupid, because his state is West Virginia.

Equivalently, at least a few Republicans are marginal -- they represent relatively moderate regions, even as the party on the whole is a fascist cult. I don't want to derail into which specific Republicans could defect, I'm just pointing out that defection isn't impossible because the fervor of the base is somewhat unevenly distributed. Trump may well be brought down in part thanks to a kind of intra-party version of gerrymandering or the electoral college (mmm, poetic justice).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:02 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!
8:44 AM · Aug 22, 2018


Your lawyer just implicated you and your response is a bad Yelp review? WEAK and LOW ENERGY!
posted by nubs at 6:03 AM on August 22 [109 favorites]


Are there precedents for this situation in modern democracies?
Yes, many and they have come pretty regularly post-Enlightenment. Mishra's Age of Anger

posted by Harry Caul at 6:04 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


If the senate refused to vote on a supreme court justice with more than a year left in President Obama's term how can the senate possibly be in favor of voting for a justice when the president is now an unidicted co-conspirator? Seems like we have fresh ammunition to keep Kavanaugh off the bench...

Not only that but despite 2018 not being a presidential election year, the election is supposedly a reason for the Special Counsel to not release any conclusions... if the mid-terms are going to be embiggened in that way for Mueller-related purposes it ought to also trigger the “no new SCOTUS picks in an election year!” “rule” used to block Garland.
posted by XMLicious at 6:09 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


At least two people have thought of the "How's everything Cohen this morning?" response to Trump's tweet.
posted by arcticseal at 6:20 AM on August 22 [16 favorites]


Nixon's approval with Rs was mid-70s until July 1973 and never dropped below 54%. Obviously nothing's happening with Trump before November, but assuming Ds take the House, just think of all the crimes we'll find with subpoena power. And the constant drumbeat of hearings. Combined with what Mueller will come up with - Jr. and Jared indicted? Stone almost certainly indicted - the political winds may very well start to turn just enough even with Rs after what is hopefully an asskicking at the polls. Losing elections bigly might be the trigger for possibilities.

Charles Franklin (Pollster.com, UW-Mad prof) - each tweet has a chart illustrating the ratings
Nixon, Watergate and Partisan Opinion. This topic comes up often enough these days that I think it worthwhile to lay out the facts in some detail in hopes of clarifying how partisans and the public at large reacted and when. /1
2/ Let's start with Nixon's approval by party over his entire term. Nixon was fairly popular through the first term, almost always over 50% approval, though hovering at or just below 50 for most of 1971. (Black line is overall approval)
3/ To modern eyes the most striking fact is approval among Democrats is pretty strong: high 40s in 1969, around 40 in 1970, mid-30s in 1971, rising back to the 40s in 1972. Compare opposition party approval since 2005 has been about 10%
4/ Republican approval held in the low-to-mid 80s until 1971, then dipped sightly to high 70s before rising to near 90% in run-up to 1972 reelection. (As was their practice, Gallup didn't poll approval during campaign, from 6/23-11/11/72)
5/ The overlap between the overall line (black) and the independent line (purple) is fairly common in approval by partisanship, though currently independents are a bit below Trump's overall approval.
6/ Had Nixon left office on Jan 29, 1973 he would have gone out with a very high 67% approval rating in the wake of a landslide reelection and the Paris Peace Accords, finally ending (or so we thought) the Vietnam war.
7/ Nixon did not leave office, and the next 9 months showed one of the sharpest sustained declines in the history of presidential approval. dropping 4.1 points per month from late January to early October 1973, from 67% to 30%
8/ Approval declined a little more but from January 1974 through August it remained in the 26-28% range until the last two Gallup polls of his presidency, both at 24% approval, the last taken 8/2-5/74.
9/ So that is the overall story. Almost all the decline in Nixon's approval took place between February and early October 1973, a period of continuous damaging news stories about Watergate and a summer of televised Senate hearings.
10/ By the time of the Saturday Night Massacre, on October 20, 1973, Nixon's approval had already reached its "steady state" low point, with almost no change until the bitter end.
11/ The Massacre itself and subsequent revelations, including tape transcripts, and impeachment proceedings did little to reduce his approval ratings. Republican support remained about 54%, independents about 25% and Dems about 15%.
12/ This last point deserves emphasis. The shocking Saturday Night Massacre, Nixon cited as an "unindicted co-conspirator", the release of tape transcripts that introduced "expletive deleted" to the lexicon barely moved opinion.
13/ Note there is noise but possibly Republican approval declined slightly after the tape transcripts were released, to 50% or a shade higher. Independents and Dems don't seem to have been affected.
14/ Nixon's resignation ended our job approval data. After the "smoking gun" transcript was released Aug 5 the 11 Republicans who voted against article 1 said they would now support the obstruction of justice article on the floor
15/ It is probable that with the collapse of support from elected Republicans, approval of Nixon would have fallen below 50% among Republican partisans.
16/ For reference, in the fall of 2008 during the financial crisis, Republican approval of President Bush ranged from 55 to 63, before rising after the election.
17/ Nixon's approval collapsed between Feb and Oct 1973. Steady before, steady after. Revelations & evidence presented in those 9 months, not subsequent events, persuaded all who could be persuaded. \end
posted by chris24 at 6:26 AM on August 22 [22 favorites]


We're moving onto Manafort now:
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” - make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!
It's only 9:31 EST.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:31 AM on August 22 [20 favorites]


Democracy and cult of personality is an ugly mix.

This week I was volunteering at a community farm in my Rhode Island town. [N.b.: RI is very blue, but we often have a Republican governor.] A local guy running for state legislature showed up, and a friend introduced him around. He's a Republican, we were told, but not like the president, and also he wants to break the hold on state politics of a pol named Mattiello who is Speaker of the state House of Reps and who acts as a gate-keeper on a very dysfunctional chamber.

The guy then laughed and said that he and my friend like to disagree, and basically dodged any distance that he could have put between himself and Trump....and we were standing in the field of a town-owned farm, staffed entirely by volunteers, who were doing free stoop labor to stock the local foodbank.

Dude, there is no one there who is sympathetic to Trump, and if you don't disclaim him, we're all writing you off. But this guy still couldn't bring himself to say that he opposes Trump.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:33 AM on August 22 [58 favorites]


I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family...Such respect for a brave man!

I smell a pardon coming for Manafort.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:35 AM on August 22 [14 favorites]


I for one am shocked that Trump thinks rich white men should be able to get away with tax and bank fraud.
posted by chris24 at 6:37 AM on August 22 [67 favorites]


> If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don’t retain the services of Michael Cohen!

Mr. The Best People sure does have a weird habit of hiring criminals who betray him.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:37 AM on August 22 [29 favorites]


That Manafort tweet sounds really strange coming from the nation’s top law enforcement official.
posted by notyou at 6:39 AM on August 22 [7 favorites]


Mr. The Best People sure does have a weird habit of hiring criminals who betray him.

Given the way he tends to treat his business partners IRL, you'd think he's actually have a bit of respect for backstabbing.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:40 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


While I'm far too timeline-weary to declare yesterday a "Surely this" moment, I did think it was very, very interesting that Trump didn't mention Cohen or Manafort once in his West Virginia speech last night. I'd love to know what was said to him before he went on stage that finally got through his skull, because there's no fucking way he could have resisted talking smack about somebody who had wronged him hours earlier otherwise ("You could go to jail over what you say" obvs doesn't work, after all). And he went off the rails a bunch of times, so it was no "SAY THE WORDS ON THE TELEPROMPTER—AND ONLY THE WORDS ON THE TELEPROMPTER" tactic on his part (although I'm certain people did tell him just that). Maybe we witnessed the first act of self-control of his presidency up there last night?
posted by Rykey at 6:41 AM on August 22 [6 favorites]


I'm not even going to link it because fuck Fox News, but even Fox News is now running opinion pieces titled e.g. "President Trump, Manafort is guilty – please don't abuse the pardon power". They know he's probably going to do it in a fit of pique, and even his literal cheerleading section is freaking the fuck out about the likely fallout.
posted by tocts at 6:43 AM on August 22 [16 favorites]


Maybe we witnessed the first act of self-control of his presidency up there last night?

“No pivot you’re the pivot.”
posted by notyou at 6:45 AM on August 22 [13 favorites]




Maybe we witnessed the first act of self-control of his presidency up there last night?

I think it's possible he simply didn't know and his staff kept the information away from him--maybe they set him in front of a good Backyardigans episode. That's what I did when I had a toddler.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:48 AM on August 22 [54 favorites]


I have a question that I"ve been pondering w/r/t Nixon and Trump:

When the recordings were released, the elected members had some political cover. They could say, well we were going along and then some tapes and after listening it was like HOLY SHIT OUR DEMOCRACY. And then things moved quickly after that. The tapes allowed them to say they had their holy shit moment.

What is the political cover, the holy shit moment, for somebody wishing to escape the cult of Trump? I mean, of course said cultist should do it for the good of humankind, but what is the cover that allows them to say, Omarosa style, I thought the dude was cool and then woah (and I don't see that Omarosa has garnered any, like, moral standing, she just has some receipts and is thus getting airtime--what is a random GOP rep going to do?).

Because it's all out in the open, staining anybody who supports Trump. It seems to be to be an indelible stain at this point. And if that's the case, what is the end game for these people? Does each and every one need to be voted out of office?
posted by angrycat at 6:51 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


Because it's all out in the open, staining anybody who supports Trump. It seems to be to be an indelible stain at this point. And if that's the case, what is the end game for these people? Does each and every one need to be voted out of office?

Yes, yes, and yes. Today's R's are cut from an entirely different cloth than the Nixon era's. They might as usefully be compared to Lincoln-era R's.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:54 AM on August 22 [7 favorites]


Donald Trump’s winning argument in 2016 is his key weakness in 2020
In October 2016, feeling the election slipping from his grasp, Trump took the stage in Colorado Springs and mounted the argument that would close his campaign and win him the election.

“The stakes on November 8 could not be higher,” he said. “A vote for Hillary is a vote to surrender our government to public corruption, graft, and cronyism that threatens the very foundations of our constitutional system. What makes us exceptional is that we are a nation of laws, and that we are all equal under those laws — Hillary’s corruption shreds that foundational principle.”
...
On November 4, 2016, the Washington Post and ABC News released one of their final polls of the race. It found that voters trusted Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump to handle terrorism, immigration, health care, and national security. It found the two candidates equally trusted on jobs and the economy. The lone bright spot for Trump was his 9-point lead on corruption in government — the largest margin either candidate enjoyed on any issue.

If there was any issue that won Trump the election, it was government corruption.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:55 AM on August 22 [32 favorites]


My guess/hope is that they're waiting on the conclusion of the Mueller investigation to give them that cover.

I don't think Mueller will reveal anything we don't already know but he'll do it with a mountain of hard evidence and testimony that will be impossible to ignore without sounding like a loon.

It's not so much that Rs in congress will learn anything they don't already know either but my hope is that the evidence will be so damning that they'll feel like they have no choice but to do something and/or it will give them enough political cover to act.
posted by VTX at 6:55 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


What is the political cover, the holy shit moment, for somebody wishing to escape the cult of Trump?

It's Russia.

"Reds under the bed" trumps Trump in America, then, now and forever.

Which is why he's fucking terrified of it and spends his days shouting "no collusion!" into the howling void.
posted by garius at 6:55 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


Indictments of Stone and Junior with Trump as un-indicted co-conspirator will end the no collusion bullshit game they're playing even though everyone knows he did. At that point it's either go full authoritarian or start to look for the exits for Rs.
posted by chris24 at 6:56 AM on August 22 [17 favorites]


SPLC: Klan Leader Richard Preston Sentenced to Four Years In Prison For Firing Gun At ‘Unite the Right’ "A judge in Charlottesville, Virginia, sentenced the 53-year-old Preston on Tuesday to four years in prison with another four years suspended for firing a gun into a crowd during the “Unite the Right” rally of Aug. 12, 2017. The prison sentence handed down by Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard Moore marked the first felony sentence stemming from the deadly rally[...]."

The mills of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:00 AM on August 22 [71 favorites]


It's Russia. "Reds under the bed" trumps Trump in America, then, now and forever.

I wish I had your confidence.
posted by ragtag at 7:04 AM on August 22 [15 favorites]


It's not so much that Rs in congress will learn anything they don't already know either but my hope is that the evidence will be so damning that they'll feel like they have no choice but to do something and/or it will give them enough political cover to act.

I dunno. I get the feeling that the Rs in Congress aren't going to do anything, no matter how tall the pile of evidence is against Trump, unless that evidence clearly indicts some of their own. At that point, they'll have to act. Unfortunately, the actions they take will probably be of the "burn the democracy to the ground" sort.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:05 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


Today's R's are cut from an entirely different cloth than the Nixon era's.

While I think today's Rs are more craven, Nixon's era were partisan pieces of shit too and most stuck with Nixon to the bitter end or until it was political suicide to not go long with his removal. I posted this last thread.

NYT: The Myth of Watergate Bipartisanship: The Republicans stuck with their president, right up to the end
After it was revealed in July 1973 that Mr. Nixon had secretly taped conversations, Mr. Ford said he found nothing wrong with the president’s practices. Republican Senator John Tower of Texas later warned Congress not to get caught up in “the hysteria of Watergate.”

Most congressional Republicans rallied around Mr. Nixon when the White House released edited transcripts of those tapes in April 1974 that showed Mr. Nixon scheming with his aides. As the House Judiciary Committee began debating possible impeachment in July, Representative Delbert Latta of Ohio said the evidence failed to prove Mr. Nixon’s direct involvement in Watergate.
posted by chris24 at 7:07 AM on August 22 [27 favorites]


> If there was any issue that won Trump the election, it was government corruption.

SHM, *facepalm*, etc.. Anyway, sure. It was "government corruption" and not racism and sexism.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:10 AM on August 22 [27 favorites]


Has anybody asked Lanny Davis questions about Prague and passports yet? That's the interview I want to see.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:18 AM on August 22 [16 favorites]


Lindsey Graham’s Old Comments About Impeachment Come Back To Haunt Him
So the point I'm trying to make is that you don’t have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic. If this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:21 AM on August 22 [53 favorites]






There is no hope for 'the Republicans' as a body to flip in Trump - if it happens, it will be a small breakaway group of Republicans. Who knows what the final straw would need to be for them, but I doubt any of them will make a move before they have some reason to believe that making a move will help them specifically - not 'democracy' or 'their party' but them. Whether this happens in the runup to the midterms or the aftermath of the midterms, who knows? But the midterms seem like the most likely catalyst.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:25 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


Seth Masket
If you become president:
-while losing the popular vote;
-by accepting clandestine help from a foreign adversarial power;
-by using illegal campaign funds to silence a damaging story;

you just might have a legitimacy problem.
posted by chris24 at 7:27 AM on August 22 [114 favorites]


What is the political cover, the holy shit moment, for somebody wishing to escape the cult of Trump?

The scene from the second Burton Batman movie, where the crowds hear the Penguin ranting about how his followers are all rubes and morons and he's played this town like a harp from Hell?

Something like that. It would take Trump on a live mic repudiating his own base, laughing about how of course he was never going to get the fucking Wall built, he doesn't really give a rat's ass about Hillary's alleged crimes or border security or The Swamp, and this was all one huge scam to slash tax rates for billionaires and keep his Russian debt-holders from breaking his legs.

At which point the NeverTrumpers would harumph "I told you so" and swiftly move in to regain power in the GOP and implement about 80% of what Trump wants to implement, and most of Trump's voter base would turn on him and shift their allegiance to the next populist blowhard in line promising to Get Rid Of The Brown People and Put America First For Real This Time You Guys.
posted by delfin at 7:30 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


POTUS: Michael Cohen plead guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations that are not a crime. President Obama had a big campaign finance violation and it was easily settled!

he … pled guilty … in a criminal court … to federal campaign finance violations that carry a prison sentence … but they're not crimes
posted by murphy slaw at 7:34 AM on August 22 [97 favorites]


That spin will probably work on his base. Just convince them that it's a civil matter, it's just a technical "violation", like a parking ticket.

I'm actually sort of impressed.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:39 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


At least he gave the next thread title: "Crimes that aren't crimes."
posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 7:41 AM on August 22 [32 favorites]


I really do think they kept him away from the news until this morning.
posted by angrycat at 7:43 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


The scene from the second Burton Batman movie, where the crowds hear the Penguin ranting about how his followers are all rubes and morons and he's played this town like a harp from Hell? Something like that.

Trump's base wouldn't see itself as citizens of Gotham but as the Penguin's clownsuited goons. Any "I sure fooled those SOBs" moment would be met with "hahaha yeah you sure did trigger those libs, God-Emperor!"
posted by Rust Moranis at 7:45 AM on August 22 [20 favorites]


He knew yesterday. The mills of narcissistic injury grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.
posted by notyou at 7:45 AM on August 22 [16 favorites]


Honestly, if 45's tweets and actions get much more deranged, he may actually have built a solid "mental incapacity" defense, should indictments come his way.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:46 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


The mills of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.
White supremacist pleads guilty as an accessory to an armed confrontation after the Richard Spencer rally in Gainesville (that cost the University and City nearly a $1 million to police).
posted by 6ATR at 7:46 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


> There is no hope for 'the Republicans' as a body to flip in Trump - if it happens, it will be a small breakaway group of Republicans. Who knows what the final straw would need to be for them...

Trump would probably have to attack them personally. Like, with a candlestick, in the study.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:49 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


nah they'd just roll over and bare their neck like they did after the primaries
posted by entropicamericana at 7:51 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


I really do think they kept him away from the news until this morning.

With any other president since the advent of radio newscasts, this would be utterly impossible to believe, but with Trump? It's not a stretch to imagine Air Force One filled with heavily modified TVs. Ordinarily, you can only tune to Fox News and reruns of CHiPs; on bad news days like yesterday, his handlers lock it down further, so the commander in chief can only watch reruns of Paw Patrol en route to rallies.
posted by Mayor West at 7:54 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


Michael Cohen walked into a courthouse in Manhattan on Tuesday and told a federal judge under oath that he committed a felony and that his former client, President Donald Trump, directed him to do so. In that moment, Cohen upended a months-long strategy by Trump to undermine the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, and for the first time presented a path to the end of the Trump presidency.
How Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and the Justice Department just exploded the president’s narrative (Renato Mariotti | Politico)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:58 AM on August 22 [21 favorites]


Notyou: the nation’s top law enforcement official.

I'm lost. Do you have a name to go with that?
posted by Stoneshop at 8:02 AM on August 22


Individual Number One?
posted by Artw at 8:02 AM on August 22 [13 favorites]


"Individual Number One" is one of Lou Bega's lesser-known songs
posted by BungaDunga at 8:08 AM on August 22 [107 favorites]


a little bit collusion with moscow
a little bit campaign fraud, watch me now
a little bit of nazi on the side
a little bit of real estate, watch me slide
a little money laundering here we go
a little dog whistlin' for the show
a little bit her emails what i says
a little bit of crime makes me your prez
posted by murphy slaw at 8:12 AM on August 22 [237 favorites]


The crowd, referring to Hillary Clinton, chanted, “Lock her up.”

a few days ago i was flipping through radio stations in the car and listened to a minute of limbaugh's show. i recall two points that limbaugh's stand-in made in those sixty-or-so seconds. first, he made vague insinuations about hillary clinton being, i don't know, a manticore who eats nazi gold bars and bathes in blood, etc. etc. second, before he went to break he briefly added that joe biden is having some kind of health problem and wished biden a swift recovery. while also blaming hillary for not helping him out with his medical expenses? ...or something?

it finally brought it home for me. joe biden gets civility and well-wishing, tim kaine gets politely ignored, bill clinton gets a shrug, every white male politician gets the benefit of the doubt, but HRC is still the monster under conservatives' beds nearly two years after she disappeared from public engagement. and trump rally crowds save their greatest ire for hillary clinton, maxine waters and nancy pelosi. i had naively continued to entertain the possibility that some people really were unenthused about clinton because of her policy positions. but it's safe to say that that group of people is a vanishingly slim fraction of the electorate.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:13 AM on August 22 [99 favorites]


Lindsey Graham’s Old Comments About Impeachment Come Back To Haunt Him

I can assure you he doesn't feel haunted. Republicans have wholeheartedly embraced the idea that you espouse whatever principles enhance your political power at any given moment, and that they have no meaning beyond that. They've utterly defanged the charge of hypocrisy, formerly a powerful rhetorical weapon, by simply deciding they don't care.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:16 AM on August 22 [31 favorites]


I know that engaging in speculation about the various players' states of mind and motivations is as frivolous as trying to predict how this is all going to play out, but it really seems like Trump and his cronies have underestimated how pissed off Michael Cohen is at being abandoned by Trump.

CNN Twitter: Would Michael Cohen seek a pardon from the President of the United States for an of this?

It really seems, if we take Cohen's lawyer at his word, that even if Cohen were pardoned he'd still try to help take Trump down.

Related question: can someone refuse a pardon?
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:17 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


(The President sits atop the federal law enforcement apparatus, stoneshop, but I agree it’s kinda weird to refer to the position that way, since we normally think of the Attorney General as the top cop.)
posted by notyou at 8:18 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]




joe biden gets civility and well-wishing, tim kaine gets politely ignored, bill clinton gets a shrug, every white male politician gets the benefit of the doubt, but HRC is still the monster under conservatives' beds nearly two years after she disappeared from public engagement. and trump rally crowds save their greatest ire for hillary clinton, maxine waters and nancy pelosi. i had naively continued to entertain the possibility that some people really were unenthused about clinton because of her policy positions. but it's safe to say that that group of people is a vanishingly slim fraction of the electorate.

The Republican mantra is very simple: attack, attack, and attack, and focus your attacks on the person whom is in the most threatening position to you, whether they plan on attacking you back or not.

This is how someone like Tom Daschle, whose picture appears in the encyclopedia next to "milquetoast," was briefly The Greatest Threat To American Society a while back. Not because he was going to obstruct anything effectively, but because he was the one person capable of even making that threat. This is how Mueller, naturally, takes center stage, because he IS a threat to them. This is how functionaries like Bruce Ohr get their turn in the spotlight, because trying to discredit each minor piece of the investigation in order is how they attempt to whitewash the whole thing away as partisan attacks.

And if you are a misogynist, every woman threatens your entire worldview.
posted by delfin at 8:22 AM on August 22 [35 favorites]


To those wondering about Trump's behavior and supposed self-control at last night's rally (and even somewhat this morning); a prediction by noted narcissist-expert @HoarseWisperer:
Ok, with Trump set to take the stage in West Virginia in a mere 90 mins, might as well take a swing at what we might see from him.

The Vegas betting odds have installed "Completely raging like an unhinged lunatic" as the odds-on favorite.

I'm gonna throw a curve though.

I used to write about Trump's narcissistic personality disorder all the time. Back in the day, it was almost eerie how accurately his shtick could be predicted. Folks who have been around my feed for a while can vouch for that...

It has gotten harder though...

...not because Trump has become less predictable. Nope. That dude is the simplest of simple machines. With enough insight into what he's experiencing, he'd be regular as rain.

We just don't have enough of a window anymore. We see too little.

Today though, there's no way he could know more than we know. He had no advanced knowledge of the Manafort verdict. It's unlikely he knew about the Cohen plea.

So, we know what Trump is taking in as new inputs...

While he'd seem likely to rage, like a whole lotta people with NPD, Babyfingers tends to go quiet when he is completely "caught". He freezes. Retreats. Cocoons himself away from scrutiny.

He can't do that on stage obviously...

So, I'd wager he's going to instead focus on distancing himself from Cohen and Manafort.

Narcissists have only two impulses: Seek adoration; avoid shame.

Trump will likely aim to avoid shame by pushing Cohen and Manafort as far away as possible.

I won't be shocked at all to hear Senor Loco dismiss the Cohen and Manafort convictions as having absolutely nothing to do with him...

...and then pivot off that to blaming the media for alleging he's in trouble when those other fellas' problems have nothing to do with him..

My money is on Trump surprising folks.

Look for:
1) A more sedate Trump than expected
2) Effort to distance himself from Cohen/Manafort
3) A show of empathy for only Manafort
4) Insisting "collusion" was the only legitimate accusation Mueller was supposed to investigate
5) Whining about how unfair it is to HIM that Mueller is going after other people who's issues have "nothing to do with him"
6) Insisting that Mueller's investigation is STILL a "Witch Hunt" because it has delivered no proof he "colluded" and is now "spiraling out of control"

Bottom-line: I'm guessing tonight's one-hour crazygram from the dais will mostly be about distancing the narcissist from the shame...

If Trump shows up with a flat affect and way less fire than he usually brings - and everyone expects tonight - somebody owes me beer.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 8:25 AM on August 22 [122 favorites]


Not exactly news media, but I've spent the week hanging out with a group of fairly lefty refugees and asylum seekers here in Hong Kong. If there's anything asylum seekers tend to have, it's time on their hands to read the news and debate global politics--living as outsiders in a place that's doing its best to criminalize folks seeking refugee status, the personal is unequivocally political--so I've been privy to lots of kibitzing about the situation:

  • This is an amazing thing to watch, says a Somali friend (who spent much of his life in Dadaab (the refugee camp across the border in Kenya where lots of people have fled to, and still are, because Somalia has no functioning institutions, banks, etc) because it shows less-stable countries how a strong legal system can uphold rule of law and maintain the legitimacy of a democratic state, even in the face of corruption and large-scale criminal behavior.
  • Someone from Ghana is spitballing that this will trigger a new election, because the mounting evidence that the 2016 election was compromised won't leave Pence untainted.
  • A friend from Zimbabwe says this guarantees impeachment, but Pence is worse.
  • Though America is the promised land for asylum seekers in many ways, folks are enormously, rightly, cynical about American foreign policy (esp. because many Muslims here see the way American/western Islamophobia is being leveraged to legitimize state violence against relatively powerless groups--Uighurs, Rohingya, etc), and yet I think there's some worry that American instability will create an even more massive power vacuum for China to step into, at the expense of many of their home countries in Africa.

    For what it's worth, these are all guys who follow international news pretty thoughtfully and thoroughly, and understand the big picture situation better than I do. There are a couple Trump supporters (which is frankly baffling to me, and to plenty of their fellow asylum seekers, too), but they haven't chimed in, and also quite a few folks who are just enjoying the salacious political soap opera of it all from afar.

  • posted by tapir-whorf at 8:27 AM on August 22 [66 favorites]


    Sen Mazie Hirono continues to be the resistance inspiration we need but don't talk about enough:

    @AlexLimonNews

    Senator @maxiehirono just told us she will cancel her meeting w Kavanaugh as a result of yesterday's developments. Says she will not extend the courtesy of interviewing a judge for a lifetime appointment, to a President who is an unindicted co-cosnpinator [sic].
    posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:27 AM on August 22 [131 favorites]


    Court jester Giuliani aside, attorneys generally pick their words very, very carefully, so...

    Not that you're wrong but nearly everyone involved in this story is an attorney.
    posted by East14thTaco at 8:27 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    After thinking about it further, Cook moves CA-50 (Hunter) to Lean R.

    I'm still a little skeptical about this one, but I have to admit, Hunter saying, "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves" may not play super well in San Diego.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:35 AM on August 22 [34 favorites]


    perhaps my own senator was listening to Mazie Hirono's inspiring words:

    @SenChuckSchumer

    Judge Kavanaugh's refusal to say a POTUS must comply w a duly issued subpoena & Mr Cohen' implication of POTUS in a federal crime make the danger of Kavanaugh's nomination to the SCOTUS abundantly clear.

    It's a game changer & Chairman Grassley should delay confirmation hearings
    posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:37 AM on August 22 [95 favorites]


    I did hear Cohen referred to (by a news org!) as "one of Trump's closest lawyers" the way you'd say "one of Emmy Rae's closest friends" for a regular person who isn't a heartless grifting crook.
    posted by Emmy Rae at 8:39 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    @JamesArkin: A sampling of West Virginia front pages this morning (Arkin is a reporter for Politico covering Senate campaigns.)
    posted by Going To Maine at 8:41 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    On Reddit, much of the discussion about the Klan leader going to prison for firing a gun into a crowd is currently dominated by "but what about the guy with the flamethrower?"

    Pretty telling that an AR-15 in a white guy's hands is in no way, shape or form an assault rifle, while a spray can and a lighter in a black guy's hands is definitely a flamethrower.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:41 AM on August 22 [41 favorites]


    After thinking about it further, Cook moves CA-50 (Hunter) to Lean R. I'm still a little skeptical about this one, but I have to admit, Hunter saying, "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves" may not play super well in San Diego.

    It also looks like maybe he used the funds for an affair?
    In one instance in January 2010, the congressman allegedly spent more than $1,000 for a three-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino for what was described as a "personal ski trip" with a person identified in the indictment only as "Individual 14."

    The indictment states that in June 2011, Hunter used $162 in campaign funds "for a personal stay at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel with Individual 14."
    posted by chris24 at 8:41 AM on August 22 [13 favorites]


    Look for...Bottom-line: I'm guessing tonight's one-hour crazygram from the dais will mostly be about distancing the narcissist from the shame...

    If that really went out before he took the stage, it's pretty damn prescient, which is to say that whatever model of Trump they have in their head, it seems like a usefully predictive approximation of the real thing. That kind of accuracy buys a fair amount of future credibility, in these times when there aren't a whole lot of institutions or individuals with functioning crystal balls.
    posted by adamgreenfield at 8:42 AM on August 22 [22 favorites]


    Same people screaming “they broke the law!” about terrified Central American moms who committed a misdemeanor suddenly not so into “zero tolerance” where law-breaking is concerned.
    Chris Hayes
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:42 AM on August 22 [105 favorites]


    HRC is still the monster under conservatives' beds nearly two years after she disappeared from public engagement.

    For most of 2005, I worked at an 50,000 watt AM talk station. There was a small collection of conservative hosts of varying stripes, we syndicated Limbaugh, all that. One of the hosts had a no-fooling pre-produced "Hillary Alert!" bumper that he would play before any segment in which he talked about her. My memory is that it consisted of wailing sirens, along with The Imperial Death March, and maybe garbagey clips of her saying things like "vast right-wing conspiracy," shit like that. For a woman who was, at the time, the junior senator from New York! Spoiler alert: we were not in New York.

    Clinton Derangement Syndrome is real, and there's a reason that it focuses almost entirely on her.

    Hint: it's the pervasive sexism that's a defining characteristic of the republican party
    posted by god hates math at 8:44 AM on August 22 [100 favorites]


    "I'm still a little skeptical about this one, but I have to admit, Hunter saying, "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves" may not play super well in San Diego."

    Seriously, someone just needs to put up posters with Hunter's face, that quote and a line that says"I am Duncan Hunter and I support this message literally said this." and put them up everywhere in SD.
    posted by Hairy Lobster at 8:51 AM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    joe biden gets civility and well-wishing

    The faux expression of concern about Joe Biden's health is straight out of the long game portion of the GOP playbook: frame popular Democrats as suffering from debilitating medical issues to undermine their political campaigns. See also: Hilary, who was always allegedly at death's door while, of course, also fit enough to murder people with her bare hands, dispose of their bodies with no assistance, and then complete a cover-up.
    posted by carmicha at 8:52 AM on August 22 [37 favorites]


    See also: Hilary, who was always allegedly at death's door while, of course, also fit enough to murder people with her bear hands, dispose of their bodies with no assistance, and then complete a cover-up.

    Obligatory: Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the [Hillary Clinton is] at the same time too strong and too weak.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:55 AM on August 22 [22 favorites]


    "I'm still a little skeptical about this one, but I have to admit, Hunter saying, "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves" may not play super well in San Diego."

    Seriously, someone just needs to put up posters with Hunter's face, that quote and a line that says"I am Duncan Hunter and I support this message literally said this." and put them up everywhere in SD.


    On the flip side, I know some former Navy dudes and "go fuck yourself" is basically how they say hello.
    posted by phearlez at 8:55 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    Update: @VaughnHillyard [video]: Kelli Ward tonight on bus tour inclusion of Cernovich, who has said "diversity" is "white genocide": Ward: "Attaching those things to me is ridiculous" NBC: "But you’re inviting him on your bus-" Ward: "We need to have a hook to get you guys interested in seeing the bus tour..."

    She knows exactly what she's doing.


    Receipts on that: Mike Cernovich's far-right conspiracy theories, bigotry, and association with white supremacists
    posted by Artw at 8:56 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    I grew up in the eastern part of San Diego County with Hunter pere as my congressman, and I don't think the navy comment moves the needle much. Maybe the district has shifted location a bit, but it was composed of the more rural inland parts of the county, and Imperial County, without much navy influence. Plus. San Diego is not the navy-dominated city it once was.
    posted by LionIndex at 8:58 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


    from Reuters ...

    The longer Trump stays in office, the more acquiescent people he can appoint to key positions. This month, the U.S. military announced a number of new top appointments, all of which will have required presidential approval. Trump’s comments about the Fed rate hike may do little to sway those currently running the Federal Reserve, but they inevitably will shape the views and statements of those who wish to be appointed to it in the future. Trump is also reshaping the bench of the Supreme Court in his favor through his choice of a conservative nominee to replace a retiring judge. Even more important will be developments at the Department of Justice, where Trump has explicitly tried to sideline and undermine those involved in the Mueller probe.

    To Trump, these may look like confrontations in which raw political realism outguns legal niceties. He knows removal through impeachment remains unlikely. Even if the Democrats dominate the House of Representatives in November and start the process, they are much less likely to be able to do so in the Senate – which is where any such charges would ultimately be decided.

    As long as that remains the case, the more the president is likely to work at exploiting the country’s searing political divide – even as his one-time friends face jail.

    posted by philip-random at 9:01 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    After thinking about it further, Cook moves CA-50 (Hunter) to Lean R.

    I'm still a little skeptical about this one, but I have to admit, Hunter saying, "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves" may not play super well in San Diego.


    Hunter is essentially the top of the ticket for Republicans in CA-50. The gubernatorial race is done (barring calamity) and the U.S. Senate race is between two Democrats. So the only reason Republicans have to bother getting out of the house on November 6th is to support their local Representative. "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves" to own the libs probably won't sell too many tickets. Sure, he's going to get the 30-40 percent of his constituents who are yellow-dog vote-every-election Republicans, but how many more than that?
    posted by Etrigan at 9:07 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    Someone from Ghana is spitballing that this will trigger a new election, because the mounting evidence that the 2016 election was compromised won't leave Pence untainted.

    Except that in the US, there is no mechanism for having Presidential elections outside the 4-year schedule. There is a chain of succession defined down some distance (not quite to the Washington DC municipal dogcatcher, but not too far), to the point where, should circumstances leave it exhausted, not having a President will probably be the least of one's problems.
    posted by acb at 9:07 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    Hunter was a Marine, so he'll blow off the Navy thing easily enough by saying it's good-natured inter-service rivalry bullshit. That kind of shit can be really gross (see also: "operators" looking down their noses at people in support roles), but it's also widely accepted as normal.

    The blithe exploitation of Wounded Warriors for the sake of hiding money is a much bigger hit to the shield of military exceptionalism (which, yes, is also bullshit). From what I know, WW isn't even the cleanest of the vet's orgs. I've seen it called out for focusing more on its image and branding than its charitable work, kind of like Komen or the Red Cross--and yet, much like those charities, it has one of the highest profiles in its fields. Taking advantage of Wounded Warriors like that won't play well at all.

    All that said: we've seen time and again how Republicans don't really care about vets, or graft, or really much of anything else if it gets in the way of the racism and sexism. Hard to know how much this stuff moves the needle.
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:08 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    Economic anxiety.

    G. Elliott Morris (Crosstab)
    Wow: Our new poll with detailed questions about the N-word:

    • 47% (!) of white Trump voters say they would "definitely" or "probably" vote for a POTUS who has used the N-word
    • 37% admit to using the word
    • Trump voters are 1.6x as likely to use
    posted by chris24 at 9:10 AM on August 22 [55 favorites]


    Here is Mike Cernovich’s page at the Southern Poverty Law Center site.

    He is described as a male supremacist who promotes rape. That is his thing. That is how he rose to prominence. He is an accused rapist who got the charges against him dropped when his lawyer went after his accuser, and he has since made a career out of promoting the punishment, degradation, and hatred of women.

    Why this is not enough to illicit outrage is left as an exercise to the reader.
    posted by schadenfrau at 9:13 AM on August 22 [65 favorites]


    As a reminder, throughout this whole time, Duncan Hunter was making an annual salary of about $175,000 plus benefits.

    And yet still needed to embezzle from his campaign to fund his lifestyle.

    Meanwhile, his website says "Government does not have a revenue problem—it has a spending problem. Federal spending is out-of-control and must be reduced so the government can live within its means."
    posted by melissasaurus at 9:19 AM on August 22 [65 favorites]


    After the inclusion of Livin' on the Edge last night at the klan Trump rally, Aerosmith have denounced Trump's usage of it and BMI are pulling the public performance rights from ASCAP.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:23 AM on August 22 [87 favorites]


    "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves"

    I can't think of a better way to secure the USMC vote. The only trash talk about the Navy I've ever heard has been from Marines.
    posted by mabelstreet at 9:26 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    Yeah, I saw someone comment somewhere that he was outraged that MSNBC was ignoring the Mollie Tibbets story as if some random local crime was more important than two of the president's aids being convicted.

    They don't even care about Mollie. She's just a pawn to whip up the votes.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:36 AM on August 22 [23 favorites]


    Clinton Derangement Syndrome is real, and there's a reason that it focuses almost entirely on her.

    I was driving through Ohio, real nowhere towns with maybe a church, grain silo, and bowling alley, and came across this huge homemade sign on some farmland reading HILLARYNEVER. This was in the mid-nineties. It wouldn't have occurred to many people she might run for president one day.
    I really underestimated the degree to which she had been demonized over the decades since. I think for a lot of Republicans nominating Hillary was like nominating the devil.

    Personally, I was crushed by her loss. I really believed she was going to be one of the best presidents of all time. She's a fighter, a lot less middle of the road than people think, and her experience meant she would be up and running on day one, hard.
    posted by xammerboy at 9:42 AM on August 22 [81 favorites]




    I really wish I’d have gone to school to study network security, I’d love to be working for a campaign right now helping them out with their security issues, or doing forensics.
    posted by gucci mane at 9:51 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    gucci mane, the very good Risky Business infosec podcast should be posting a new interview with Bob Lord today or tomorrow, described thusly:
    I do have a feature interview this week, but it’s a long one so I’ll be breaking that out in to a separate podcast. It’s a nice long chat with Bob Lord, the CSO for the Democratic National Committee.

    You know, the guy who hid “the server”.
    It was recorded just a few days ago, and I am looking forward to this one!
    posted by wenestvedt at 10:02 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    Yeah, I saw someone comment somewhere that he was outraged that MSNBC was ignoring the Mollie Tibbets story as if some random local crime was more important than two of the president's aids being convicted.

    They don't even care about Mollie. She's just a pawn to whip up the votes.


    Like in a Wag The Dog scenario?
    posted by ZeusHumms at 10:08 AM on August 22


    Trump: “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him

    Manafort was convicted on five counts of filing fraudulent tax returns in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Trump: "Math is hard".

    The statute of limitations for IRS audits is normally three years, but in cases in which more than 25% of income in omitted, that limitation extends to six years.

    The six years is from the date of filing the return. Manafort's 2010 return would have been filed in 2011 and six years gets you to 2017, which apparently is when the IRS audits began. I suspect the IRS is also currently looking very closely at 2015, 2016 and 2017.
    posted by JackFlash at 10:11 AM on August 22 [28 favorites]


    More Cook ratings moves:

    AK-AL (Young) | Solid R => Likely R
    IA-04 (King) | Solid R => Likely R
    posted by Chrysostom at 10:12 AM on August 22 [24 favorites]


    47% (!) of white Trump voters say they would "definitely" or "probably" vote for a POTUS who has used the N-word

    "You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables."
    posted by zombieflanders at 10:13 AM on August 22 [116 favorites]


    The indictment states that in June 2011, Hunter used $162 in campaign funds "for a personal stay at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel with Individual 14."

    Who knew there was a Liaison Capital Hill hotel in DC? But of course there is.
    posted by JackFlash at 10:15 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    Watch ‘The Wire’ to Understand the Mueller Investigation - Nancy Letourneau, Washington Monthly
    Trump’s enablers would have you believe that their use of the word “collusion” applies to the investigation, which is a “witch hunt” that needs to be shut down immediately. In the first season of The Wire, while Avon Barksdale wound up pleading guilty to a small offense and went to prison for a short time (leaving his operation to be run by his deputy Stringer Bell), powerful people in the police department shut down the whole investigation before it damaged any elected officials.

    I highly recommend that you watch (or re-watch) the first season of The Wire and keep in mind the analogy to the following players in our real-life drama.
    • Avon Barksdale is Vladimir Putin 
    • Lt. Cedric Daniels (who is in charge of the Barksdale investigation) is Robert Mueller 
    • Detective Jim McNulty is the (sometimes rogue) James Comey 
    • Detective Lester Freeman is Christopher Steele 
    • Senator Clay Davis is Donald Trump 
    • Deputy Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell represents all of Trump’s congressional enablers
    We’ll have to wait and see if Mueller meets the same fate in his investigation.
    posted by ZeusHumms at 10:16 AM on August 22 [25 favorites]


    Six Big Questions After the Cohen and Manafort Bombshells
    At least two separate criminal conspiracies helped elect Donald Trump president in 2016, one executed by the Russian government, another by Trump’s personal lawyer.

    The questions now are how many different crimes aided the president—and how closely and personally involved was Donald Trump himself?
    1. How long does Paul Manafort go to prison?
    2. What will Michael Cohen say?
    3. What happens next with “Individual-1”?
    4. Where does Robert Mueller go next?
    5. What other investigations—and crimes—are out there that we don’t know about?
    6. When does this cross over from the courts to politics?
    posted by kirkaracha at 10:18 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    I think it's important to note that the question they asked is not "would you continue to support a presidential candidate who used the N-word." There is no textual implication in the question that the candidate has a platform other than racial slurs, and yet 47% of white respondents said "yep, that sounds like someone I'd vote for."
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:18 AM on August 22 [12 favorites]


    IA-04 (King) | Solid R => Likely R

    Horrible, scummy racist King's opponent in IA-04 is JD Scholten, who is running a campaign I'd call Wellstonian. He drives an RV all over the district, stopping in towns and talking to anyone that will talk to him. Keep an eye on that one, a King loss would be so utterly fantastic.
    posted by mcstayinskool at 10:19 AM on August 22 [37 favorites]


    Trump: “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him

    Manafort was convicted on five counts of filing fraudulent tax returns in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Trump: "Math is hard".


    A less charitable read would be that Trump has known for twelve years that Manafort has engaged in tax fraud, and so it's a twelve-year-old case to him, but that's purely speculative.
    posted by cjelli at 10:19 AM on August 22 [46 favorites]


    Detective Jim McNulty is the (sometimes rogue) James Comey

    Enormous asshole narcissist with terrible judgement inexplicably viewed by many as a protagonist, checks out.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 10:22 AM on August 22 [53 favorites]


    If that really went out before he took the stage, it's pretty damn prescient, which is to say that whatever model of Trump they have in their head, it seems like a usefully predictive approximation of the real thing. That kind of accuracy buys a fair amount of future credibility, in these times when there aren't a whole lot of institutions or individuals with functioning crystal balls.

    I don't know if it's the same person, but back in 2016 there was a poster on SomethingAwful who laid out a really good case for Trump having NPD, and she made many predictions about his behavior which later came true.

    I think we can stop short of literally armchair diagnosing Trump with NPD, while still taking into consideration that it's proven over time to be a pretty good model for comparison.
    posted by showbiz_liz at 10:22 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    We just arrived in the UK - literally the first conversation we had with someone not employed in transport quickly segued to "What the hell is going on with Trump!?"
    posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:24 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


    Someone from Ghana is spitballing that this will trigger a new election, because the mounting evidence that the 2016 election was compromised won't leave Pence untainted.

    Not a bad prediction for another country's system of government, but in the United States it would absolutely, 100% require a constitutional amendment to hold a new election. We have no 'trigger' for non-standard-interval presidential elections built into the system as it currently exists.

    A constitutional amendment to change this would require the support of 38 of the 50 states -- almost twice the number of states that Hillary Clinton won. And I don't want to know what awful shit would need to happen to make 18 Trump states vote to have a new election, but it hasn't come close to happening yet.
    posted by showbiz_liz at 10:30 AM on August 22 [14 favorites]


    >They don't even care about Mollie. She's just a pawn to whip up the votes.

    Like in a Wag The Dog scenario?


    Not really, in that a wag the dog scenario involves a fabricated scenario (caveat that no one has been convicted of anything, though); this is -- to expand on what was already linked -- fabricated outrage. Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House and still-somehow-active-in-politics-guy,
    [E]mailed Axios' Mike Allen to make sure that [they would be] covering this story, which Fox News led with on air and online Tuesday evening, ahead of the Cohen-Manafort news. His take: "If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble. If we can be blocked by Manafort-Cohen, etc., then GOP could lose [the House] badly...We are living in two alternative political universes. In one, Manafort-Cohen is dispositive. In the other, illegal immigrants killing Mollie Tibbetts is dispositive."
    'This story is important because if we can politicize it we can win an election!' isn't real fucking outrage, which is, ironically, outrageous.
    posted by cjelli at 10:32 AM on August 22 [22 favorites]


    It would take Trump on a live mic repudiating his own base, laughing about how of course he was never going to get the fucking Wall built, he doesn't really give a rat's ass about Hillary's alleged crimes or border security or The Swamp, and this was all one huge scam to slash tax rates for billionaires and keep his Russian debt-holders from breaking his legs.

    His base would just say it wasn't Trump saying those things but Obama or Hillary in a Trump suit or Democrats paid that woman in Spain who resembles him to fool them. Unfortunately for the Democrats, they underestimated the intelligence of Trump's base who saw right through that conspiracy!
    posted by juiceCake at 10:34 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    Huh.

    To date, the implementation of the Presidential Succession Act has never been necessary and no Speaker has ever acted as President. Implementation of the law almost became necessary in 1973 after the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew.
    posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on August 22


    Trump has taken to the comfortable confines of Fox News for an interview that airs tomorrow morning (lots of time to edit), and they're releasing clips. Asked if the press is the enemy of the people, he says "no, not at all, but the fake news is" and says the fake news is 80% of the press. He goes on to say that only the 20% reports stuff he does well and the New York Times is "crazed. They're like lunatics."

    Also, this interview has some of the worst audio I've heard for a broadcast network. Why did they do this outside surrounded by crickets?
    posted by zachlipton at 10:42 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    The statute of limitations for IRS audits is normally three years, but in cases in which more than 25% of income in omitted, that limitation extends to six years.

    The six years is from the date of filing the return. Manafort's 2010 return would have been filed in 2011 and six years gets you to 2017, which apparently is when the IRS audits began. I suspect the IRS is also currently looking very closely at 2015, 2016 and 2017.


    The statute of limitations for this case works in a slightly different manner, though 6 years is the correct duration. The 3 year SoL (6 years for substantial understatement) relates to the time that the IRS has to assess the tax due -- that is, tell Manafort that he had a tax liability for that year of $XYZ not $ABC. Then, they would have the duration of the statute of limitations on collection of an assessment (10 years) to pursue that liability through garnishment, foreclosure, etc. All of that may also be happening behind the scenes; we wouldn't necessarily know about it.

    In his criminal case, he was found guilty of subscribing to false returns under IRC 7206, a criminal charge, which has a statute of limitations of six years from the date of the offense. The date of the offense may be the return filing date, but could be a later date if there was a multiyear evasion scheme and/or any amended returns were filed. It's possible that, for some of the earlier years, he's outside the SoL for assessment but not for criminal charges.

    Also, I believe for assessment, collection, and criminal tax offenses, the SoL is tolled while the offender is outside of the United States.
    posted by melissasaurus at 10:43 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


    Trump: “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case,

    Unless there was some evidence in the case about something Manafort did in 2006 (in which case, the statute of limitations analysis would apply), I think Trump's Mirror just let us know that we should take a look at what Trump was doing with banks and taxes in 2006.
    posted by mabelstreet at 10:48 AM on August 22 [74 favorites]


    Overnight overseas friends, I am very curious how non-US media is reporting and analyzing all this, if any of you want to share links or a general sense of how your local media is taking it on and what they're emphasizing, shocked by, etc.

    Here in Denmark, it's on all the front-pages including the public service radio tv and radio but except for one of the tabloids. Maybe there has been a time-zone delay. Generally there seems to be sort of a numbness, but the most right wing paper asks How is one supposed to imagine a USA after Trump. They seem genuinely shocked.
    posted by mumimor at 10:49 AM on August 22 [16 favorites]


    2006 was at the time of his affair with Daniels. It's possible he's confusing the crimes of his henchmen.
    posted by cmfletcher at 10:54 AM on August 22 [32 favorites]


    47% (!) of white Trump voters say they would "definitely" or "probably" vote for a POTUS who has used the N-word

    I get the comments about this being another index of his deplorables' deplorableness, but on the other hand, this is by far the biggest dent I've seen in his blind support. If 53% of White Trump Supporters are less than "probably vote" (even acknowledging a residual shame to tell a pollster that) then I think it is a vaguely silver lining on a very dark cloud.
    posted by Rumple at 10:57 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    There really needs to be more pressure on Fox as a company. What they're doing isn't right, and there needs to be active, organized pressure on their parent company and major shareholders and partners.
    posted by cell divide at 10:58 AM on August 22 [19 favorites]


    Trump has taken to the comfortable confines of Fox News for an interview that airs tomorrow morning (lots of time to edit), and they're releasing clips.

    This is some wild spin:
    Q. Did you know about the payments?

    Trump: Later on I knew. Later on. What you have to understand Ainsley -- what he did -- and they weren't taken out of campaign finance, that's a big thing, that's a much bigger thing, that they didn't come out of the campaign, they didn't come out of the campaign, they came from me, and I tweeted about it! You know, I put -- I don't know if you know, but - I tweeted! About the payments. But they didn't come of campaign. [sic] That's my first question, when I heard about, was -- did they come out of the campaign? Because that could be a little dicey. And they didn't come out of the campaign, and that's -- it's not even a campaign violation! If you look at President Obama, [...he goes on]
    (Quick transcription, so apologies for any errors.)

    He paid for it, but wanted to know if the campaign paid for it? What?
    posted by cjelli at 10:59 AM on August 22 [41 favorites]


    (Also, it probably goes without saying, but there are plenty of ways to violate campaign finance laws without spending money out of your official campaign fund; Cohen, for example, just pleaded guilty to one of them and implicated the President.)
    posted by cjelli at 11:02 AM on August 22 [17 favorites]


    We need someone to hold Paul Ryan's feet to the fire. So far, he's put out a statement through a spokesperson that "We will need more information than is currently available at this point". What more information could they need?
    posted by frogmanjack at 11:04 AM on August 22 [7 favorites]


    Information like "how to throw this asshole out and not be stabbed in the street by angry MAGA hatters."
    posted by delfin at 11:05 AM on August 22 [35 favorites]


    > "We will need more information than is currently available at this point".

    This is the grown-up version of how my sister would tell her young children that something would arrive or occur "after later."
    posted by The Card Cheat at 11:09 AM on August 22 [24 favorites]


    That's my first question, when I heard about, was -- did they come out of the campaign? Because that could be a little dicey. And they didn't come out of the campaign, and that's -- it's not even a campaign violation!

    Leon Wolf, of The Blaze, via twitter: By the way Trump has this exactly backwards. The fact that Cohens repayment didnt come out of campaign funds (and thus wasn't reported) is exaclty what turns this into a knowing (criminal) violation rather than a civil one. Will have more on this soon.
    posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:10 AM on August 22 [33 favorites]


    Mother Jones, Hannah Levintova, The Trump Official Overseeing Migrant Girls’ Health Care Once Wrote He Couldn’t “Support Abortion for Any Reason”: When a woman Scott Lloyd slept with got pregnant, he took her to get an abortion. Now he’s on a crusade to stop migrants from having their own.
    Scott Lloyd’s anti-abortion crusade began when, as a young man, he found himself faced with a partner’s unexpected pregnancy. Many years later, Lloyd would take his battle to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement, where, as its leader since March 2017, he has personally intervened to block teenage migrants in federal custody, including at least one rape victim, from accessing abortions. But it was that summer day long ago that made him decide abortion is wrong under all circumstances, including rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk. When asked about his plans for the day, he said he was going fishing; instead, he drove the young woman he had gotten pregnant to get the abortion he disagreed with. Years later, as a first-year law student at Catholic University, he described this formative experience in anguished detail in a class assignment provided to Mother Jones by a classmate and confirmed by seven others.

    “The truth about abortion,” he wrote, “is that my first child is dead, and no woman, man, Supreme Court, or government—NOBODY—has the right to tell me that she doesn’t belong here.”

    Today, after a career spent harnessing the law to restrict abortion access, Lloyd oversees the lives of nearly 12,000 migrants under the age of 18, most of whom were detained after crossing the border without proper papers. As their legal guardian, the Office of Refugee Resettlement is charged with housing them in federally funded shelters and providing them with health care, including reproductive services. Under both the Bush and Obama administrations, ORR routinely permitted abortions sought by undocumented teens who obtained private funding for the procedure. But after President Donald Trump appointed Lloyd to lead the agency last spring, he quickly changed this longstanding policy, requiring any teenager in ORR’s custody seeking to terminate a pregnancy to get his direct approval.
    posted by zachlipton at 11:10 AM on August 22 [28 favorites]


    Leon Wolf, of The Blaze, via twitter ... a knowing (criminal) violation

    Huh. What're the odds I'll see rightwing clickbait viral videos on Facebook from the Blaze explaining this over the next few days? Because right now their page is all "MSNBC downplays murdering immigrants" and "Increasing minimum wage hurts businesses"
    posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:18 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    Not a bad prediction for another country's system of government, but in the United States it would absolutely, 100% require a constitutional amendment to hold a new election. We have no 'trigger' for non-standard-interval presidential elections built into the system as it currently exists.

    We don't need a new election. There was a clear, non-fraudulent winner in 2016.
    posted by Mental Wimp at 11:21 AM on August 22 [40 favorites]


    Information like "how to throw this asshole out and not be stabbed in the street by angry MAGA hatters."

    At this point, it's on us leftist-agitator-types to make it a huge political liability NOT to throw this asshole out. Ryan doesn't care because he's retiring, but we need to make it painfully obvious to GOP leadership that Democrats are going to run ads accusing them of fiddling while Rome burns if they refuse to act after the president is clearly implicated as a co-conspirator. I'll happily throw money to any superPAC that promises to run those ads in competitive districts.
    posted by Mayor West at 11:25 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    We don't need a new election. There was a clear, non-fraudulent winner in 2016.

    That's just not how it works. It doesn't matter what's right or fair - we have a really specific set of legal rules for presidential elections, and according to those rules, Trump won the election, and there is no existing legal method for contesting that result.
    posted by showbiz_liz at 11:25 AM on August 22 [24 favorites]


    If I'm not mistaken, that thing about "it can't be a campaign violation because it didn't come from campaign funds" is something that Giuliani was saying a few weeks (months? who knows? time no longer has meaning) ago on the Sunday talk shows. Also, we probably don't need to reiterate that this line of reasoning is on par with "a husband and wife can't be tried for the same crime" level of legal argument. The worst fuckin' attorneys.
    posted by mhum at 11:26 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    What you have to understand Ainsley -- what he did -- and they weren't taken out of campaign finance, that's a big thing, that's a much bigger thing, that they didn't come out of the campaign, they didn't come out of the campaign, they came from me

    The campaign fund has nothing to do with the crime. Trump is just throwing dust in the eyes of the public.

    There are two crimes that Cohen pleaded to. The first is an illegal corporate contribution. This is related to Cohen coordinating with the publisher of the National Enquirer to pay off Karen McDougal to kill her story. That is an illegal corporate contribution and both Cohen and Trump were in on the arrangement, hence the conspiracy.

    The second crime was Cohen's payoff of $130,000 to Stormy Daniels from his personal account. This is an illegal excessive contribution, that is, greater than the allowed $2700. Whether Trump later reimbursed Cohen for this contribution is irrelevant. It was an illegal campaign contribution and coordinated with Trump.

    None of this money, as far as alleged, came from the Trump campaign. It doesn't matter. It was still illegal. And Trump conspired with the contributors of these illegal contributions.
    posted by JackFlash at 11:26 AM on August 22 [63 favorites]


    We don't need a new election. There was a clear, non-fraudulent winner in 2016.

    Yeahhhh....no. Unless you really, truly look forward to actual blood in the streets, you do not want the courts removing Trump and ensconcing Clinton in the Oval Office, given the current political climate. Shit would absolutely hit the fan.
    posted by Thorzdad at 11:27 AM on August 22 [17 favorites]


    We don't need a new election. There was a clear, non-fraudulent winner in 2016.

    That's just not how it works. It doesn't matter what's right or fair - we have a really specific set of legal rules for presidential elections, and according to those rules, Trump won the election, and there is no existing legal method for contesting that result.


    Yeah, the remedy is impeaching Trump, and possibly Pence and having a caretaker administration maintain the US until a new presidential election comes around. It's not the most flexible system, but it does offer clarity . . . as long as someone is willing to impeach and remove a criminal.
    posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:28 AM on August 22 [12 favorites]


    On legal precedent for elections, it sounds like we need a Marbury v Madison type ruling.
    posted by Slackermagee at 11:32 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    Hillary getting appointed president is about as likely as Hillary getting indicted for Qanon storm cheese pizza and merits the same amount of discussion here
    posted by theodolite at 11:33 AM on August 22 [88 favorites]


    Re: Duncan Hunter. I don't think the Navy remark will matter.

    The old story was that it was his wife (his former campaign manager) who was at fault, charging expenses to the wrong accounts. Now they've both been indicted. If he doesn't divorce her, the new story will be Hunter's alcohol addiction and untreated PTSD. (Which he denied, like six months ago, but back then he was in denial.) He'd seek treatment to try to salvage the family political "dynasty." (I don't think two generations qualify, but that's how they're trying to sell it; Hunter Sr. weathered a lesser finance-related scandal, over kiting checks, in 1992.)

    (I'm contacting my rep to ask that rep to clearly support Hunter's opponent, the Obama-alum, Latino-Arab-American Democrat, Ammar Campo-Najjar.)
    posted by Iris Gambol at 11:34 AM on August 22 [9 favorites]


    We've gone over "the election was invalid" shit many many times in these threads. There's no new information that invalidates the election results in anything that's happened recently, so can we not?
    posted by runcibleshaw at 11:35 AM on August 22 [12 favorites]


    From zachlipton earlier: Asked if the press is the enemy of the people, he says "no, not at all, but the fake news is" and says the fake news is 80% of the press.

    From a Pacific Standard article by Jared Keller: There's plenty of evidence to suggest Trump won't just survive Michael Cohen's testimony—he'll thrive.

    ... when it comes to party die-hards, crying "fake news" is a far more politically effective response than an admission of guilt. And there's little reason to think the "fake news" response will land on deaf ears. Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that major broadcast and print outlets report fake news "at least occasionally," according to an April poll from Monmouth University, up from 63 percent in 2017. What's more, the Monmouth poll found that the most significant increases in skepticism regarding conventional media since Trump entered office came from Independents (16 percent) and Democrats (18 percent)—not Republicans (10 percent).

    Trump's impulse to attack the media isn't just about finding a scapegoat; the fake news canard hinges on epistemic chaos, on taking Americans' already-fragile trust in public institutions and driving a stake through whatever remains. Trump's assault on the media as "the enemy of the people" has always been built "on an assault on reality, a national gaslighting that has wrought epistemic chaos among what was supposed to be an informed citizenry," as I wrote back in April.

    "No society works if people don't speak the same moral and ethical language, if they can't find a way to communicate—and, more importantly, if they don't trust each other." Trump's immediate comment on Manafort's conviction—"this is a witch hunt and it's a disgrace"—reveals a long-term strategy to effectively gaslight his way to innocence in the eyes of his base, despite a mountain of evidence.

    posted by Bella Donna at 11:38 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    @ddale8: Sarah Sanders introduces what I think is a new defence, saying twice that "no charges" have been filed against Trump. Interesting because it's likely that no charges will ever be filed while he's in office no matter what investigators find.

    I like how they've twisted their defense (Trump can't be charged) into evidence of innocence (he hasn't been charged).

    When asked if Trump lied to the American people, Sanders responded "That's a ridiculous accusation," despite his admission today to Fox News that boils down to the fact that he lied when he was previously asked about the payments. Asked to reconcile this a few times, Sanders repeatedly reads off: "Trump has done nothing wrong, there are no charges against him, there is no collusion."
    posted by zachlipton at 11:38 AM on August 22 [31 favorites]


    Hillary getting appointed president is about as likely as Hillary getting indicted for Qanon storm cheese pizza and merits the same amount of discussion here

    There's definitely a nonzero chance of Hillary being indicted on bogus conspiracy-theory-related charges in the future (see: Putin planting child pornography on enemies' computers to get them locked up). So maybe not the best comparison.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 11:39 AM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    Here in Denmark, it's on all the front-pages including the public service radio tv and radio but except for one of the tabloids. Maybe there has been a time-zone delay. Generally there seems to be sort of a numbness, but the most right wing paper asks How is one supposed to imagine a USA after Trump. They seem genuinely shocked.

    I read this article in Google Translate, and I think it's worth a look. Highlights:

    The problem is that Trump's method requires a radicality that must be constantly driven. Standstill is the beginning of a decline. Trump must constantly sharpen its contempt for institutions and people who do not give up his whims in violence if the strategy is to work. Continuously, those who have predicted that now-now-now he can not drive himself further, taken inside. It actually makes the president constant.

    Later:

    It follows that no one yet has an overview of the damage caused by the Trump regime to the political principles and bearing institutions in the world's only superpower. Trump has only been sitting for a year and unless he is judged in an empire case [impeached?], the army can continue for years. How is the dignity and viability of the different democratic bodies of the United States democracy re-established after Trump?

    It's also not done with Trump. He still has solid support in the constituency of his course and his shape. His method is also polarization, and the American population is as divided as ever. How should a successor knock the deep cuts that are struck?

    There is only history to comfort. The magnificent US has overcome major crises in the past.


    ('Magnificent' was translated from the word 'storslåede' - I'm curious whether that word has as positive a connotation as 'magnificent' does in English, or whether it's closer to something like 'formidable.')
    posted by showbiz_liz at 11:39 AM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    Re: Mollie Tibbets being the most important story in the world.
    ~ 3 women are killed every day by their domestic partner, with no The_Donald fanfare at all. My condolences to the family but the reporting on this is pure one-minute-immigrant-hate propaganda.
    posted by benzenedream at 11:40 AM on August 22 [77 favorites]


    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on whether the President lied when he said that he knew nothing about the Karen McDougal payment (something the President's lawyer Giuliani has repeatedly admitted, and regarding which the President's former lawyer Cohen just pleaded guilty): "I think that's a ridiculous accusation".
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:40 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    That Mother Jones article on Scott Lloyd is horrifying.

    In one case before Lloyd was formally ORR’s director, a shelter halted a medication abortion halfway through at the agency’s request while Lloyd conferred with colleagues about deploying a scientifically unproven method to, as Lloyd recounted in a deposition on the case, “reverse” the abortion to “save the life of the baby.” (After being taken to an emergency room at the direction of Lloyd and another staffer to check for a fetal heartbeat, the girl received her second dose.)

    This is torture. How have we gotten to the point where medical decisions are made on the basis of a stranger's misguided guilt?

    Also, from his essay:
    It doesn’t speak highly of women to assume that they can’t handle the pressures of being a mother, and that they need a procedure that is so directly opposed to femininity. Ask any of the female deans or professors at our school how much abortion was a factor in their success as a female professional. Ask them if having a child spelled mental and financial ruin. I sort of doubt that abortion was a key step on their path to success.

    Dude, you know nothing. If you actually listened to women your dumb little mind would be blown.
    posted by Kitty Stardust at 11:41 AM on August 22 [69 favorites]




    And there's little reason to think the "fake news" response will land on deaf ears. Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that major broadcast and print outlets report fake news "at least occasionally," according to an April poll from Monmouth University, up from 63 percent in 2017.

    We've talked about this poll a few times, and I'd reiterate that, the way the questions are posed, thinking that Fox News provides misleading news means you should ('should') respond 'yes' -- so it's not hugely surprising to find hat people all across the political spectrum think that the media 'at least occasionally' is 'fake news.' There are plenty of people in this thread who are extremely critical of NPR, the NYT, and other outlets that Trump bashes, who don't believe Trump's claims about NPR or the NYT, & so on.

    There's certainly a lot of discontent with the media, but that doesn't necessarily mean that people will buy into, or are buying into, Trump's framing of that discontent.
    posted by cjelli at 11:46 AM on August 22 [11 favorites]


    If I'm not mistaken, that thing about "it can't be a campaign violation because it didn't come from campaign funds" is something that Giuliani was saying a few weeks ... ago

    Yes, unfortunately for Trump that contributed even more evidence that the activity was illegal.

    For the second count, the one in which Cohen paid $130,000 to Stormy Daniels, it would have been perfectly legal for Donald Trump to personally pay her off from his personal funds using Cohen as a conduit. But he didn't.

    Cohen paid Daniels out of his personal account using money he had just secured from a personal home equity loan. And when Trump paid back Cohen, they didn't do it as you would expect. They specifically billed it as "a monthly retainer for legal services". If Trump had simply paid Cohen back $130,000 for his expenses on his behalf to pay off Daniels, it wouldn't be a crime. But Trump was trying to be cheap, as usual, and stretch out the payment over months, and describing it as monthly retainers, not repayment for expenses. That means the Cohen payment was a personal contribution, not a service rendered.

    Further Giuliani made it even worse when be bragged on TV that Trump had "grossed up" the payment to Cohen to cover his taxes on the income. That was a big mistake. You wouldn't gross up a payment for legal expenses. Cohen would simply deduct the $130,000 from his legal fees as expenses and owe no tax on it. By grossing it up, Giuliani is confirming that the payments are income to Cohen, not repayment for expenses.
    posted by JackFlash at 11:50 AM on August 22 [45 favorites]


    There are plenty of ways out of this mess that don't require violating the Constitution.
    posted by showbiz_liz at 11:51 AM on August 22 [7 favorites]


    There are plenty of ways out of this mess that don't require violating the Constitution.

    I believe the best way, consistent with the Rule of Law, Due Process of Law, and Equal Protection of the Laws would simply be for Mueller's team to indict Donald J. Trump for all felony charges handed down by a Grand Jury, and to hell undemocratic "Guidelines" suggesting that a sitting president cannot be indicted.
    posted by mikelieman at 11:54 AM on August 22 [24 favorites]


    [We've been over the potential ways of undoing an election plenty of times, and this one isn't adding anything. Please drop it. Thanks.]
    posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:59 AM on August 22 [20 favorites]


    At last Donald Trump gives a speech that he may have written himself

    Needs more accordion.
    posted by kirkaracha at 12:05 PM on August 22 [7 favorites]


    Newt Gingrich (in multiply-nested quote from cjelli): "If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble..."

    While this may have some truth (I'm sort of optmistically skeptical that the electorate as a whole, beyond the deplorables, can be that manipulated), it's so infuriating for so many reasons. Aside from the racism, any emphasis of the death of Mollie Tibbetts (assuming Cristhian Rivera did kill her) undercuts its own ostensible purpose. Murders by undocumentaed migrants are so rare that Americans collectively know the names of individual victims.

    These nativist creeps' other ghoulish cause celebre is Katie Steinle, and she was killed by accident. Both accidental shootings and misoginy-driven acts of violence are appalingly common in this country. (A probable example of the latter is the horrific multiple-murder involving a man named Chris Watts. Given that he's white, it's actually sort of good that his crime is getting the "tragedy" rather than "statistic" treatment in the news cycle -- every time someone brings up Rivera, you can counter with Watts, even though arguing from anecdotes is terrible.)

    In each of those stories, the legal status of the perpetrator is the least relevant part. We're not even talking about gangs that thrive on the margins of the broken system, like the exaggerated MS-13 threat. (Probably because their victims aren't white women). So the only way it's a notable factor is that it raises the question of why the perpetrators took the additional risk of deportation (which is of course the main reason undocumented citizens commit crime at a much lower rate).
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 12:05 PM on August 22 [15 favorites]




    This Is An Elegant Fucking Civil Rights Master Class From Beto O'Rourke, Sit And Get Learned!
    Here's a video of O'Rourke's answer to a question from an audience member who said he comes from "a family of veterans," at a town hall in Houston on August 10. The man wanted to know whether O'Rourke agreed that the players' taking a knee was incredibly disrespectful to the flag, the troops, and America. And wow, what an answer!

    Where a lot of politicians might try to avoid the question, O'Rourke actually contends with it, and while making clear he respects the questioner, he also says nobody's less American for having different views on the matter -- which is where some politicians might cue "Kumbayah" and call it a day. Instead, he rejects the premise outright: "My short answer is no, I don't think it's disrespectful." And then he launches into his longer answer, mentioning Taylor Branch's history bestseller Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63, and we're already in weird territory because here's a US Senate candidate talking about a book? How refreshingly unusual!

    And so O'Rourke recites the litany of civil rights milestones, even noting the movement of the '50s and '60s only secured "better -- because they didn't get full -- civil rights for their fellow Americans." And Crom bless him, he even points out that these too are the heroes who fought to ensure all Americans' rights, not to take anything away from veterans, but damn it's good to hear a candidate willing to say that
    The freedoms that we have were purchased not just by those in uniform -- and they definitely were -- but also by those who took their lives into their hands riding those Greyhound buses, the Freedom Riders in the deep South in the 1960s who knew full well that they would be arrested, and they were, serving time in the Mississippi State Penitentiary.
    And among those heroes, O'Rourke adds, are those who take a knee in protest of the killing of unarmed black men, teenagers, and even children who "are being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement, without accountability and without justice."
    posted by kirkaracha at 12:16 PM on August 22 [215 favorites]


    Des Moines Register: Mollie Tibbetts’ accused killer is in Iowa legally, his lawyer says, calling Trump 'sad and sorry' for weighing in.

    Someone else this morning was reporting that he was a long-ish term (farm) employee of a well know GOP fundraiser.
    posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:17 PM on August 22 [31 favorites]


    jeebus its right in the article i linked:

    Rivera has lived in Iowa for four to seven years, working at Yarrabee Farms, a Brooklyn-area farm owned by Eric Lang, the brother of Craig Lang, a prominent Republican.
    posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:19 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    When they say illegal, they just mean brown.
    posted by jaduncan at 12:19 PM on August 22 [104 favorites]


    Murders by undocumentaed migrants are so rare that Americans collectively know the names of individual victims.

    I was talking about this with some friends the other day, and as best as we could figure by looking at CDC stats, children under 5 dying of obesity is thousands of times more common than it is for anyone to be killed by any immigrant.

    But then we realized we must have sorted the stats incorrectly because because there's no national conversation about saving children from dying of obesity, and surely.....



    These nativist creeps' other ghoulish cause celebre is Katie Steinle, and she was killed by accident

    I assumed somewhat good faith on criminal immigrant claims until I discovered that one of 45's go-to stories was about a drunk driver. I live in Milwaukee and am pretty sure drunk driving isn't an immigration issue.

    posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:20 PM on August 22 [14 favorites]


    Beto O'Rouke has the charisma, intelligence, heart and drive to be President. Senator first. You can do it, Texas.
    posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:22 PM on August 22 [99 favorites]


    This Is An Elegant Fucking Civil Rights Master Class From Beto O'Rourke, Sit And Get Learned!

    I must admit, I watched that last night and just hearing a candidate speak thoughtfully about the issue, in such a decent and honest way, without either pandering or wavering in his core belief, in these dark times, it was inspiring.

    Reader, I donated.
    posted by gwint at 12:24 PM on August 22 [82 favorites]


    @AP: BREAKING: New York state investigators have issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of Trump Foundation probe.

    And NY AG Barbara Underwood is all out of bubble-gum, and figures it's easiest to kick Trump when he's down, since he's closer to your foot.

    Similar to how the DNC is pursuing the civil aspect of the crimes Russia and the Trump Campaign committed against it prior to criminal indictments I would like to think that Underwood is beta-testing the idea that sitting presidents cannot be indicted in a State jurisdiction.
    posted by mikelieman at 12:26 PM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    I am not particularly afraid of the Mollie Tibbetts blowback because even if it does turn out that Rivera ISN'T legally entitled to live in Iowa, the case is pure red meat for the Trumpoid base, who were coming out to vote in the mid-terms anyway.

    If by October, people who AREN'T part of that hard-right base are convinced that (a) Mollie Tibbetts' murder means that MS-13 is coming to slaughter us all in our beds and (b) Building That Wall and Deporting Them All are suddenly the most important reasons to vote for or against Congresspersons, then yes, we are in deep trouble. But if Democrats allow that false narrative to sway the alleged middle, then they deserve it.
    posted by delfin at 12:27 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    ('Magnificent' was translated from the word 'storslåede' - I'm curious whether that word has as positive a connotation as 'magnificent' does in English, or whether it's closer to something like 'formidable.')

    It's a difficult question, because Danish is one of the fastest moving languages in the world and the meaning of a word can be literally reversed over twenty years. However, given that JP is extremely conservative (it's nickname is "The Morning Fascist Jutland Pest"), and extremely pro US, I think magnificent is how they meant it.
    posted by mumimor at 12:40 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    I love that the R position now is basically "Yeah, he did crimes, but they didn't involve Russia so it's all good."
    posted by chris24 at 12:43 PM on August 22 [18 favorites]


    Also implicated in court documents for Michael Cohen:
    - The Trump Organization & two unnamed executives there
    - American Media Inc., CEO David Pecker, the National Enquirer, & mag's EIC
    - "One or more members" of the Trump campaign
    Who Else Is Implicated by Michael Cohen?
    Allegra Kirkland | TPM
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:44 PM on August 22 [17 favorites]


    xammerboy: "Personally, I was crushed by her loss. I really believed she was going to be one of the best presidents of all time. She's a fighter, a lot less middle of the road than people think, and her experience meant she would be up and running on day one, hard."

    100 years from now there is a going to be a ripping good business in the niche speculative fiction market of "What if Clinton won?" that will rival todays "What if the Nazis won WWII".

    cjelli: "A less charitable read would be that Trump has known for twelve years that Manafort has engaged in tax fraud, and so it's a twelve-year-old case to him, but that's purely speculative."

    Or he thinks it's 2022.
    posted by Mitheral at 12:58 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    Beto O'Rouke has the charisma, intelligence, heart and drive to be President.

    He even has the endorsement of Chuck Tingle:

    " . . . those buckaroos [in Texas] should learn who man name of BETO is he is fighting against the void"

    thanks Beto for proving love is real
    posted by robotdevil at 12:58 PM on August 22 [52 favorites]


    @AP: BREAKING: New York state investigators have issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of Trump Foundation probe.

    And NY AG Barbara Underwood is all out of bubble-gum, and figures it's easiest to kick Trump when he's down, since he's closer to your foot.

    Similar to how the DNC is pursuing the civil aspect of the crimes Russia and the Trump Campaign committed against it prior to criminal indictments I would like to think that Underwood is beta-testing the idea that sitting presidents cannot be indicted in a State jurisdiction.


    I remember when former AG Eric Schneiderman was accused of sexual assault and resigned - and the "boo hoo hoo hoo he's too valuable to lose!" cry arose. But current AG Underwood is not only on the case, she's probably going after Trump much more aggressively than Schneiderman would have. The right thing was done all around.
    posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:59 PM on August 22 [109 favorites]


    This Is An Elegant Fucking Civil Rights Master Class From Beto O'Rourke, Sit And Get Learned!


    Yeah, this brought me to tears. I wondered if the person who asked the question was at all moved to think differently.
    posted by bluesky43 at 1:01 PM on August 22 [19 favorites]


    Mollie Tibbetts’s family doesn’t want her death politicized. Trump is doing it anyway.

    It took the White House less than a day to use Tibbetts’s murder to push Trump’s immigration agenda. (Dara Lind | Vox)
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:05 PM on August 22 [41 favorites]


    As for how Trump's campaign finance lawyer fits in with Cohen's guilty plea, Bloomberg digs up a source: Trump Didn’t Consult McGahn About Hush-Money Payments, Source Says
    President Donald Trump didn’t consult his campaign finance lawyer Don McGahn about hush-money payments that were made days before the election and are now the center of a criminal case, a person familiar with the matter said.

    The absence of McGahn, who is now White House counsel, could be a key piece of evidence in any criminal prosecution, according to the person close to McGahn. Prosecutors could argue it shows Trump knew the payments were illegal and hid them. But Trump’s lawyers could counter that it’s a sign Trump didn’t realize they were related to the campaign.

    McGahn, the person said, expects to be questioned by federal prosecutors in New York about his knowledge of the payments, which were the basis for campaign finance charges against Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen.[...]

    McGahn wasn’t asked about the payments in any of his three interviews with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the person added.
    In other hush-money breaking stories, CNN Obtains Secret Trump-Cohen Audio Recording: "Presidential candidate Donald Trump is heard on tape discussing with attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier." (It's very murky audio, but Cohen's clearly talking about setting up a shell company much like the one for the Stormy Daniels payout.)

    And all this is taking its toll in Trumpland, per NYT's Jeremy Peters (@ jwpetersNYT): “Just talked one of Trump's earliest supporters & true believers - very rattled - who's been talking to big GOP donors. They want to support Trump. They tried hard to ignore all the noise. They can't anymore. 'They're over it. This is not how a president comports himself.'”
    posted by Doktor Zed at 1:15 PM on August 22 [19 favorites]


    That's just them asking for another round of tax cuts/regulatory rollbacks.
    posted by notyou at 1:18 PM on August 22 [36 favorites]


    Beto O'Rouke has the charisma, intelligence, heart and drive to be President. Senator first. You can do it, Texas.

    I get the same feeling from him I got from Obama around 2004. Still, it's up to Texas.
    posted by kirkaracha at 1:21 PM on August 22 [27 favorites]


    yeah no this freak was ranting that mexicans were feeding them bc they're animals too so, uh.

    Right-wing conflation of unreasonable fear of wild animals and (also unreasonable) fear of immigrants is a very real and weird phenomenon: I know people in the rural west who are terrified of wolves and bears, and think that the deep state is conspiring with foreigners to import them and make the countryside more dangerous for real citizens. They also think that immigrants are starting all the wildfires; to them, immigrants are a natural/inhuman force as pervasive and destructive as climate change is to sane people. For me, the last few years have really lifted the veil from the softness and malleability of the human brain.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 1:22 PM on August 22 [39 favorites]


    Just talked one of Trump's earliest supporters & true believers - very rattled - who's been talking to big GOP donors. They want to support Trump. They tried hard to ignore all the noise. They can't anymore. 'They're over it. This is not how a president comports himself.'

    i, too, once believed in unicorns, dragons, santa claus, and the easter bunny. then i grew up.

    pretty sure those gop donors are still gonna donate juuuuuust fine.
    posted by anem0ne at 1:23 PM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    I love that the R position now is basically "Yeah, he did crimes, but they didn't involve Russia so it's all good."

    Not even that, they’re openly citing that “the President can’t be indicted”. I know this is a cliche at this point, but imagine Ben Rhodes or David Alexrod saying that about Obama.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 1:24 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    Personally, I was crushed by her loss. I really believed she was going to be one of the best presidents of all time. She's a fighter, a lot less middle of the road than people think, and her experience meant she would be up and running on day one, hard.

    I was crushed, too, and I agree with everything you said except her being one of the best presidents of all time. I think she would have been among the best people to ever become president, and one of the most qualified.

    However, assuming the same election results except for president, with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress we'd have gridlock and nonstop Benghazipalooza. She still would've been immeasurably better for the country and we would've had a liberal Supreme Court for the rest of my life instead of a conservative one. Plus taco trucks on every corner.
    posted by kirkaracha at 1:25 PM on August 22 [30 favorites]


    Beto O'Rouke has the charisma, intelligence, heart and drive to be President. Senator first. You can do it, Texas.

    I get the same feeling from him I got from Obama around 2004. Still, it's up to Texas.


    I get the added effect that Beto is much more unabashedly liberal. Part of this is because Obama had to appear much more centrist so as not scare people (his identity was the radical aspect about him), while Beto is a white man that is allowed to talk how NFL players protesting police brutality are not only patriotic, but part of a tradition of protesting patriots. But yes, he has that same intellect and easy-going charisma combined with an even more fiercely progressive stance on what America can be.

    If Texas takes him away from us, I will be very cross.
    posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:29 PM on August 22 [65 favorites]


    If Texas takes him away from us, I will be very cross.

    We're doing our very best, but it's an amazingly tough battle. I really don't want to live here any more, but I'm glad I'm here for this election.
    posted by blurker at 1:35 PM on August 22 [50 favorites]


    Personally, I was crushed by her loss. I really believed she was going to be one of the best presidents of all time.
    Beto O'Rouke has the charisma, intelligence, heart and drive to be President. Senator first. You can do it, Texas.

    OK, I don't care that she'll be 73 in 2020. Here's hoping that President O'Rourke (or Harris, Gillibrand, whoever) appoints Supreme Court Justice Hillary Clinton. (If RBG can serve into her mid 80s, so can Hillary!)
    posted by martin q blank at 1:35 PM on August 22 [30 favorites]


    -- Des Moines Register: Mollie Tibbetts’ accused killer is in Iowa legally, his lawyer says, calling Trump 'sad and sorry' for weighing in.

    -- Rivera has lived in Iowa for four to seven years, working at Yarrabee Farms, a Brooklyn-area farm owned by Eric Lang, the brother of Craig Lang, a prominent Republican.

    According to the brief filed by Allen Richards, the defendant's lawyer, it is Craig Lang himself verifying that Cristhian Bahena Rivera is in the country legally.

    Craig Lang is an owner of Yarrabee Farms (son Dane, the other owner, said so last night).

    Also, in Rivera's account, he has no memory of murdering Tibbetts.

    (I'm not saying the Lang family has undue influence in Poweshiek County, or anything. No one's saying that.)
    posted by Iris Gambol at 1:41 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    According to the brief filed by Allen Richards, the defendant's lawyer, it is Craig Lang himself verifying that Cristhian Bahena Rivera is in the country legally.

    No one I've ever seen on Facebook complaining about illegal immigration will give a damn that he was here legally. Not one. At best, they'll pivot to "Well, that just means we need to clamp down on legal immigration! America is full!"

    It's not about the law. It's never been about the law.
    posted by Etrigan at 1:55 PM on August 22 [50 favorites]


    @AP: BREAKING: New York state investigators have issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of Trump Foundation probe.

    NY Daily News has a bit more:
    Shortly after the subpoena went out, Cohen personally contacted the tax department to talk, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.

    The source wouldn’t say what the response was. But typically in such cases where someone has a lawyer, investigators deal with their counsel and not directly with the person.
    posted by melissasaurus at 1:59 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    Yep. The whole "illegals" thing is 100% the first step in getting rid of "undesirables". It has nothing to do with the rule of law or economics or anything other than nativism, nationalism, and racism.
    posted by runcibleshaw at 2:01 PM on August 22 [29 favorites]


    Agreed. Not even my comment was about the law.
    posted by Iris Gambol at 2:03 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


    @AP: BREAKING: New York state investigators have issued a subpoena to Michael Cohen as part of Trump Foundation probe.

    Having Eric, Ivanka, Jared, and Don Jr. go to jail for a very long time (state charges?), and not having a blood relation available to run the hotels would be the only conceivable situation where Trump would step down (because managing $HOTEL_FORTUNE is the most important thing in the Trumpverse).
    posted by benzenedream at 2:11 PM on August 22 [7 favorites]


    Speaking of Beto, new Marist poll has him down to Cruz by only 4 points, 49-45.
    posted by Chrysostom at 2:12 PM on August 22 [27 favorites]


    Beto O'Rouke has the charisma, intelligence, heart and drive to be President.

    Fun fact: I was at a Beto town hall a few weeks ago and he talked about how grateful he was to the teacher who introduced him to The Odyssey. The book has such a profound effect on him that he named his first kid Ulysses "because we didn't have the guts to name him Odysseus."

    He followed that up with a concise explanation of racial disparities in drug sentencing and then made sure an agitated guy in a "Veterans for Greg Abbott" T-shirt got the last question, because "we have to walk the walk."

    As a lifelong East Texan, I am not accustomed to this level of discourse from people who want my vote. It was nice.
    posted by mcdoublewide at 2:16 PM on August 22 [88 favorites]


    O'Rourke and Cruz still haven't had a debate yet, have they? With luck, that ought to shift things a few more points in Beto's favor.
    posted by Faint of Butt at 2:18 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    Beto O'Rourke visits the Harris County jail today with Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, says he is convinced Texas can take the lead in criminal justice reform. There's been a lot of local voter drives to help people (there are thousands) who are not convicted of a crime, awaiting trial in jail, registering them, setting up a poling place, educating the public about it, that's taking off to some degree. When Beto is not at really huge Town Halls he attends "Roundtables" with local leaders on issues we need to work on. Today was the Justice Roundtable (facebook live video link), where he listens with people who have been doing this work for decades. He often says about this and many issues: no one will see this coming! No one will believe it is us. But Texas can and should lead the way.
    posted by dog food sugar at 2:18 PM on August 22 [34 favorites]


    And when Trump paid back Cohen, they didn't do it as you would expect. They specifically billed it as "a monthly retainer for legal services". If Trump had simply paid Cohen back $130,000 for his expenses on his behalf to pay off Daniels, it wouldn't be a crime. But Trump was trying to be cheap, as usual, and stretch out the payment over months, and describing it as monthly retainers, not repayment for expenses. That means the Cohen payment was a personal contribution, not a service rendered.

    I'm assuming that it was the Trump Corporation, not Donald Trump personally, that wrote the checks fraudulently described as legal fees, which would make this all an illegal corporate campaign contribution.

    Can anyone verify?
    posted by msalt at 2:20 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    After Mollie Tibbett's Death, White House Releases 'Permanently Separated' Video About Illegal Immigrant Crime

    Halfway through the video, the video reads that “their children were killed by illegal aliens in this country.” Toward the end of the video, the families say they have been “permanently separated” from their loved ones.

    And the first words in the video: "We were permanently separated. Not just for a week or a month."

    They're explicitly using Tibbett to defend, excuse and promote their past and ongoing crimes against humanity. These fucking scumbags.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 2:24 PM on August 22 [107 favorites]


    There was an email between Trump Org execs saying "Please pay this from the Trust." I don't know which trust or how related people/entities are treated for election law purposes, though.
    posted by melissasaurus at 2:28 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    With Tibbetts and Steinle and others (and setting aside whether the defendant is even in the country illegally), the underlying premise behind the message coming from the White House is "if they weren't here, she would still be alive." And while we know that immigrants commit fewer crimes and violence against women is a much broader problem than immigrants, there's also a really painful one-way kind of humanity expressed in this message.

    The people who spew this hate are arguing that keeping a "bad person" out of the country could better the lives of Americans, but they're entirely unwilling to consider the possibility that letting someone in could also better America. It all goes back to Don Jr's damn Skittles meme (for which serious people at Wrigley had to sit down and respond that "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people": no risk that an immigrant could possibly commit a crime is ever acceptable. But that only runs one way: nothing that immigrants could bring to the country could ever be worth it (immigrants shouldn't be admitted to the country purely based on what they can contribute, but since anything other than total self-interest is a non-starter with these people...).

    The White House races to yell about "immigrant crime," as if that's actually a separate category of crime, yet when Trump has a dinner with business leaders, the immigrants are erased and he's just meeting with "American business leaders." There's an office to blame immigrants for crimes, but when Trump just sat down for dinner with MasterCard's Ajaypal Bang, Pepsi's Indra Nooyi, and Honeywell's Darius Adamczyk, nobody lifted a finger to mention immigrants' successes.

    And the first words in the video: "We were permanently separated. Not just for a week or a month."

    They know that what they're doing (there are still hundreds of children that have not been returned to their parents) is wrong. That's why they leap to use cases like this, regardless of the facts, to justify it.
    posted by zachlipton at 2:28 PM on August 22 [26 favorites]


    @jordyntieman:
    Mollie Tibbetts was murdered because she told a man to leave her alone while she was jogging. But because he was an illegal immigrant you all wanna advocate for border control instead of against the root of the problem: violence towards women for saying no
    Also today: Utah Man Killed City Official and Set Fire to Her Body, Truck and a Nearby Home, Police Say. AFAIK, no comment from the White House. Oh, btw: Suspect was white.
    posted by gwint at 2:31 PM on August 22 [87 favorites]


    And... ugh, even after all this time, I still fall for the trap. The news is Cohen and Manafort and I'm posting about the NFL and immigration, just like Trump wants me to. Grrrr.
    posted by gwint at 2:34 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    Beto O'Rourke vs. Ted Cruz and the Fight for America
    Ted Cruz is misunderstood, Ted Cruz tells me....In Cruz's view, he's been maligned and unfairly portrayed for years as a surly right-winger...The truth, Cruz wants me to know, is that he's always been a more lighthearted fellow than he's been given credit for being.
    ...
    A man rose and began railing against the Deep State in alarming terms, mumbling something about Ruby Ridge. As Cruz listened, the man reasoned that the FBI was a greater threat to Americans than ISIS, because terrorists could be dispatched with violence, whereas “it's against the law to shoot the FBI.”

    Cruz ditched his kumbaya act. “I share your frustration. And it is a frustration that millions across this country share,” he said. He pointed out that the FBI was awash in partisan shenanigans that required urgent attention.
    ...
    When O'Rourke was growing up in El Paso, immersing himself in the local punk scene, Cruz was touring with the Constitutional Corroborators, a youth group that discussed the text of America's founding documents in front of rotary clubs. When Cruz was securing a clerkship with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, O'Rourke was living in a loft with his bandmates in Brooklyn.

    Whereas Cruz, as Texas solicitor general, was tasked with upholding a dildo ban, O'Rourke, as a city-council member in El Paso, was pressing to legalize weed.
    In conclusion, Texas is a land of contrast.
    posted by kirkaracha at 2:37 PM on August 22 [35 favorites]


    > for a personal stay at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel

    The Writers, they're just killing me . . . You just CAN'T have the meetup spot for an affair be the "Liaison Hotel"--that's just w-a-y too obvious.

    On a more serious matter, I'm quite interested in the many ramifications of the Cohen plea deal statement. (A bit of analysis here via TPM, though it doesn't discuss the specific points I address below.)

    P. 13-14 outlines a deal set up with (presumably) National Enquirer to purchase and deep-six (presumably) Karen McDougal's story. But then it seems that the Trump Access Hollywood tape hits and the whole deal is called off.

    So this brings up a large number of questions:
    • When is National Enquirer leadership going to be prosecuted for this? It's a very clear and very large campaign finance violation.
    • Why was the deal suddenly called off?
    • Was the deal called off because Natl Enquirer decided they were going to go ahead and publish the story, or let McDougal publish somewhere else, or for some other reason?
    • Another reason might be: They found some other way to deep-six the story. If so, what was the other way?
    • To put it another way: When the deal was called off, why was story never published?
    Just to be clear: There must be far, far more shenanigans going on here than reported. After Access Hollywood, there would have been far MORE pressure--not less--to publish McDougal's account. Also, Trump and cronies would have been for MORE--not less--desperate to stop the story.

    So why did the deal to deep-six the story suddenly disappear?

    That deal must have been replaced with something. A different deal. A better deal. A deal with more money or more leverage or more whatever involved.

    What was the deal that replaced the Natl Enquirer deal, how much money was involved, and who was involved in initiating and brokering it?

    This definitely would have gone straight up to Trump, no question, and it's an issue that definitely, definitely had the capacity to swing the election one way or another.

    If one bombshell humiliating sex story after another had hit the media every let's say week or so after Access Hollywood for even a couple or three weeks, that would have been enough to make the difference in the November vote.

    But those stories didn't happen.

    They were there. They existed. They were explosive. But they didn't break in national media.

    Why not? Who stopped them?

    Because we now know that (at least for McDougal) it wasn't this previously-known deal with the Natl Enquirer.

    So who was it, what was the deal, and what are the details?

    They are bound to be damning.
    posted by flug at 2:39 PM on August 22 [41 favorites]


    Has anybody asked Lanny Davis questions about Prague and passports yet? That's the interview I want to see.

    From your fingertips to Chuck Todd's lips [video]. It's a very strong denial.

    They're sticking with "never, never in Prague," when Cohen did once tell David Corn he was in Prague for an afternoon 14 years ago. Which is fine, there's nothing wrong with happening to be in Prague 14 years ago and that likely wouldn't implicate him in anything relevant to the election, but it is still inconsistent.
    posted by zachlipton at 2:52 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]



    O'Rourke and Cruz still haven't had a debate yet, have they? With luck, that ought to shift things a few more points in Beto's favor.


    What's great is that apparently several months ago O'Rourle requested six debates - two of them in Spanish. Cruz had to admit that his Spanish isn't good enough.
    posted by dilettante at 2:53 PM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    Roll Call, Senate Could Be Tied up For Weeks Voting on Trump Nominees
    The move sets up the potential for weeks of virtually continuous sessions of the Senate, although it is more likely that a bipartisan agreement will be reached at least ahead of the long Labor Day weekend.

    The list of 17 nominees is highlighted by Richard Clarida to the Federal Reserve and a slew of Trump nominees to fill federal judgeships in seats across the country.

    If senators were to object to time agreements, the Senate could literally spend weeks doing little other than considering the nominations, a move that complicates much of the legislative agenda for the rest of the year, particularly when it comes to finishing consideration of government spending bills before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
    The work of filling the judiciary with Trump nominees continues at a terrifying pace, and nobody seems to care.
    posted by zachlipton at 2:54 PM on August 22 [23 favorites]


    Streetsblog, Trump’s Federal Transit Administration Has Gone Rogue
    Donald Trump’s U.S. DOT is refusing to do its job when it comes to transit, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office [PDF]. The GAO says the agency is failing to follow through on key provisions of the last two federal transportation bills, yet more evidence that under Trump, federal officials are obstructing programs intended to improve transit in American cities.

    MAP-21, the transportation bill enacted in 2012, instructed the Federal Transit Administration to develop a mechanism to grant transit agencies funds for multiple, “interrelated” projects at the same time. This could spur agencies to think about transit expansion in terms of networks, not just single routes.

    The same bill also told the FTA to streamline the approval process for “Core Capacity” grants, which agencies use to rehab existing infrastructure like tracks and signals. In addition, the 2015 transportation bill, known as the FAST Act, included a provision to expedite FTA transit capital grants.

    Under Trump, the FTA is disregarding all of these instructions, the GAO reports. And FTA officials admitted to the GAO that they don’t intend to follow through.
    The administration wants to zero out the capital grants entirely, so they just aren't bothering to follow the law, even though Congress continues to fund the grant program against the administration's wishes.
    posted by zachlipton at 3:13 PM on August 22 [24 favorites]


    Just a data point, not an indicator of how the Cruz/O'Rourke race is actually going: I live in Houston, in a rather well educated and upper class area. I have seen dozens of BETO signs in front yards. I have seen no Cruz signs. The local congressman (R) has a single sign with his name on it in the area. There are a fairly good number of signs for this opponent (D). Read into this what you will.
    posted by Midnight Skulker at 3:20 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    > Having Eric, Ivanka, Jared, and Don Jr. go to jail for a very long time (state charges?), and not having a blood relation available to run the hotels would be the only conceivable situation where Trump would step down (because managing $HOTEL_FORTUNE is the most important thing in the Trumpverse).

    Orchestrating a criminal conspiracy with the assistance of a hostile foreign power in order to get yourself elected President of the United States seems like an awfully convoluted way to attempt to increase the profitability of your hotel chain, but far be it from me to try and plump the depths of the Trump psyche.
    posted by The Card Cheat at 3:20 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]




    And half a day later: Under Mueller's looking glass: who's who?. Brief descriptions of the main subjects with links to background articles, classified under Sentenced (Manafort, van der Zwaan), Plead Guilty (Cohen, Gates, Flynn and Coffeeboy), Indicted (several Russian officials and citizens, and Kilimnik), Interviewed (Kushner, Miller, McGahn, Spicer, Bannon, Hicks, Obvious Anagram, Page, Sessions, Pompeo, Comey) and Not Yet (Don jr, Stone and Donnie himself).
    posted by Stoneshop at 3:24 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    > I'm assuming that it was the Trump Corporation, not Donald Trump personally, that wrote the checks fraudulently described as legal fees, which would make this all an illegal corporate campaign contribution.

    > There was an email between Trump Org execs saying "Please pay this from the Trust."


    I'm assuming the "the Trust" is some sort of family entity, and therefore a personal account. This would be the way to do it if you wanted to legally pay hush money. You couldn't do it from a Trump Organization business account. You can spend money from a trust for personal expenses such as buy a car or a house or pay your mistress.

    But there is also this note: "Post to legal expenses." This would imply they were trying to deduct the payments as trust expenses, which would be illegal. The payments would be for the personal benefit of Donald Trump, which is not deductible. So there is potential tax fraud.
    posted by JackFlash at 3:27 PM on August 22 [11 favorites]


    Just a data point, not an indicator of how the Cruz/O'Rourke race is actually going: I live in Houston, in a rather well educated and upper class area. I have seen dozens of BETO signs in front yards. I have seen no Cruz signs. The local congressman (R) has a single sign with his name on it in the area. There are a fairly good number of signs for this opponent (D). Read into this what you will.

    It's good to hear, but Houston was also pretty dark blue on that NYT 2016 election map.
    posted by showbiz_liz at 3:35 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    Oh. Michael Cohen also paid $50,000 to a “tech company”?

    Almost posted this too. Very curious about what those "tech services" are--especially because the information is (a) very vague but also (b) careful to note that it was related to the campaign. The CNBC article suggests it was reimbursement for a payment Cohen had already made, but I wonder if it could be a fee for Cohen's services as some kind of liaison or money man -- for Cohen to deliver money or information to "tech services" people in, oh, I don't know, Prague. Maybe my mind's just running wild, though.
    posted by cudzoo at 3:35 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


    Speaking of Beto, I had reason to drive around my rural Texas county today and was AMAZED at the number of Beto signs. This is a truly redneck place, poor and agricultural. But I must have seen ten Beto signs just on the few roads I traveled. Some had three signs, including our long-shot Democratic Congressional candidate Rick Kennedy, some just had Beto. No other political signs of any kind were out.

    I know trying to judge by yard signs is a fool's game, but still... I also know our local democratic party was offering to deliver signs to anyone who wanted them (I demurred because where I live is so remote the only person who would see the sign is the UPS guy.) All this in a district that 538 rates 99% likely to go for the GOP incumbent (who I DESPISE).

    So anyway, at the very least people ARE trying out here.
    posted by threeturtles at 3:36 PM on August 22 [41 favorites]


    Lanny Davis on the Trump Tower meeting: "at this juncture I can only say that he was present during a discussion with Junior and dad, and beyond that, his testimony to the Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence committees was accurate."

    A discussion with dad, huh? Interesting.
    posted by zachlipton at 3:41 PM on August 22 [12 favorites]


    On three separate issues, what Trump knew when emerges as critical
    When did Trump know about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016? If he knew about it in advance, legal experts who have spoken with The Post suggest that Trump could be considered to have been involved in a conspiracy to violate legal prohibitions against soliciting something of value from a foreign actor.

    In light of those concerns, let’s evaluate what Trump may have known about the Trump Tower meeting and the payments to Daniels and McDougal as well as how and when he’s denied knowing about them.
    Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
    posted by kirkaracha at 3:45 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    at this juncture I can only say that he was present during a discussion with Junior and dad

    Tonight's Fox News headline: "Why Did Michael Cohen Meet With Lanny Davis's Dad?"
    posted by Rust Moranis at 3:45 PM on August 22 [11 favorites]


    If one bombshell humiliating sex story after another had hit the media [...] that would have been enough to make the difference in the November vote.

    I let out an audible half-laugh half-sob when I read this and now everyone in earshot is looking at me funny. You wildly overestimate how much people care about straight white cis men mistreating women. It would have made no difference at all.
    posted by jesourie at 3:46 PM on August 22 [60 favorites]


    I’ve donated because a blue TX senate seat would be huge, but if Beto doesn’t make it happen in Texas, he’d probably be #1 on my list for 2020. It’s so slick how he has these super liberal values that he won’t waver from, but does a great job of talking like he’s on your side, whatever it is. Everything about him is approachable. It’s something a lot of politicians struggle with or have no interest in doing.
    posted by BeginAgain at 3:57 PM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    I let out an audible half-laugh half-sob when I read this and now everyone in earshot is looking at me funny. You wildly overestimate how much people care about straight white cis men mistreating women. It would have made no difference at all.

    I mean...I, too, take an incredibly dim of the American electorate. And obviously we have no idea what could have happened in the slightly-less-dark timeline. But Clinton lost the electoral college by about 11,000 votes in the Midwest. What if the press spent more time on the Tabloid Candidate and less time implying the Clinton presidency would be the truly seedy and exhausting one? What if some of the 53% of white women Trump voters just didn't vote? When the margin is that slim, I'm a little more willing to have faith in what-ifs.
    posted by grandiloquiet at 4:18 PM on August 22 [13 favorites]


    New Yorker, Jonathan Blizer, Will Anyone in the Trump Administration Ever Be Held Accountable for the Zero-Tolerance Policy?
    Since the middle of July, a group of some twenty government officials has been gathering each week at the headquarters of Customs and Border Protection, in Washington, D.C., to discuss what the Trump Administration should do in the aftermath of the President’s failed zero-tolerance policy. The policy, which called for the criminal prosecution of anyone crossing the border illegally, and led to the separation of more than twenty-five hundred children from their parents, has coincided with a broader effort to dismantle the U.S. asylum system. Yet the government never had a plan for keeping track of the separated parents and children once they were in custody, and, even after a federal judge in San Diego, Dana Sabraw, ordered the government to reunite them, it struggled to comply. “I definitely haven’t seen contrition,” an Administration official, who told me about the weekly meetings, said. “But there was frustration with the incompetence of how zero tolerance got implemented. From the perspective of the political leaders here, there’s recognition of how badly the policy failed.” The lesson, according to the official, didn’t seem to be that the Administration had gone too far in separating families but, rather, that “we need to be smarter if we want to implement something on this scale” again.

    The meetings—which, the official said, were first called by a team at the White House that reports directly to Stephen Miller, the President’s senior adviser on policy—include representatives from the Department of Justice, the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Homeland Security. The main focus, the official added, has been to “map out” how the government can detain asylum seekers as they wait for a hearing before an immigration judge, which can take several months: “The job is to model all the steps in the process. If we go after families, where do we detain them? What are the resources required at each step?” (While officials from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the meetings, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense said in a statement that “the Department of Defense participates in many border planning meetings with DHS, CBP, and other federal partners,” adding that it “has also been asked by DHS and HHS”—the Department of Health and Human Services—“to plan for potential sheltering of family units and unaccompanied children on military installations.“)

    In the next week, officials are planning to generate a first round of proposals, which is expected to include projections such as how many beds might be needed in detention centers and children’s shelters, as well as how many additional immigration judges and asylum officers should be hired to keep the system moving. The official told me that the proposals need not be restricted by existing federal laws and court agreements, such as the Flores settlement, which provides protections for the treatment of immigrant children in custody and guidelines on how long they can be detained. (The Administration is also trying to rewrite the terms of the Flores settlement.) It is all part of a “planning exercise,” in which the participants are encouraged to explore any option to end the “catch and release” of asylum seekers.

    Such boldness doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. To date, no one in the Trump Administration has been held accountable for its family-separation policy, even after evidence has steadily mounted as to its immense human costs and administrative failures. The government’s own data show that it has had no appreciable effect on migration patterns throughout the summer, but the Administration pursued the policy anyway, targeting immigrant families.
    ...
    Some five hundred and sixty children are still separated from their parents, including twenty-four who are five years old or younger, and the parents of more than three hundred and sixty of them have already been deported. Between seven hundred and eight hundred other children were reunited with their parents in detention, where their situation is especially confounding.
    This is the same pattern as the travel ban. They started with total chaos and incompetence, everyone reacted, and courts stepped in. After a few more tries, they got slightly less stupid and figured out how to make it stick. And nobody can be held accountable, even when they planned this all along:
    I asked the current Administration official whether the outcry over family separation had caught the government by surprise. It had, the official said. “The expectation was that the kids would go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, that the parents would get deported, and that no one would care.” Yet, when it became clear that the public did, the Administration chose not to change course.
    posted by zachlipton at 4:20 PM on August 22 [61 favorites]


    “The expectation was that the kids would go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, that the parents would get deported, and that no one would care.”

    Not everyone is like you, you Nazi bastard.
    posted by benzenedream at 4:25 PM on August 22 [90 favorites]


    Trump's posting these direct-to-camera videos to Twitter now—three today so far—where he rants about whatever grievances he has today in some sort of new effort to to the Presidency into a low rent vlogging shop. But aside from the weirdness of the format, what the hell happened to his eyes in these videos? Did they make him stare into the sun while he did this or something?

    One of the videos is a Mollie Tibbetts rant, so I guess he's not interested in the family's request that "at this time, our family asks that we be allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private."
    posted by zachlipton at 4:30 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    @JoyceWhiteVance: Alabama’s ⁦@SenDougJones⁩ calls for Kavanaugh confirmation process to hold off at least until October, when the National Archives will produce documents, so his full WH record is available for review, in light of yesterday’s “bombshell” convictions.

    @imillhiser: This is significant. Jones often votes with conservadems like Manchin and Heitkamp. If he's saying this, it suggests that they may be inclined to vote against Kavanaugh. If all Dems stick together, either Collins or Murkowski, who claim to be pro-choice, can kill the nomination.
    posted by zachlipton at 4:32 PM on August 22 [55 favorites]


    either Collins or Murkowski, who claim to be pro-choice, can kill the nomination

    Collins will not save us.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 4:37 PM on August 22 [18 favorites]


    But aside from the weirdness of the format, what the hell happened to his eyes in these videos?

    I don't know if he's ever been directly quoted saying it, but reportedly for some reason he thinks doing that squinty thing is some sort of Alpha Power Move™. That's why his official WH portrait has the same eye thing going on.
    posted by sideshow at 4:40 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    The thing I'm now seeing from a conservative blogosphere (read, my father-in-law) is that it doesn't count as high crimes and misdemeanors because it didn't take place while he was in office. (It being a campaign Finance violations with Cohen)
    posted by Twain Device at 4:42 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    The thing I'm now seeing from a conservative blogosphere (read, my father-in-law) is that it doesn't count as high crimes and misdemeanors because it didn't take place while he was in office. (It being a campaign Finance violations with Cohen)

    Obstruction of justice and violating the Emoluments Clause have taken place while he's been in office, though.
    posted by kirkaracha at 4:48 PM on August 22 [12 favorites]


    Trump's Now-Deleted Vlogs Offer A Look Into His Bizarre, Nonsensical Thoughts
    He's very mad about China imposing tariffs. And windmills! Also endorses violence!
    posted by kirkaracha at 4:54 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    Re: Beto O'Rourke losing the Senate Race and then winning the presidency. Lincoln lost to Douglas in 1858 then won the presidency against Douglas and others in 1860.
    posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:55 PM on August 22 [13 favorites]


    This is getting speculative, but it's pretty obvious that the president needs corrective eyewear that he doesn't use (because of vanity, squeamishness, or other hangup). That's my guess for the origin of his squinting habit.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:57 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    This is getting speculative, but it's pretty obvious that the president needs corrective eyewear that he doesn't use (because of vanity, squeamishness, or other hangup).

    And all the traumatic eye damage he suffered.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 5:00 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]


    The thing I'm now seeing from a conservative blogosphere (read, my father-in-law) is that it doesn't count as high crimes and misdemeanors because it didn't take place while he was in office. (It being a campaign Finance violations with Cohen).

    In addition to the obstruction occuring after the fact, the tax fraud likely committed by the Trump Org's repaying Cohen via sham legal services invoices (also likely with the President's approval and knowledge) occurred throughout 2017.
    posted by notyou at 5:03 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    What the heck is he thinking with those twitter videos?
    posted by notyou at 5:07 PM on August 22


    what is even happening with these vlogs, how is this meant to be damage control

    He conflates 'ICE' and 'ISIS' (presumably meaning Daesh?) in one; I guess it's supposed to be a sick burn on Pelosi, somehow, I guess, but it makes him sound confused. He spins out completely into confused free-association riffing in another, and the vlog is only 39 seconds long and was clearly rehearsed. Is this Bill Shine's effort? And are these the best takes they could manage?
    posted by halation at 5:09 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]


    I'm dying to know who is producing these godawful videos bc I hope very much it is someone affiliated in some way with that little breitbart shitstain o'keefe
    posted by poffin boffin at 5:18 PM on August 22 [9 favorites]




    Is this Bill Shine's effort? And are these the best takes they could manage?

    It's so reminiscent of the ones he used to make before he found Twitter, I think this has to be Trump's own initiative. Bad production values & all.
    posted by scalefree at 5:20 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    Why was the [National Enquirer] deal suddenly called off?
    Was the deal called off because Natl Enquirer decided they were going to go ahead and publish the story, or let McDougal publish somewhere else, or for some other reason?


    From the indictment, the publisher of the National Enquirer, David Pecker, had a longstanding agreement with Trump and Cohen to keep an eye out for sex scandals that might affect Trump's election. Being the sort of publication they are, they would likely be in a position to see those rumors first.

    Pecker, as a Trump supporter, would buy the stories and kill them. The understanding was that Trump would later reimburse Pecker for the kill fees and transfer the rights to Trump. But when the Access Hollywood tape blew up, with the ensuing media frenzy, Pecker might consider it a very poor time to execute a shady payoff deal with Trump. So he canned the hand off to Trump.

    >That deal must have been replaced with something.

    Not necessarily. Pecker is a wealthy person. Unlike Cohen, he didn't need to be paid back by Trump right away. So he just decided to sit on the deal for a while until the firestorm blew over. He continued to suppress the McDougal the story same as before. Remember, he was doing this as a favor to Trump from the beginning.

    But unfortunately Trump won the election and it certainly wouldn't do for Pecker to be receiving payoffs from the president-elect, so he continued to sit on the story as he has to this day.

    Nothing particularly complicated here. Just bros covering for bros.
    posted by JackFlash at 5:23 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    The thing I'm now seeing from a conservative blogosphere (read, my father-in-law) is that it doesn't count as high crimes and misdemeanors because it didn't take place while he was in office. (It being a campaign Finance violations with Cohen)

    There is a subreddit called the great awakening that deals with q Anon and a lot of this stuff seems to pop up there first then make its way outward. It is a direct line into Teh Crazy, be warned. Like really some university group or the CIA or someone should be taking notes because it's like a real time case study on how rumors are formed and come to be. Even the theme in the background is apocalyptic. I assume it's all being manipulated by a handful of people but hats off to them. Idiots are buying it hook, line and sinker. Also a lot of clearly mentally ill or impaired people unfortunately.

    They've decided that Cohen has really been working for Chelsea Clinton all along somethingsomethingDesperateHousewives. Thanks to Facebook what would have remained the raving of a single madman can now be delivered to your credulous elderly relatives and people with thinking disorders in no time at all!
    posted by fshgrl at 5:27 PM on August 22 [12 favorites]


    Technically a Plea Deal is a Deal, so Trump's brand is still intact here.
    posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:29 PM on August 22 [16 favorites]


    One of the Manafort jurors is appearing live on Fox News tonight at 11:00EDT. Is this the MAGAhead who hung 10 counts? Or someone about to tell Fox to kiss his or her ass? Should be interesting but I'm not watching Fox News to find out. I'm sure any highlights will make it to Twitter inside 2 minutes.
    posted by Justinian at 5:30 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


    There is a subreddit called the great awakening that deals with q Anon and a lot of this stuff seems to pop up there first then make its way outward. It is a direct line into Teh Crazy, be warned. Like really some university group or the CIA or someone should be taking notes because it's like a real time case study on how rumors are formed and come to be.

    I always assumed that most of /r/the_donald, /r/conspiracy, /r/thegreatawakening etc are state sponsored propaganda and psyops -- it's just that the state is Russia.
    posted by nathan_teske at 5:32 PM on August 22 [19 favorites]


    The thing I'm now seeing from a conservative blogosphere (read, my father-in-law) is that it doesn't count as high crimes and misdemeanors because it didn't take place while he was in office. (It being a campaign Finance violations with Cohen)

    Were flags with fringes mentioned, or admiralty courts? Wingnuts love the classics.
    posted by emjaybee at 5:39 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    There have been multiple threats of mass shootings in the last 24 hours from /r/thegreatawakening which, regardless of their country of origin, are pretty horrifying. Reddit's completely abdicated any responsibility or control over safety in the pursuit of "free speech," and it's only a matter of time before people are killed because of it.
    posted by zombieflanders at 5:39 PM on August 22 [13 favorites]


    I always assumed that most of /r/the_donald, /r/conspiracy, /r/thegreatawakening etc are state sponsored propaganda and psyops -- it's just that the state is Russia.

    I agree with that for the Donald and maybe the GA started out that way but now it seems to be a meeting of the mentally unusual. These are the people who dream of burning witches and now they have the internet so they can all hang out together. yay. 0_0

    Q is a 15-24 year old trolling the internet, imho. The posts are pretty idiotic and consistently wrong and they ALL reflect internet culture, nothing you couldn't learn by spending 4 or 5 years online and nothing you'd learn at all by having a normal job or life during that time.
    posted by fshgrl at 5:44 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    Speaking of all the Beto love, Gallup moves Texas to "competitive"

    In Texas, any hope for Democratic victory is something we treat like a giant bubble; don't even breathe on it, don't look at it, hold your breath, cross your fingers, lest you pop it.
    posted by emjaybee at 5:46 PM on August 22 [54 favorites]


    scalefree: It's so reminiscent of the ones he used to make before he found Twitter, I think this has to be Trump's own initiative. Bad production values & all.

    As I've said before: The "When I'm president..." president. (Or the Onion's version of same, from back in the Bush era.)
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:46 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    The problem is that the people being trolled are apparently mostly 50- and 60-somethings who can't or won't be able to tell the difference between chan culture and the real world. The guy who murdered and maimed almost 1000 people in Las Vegas was a 64 year-old steeped in right-wing conspiracies just like QAnon, thought liberals were coming to take his guns, and believed in the need for a "patriotic" uprising. These people are saying the exact same things.
    posted by zombieflanders at 5:50 PM on August 22 [28 favorites]


    One of the Manafort jurors is appearing live on Fox News tonight at 11:00EDT

    I have a hunch we're about to hear a whole lot of uninformed complaining about this: Unsealed Manafort transcripts show juror tensions; mistrial requests denied
    Newly unsealed transcripts of sidebar discussions in the Paul Manafort trial show the judge in the case wrestled for days with a juror’s assertion that other members of the panel had discussed the case before deliberations began.

    The transcripts show Manafort’s defense team asked for a mistrial on multiple occasions, but those requests were denied by the judge.
    ...

    The issue emerged two weeks ago, toward the end of the prosecution case, when a female juror expressed concerns that a handful of others on the panel were talking about the case before deliberations — which is prohibited by court rules.

    Judge T.S. Ellis III called the unidentified juror in for a private discussion, in which she said another juror had recently said to her that “the defense was weak,” or words to that effect. That same juror had also said that about three jurors total had made comments that concerned her, because the rules of juries is they are not to discuss the issues in the case until they have heard all the evidence and begin deliberating.
    The article also features Judge Ellis making other pronouncements (out of the jury's earshot) that the jurors "are intimidated" and that this trial is "this is unique in American history," and then realizing later in the day that he regretted his words:
    He said his claim about the jurors being intimidated “is completely without any factual basis. I mean it’s sort of a human thing, but it has nothing whatever to do with the facts.”

    Of his assertion that American history had never seen such a trial, the judge said, “that’s kind of a ridiculous thing for me to say.”
    posted by zachlipton at 5:50 PM on August 22 [14 favorites]


    The thing I'm now seeing from a conservative blogosphere (read, my father-in-law) is that it doesn't count as high crimes and misdemeanors because it didn't take place while he was in office. (It being a campaign Finance violations with Cohen)

    Ask your FIL if he remembers Whitewater and Ken Starr. Rs were certainly fine pursuing high crime and misdemeanors when it was Democrats' pre-office supposed wrongdoing.
    posted by chris24 at 5:53 PM on August 22 [17 favorites]


    Speaking of all the Beto love, Gallup moves Texas to "competitive"

    I know nothing of the reality on the ground in Texas, but many of the great upsets in political history share one common factor -- an incumbent of storied power, wealth, name recognition, skilled staff, and money, who no one actually liked as a person.

    Just saying....
    posted by msalt at 5:57 PM on August 22 [17 favorites]


    You’re blowing on the bubble.
    posted by AwkwardPause at 5:59 PM on August 22 [67 favorites]


    But what about the crimes Trump’s inner circle didn’t commit? (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
    When confronted with the information that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud and President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen has stated under oath that he broke the law “at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” a Trump supporter has two options.

    One is to do what House Speaker Paul Ryan did: respond that you would need a lot more information before you could even begin to dream to venture a morsel of a hint of an opinion and then transform into a bat and swoop out of range of the camera.

    Another is to point out, as Matt Schlapp quite sensibly did, that no one is tougher on crime than you, but surely these are not real crimes.

    Look, you know crime. Crime is what Hillary Clinton did, and probably also Barack Obama, somehow. Crime is, as Donald Trump pointed out at his rally in West Virginia on Tuesday night, what Democrats want to fill the country with.

    There are crimes, and then, there are crimes. We can all agree that nothing someone in an ostrich jacket does is a real crime. A real crime is something a mother does to make a better life for her children while wearing sneakers from a discount bin. You can tell that no real crime has been committed this time because nobody on Fox News is upset about it. If a crime had happened, like Clinton sent an email or an immigrant got a speeding ticket, Fox News would be covering it from wall to wall, and there would be no end to it.
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:02 PM on August 22 [39 favorites]


    WaPo, Aaron C. Davis, Trump called this White House defender ‘wonderful.’ He was fired from his previous job for alleged sexual harassment.
    A conservative commentator who was lauded by President Trump this week as “wonderful” and who has argued that past sexual indiscretions should have no bearing on Trump’s presidency was fired from Arizona State University four years ago for making sexually explicit comments and gestures toward women, according to documents and a university official.

    An internal investigation by the university concluded that Paris Dennard, a surrogate during the campaign and now a member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, told a recent college graduate who worked for him that he wanted to have sex with her. He “pretended to unzip his pants in her presence, tried to get her to sit on his lap, and made masturbatory gestures,” according to a university report obtained by The Washington Post.

    According to the 2014 report, Dennard did not dispute those claims but said he committed the acts jokingly. The investigation began after the woman and a second female employee told superiors Dennard’s actions went too far and had made them uncomfortable.

    Dennard, a CNN political commentator, opinion contributor to the Hill, and regular guest on NPR’s “Here & Now,” was working at the time as events director for ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership.
    posted by zachlipton at 6:02 PM on August 22 [7 favorites]


    The thing I'm now seeing from a conservative blogosphere (read, my father-in-law) is that it doesn't count as high crimes and misdemeanors because it didn't take place while he was in office. (It being a campaign Finance violations with Cohen)

    Literally Orrin Hatch: “I think he has changed a lot of his life once he was elected. I think Trump is a much better person today than he was then.”

    None of them will ever admit he did anything wrong. Never. This isnt 1972, Republicans will never turn on him, ever.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 6:20 PM on August 22 [48 favorites]




    WaPo Fact Checker, Not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie.
    In April, Trump finally weighed in, answering a question about whether he knew about a payment to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, with a flat “no.”

    It’s now clear that the president’s statement was a lie — and that the people speaking for him repeated it
    ...
    How to characterize Trump’s statements has become its own pitched political battle, with many of the president’s critics demanding that they be called “lies.” The Fact Checker has been hesitant to go that far, as it is difficult to document whether the president knows he is not telling the truth.

    On Wednesday, Sanders said during a White House briefing that it was “a ridiculous accusation” to say the president has lied to the American people. But this week’s guilty plea by Cohen, offers indisputable evidence that Trump and his allies have been deliberately dishonest at every turn in their statements regarding payments to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

    Here is the definitive story of a Trump lie
    There's a useful timeline in there if you want to trace through the iterations of the lie, but I think it speaks pretty terribly of the Washington Post fact checker that, of the 4,229 false or misleading Trump claims they've tracked, they're only just now getting around to calling one of them a lie.
    posted by zachlipton at 6:34 PM on August 22 [39 favorites]


    They want to support Trump. They tried hard to ignore all the noise. They can't anymore. 'They're over it. This is not how a president comports himself.

    Oh, bullshit. Let's recall what we knew about him before the election. Seth Meyers on A Closer Look:
    ...a lot of Americans just don't love the two choices. I mean, do you pick someone who's under federal investigation for using a private email server?

    Or do you pick someone who called Mexicans rapists, claimed the president was born in Kenya, proposed banning an entire religion from entering the US, mocked a disabled reporter, said John McCain wasn't a war hero because he was captured, attacked the parents of a fallen soldier, bragged about committing sexual assault, was accused by 12 women of committing sexual assault, said some of those women weren't attractive enough for him to sexually assault, said more countries should get nukes, said he'd force the military to commit war crimes, said a judge was biased because his parents were Mexican, said women should be punished for having abortions, incited violence at his rallies, called global warming a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, called for his opponent to be jailed, declared bankruptcy six times, bragged about not paying income taxes, stiffed his contractors and employees, lost a billion dollars in one year, scammed customers at his fake university, bought a six foot tall painting of himself with money from his fake foundation, has a trial for fraud coming up in November, insulted an opponent's looks, insulted an opponent's wife's looks, and bragged about grabbing women by the pussy?

    How do you choose?
    posted by kirkaracha at 6:42 PM on August 22 [97 favorites]


    New Fox poll. A few highlights.

    • Generic ballot: Ds up +11, 49 - 38. Up from +8 (48 - 40) last month

    • Approval of Mueller probe: +22, 59 - 37. Up from +8 (48 - 40) last month.

    A 14 point move in Mueller's direction seems like Trump is losing his propaganda battle there.

    • GOP tax cut is less popular (40% favorable) than Obamacare (51% favorable).
    posted by chris24 at 6:46 PM on August 22 [45 favorites]


    WSJ, Why Michael Cohen Agreed to Plead Guilty—And Implicate the President. There's a lot in here, but let's just get this amazing quote out of the way first:
    Mr. Cohen’s father urged him not to protect the president, saying he didn’t survive the Holocaust to have his name sullied by Mr. Trump, according to a person who was told about the conversation. The elder Mr. Cohen couldn’t be reached for comment.
    The gist here is that they threatened him with around 20 criminal counts and his wife, as a joint signatory on his tax returns, was also implicated. And David Pecker (the National Enquirer publisher) has talked to prosecutors and given them information about the payments.

    Trump's habit of stiffing his employees never fails to impress:
    Soon after the April raids, Mr. Cohen’s relationship with Mr. Trump began to deteriorate.

    The estrangement began over legal bills, said a person who has spoken with Mr. Cohen about the matter. The Trump family covered part of Mr. Cohen’s legal fees after the raids, but then stopped paying.
    posted by zachlipton at 6:48 PM on August 22 [55 favorites]


    Um, @passantino: Trump said he is considering a pardon for Paul Manafort, Fox's Ainsley Earhardt says after interview

    This is because Trump reportedly "feels bad" for Manafort.
    posted by zachlipton at 6:49 PM on August 22 [8 favorites]


    So, Collins & Hunter. What's the outlook on their indictments leading to flipping the Senate? Is either of them resigning? Would either seat be in play if they did? What would the timeframe on either election be?
    posted by scalefree at 6:50 PM on August 22


    This is because Trump reportedly "feels bad" for Manafort.

    He practically gushed over him. I wouldn't rule it out.
    I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” - make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!
    posted by scalefree at 6:53 PM on August 22


    So, Collins & Hunter. What's the outlook on their indictments leading to flipping the Senate?

    Since neither of them is a Senator the outlook is poor!
    posted by Justinian at 6:54 PM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    > I let out an audible half-laugh half-sob when I read this and now everyone in earshot is looking at me funny. You wildly overestimate how much people care about straight white cis men mistreating women.

    Yeah, if someone said this was going to move the dial by 5% or 10%, I'd be snorting, too. If someone said 1% or 2%--well, maybe.

    But could it move the dial 0.1% or 0.01%? Because that was the amount needed.

    And the answer is: Yes, definitely.

    In reality it might have been by 0.25% or even 0.5%. It would have continued an important narrative at an important moment in the campaign when, instead, other things came up and drowned this out.

    It would have made a small difference--but that is the difference that was needed.
    posted by flug at 6:55 PM on August 22 [15 favorites]


    Gah, shows what I know.
    posted by scalefree at 6:55 PM on August 22


    If it helps, there is a Senator Collins who is a Republican she just isn't this Collins.
    posted by Justinian at 6:57 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    I wonder if anyone's told the president that someone who's been pardoned can be subpoena'd for full details, since self-incrimination is no longer on the table. Once he's been pardoned, he has no legal excuse for not talking. (He could hold out, and hope for a pardon for the resulting contempt of court charges, but that's a loop that stops when the tangerine terror gets bored, and then Manafort's stuck with whatever legal status he was abandoned in.)
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:57 PM on August 22 [5 favorites]


    Manafort wasn't, however, charged with anything directly related to the Russia inquiry. So Trump could pardon him for the tax and bank fraud stuff and withhold a pre-emptive Russia pardon. Thus Manafort would still enjoy 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in anything unrelated to cheating on his taxes (and the unregistered foreign agent counts from his next trial if that gets pardoned as well).

    Trump probably doesn't give a shit if Manafort rolls on the money stuff. Trump isn't the one who gets poloniumed if Manafort implicates Russian oligarchs.
    posted by Justinian at 7:00 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    I thought Manafort wants prison because he's an assassination target if he's out. I am so confused on what all the consequences are of pardoning/ not pardoning.
    posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:03 PM on August 22


    JackFlash > But when the Access Hollywood tape blew up, with the ensuing media frenzy, Pecker might consider it a very poor time to execute a shady payoff deal with Trump. So he canned the hand off to Trump.

    Aha, that makes sense. The only part actually "called off" (or postponed or whatever) was the Trump reimbursement of Pecker's expense.

    It also explains why Pecker suddenly ran McDougal on a magazine cover recently - basically trying to make it out as an "oh, yeah, just a regular business deal, no illegal campaign contributions whatsoever, just puttin' people on covers and all as usual, nothing to see here, move right along" type of thing.
    posted by flug at 7:05 PM on August 22 [1 favorite]


    He’s Unraveling’: Why Cohen’s Betrayal Terrifies Trump (Michael Kruse | Politico)

    “Perhaps for the first time, an insider has bitten back—hard.”
    ... “He is terrified,” Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio told me early Wednesday morning. “This is 40 years of deceit coming home to torment him.”

    “Michael Cohen,” Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, told CNN’s Don Lemon Tuesday night, “has information that would be of interest to Mr. Mueller in his probe of a conspiracy to corrupt American democracy.”

    Trump has cast people adrift before. He has savaged people before. Some spoke up or talked back. It didn’t matter. They were dismissed as disgruntled ex-employees. They were dispatched as rhetorical irritants. Many of them were little more than co-opted sparring partners in rank celebrity feuds to feed his need for fame. They couldn’t hurt him.

    But Cohen is not Rosie O’Donnell. Cohen is not Omarosa. And Trump seems to know it. Over the many decades that Trump has been a hyperpublic character clomping across the American landscape, one of his most predictable, clockwork-consistent patterns of behavior has been the launching of noisy, petulant epithets at people he sees as enemies, as obstacles, as disloyal. His conspicuous stretch of silence concerning Cohen was the loudest sound yet.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:06 PM on August 22 [33 favorites]


    Rick Hasen is idly speculating about a Pecker plea deal at some point, perhaps after the election, seeing as the Cohen documents seem "to implicate folks at AMI for engaging in criminal campaign finance activity." Given the report above that Pecker is cooperating, he's clearly trying to save himself.
    posted by zachlipton at 7:12 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    From the WSJ article,

    ”Adding to the pressure, David Pecker, the chairman of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, provided prosecutors with details about payments Mr. Cohen arranged with women who alleged sexual encounters with President Trump, including Mr. Trump’s knowledge of the deals.”

    Prosecutors plan Pecker plea post proffered peccadillo palaver particulars.
    posted by petebest at 7:29 PM on August 22 [70 favorites]


    Aha, that makes sense. The only part actually "called off" (or postponed or whatever) was the Trump reimbursement of Pecker's expense.

    Yes, when the Access Hollywood tape blew up, Pecker postponed the payback from Trump as being ill-timed and too risky. But the very next day after the Hollywood tape, Stormy Daniels, sensing the time was ripe, approached the National Enquirer apparently looking for a deal to tell her story, not knowing that Pecker would just buy the story and kill it.

    But Pecker, feeling the media heat around Access Hollywood, decided he couldn't get away with a second pay-and-kill deal so he passed the story off directly to Cohen. Effectively he told Cohen "I can't touch this one, but if you want do a deal directly without me, have at it." And that is exactly what Cohen did, executing a deal with Daniels lawyer and using money from his home equity loan to make the payment. But note that Pecker and the National Enquirer were still looking out for Trump's interests, on the prowl for sex scandals, but declining to get directly involved anymore.

    So that is why one deal was done with the National Enquirer, in the calm before the Hollywood access tape came out, and the second was done directly by Cohen, when the National Enquirer declined anymore to get involved.
    posted by JackFlash at 7:30 PM on August 22 [17 favorites]


    Manafort's gonna be pardoned. Maybe not this year, maybe not next. But he will get a pardon.
    posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:34 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]




    @realDonaldTrump: I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews

    @DavidKlion: For the next 24 hours, everyone on cable news is going to be an overnight expert in land reform in southern Africa, and no one is going to be an overnight expert in white nationalist tropes

    @AdamSerwer: Sometimes I think about the hysterical response to the people who described [him] early and accurately, because the truth made them feel bad.

    Worse, Trump had to delete and retweet it, because the President of the United States originally tagged some dude named @MikePompeo4USA, who is not the Secretary of State.

    @chick_in_kiev: so the president just tagged a fan account for his secretary of state instead of the secretary of state’s real account while boosting a racist fox news segment im going to bed
    imagine being the person that runs a mike pompeo fan account jesus christ

    If you're wondering where all this is coming from: Ted Cruz Staff, USAID Met With Group That Called Apartheid A ‘So-Called’ Injustice
    posted by zachlipton at 7:44 PM on August 22 [53 favorites]


    Manafort's gonna be pardoned. Maybe not this year, maybe not next. But he will get a pardon.

    Yeah, sure, why not. But Manafort faces many, many state charges that Trump can't discharge with a wave of his stubby hands.
    posted by dogrose at 7:45 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    Cohen needs to be in protective custody. He's in as much danger of taking a polonium vitamin for breakfast or "accidentally" falling from a 30th floor balcony as Manafort.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 7:45 PM on August 22 [9 favorites]


    Senate Democrats want to know whether Kavanaugh crossed line as source during Clinton probe (WaPo):
    During independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s tumultuous investigation of President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, there were loud objections and even lawsuits filed over the fact that information meant to be kept secret was being leaked to the press by Starr’s staff.

    Among those guiding the journalists and authors was a young lawyer named Brett M. Kavanaugh, now a federal judge and President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.
    Includes a reporter who has recordings from 1998 of Starr's team offering up Kavanaugh for info and that he subsequently set up an interview with Kavanaugh at Old Ebbitt Grill. The reporter's 1999 book says he discussed Hillary Clinton's alleged affair with Vince Foster with an unnamed informant at Old Ebbitt Grill. If you connect the dots, looks like Kavanaugh was leaking confidential information from the Independent Counsel investigation including far-right conspiracy fodder about Hillary Clinton.
    posted by peeedro at 7:50 PM on August 22 [59 favorites]


    For the record, we made it about 40 hours from the White House being pleased with itself for deporting a Nazi before the President ordered a government agency to look into the granddaddy of white genocide complaints that are de rigueur on the most hateful of websites.
    posted by zachlipton at 7:55 PM on August 22 [28 favorites]


    @realDonaldTrump: I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews

    I guess it should be surprising that it took this long for him to start explicitly spreading White Genocide memes. What's not so surprising, though, that it comes at this particular moment, on the heels of their gleeful exploitation of Tibbett. Whenever confronted with existential threats to itself, the administration's atavistic response is the rally the base with threats of racial violence to come and promises of racial violence to be delivered.

    The "hey whites, we're what's standing between you and death at the hands of subhumans" strategy works like a charm for his 25% and no amount of suffering and bloodshed will make them stop using it.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 7:57 PM on August 22 [20 favorites]


    dances_with_sneetches: "Re: Beto O'Rourke losing the Senate Race and then winning the presidency. Lincoln lost to Douglas in 1858 then won the presidency against Douglas and others in 1860."

    Not to go too far down the 19th century politics hole, but the 1860 election featured four candidates winning states and Lincoln only getting 39.8%. We're not likely to see any analogous situation in 2020.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:01 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on whether the President lied when he said that he knew nothing about the Karen McDougal payment (something the President's lawyer Giuliani has repeatedly admitted, and regarding which the President's former lawyer Cohen just pleaded guilty): "I think that's a ridiculous accusation".

    Those of us who lived through the beta testing release of Trump, Rob Ford, will recall that early on, His Worship’s default response to questions about the crack tape were to call it “ridiculous.” And then, as now, the term “ridiculous” has nothing to say about truthfulness of accusations. Yes, it was indeed ridiculous to imagine a prominent public figure smoking crack on camera, but it did happen.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:05 PM on August 22 [28 favorites]


    chris24: "New Fox poll. A few highlights.

    • Generic ballot: Ds up +11, 49 - 38. Up from +8 (48 - 40) last month
    "

    Exciting, isn't it? Of course, a Monmouth generic also dropped today that was D+5 (48-43). My advice is to always stick to the average, and not get too excited either way.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:07 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    Oh, bullshit. Let's recall what we knew about him before the election. Seth Meyers on A Closer Look:


    IMHO Seth Meyers is the Jon Stewart for the Trump era. His A Closer Look segments are extremely cathartic for me!
    posted by bluesky43 at 8:10 PM on August 22 [16 favorites]


    And Ipsos is down to D+3. It seems really, really noisy but I suppose that's what happens with a tracking poll. The average is still hanging around 7-7.5 most of the time even with all these fluctuations in individual pollsters.
    posted by Justinian at 8:10 PM on August 22


    Manafort's gonna be pardoned. Maybe not this year, maybe not next. But he will get a pardon.

    Yeah, sure, why not. But Manafort faces many, many state charges that Trump can't discharge with a wave of his stubby hands.


    This was the brilliance of the Mueller referral to NYS. I love Robert Mueller.
    posted by bluesky43 at 8:11 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    NYT, Betsy DeVos Is Said to Weigh Letting School Districts Use Federal Funds to Buy Guns
    Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, is considering whether to allow states to use federal funding intended to increase academic and enrichment opportunities to purchase guns for educators, according to multiple people with knowledge of the plan.

    Such a move appears to be unprecedented, reversing a longstanding position taken by the federal government that it should not pay to outfit schools with weapons. And it would also undermine efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns. As recently as March, Congress passed a school safety bill that allocated $50 million a year to local school districts, but expressly prohibited the use of the money for firearms.
    It's hard to say this without tooting my own horn, but earlier today, I donated to a bunch of public schools through DonorsChoose, which has a couple of large match offers from foundations running today. Some of the projects I contributed to include buying a classroom computer projector, a bunch of deodorant, socks, underwear, hygiene products, and snacks for a high-poverty school, textbooks for a school that's trying to implement their science curriculum, and food, toothbrushes, and other necessities for a school that has a dozen homeless 3rd-8th graders. I'm happy to give what I can, but it's utterly enraging that the federal government is looking to buy guns for schools when I'm out here just trying to chip in a few bucks so a teacher can give homeless kids a damn toothbrush.
    posted by zachlipton at 8:13 PM on August 22 [77 favorites]


    Right-wing conflation of unreasonable fear of wild animals and (also unreasonable) fear of immigrants is a very real and weird phenomenon

    This was up thread but its so true- If you want a view on this please read "Coyote America" By Dan Flores, which gives a very interesting perspective on this phenomenon from the perspective of Canis latrans. The reason why this book is so interesting to me is that we had people on this site in a thread about coyote killings talking about how evil the creatures are, and it wasn't until I read the book how I realized how entrenched this view of the animal is, and how connected to racism against people it is.
    posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:15 PM on August 22 [24 favorites]


    It seems really, really noisy but I suppose that's what happens with a tracking poll. The average is still hanging around 7-7.5 most of the time even with all these fluctuations in individual pollsters.

    It might be notable that the "gold standard" polls (basically, live interview) have been showing consistently more Dem than the IVR/online polls. Whether that's meaningful, we'll just have to wait and see.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:15 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    But Cohen is not Rosie O’Donnell. Cohen is not Omarosa. And Trump seems to know it.

    What the heck happened to Omarosa??? Where did she go???
    posted by bluesky43 at 8:15 PM on August 22


    I think Omarosa went to the drive-thru at Nothing Burger.
    posted by perhapses at 8:19 PM on August 22 [26 favorites]


    @MarshallCohen: NEW: In an interview on Fox News, Manafort juror says there was a SINGLE holdout for the 10 counts that ended in a mistrial. The final votes were 11-1 for guilty. (They convicted Manafort on the other 8 counts of tax and bank fraud.) One of the jurors just said on Fox News that the jury did NOT trust Manafort deputy Rick Gates, who testified against him at trial. She said: “We agreed to throw out his testimony,” and focus on the documents and paper trail instead.
    posted by zachlipton at 8:19 PM on August 22 [11 favorites]


    Update: the juror Fox News had on is clearly a Trump supporter. She called Mueller's case "clearly a witch hunt to try to find Russian collusion" and said that Manafort wouldn't have been caught if not for Trump, but she found Manafort guilty.
    posted by zachlipton at 8:30 PM on August 22 [20 favorites]


    These cultists serve on juries. God help us.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 8:32 PM on August 22 [36 favorites]


    I find it hard to believe that she a) made it through jury selection and b) made it through jury selection without lying.

    Also c) that she was with everyone else on convicting over eight counts.
    posted by Slackermagee at 8:35 PM on August 22 [15 favorites]


    Given she was a MAGAhead who could have fucked the entire case we should count our lucky stars to get the 8 guilty verdicts. The 8 verdicts were spread across the 3 categories of crimes Manafort was charged with so guilty on those 8 is almost as good as guilty on all of them. Because the standard of proof for what the judge can take into account for sentencing is not beyond a reasonable doubt.

    On the other hand, Trump and Fox News' assault on truth and the rule of law has almost succeeded. She is indoctrinated. She just thank jeebus felt a duty to find Manafort guilty on some stuff despite that indoctrination. What if the next MAGAhead on a jury doesnt?
    posted by Justinian at 8:36 PM on August 22 [36 favorites]


    Does anyone doubt that this is the juror that was repeatedly starting drama to try to get the other jurors in trouble? We know it was one of the female jurors.
    posted by Justinian at 8:40 PM on August 22 [6 favorites]


    Oh his supporters are turning on Manafort now and claiming he was a plant. Q posted it months ago apparently- months!!

    Ryan, Cruz, McConnell et al must know they have to flip on Trump at some point. But when and how? Who will inherit the leaderless mob? Who to ally with and who to stab in the back? This is more middle school than congressional so I'm not sure they're ready for it and it's possible some interloper could take it all. I'm sure they are holed up in their various towers furiously sending ravens back and forty and hiring witches. I can't wait to see how it goes down and I just hope it's all being recorded for the miniseries.
    posted by fshgrl at 8:42 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    Huh. The MAGAhead... wasn't the lone holdout? She said it was one of the other jurors who held out. So the witch-hunty Trumpist wanted to find Manafort guilty on all 18 counts. I suppose its good to be reminded that people can be complicated.

    Paul Manafort: So scummy even MAGAheads hate him.
    posted by Justinian at 8:46 PM on August 22 [18 favorites]


    ELECTIONS NEWS

    ** 2018 Senate:
    -- TX: Marist poll has GOP incumbent Cruz up 49-45 on Dem Cruz [MOE: +/- 3.8%]. Same poll has a relative blowout in the governor race (Abbott 56-37), similar to what Abbott pulled in 2014, lending credence to the Senate result.

    -- MN(A): Suffolk University poll has incumbent Dem Klobuchar up 54-34 on GOPer Newberger [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

    -- MN(B): Same Suffolk poll has incumbent Dem Smith up 44-37 on GOPer Housley.

    -- NJ: Quinnipiac poll has incumbent Dem Menendez up 43-37 on GOPer Hugin [MOE: +/- 4.4%].

    -- WI: Marquette Law poll has incumbent Dem Baldwin up 49-47 on GOPer Vukmir [MOE: +/- 4.4%]. There's been some eyebrow raising about this one, as it seems to be an outlier - perhaps the likely voter screen is off. Notably, it has GOP enthusiasm exceeding Dem enthusiasm, which seems to be belied by special election and primary results.
    ** 2018 House:
    -- NY-27: Local GOP interviewing possible replacements for Chris Collins; still unclear if they'll actually be able to get him off of the ballot, though.

    -- Republicans criticizing NRCC's midterm strategy, particularly spending money on lost cause races.

    -- 538 compares their model with the qualitative outfits (Cook, etc.), finds pretty good alignment.
    ** Odds & ends:
    -- SC gov: A pair of sponsored polls here. GOPer McMaster leads Dem Smith by 47-43 (Garin-Hart-Yang for Smith campaign) or maybe by 52-41 (Tarrance Group for the RGA).

    -- MN gov: Same Suffolk poll has Dem Walt up 46-41 on GOPer Johnson.

    -- WI gov: Same Marquette poll has Dem Evers tied at 46 with GOP incumbent Walker.

    -- Roundup of AK & WY primaries.
    posted by Chrysostom at 8:49 PM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    NJ: Quinnipiac poll has incumbent Dem Menendez up 43-37 on GOPer Hugin

    That's some weak shit. 6 points up and 7 points under 50%? For an incumbent in a blue state in a good environment.
    posted by Justinian at 8:52 PM on August 22


    That's some weak shit. 6 points up and 7 points under 50%? For an incumbent in a blue state in a good environment.

    Well up until the start of this year he was embroiled on felony corruption charges that were only dropped because of what could be termed a technicality. He's a shitty candidate and should have stepped down.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:00 PM on August 22 [13 favorites]


    Jared Holt is collecting responses from white supremacists to the President's South Africa tweet. They're all very excited. David Duke wants to know if we'll join Russia in taking in white South Africans as refugees (this has been a right-wing cause in Australia this year, fueled by the Murdoch papers), which rather tells on himself since he spent last year railing against the fact that Trump let in any refugees at all.
    posted by zachlipton at 9:00 PM on August 22 [22 favorites]


    Well, he's corrupt as fuck, of course. I think he'd be toast in 2016. But NJ hasn't elected a Republican to Senate since 1972, and I don't see them breaking that streak in this environment.
    posted by Chrysostom at 9:00 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    kirkaracha: "The truth, Cruz wants me to know, is that he's always been a more lighthearted fellow than he's been given credit for being."

    Cruz could be the fucking Patch Adams of US Senators and it wouldn't make any difference to the people he'd make destitute by eliminating Social Security and Medicaid. I hope Beto doesn't only beat him but does so by such a margin there is a new floor on the crazification factor.

    The Card Cheat: "Orchestrating a criminal conspiracy with the assistance of a hostile foreign power in order to get yourself elected President of the United States seems like an awfully convoluted way to attempt to increase the profitability of your hotel chain, but far be it from me to try and plump the depths of the Trump psyche."

    The Cheeto didn't expect to win and didn't want to win. All the crap currently swirling around the Trump Crime Family Syndicate likely never would have come to light if he hadn't won. The Cheeto only ran for the Grift that a presidential election campaign allows. Which is also why his 2020 campaign started on day 1.

    JackFlash: "I'm assuming the "the Trust" is some sort of family entity, and therefore a personal account. This would be the way to do it if you wanted to legally pay hush money. You couldn't do it from a Trump Organization business account. You can spend money from a trust for personal expenses such as buy a car or a house or pay your mistress."

    Is it still legal if the trust is the family's charitable trust? The one currently being investigated by NY State?

    zachlipton: "Manafort wouldn't have been caught if not for Trump, but she found Manafort guilty."

    Well that is probably true.
    posted by Mitheral at 9:15 PM on August 22 [18 favorites]


    Breaking: DNC calls FBI after detecting attempt to hack its voter database (CNN)

    An update here, from the DNC's chief security officer Bob Lord. They now think the phishing site was "built by a third party as part of a simulated phishing test on VoteBuilder" unauthorized by the DNC, VoteBuilder, or any other vendors, but that it wasn't an attempted hack by a foreign entity.

    Sounds like someone did not have the best of ideas.
    posted by zachlipton at 9:26 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    Cruz could be the fucking Patch Adams of US Senators and it wouldn't make any difference to the people he'd make destitute by eliminating Social Security and Medicaid. I hope Beto doesn't only beat him but does so by such a margin there is a new floor on the crazification factor.

    Ted Cruz is an alien dressed in a human suit he learned to make by watching Men in Black & a sense of humor picked up from watching that Steve Buscemi SNL sketch. "How do you do, fellow humans?" If he does win it won't be because voters find him relatable.
    posted by scalefree at 9:37 PM on August 22 [9 favorites]


    imagine being the person that runs a mike pompeo fan account jesus christ

    I'm imagining a bored Russian in a cubicle in NovoSibirsk, actually.
    posted by Rumple at 9:41 PM on August 22 [21 favorites]


    Is it still legal if the trust is the family's charitable trust? The one currently being investigated by NY State?

    NY State is investigating Trump's private foundation. That is an entirely different kind of entity from a trust and no executive would confuse them. According to the plea agreement the Trump executive's email said "Please pay from the Trust". They didn't say pay from the Foundation.

    I doubt that Trump has a charitable trust. He probably has an inheritance trust to facilitate eventual transfer of his wealth to his children at his death. While he is alive he can write checks from the trust just as if from his own personal bank account.

    So I don't think this payment came from the foundation that NY is investigating. That is an entirely different set of fraudulent activity.

    But here's the stupid thing. It would be perfectly legal for Trump to use money from his Trust to pay hush money. What isn't legal is calling it "legal expenses" and taking a tax deduction, but that is what they did. Trump is so cheap that he just can't help himself from taking a perfectly legal expense and turning it into tax fraud to save a few bucks.

    I'm guessing he does this so often that tax fraud is just as natural to him and his close associates as breathing. He routinely takes personal expenses and writes them off as tax deductions. It's a pretty difficult thing to catch in an organization as big as Trump's unless it turns up serendipitously in some other investigation (like this one).
    posted by JackFlash at 9:47 PM on August 22 [22 favorites]


    What Comes Next In The Manafort Case?
    First, it will be up to the government to decide whether it would like to seek a new trial on the counts where the jury deadlocked. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis gave prosecutors a week to inform him whether they would be doing so. Such a retrial would still likely be in front of Ellis, and some former prosecutors I spoke to Wednesday were skeptical that the government would seek that.
    ...
    If it doesn’t look like the prosecutors will be seeking a retrial from the judge, then the ball will be in the defense’s court. They will have the opportunity to file two more requests of Judge Ellis: one that Manafort be acquitted on the 10 counts where there was a mistrial, another that he receive a new trial, on the basis of some procedural issue in the trial.

    Manafort’s attorneys asked for 30 days to file those requests. The judge on Tuesday seemed inclined to give them that time, but said the government had until Friday to object to that timeline.
    ...
    Sentencing won’t happen for at least three months...and maybe as much as eight.
    posted by kirkaracha at 9:47 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    that Steve Buscemi SNL sketch

    30 Rock. My bad.
    posted by scalefree at 9:53 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    Trump repaid Cohen via Trump Org, as legal fees, same as he always did. It’s made clear here (and a bunch of other places).
    posted by notyou at 10:27 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    Trump administration is using federal disability law to disenfranchise minority voters
    Randolph County, Georgia is the latest place where officials are using the American with Disabilities Act to suppress votes.

    “It’s a diabolical move: citing one civil rights statute (the ADA) as the justification for violating another (the VRA),” Tucker, who previously worked in the DOJ’s Voting Section, told ThinkProgress. “These sorts of closures can effectively disenfranchise entire communities of voters, all under the false guise of purportedly seeking to make polling places accessible for the disabled.”
    They're pretending to care about disabled people (by CLOSING stations??) to infringe on voting rights. I'm so angry.
    posted by Crystalinne at 10:30 PM on August 22 [67 favorites]


    I think the Govt should object to the 30 day timeline and to the acquittal request, especially in light of the jurors’ (well one, anyway) seeming desire to turn the after trial into a Fox News circus. Close the door, move on.
    posted by notyou at 10:32 PM on August 22 [2 favorites]


    the Department of Justice’s Disability Rights Section is targeting at least three largely Native American counties, where facilities used as polling locations often lack paved parking lots, designated handicapped parking spots, entrance ramps, wide doorways ...

    Legal mefites: Is there a way for private citizens to get polling places closed in rural white counties? I seriously doubt the most rural district polling places can pass an ADA inspection.
    posted by benzenedream at 10:46 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


    Not too crazy about that idea. If progressives are also going to cynically deprive people of their right to vote, that kind of weakens the overall case for being progressive.
    posted by xigxag at 10:59 PM on August 22 [34 favorites]


    @realDonaldTrump: NO COLLUSION - RIGGED WITCH HUNT!

    The President of the United States, totally unconcerned at 1:10am.

    @JSwiftTWS: Sir, Olive Garden is closed for the evening.
    posted by zachlipton at 11:12 PM on August 22 [57 favorites]


    Legal mefites: Is there a way for private citizens to get polling places closed in rural white counties? I seriously doubt the most rural district polling places can pass an ADA inspection.
    It's wrong to conspire to deliberately deprive legitimate voters of their franchise. Frankly it ought to be criminal in my opinion and even if it's not found to be it should be scandalous and shameful. But even if the courts will not take action and society hasn't yet seen fit to condemn those who engage in it it's morally wrong and not a tactic we can or should adopt.
    posted by Nerd of the North at 11:13 PM on August 22 [23 favorites]


    Legal mefites: Is there a way for private citizens to get polling places closed in rural white counties? I seriously doubt the most rural district polling places can pass an ADA inspection.
    That's just still using ADA against a group as a tool. There are real disabled people who need access. How about instead raising hell to get those polling places ADA compliant, everywhere, instead of closing them down. I may not agree with rural, white voters on average, but they deserve their right to vote too. As do disabled people deserve their right to access and to vote. Disabled activists didn't crawl up steps in protest for the ADA to be used like this.
    posted by Crystalinne at 11:18 PM on August 22 [32 favorites]


    Trump repaid Cohen via Trump Org, as legal fees, same as he always did.

    From notyou's source:
    Trump’s trust paid Cohen early in 2017, but according to Trump’s attorney, he personally paid Cohen the rest of the monthly invoices.
    In context, that suggests that the Trump Org (corporation) (illegally) paid the January and February invoices -- enough to be illegal -- and Donald paid the rest himself. Probably because he found out it was illegal and was sort of ineptly covering it up.
    posted by msalt at 11:38 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    It's wrong to conspire to deliberately deprive legitimate voters of their franchise.

    Yeah but I'm sick of us playing fair and them cheating to win, over and over. Is there some way that the ACLU could sue, asking the court to either keep both open or close both? Because closing only the ones in minority areas sure seems like it would violate the Equal Protection clause.
    posted by msalt at 11:40 PM on August 22 [3 favorites]


    Also not all rural white voters are voting for Trump, or voting Republican. I realize that in most areas there aren't enough of them to shift the vote, but my relatives and friends who live in rural, white areas and are Democrats also deserve the right to cast their vote, even if you think it ultimately doesn't matter.
    posted by tiger tiger at 11:48 PM on August 22 [10 favorites]


    my relatives and friends who live in rural, white areas and are Democrats also deserve the right to cast their vote, even if you think it ultimately doesn't matter.

    I know you know this, but your non-relatives and non-friends who are Republicans and Nazis deserve the right to cast their vote. Democracy isn't something that should be bartered away for a temporary advantage.
    posted by jaduncan at 11:53 PM on August 22 [11 favorites]


    jaduncan, I'm confused. Not sure where you think we disagree--I am also against the suggestion to close polling places in rural, white areas as some are suggesting.
    posted by tiger tiger at 12:00 AM on August 23


    In context, that suggests that the Trump Org (corporation) (illegally) paid the January and February invoices -- enough to be illegal -- and Donald paid the rest himself.

    I think the Trump attorney providing clarification is Giuliani, so, you know, I’d wager the Org was on the hook for the payments all year. Nevertheless, assuming Trump covered the fees out of his own pocket, there’s still the campaign finance violation and the conspiracy. And we’d probably still want to see the receipts for those payments to make sure they weren’t fraudulently expensed to some other Trump affiliated entity.
    posted by notyou at 12:24 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


    The temptation to say, "well, let's do it to them, too!" is very strong. It appeals to our sense of balance and fair play - if some people can't have their full rights by law, then maybe nobody should have them.

    We have to remember that this doesn't work. Never mind how unfair it is, how much it erodes the foundations of the laws we want to function - it's ineffective, because a culture that will happily disenfranchise minorities and allow gov't officers to steal from the public coffers absolutely will not turn that corruption against itself, no matter how reasonable it would be to interpret the law the same way when it's pointed at them.

    Their claim is that the law is their tool, not ours, and that we are not allowed to choose how it's applied. We're not even allowed to know how it will be applied - it's a matter of their whims, not of reliable standards.

    It's not "twisted laws" we're fighting. It's twisted people. We will need to fight through whatever roadblocks they put in our way, and vote them out, or push them through prosecutions, until their house of gilt-edged cards falls down. But as difficult as it's going to be - things have been worse, and they got better, because people fought for better.

    The way to fight voting booth closures is with support to take people to the now-distant polling booths, and help them register for vote-by-mail, and make sure they know how to claim their time for voting, if their state allows it. Help them be part of the blue wave, so that the next few years can focus on moving the Overton window so far to the left that the two major parties are "Democratic" and "Democratic Socialist," and the Republicans are known as "those wacky bigots who hate health care" until they literally die out.
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:33 AM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    I would like to see some sort of serious law, with teeth and penalties--frankly, firing squads at this point--for any government officials, agencies, whatever which put up any roadblocks to voting. ID laws, oddball polling hours, inadequate facilities, you name it. I'm so fucking pissed at this bullshit. Maybe all candidates associated with the party pulling the BS have to sit out the next election. I know, I know, unworkable.

    How about this as a standard? All defense department contracts must have a fraud rate which matches the rate at which voter fraud occurs. I bet they can't get within a couple of orders of magnitude.
    posted by maxwelton at 12:40 AM on August 23 [37 favorites]


    South Africa currently has a large trade surplus (80% more exported than imported) with the US thanks to AGOA (African Growth and Oppurtunities Act). The anti-foreign trade lobby in the US wants to get SA out of from under the AGOA using the clause that makes it conditional on "respect for property rights". So Trump harping on this is the start of a concerted effort to do so.

    Ironically if the GOP does manage to to this the right wingers here, especially those in rural areas, will be shooting themselves in the foot as our agricultural exports get cut to the US, our largest foreign market. Leopards and faces etc etc.

    Also it's been almost two years and there has yet to be a US ambassador appointed here.
    posted by PenDevil at 12:46 AM on August 23 [19 favorites]


    There is still no US Ambassador to Australia too. We have an acting-Ambassador though...
    posted by awfurby at 12:52 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


    We in NZ got a former male model as an ambassador, but then Bush sent us a realtor
    posted by mbo at 12:52 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Wow, so a downgrade then...
    posted by awfurby at 12:53 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Also it's been almost two years and there has yet to be a US ambassador appointed here.

    True, but they've summoned the Chargé d’Affaires to demand an explanation. She's been a career foreign service officer for 24 years, and presumably did not get into it because she thought she'd have to go explain complaints the president threw forth one night after a network of white supremacists managed to get their message onto his favorite tv channel.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:02 AM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    Wow, so a downgrade then...

    Well compared with the guy Obama sent, who was most excellent, they were both downgrades, and essentially political hacks being paid off for some service they've done for the GOP
    posted by mbo at 1:29 AM on August 23


    The way to fight voting booth closures is with support to take people to the now-distant polling booths, and help them register for vote-by-mail, and make sure they know how to claim their time for voting, if their state allows it.

    I don't have a good answer, but the closure of these local voting centers can be difficult problem to solve. A lot of poor people don't trust mail voting. Many people won't travel out of their way to vote. For some communities, voting is a community activity. They meet at the local voting booths as a get together event. We should do all we can, but closing local voting centers will depress voting in those communities.
    posted by xammerboy at 1:58 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    Well compared with the guy Obama sent, who was most excellent, they were both downgrades, and essentially political hacks being paid off for some service they've done for the GOP

    Speaking of downgrades, our previous Ambassador was Patrick Gaspard who is now at the Open Society. For months the rumours have been swirling that (South African born) Breitbart EIC Joel Pollak would get the nod to come over.
    posted by PenDevil at 1:59 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


    The man who swore to uphold the constitution and our laws thinks it should be illegal for criminals to testify against other criminals. Funny coming from a guy who repeatedly and even recently advocated for the guilt and execution of the Central Park 5 where the defendants were turned against each other and individual "confessions" and statements were used to force all of them to sign false confessions. I guess he means flipping on white men.

    Jill Colvin (AP)
    Trump to Fox: "It's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal ... they go from 10 years to they're a national hero. They have a statue erected in their honor. It's not a fair thing."
    posted by chris24 at 4:25 AM on August 23 [24 favorites]


    Somewhere between "Lock her up" and "Build the wall", the next rally's litany of chants is going to include "Snitches get stitches."
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:43 AM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    It's going about as well as expected. Usually not the boss who says he was just following orders.

    Lisa Desjardins (PBS)
    President Trump about the campaign: I wasn't in charge, people like to say that, but I wasn't in charge.
    posted by chris24 at 4:45 AM on August 23 [62 favorites]


    "The buck stops anywhere but here."
    posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:51 AM on August 23 [45 favorites]


    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.

    - Voltaire
    posted by adept256 at 5:01 AM on August 23 [62 favorites]


    The WaPo has coverage of the Manafor juror's appearance on Fox News, Lone holdout on Manafort jury blocked conviction on all counts, juror says. Three things stand out:
    she described the special counsel team as seeming “a little bored” during the proceedings. “I saw them napping during the trial,” Duncan said, citing in particular prosecutors Brandon Van Grack and Greg Andres.
    This makes me think we're dealing with an unreliable narrator. Judge Ellis scolded attorneys for making disrespectful faces and rolling their eyes; napping seems unlikely to go unnoticed in Ellis's court.
    “We’re supposed to assume he’s innocent and therefore he does not need to defend himself, and the judge made that very clear, that there is no requirement for him to do so. However, just based on what I saw, what I heard, I think I would have liked to have heard a little more from the defense,” she said. “They gave a very easygoing atmosphere to the whole thing, they objected to very little, and appeared agreeable throughout it all.”
    This sounds like a person who thinks a real courtroom works like they do on tv and doesn't understand that an objection is a violation of law or procedure and not a disagreement over the evidence.
    Duncan also said the case was politicized. Prosecutors “tried to make the case about the Russian collusion right from the beginning, and of course the judge shut them down on that,” she said. “We did waste a bit of time with that shenanigans.”

    That comment might be taking into account information that was public but not presented to jurors. Judge T.S. Ellis III had barred both sides from broaching that topic of Russian collusion before the trial began.
    This makes me think this juror did not follow the court's instructions to avoid news coverage of the trial.
    posted by peeedro at 5:07 AM on August 23 [77 favorites]


    President Trump about the campaign: I wasn't in charge, people like to say that, but I wasn't in charge.

    NO PUPPET NO PUPPET YOU’RE THE PUPPET
    posted by lydhre at 5:10 AM on August 23 [11 favorites]


    That juror is going to get the whole thing chucked out on a mistrial
    posted by chiquitita at 5:18 AM on August 23 [15 favorites]


    Listening to his interview, he gives himself an A+ in everything except how the media talks about him - which isn't actually a thing he did. It's classic narcissism, his only flaw is someone else's failing towards him.
    posted by scalefree at 5:20 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


    I don't have a good answer, but the closure of these local voting centers can be difficult problem to solve.

    The only response to this is, "It's un-American to close polling places." as loudly and often as possible.
    posted by mikelieman at 5:22 AM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    If you're wondering where all this is coming from: Ted Cruz Staff, USAID Met With Group That Called Apartheid A ‘So-Called’ Injustice

    Just a perfect reminder that American libertarianism is at its core an ideology built on, sustained by, and a willing participant in white supremacy:
    In addition, Roets and Kriel tweeted about meetings at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank; the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank; and the International Republican Institute, a democracy promotion nonprofit that receives U.S. government funding.

    “We agreed that rule of law and property rights are essential components of economic development,” Marian Tupy, a senior policy analyst at Cato, told HuffPost in an email. “Conversely, expropriation without compensation is incompatible with tranquility and prosperity. [The] international community should do what it can to dissuade [the South African] government from embracing catastrophic policies that destroyed Cuba, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.”

    Asked about AfriForum’s apparently dismissive comment about apartheid being a “so-called” historical injustice, Tupy said there “should be no doubt that apartheid was a historical injustice” ― and then suggested there were similarities between the current South African government and the apartheid regime.

    “The current policies of [the South African] government are explicitly racist, because not all South African citizens are treated equally before the law (some people are favored over others, as was the case under apartheid),” Tupy wrote.
    [...]
    Some in Washington appear to be persuaded by Roets’ narrative. “It is my understanding that AfriForum did not refer to ‘so-called’ injustices of apartheid; that we all agree that apartheid was an unjust system; that the words ‘so-called’ were lifted out of context to besmirch the reputation of AfriForum; and that a non-racial society based on individual, not group, identity ought to be the goal in South Africa,” Tupy wrote in an unprompted follow-up email that included Roets on the cc line.
    posted by zombieflanders at 5:24 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


    Isn’t it true that a judge can set aside any verdict? Say, if there’s overwhelming evidence that someone committed a murder but the jury liked him or whatever so they acquit. It probably doesn’t happen very often.
    posted by Melismata at 5:24 AM on August 23


    Lone holdout on Manafort jury blocked conviction on all counts, juror says.

    This says to me that the prosecution should definitely go for a re-trial on the 10 counts, and especially the bank-fraud-for-gig-in-Trump-Admin charge.

    And a better fucking voir dire this time.
    posted by mikelieman at 5:25 AM on August 23 [28 favorites]


    Was it once not legal for jurors to give interviews to the media? Or was there just a cultural shift to where it went from unthinkable to normal?
    posted by thelonius at 5:38 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    A libertarian FB friend posted this drivel from Reason:

    "But it's going nowhere, because of Hillary Clinton. Make that every Democrat who's ever run for federal office. Given how complex and abstruse campaign finance laws are, can any candidates be 100 percent confident they committed zero violations? Or, more to the point, that they cannot be credibly alleged to have committed violations?"

    Shorter Reason: because Hillary Clinton exists - who we're sure is a multiple felon in our imagination (though somehow never indicted or convicted of anything in the real world, despite YEARS of hearings and investigations), we can ignore all actual convictions of Republicans, because staying on the right side of the law is HARD! Because even after Citizens United, campaign finance laws are just way too complicated too actually follow. Amirite?
    posted by jetsetsc at 5:41 AM on August 23 [50 favorites]


    Why Trump Voters Won't Care About Cohen and Manafort's Convictions:

    "The coalition is a strike at not just tone deafness in both Congress and the White House but also high levels of incompetence, negligence and shoddy performance at agencies, as well as inept social services, a bloated and incompetent bureaucracy, endless wars and multinational agreements and treaties that don’t benefit average people.

    These voters knew who Trump was going in, they knew he was a thrice-married, Playmate-dating, Howard Stern regular who had the morals of an alley cat. They were willing to look past all of that because of how institutions had failed their communities for three consecutive presidencies.

    Right now the value of Trump to the Trump voter is he is all that stands between them and handing the keys to Washington back over to the people inside Washington. That’s it. He’s their only option. You’ve got to pick the insiders or him."

    Interesting read. Obviously a lot to pick apart here.
    posted by rednikki at 6:02 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Why Trump Voters Won't Care About Cohen and Manafort's Convictions

    This is an op-ed from the staunchly pro-Trump Murdoch-owned NY Post. Of course their writer is going to take this position, if only to reassure the faithful and reinforce the party line. In the past, she's opined that "Trump's not the reason the GOP sputtered in Ohio", "the 2016 election was far from a fluke", and "Anti-Trump hysteria has only hardened his voters' support". It's useful to be acquainted with what the opposition's thinking, but we need to be aware of where links are coming from.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 6:10 AM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    What Trump has done, by consistently defending his criminal associates, and by attacking the prosecutions as politically motivated or corrupt, is make the implicit obvious: Regular people go to prison; rich or connected people do whatever they want. At least most of the time. The surprise is not that Trump surrounded himself with advisers who committed crimes, or that Trump himself encouraged his advisers to flout the law. The surprise is the mere possibility that any of them will pay for it.

    Attempting to get the jury in the Manafort trial to nullify was only the president’s latest attempt at undermining the rule of law. Since taking office, he has fired the FBI director over the investigation into his campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election; he has successfully urged the FBI’s leadership to purge civil servants he deems disloyal; and he has demanded the Justice Department prosecute his political rivals and critics. There is no law his allies must respect, and no transgression by his critics, real or imagined, that does not demand prosecution and punishment.

    What Trump seeks is nothing less than a federal government that enriches himself and his allies, prosecutes his political opponents and critics, and turns a blind eye to any crimes he or any of his cohorts commit. The institutional guardrails that have restrained him will not hold forever. Either American voters will remove him from office, or the federal government will increasingly become an enterprise run for the benefit of a single wealthy family and whoever earns its favor.

    Many commentators have described that kind of authoritarianism as foreign to the United States. But it isn’t. It has its inspiration and precursor in the racial kleptocracy of the Jim Crow South, in which states were essentially criminal enterprises that existed to expropriate black wealth, exploit black labor, disenfranchise black voters, and shield acts of racist terrorism and violence from prosecution.

    Remnants of this society are still with us, from mass incarceration, to discrimination against black jurors, to stand-your-ground laws. But alongside it, America retains a system in which the wealthy remain largely immune to financial crimes. ... Trump himself is a remarkable synthesis of America’s history of cruelty toward people of color and the poor of any race, but he is still only a symptom of a greater disease.

    Manafort and Cohen may see prison time. But even if they are held to account, the outcomes of their cases on Tuesday can’t legitimize a system of justice in which wealthy people who commit financial crimes can fully expect to get away with them.
    Adam Serwer | The Atlantic
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:11 AM on August 23 [36 favorites]


    Will Stancil points out that Haberman has written the same paragraph about Trump being "increasingly isolated" at least seven times over the last two years.
    posted by octothorpe at 6:11 AM on August 23 [92 favorites]


    “Increased isolation” being one of the unfortunate side effects of solipsism.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:13 AM on August 23 [12 favorites]


    They were willing to look past all of that because of how institutions had failed their communities for three consecutive presidencies.

    I'm having a hard time taking seriously any article that has this sentence in it. Literally the only failing of past presidencies that he consistently promised to rectify was "not being openly white supremacist".

    They voted for him because he hates non-white people like they do. They won't give a fuck about Cohen and Manafort because he hates non-white people like they do. They'll happily acquiesce to becoming a vassal state of Russia because he hates non-white people like they do. They would literally slit their own throats for him because he hates non-white people like they do.

    tl;dr they're single-issue voters whose issue is being white supremacists
    posted by tocts at 6:21 AM on August 23 [77 favorites]


    I think there's a good chance that the Trump Trust cited paying the legal bills is Fred Trump's Trust. I remember waaaayy back in one of the many articles that looked in to the Trump family finances that Fred Trump had structured his bequest to partly be a trust and that an unnamed source in the Trump organization said that although Donald had no access to the bulk of the trust, he relied on the quarterly distributions because Trump Co is often (aways?) cash poor.

    This is ancient history and I sure don't have time to find it but it stuck with me because it was indicative that old Fred both wanted control beyond the grave and understood his son's nature.
    posted by readery at 6:43 AM on August 23 [10 favorites]


    Why Trump Voters Won't Care About Cohen and Manafort's Convictions

    Who cares what they do or don't care about? The political value of these criminal convictions is that they motivate people who do care to get out and vote against Republicans.

    (Not snarking at you, Rednikki, just tired of journos re-hashing the "uncaring, oblivious people are uncaring and oblivious" angle)
    posted by Rykey at 6:45 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


    tl;dr they're single-issue voters whose issue is being white supremacists

    Now, now, I'm sure many of them would absolutely BLANCH at being labeled white supremacists. They are merely concerned, patriotic citizens who were concerned how institutions had failed their communities for three consecutive presidencies.

    Communities that happened to be completely dominated by white, Christian, male, heterosexual, cis, Anglo-Saxon stock, conservatives who were unamused by the notion that people who were not white, Christian, male, heterosexual, cis, of Anglo-Saxon stock, or conservative deserved a minute of the government's time or assistance, equal rights and justice under law, the ability to cast a vote, or the ability to cast a vote that is actually counted.
    posted by delfin at 6:53 AM on August 23 [19 favorites]


    To tie together a couple things I've been saying: some very accurate generaliations don't apply at the margins and therefore don't work as absolutes.

    For instance, Trump voters were and are essentially in the "deplorable" camp. They didn't care about corruption or the economy, they were racially resentful, full stop. However, that doesn't mean every significant fact about the Republican Party's political strengths boils down to racism. A number of folks either voted for Trump or stayed home because of percieved Clinton corruption and similar issues; racism is the GOP's primary fuel source but it still needs to supplement that with other issues. (In addition to rigging things at the margins with racist vote suppression.)

    (According to the Vox article linked by kirkaracha, Donald had a ludicrous nine-point edge on being "less corrupt". Partial blame goes to horse-race coverage, a mindset in which you can't have one candidate hog all the bad traits, it doesn't make sense, so if Donald is a xenophobic sleazefart, then Hillary must be "the corrupt one".)

    That set of voters is small enough not to represent "Trump voters" at all, but large enough to have an impact on what was an extremely close election. Hence, everything that hurts Trump, every indictment and stupid misstep, really does matter. He's only "teflon" in the sense that he possesses a cult that will not amabndon him even though they should have years ago for three dozen different reasons. He's not actually "untouchable" in that even his current numbers are set in stone. The stone gets eroded with every scandalous drip-drip-drip.

    The recent upward shift in Mueller's approval rating also lines up with my suspicion that a fair amount of "disapproval" was from people hoping for him to indict everyone months ago -- a very reasonable expectation if you're informed of the regime's through awfulness but less acquainted with the typical agonizing slowness of the wheels of justice (at least when it comes to the types of crimes under consideration, thanks to the privileges of rich white men). Caveat: The polls would have to have been conducted before the newest events, but I think the existence of the Manafort trial would have had an effect, for example.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:56 AM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    Isn’t it true that a judge can set aside any verdict? Say, if there’s overwhelming evidence that someone committed a murder but the jury liked him or whatever so they acquit. It probably doesn’t happen very often.

    In civil cases either party can move to set aside a jury's verdict, and in a criminal case, a defendant can move to set aside a guilty verdict. Such motions can be granted when no reasonable jury could have properly arrived at the verdict based on the evidence presented. But there is no analogous trial motion available to the prosecution. This is why jury nullification is a thing.
    posted by skewed at 7:05 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    $1582 on video games on Steam (I would give anything to see the list of PC games he purchased)


    AND SO YOU SHALL

    Be sure to click on the triangle next to "Duncan Hunter" to see "also played as", with such classics as:
    • Trump2016_build_that_wall_bro
    • Alimony Paying Tentacle
    • Jew Fission
    posted by murphy slaw at 7:16 AM on August 23 [30 favorites]


    >Breaking: DNC calls FBI after detecting attempt to hack its voter database (CNN)

    An update here, from the DNC's chief security officer Bob Lord. They now think the phishing site was "built by a third party as part of a simulated phishing test on VoteBuilder" unauthorized by the DNC, VoteBuilder, or any other vendors, but that it wasn't an attempted hack by a foreign entity.


    Further update -- it's now looking like the 'third party' was the, uh, Michigan Democratic Party.

    WaPo, Derek Hawkins: DNC says hack attempt on its voter database was a false alarm
    A person familiar with the incident said this morning that it was a test organized by the Michigan Democratic party, which brought on a group of volunteer white hat hackers, DigiDems, to do ''penetration testing" of the voter file. And they did so without notifying the DNC.
    posted by cjelli at 7:16 AM on August 23 [23 favorites]


    (According to the Vox article linked by kirkaracha, Donald had a ludicrous nine-point edge on being "less corrupt". Partial blame goes to horse-race coverage, a mindset in which you can't have one candidate hog all the bad traits, it doesn't make sense, so if Donald is a xenophobic sleazefart, then Hillary must be "the corrupt one".)

    No, the issue is that fascists have a different definition of corrupt than we do. In their view, Clinton is "corrupt" because she "perverts the natural order" (that is, she's a woman seeking high elected office.)
    posted by NoxAeternum at 7:28 AM on August 23 [50 favorites]


    Fashion tip for white supremacists: In dowdy Boston, leave the steel-plated camo body armor at home - oh, and the loaded guns, too. A Suffolk Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that Boston police did nothing wrong in ordering a white supremacist in town for a rally the week after Charlottesville to surrender his steel body armor and helmet if he wanted to get to the bandstand where his pals were gathering - and in arresting him when he came to pick them up afterwards because they found he'd hidden a loaded semi-automatic handgun inside the armor (turns out he had a license to carry in New York State, but, tsk, Massachusetts doesn't recognize NY gun licenses).
    posted by adamg at 7:33 AM on August 23 [58 favorites]


    Fascists do have that alternative view, but even mainstream folk have been barraged for decades with endless screaming about how Hillary has committed every mortal sin known to mankind and invented a handful of new ones.

    You don't have to believe that Hillary personally murdered Vince Foster or led the Benghazi embassy assault herself to hear twenty-five years of slander avalanches and think "well, at least SOME of that has to be true, right?"
    posted by delfin at 7:36 AM on August 23 [11 favorites]


    Independent journalism group Proekt.Media has turned up more Putin-associated spycraft by convicted felon Paul Manafort (I love saying that) and his GRU handler/fixer, the indicted Konstantin Kilimnik, the Guardian reports: Paul Manafort Went to Kyrgyzstan to 'Strengthen Russia's Position'—Investigation claims former Trump campaign chair promoted Russian interests
    According to a report published on Wednesday by the new investigative media outlet Project, Manafort and his fixer Konstantin Kilimnik were sent in 2005 to the central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, where the two promoted Russian interests, including the closure of the US military base Manas.

    According to the article, their travel was funded by a Russian oligarch who was later sanctioned by the US over meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections.

    “I heard about Kyrgyzstan – they went there to strengthen Russia’s position,” a former member of Manafort’s team from Ukraine said in the article, which was obtained by the Guardian before its release. A colleague of Kilimnik confirmed to Project that the two men worked there.

    Kilimnik worked in the country for the then new president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who had come to power following an uprising dubbed the Tulip revolution. It would mark the second time Manafort appeared in a post-Soviet country shortly after a “coloured revolution”, as the uprisings sparked by contested elections which Moscow has blamed on malign US influence are known.

    While Manafort’s work in the country has not previously been reported, leaked documents had indicated he later wired money that he received from a Ukrainian political party to offshore accounts he held in Kyrgyzstan.
    And following up on the "RUSSIAN OFFICIAL" named in Mariia Butina's indictment, Alexander Torshin is linked even more closely to Russian intelligence ops in the US, Politico has uncovered: Handler of Alleged Spy Butina Tied to Suspicious U.S.-Russia Exchange Program—Russian politician Alexander Torshin’s meetings with American students, coupled with his role managing alleged covert Russian agent Mariia Butina, suggest he may be a more important Kremlin operative than previously known.
    Six years before he was exposed for allegedly managing a covert agent on U.S. soil, the Russian politician Alexander Torshin hosted young Americans visiting Moscow as part of two cultural exchange programs, including one that has drawn the FBI’s scrutiny.[...]

    Many of the first-class student exchanges were officially organized by the Russian Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., and included top-flight meals, airfare and hotel accommodations. But the center’s exchange programs abruptly stopped in fall 2013, after FBI counterintelligence agents urgently located dozens of trip participants and told them the program was an elaborate cover for a Washington-based Russian spy recruiting effort.

    The agents said the Russians had prepared dossiers on some of the most promising participants, two of the former students told POLITICO. They pressed for every detail of the program, including whom the students met, where they went and what they discussed. They also said that Russian government official [Oleg Zhiganov] who oversaw the program — from a mansion about a mile and a half from the White House — was a suspected spy and would be kicked out of the U.S. soon.[...]

    The FBI’s interest in that cultural exchange program for young American political and business leaders was reported at the time, including a single, passing reference to Torshin. But the details of his involvement in the exchanges is a new revelation, as is his participation in the second exchange program for student body presidents at American universities dating back to at least 2010.[...]

    While Torshin is not identified by name in the Butina court filings, several sources close to the investigation told POLITICO he is the Russian official described as directing Butina’s alleged efforts to establish “unofficial lines of communications with U.S. politicians and political organizations" and “to send reports, seek direction, and receive orders in furtherance of the conspiracy” from Moscow.
    Butina, of course, also met with Russian Cultural Center director Oleg Zhiganov before he was removed from the US as part of the group of spies expelled over the Skripal attack.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 7:40 AM on August 23 [17 favorites]


    cjelli: WaPo, Derek Hawkins: A person familiar with the incident said this morning that it was a test organized by the Michigan Democratic party, which brought on a group of volunteer white hat hackers, DigiDems, to do ''penetration testing" of the voter file. And they did so without notifying the DNC.

    It's genuinely good to hear they're doing real testing! Notifying the target in any way might have jeopardized the experiment. Of course various people are going to misinterpret "Democrats... hacked themselves!" for either a "disarray" or "No Russia collusion" narrative. But as such, it seems everything happened the way it should.
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:41 AM on August 23 [17 favorites]


    “Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition. There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.” - Frank Wilhoit

    Republicans make more sense when you accept that they think rich white men should be protected by the law but not subject to it. And everyone else should be subject to the law but not protected by it.
    posted by chris24 at 7:46 AM on August 23 [177 favorites]


    Notifying the target in any way might have jeopardized the experiment

    Notifying the DNC bosses before they had people call the FBI would have had minimal impact in my opinion. It's a minor screw-up.
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:55 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    It's genuinely good to hear they're doing real testing! Notifying the target in any way might have jeopardized the experiment.

    A pen test should be indistinguishable from a real hack? That seem kind of highly impractical, and probably illegal.
    posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:57 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    chris24, I've never heard of Frank Wilhoit, but that is the single most elegantly concise formulation of the conservative mindset I've ever encountered. Thank you.
    posted by adamgreenfield at 8:00 AM on August 23 [16 favorites]


    Yes, that quote is prompting me to order a copy of The Politics of Massive Resistance.
    posted by ian1977 at 8:03 AM on August 23 [7 favorites]


    Of course various people are going to misinterpret "Democrats... hacked themselves!" for either a "disarray" or "No Russia collusion" narrative. But

    one hopes we're finally at the point where tip-toeing around the sort of "various people" who are going to willfully misinterpret everything toward their poisonously skewed worldview regardless of what actually happened (or didn't) or was said (or wasn't). Maybe what we need is some sort of iconic t-shirt (and related branding) that effectively says with a straight face:

    Are You Fucking Serious?

    Because a lesson I learned a long long time ago, is that you can't let crazy people direct the conversation. Things just get ... crazy.
    posted by philip-random at 8:07 AM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    T.D. Strange: $1582 on video games on Steam (I would give anything to see the list of PC games he purchased)

    murphy slaw: AND SO YOU SHALL

    Be sure to click on the triangle next to "Duncan Hunter" to see "also played as"


    "The vape king of video games" indeed.

    Rep. Duncan Hunter says Democrats, 'deep state' behind indictment, says he's not resigning (Andrew Dyer and Kristina Davis for the San Diego Union Tribune, Aug. 22, 2018)
    Hunter said every purchase listed in the 47-page indictment was campaign-related.

    “They took legitimate campaign expenses and just tossed them all in and said these are all illegal,” he said.

    Two of the items prosecutors cited — Pittsburgh Steelers games in 2010 and 2013 — amounted to $4,129 in alleged campaign spending on personal activities. Prosecutors identified one of the games as a family outing and the other as a birthday gift for a family member.

    Hunter said both games were, in fact, campaign activities.

    “They were massive campaign events,” he said. “(We were) raising money off doing them. That’s what we do.”
    I'd love to hear how he spins paying for water bills, going to the dentist, and a solid 8 years on Steam as "campaign activities." Oh, I'm a dolt - he says it right there in his bio: "I'm a congressman! Tweet me @Rep_Hunter. See you on the battlefield! :steamhappy:" And it's clearly paying off big-time. See his rep points:
    ItsRainingWhales Jul 23, 2017 @ 11:36am
    +rep And they say perfect politcians don' exist

    Grandpa James Jul 21, 2017 @ 4:25am
    +rep chill dude
    FYI, the Arabic name used by Grandpa James (جدي جيمس) translates to "My grandfather James" -- and the Japanese (ゴ異王 and 夜ァ芋花るム位 科ブせ) translates to "miserable" and "Buddhist altar at night." The internet is a weird place.

    But back to Duncan Hunter:
    “I didn’t have as much visibility on my personal finances as I should have,” Hunter said. “There’s nothing illegal about being poor. I don’t think there’s anything illegal about not having money in your bank account.”

    Hunter is paid $174,000 a year as a member of Congress, and his campaign paid his wife $3,000 a month as campaign manager.
    Vape king has an odd definition of "poor."
    posted by filthy light thief at 8:11 AM on August 23 [29 favorites]


    Not just misleading. Not merely false. A lie. WaPo Fact Checker (Glenn Kessler)
    The first denial that Donald Trump knew about hush-money payments to silence women came four days before he was elected president, when his spokeswoman Hope Hicks said, without hedging, “We have no knowledge of any of this.”

    The second came in January of this year, when his attorney Michael Cohen said the allegations were “outlandish.” By March, two of the president’s spokesmen — Raj Shah and Sarah Huckabee Sanders — said publicly that Trump denied all the allegations and any payments. Even Cohen’s attorney, David Schwartz, got in on the action, saying the president “was not aware of any of it.”

    In April, Trump finally weighed in, answering a question about whether he knew about a payment to porn star Stephanie Clifford, who uses the stage name Stormy Daniels, with a flat “no.”

    It’s now clear that the president’s statement was a lie — and that the people speaking for him repeated it.
    The article also provides a timeline of the statements made by Trump, Sanders, etc. beginning November 4, 2016.
    posted by kingless at 8:16 AM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    Okay I don't get the "vape king" thing . . . is that a weed reference? Is that, like, okay for a congressman? Or is it some other internet/ video game thing I don't know about?
    posted by robotdevil at 8:16 AM on August 23


    Isn’t it true that a judge can set aside any verdict? Say, if there’s overwhelming evidence that someone committed a murder but the jury liked him or whatever so they acquit.

    No. The judge can throw out a guilty verdict, or give a very light or suspended sentence, but the judge can't find someone guilty if the jury acquits.The law works to protect the innocent at the cost of sometimes letting the guilty go free.

    That's the whole point of a jury trial - the community, not legal experts, get to decide whether what happened was really a crime. And having 12 of them is supposed to guarantee that no overwhelming bias by any one of them can let a guilty person go free--rather, you get a hung jury and a potential retrial, to avoid the problem of one or two biased or bought jury members.
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:19 AM on August 23 [6 favorites]




    Vaping tobacco products is a thing, but Hunter also lives in California where weed is legal.
    posted by Sophie1 at 8:20 AM on August 23


    Hunter is infamous for vaping during Congressional sessions, and has tried to insert handouts to the vaping industry in multiple funding bills.
    posted by zombieflanders at 8:20 AM on August 23 [12 favorites]




    Are we sure that's not just some troll who changed their Steam name to Duncan Hunter?
    posted by tofu_crouton at 8:21 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    I'd love to hear how he spins paying for water bills, going to the dentist, and a solid 8 years on Steam as "campaign activities."

    Well, I suppose you have to bathe, not die from dehydration, and have nice teeth, to win an election to Congress. You're on your own with the Steam though.
    posted by thelonius at 8:21 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Vaping is also kind of a young-conservative shibboleth these days, largely because of how it enables them to flagrantly engage in an offensive/unhealthy personal habit, while claiming that it puts them on a bold new frontier of personal freedom by resisting anti-vaping laws and regulations.
    posted by Strange Interlude at 8:23 AM on August 23 [24 favorites]


    Trump this morning on Fox & Friends:
    I don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor because without this thinking, you would see — you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe, in reverse.
    Got that? Numbers that you wouldn't believe. In reverse.
    posted by zakur at 8:24 AM on August 23 [79 favorites]


    It didnt just come from nowhere:

    Grover Norquist Wants Vapers to Save the G.O.P.
    New Yorker, Nov 2016
    posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:25 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


    BTW, ye denizens of Megathread Nation, refresh my memory here, 'cause my Google-fu's failing me? Remind me of the name of the architect of Russian disinformation and confoundment doctrine we've so often discussed here, the dude responsible for the idea that power may be pursued by undermining reality itself/throwing up so much chaff and superficially plausible but inconsistent narratives that the target population gives up on even trying to discern a common underlying reality?

    If it helps, I'm not thinking of Aleksandr Dugin, as he's more geopolitical in focus.
    posted by adamgreenfield at 8:27 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


    Why Michael Cohen agreed to plead guilty -- and implicate the president [WSJ]
    Mr. Cohen’s father urged him not to protect the president, saying he didn’t survive the Holocaust to have his name sullied by Mr. Trump.
    posted by jgirl at 8:28 AM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    As someone who vapes to mitigate a decades long habit and not stink like shit and offend people at my workplace, fuck those guys.
    posted by adept256 at 8:29 AM on August 23 [25 favorites]


    Anyone wanna see convicted felon Paul "gratis" Manafort pimp Eric Trump's speech at the RNC in 2016 as interviewed by CBS That Morning? Sure, why not.

    Bonus groper Charlie Rose and that rosy 2016-lets-treat-this-like-its-really-happening-but-not-really-because-c'mon media point of view.

    Also, this could be the hindsight talking, but ol' Paulie Tax Fraud has some shifty-ass eyes.
    posted by petebest at 8:29 AM on August 23


    Vaping is also kind of a young-conservative shibboleth these days

    Vaping is how you roll coal when you're not in your truck.
    posted by dis_integration at 8:29 AM on August 23 [50 favorites]


    As someone who vapes to mitigate a decades long habit and not stink like shit and offend people at my workplace, fuck those guys.

    Chalk vaping up alongside mayonnaise and the undercut as yet another innocuous thing the ancaps and white supremacists have managed to smear their spoor all over & more or less permanently ruin.
    posted by adamgreenfield at 8:32 AM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    I wonder if anyone's told the president that someone who's been pardoned can be subpoena'd for full details, since self-incrimination is no longer on the table. Once he's been pardoned, he has no legal excuse for not talking. (He could hold out, and hope for a pardon for the resulting contempt of court charges, but that's a loop that stops when the tangerine terror gets bored, and then Manafort's stuck with whatever legal status he was abandoned in.)

    I wonder what the upshot would be of pardoning someone who'd fled the country. Not like it would be that hard for one of these clowns to borrow a spare DeVos yacht and head somewhere with weak extradition laws. Once they're pardoned how do you get them back to testify, removed 5th Am protections or not? I guess you might get into esoterica like pardons vs contempt charges but they already vaguely floated that trial balloon with Sheriff Hatecrime. But overall that seems like it moves things into a territory where there's nothing further to be done.

    The optics would be terrible but that seems to not concern Trump at all. The only thing I can think of that would be effective at that point would be civil measures to claw back money from remaining family.

    Really that's about the most effective thing I can think of vs Trump and his family as well, and one of the things that makes me excited to see what happens with the attention on this "charity" foundation and going after all the fraud it's committed. Not only does that hurt them in one of the few ways they actually care about, but it means opportunities for seizures and looking around in accounts to get that money back. Financial embarrassment - the only kind of shame they can feel - on top of taking money and getting to peek in more sekret boxes? It's like resistance boxing day.
    posted by phearlez at 8:33 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Remind me of the name of the architect of Russian disinformation and confoundment doctrine we've so often discussed here, the dude responsible for the idea that power may be pursued by undermining reality itself/throwing up so much chaff and superficially plausible but inconsistent narratives that the target population gives up on even trying to discern a common underlying reality?

    Maybe you mean Vladislav Surkov and Political Technologism?
    posted by Rust Moranis at 8:33 AM on August 23 [9 favorites]


    adamgreenfield, are you thinking of Vladislav Surkov?
    posted by peeedro at 8:33 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    The Russian disinformation doctrine in question might be the Gerasimov Doctrine.
    posted by KatlaDragon at 8:38 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    The Russian disinformation doctrine in question might be: The Gerasimov Doctrine?

    Or maybe not, who knows anymore: I’m Sorry for Creating the ‘Gerasimov Doctrine’, I was the first to write about Russia’s infamous high-tech military strategy. One small problem: it doesn't exist.
    posted by peeedro at 8:40 AM on August 23 [10 favorites]


    [few comments removed, please feel free to refer to the giant MeTa thread about how we're trying to keep these threads on track.]
    posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:44 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Cheers peeedro, cheers RustMoranis, LOL Gerasimov.
    posted by adamgreenfield at 8:44 AM on August 23


    I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor

    Christ, that really is the best he can do at this point, isn't it. Well, I guess I'd *still* rather weather a crashed market than to see what this orange scrotum could do to us in the next 2–6 years. Which could, ironically, itself entail a crashed market.
    posted by Rykey at 8:53 AM on August 23 [12 favorites]


    Mike Casca (BdB comm director)
    uh, holy shit new @Reuters poll

    "would you support a policy of medicare for all?"

    democrats: 84.5%

    republicans: 51.9%

    ---

    Kyle Griffin (MSNBC)
    Fox News poll: Do you favor or oppose Medicare for All?

    46% Favor
    31% Oppose
    23% Don't know

    Is health care the responsibility of American government?

    63% Yes
    30% No
    posted by chris24 at 9:01 AM on August 23 [84 favorites]


    It looks as though Team Trump is trying to push North Korea as their new distraction from Manafort/Cohen. @FoxNews: “President @realDonaldTrump: 'When I took over, President Obama thought we would have to go to war with North Korea.'”

    Slate's Will Saletan (@saletan) wryly quotes Trump's self-congratulation: Trump on his triumph with North Korea: “Nobody could believe I was able to do it. Obama couldn’t get a meeting. Clinton couldn’t get a meeting. Bush couldn’t get a meeting. … I got a meeting.” (Fox & Friends, 8/23)

    Meanwhile, Department of State (@StateDept): ".@SecPompeo announces Steve Biegun as the Special Representative for #NorthKorea, who will lead our efforts to achieve @POTUS Trump’s goal of the final, fully-verified denuclearization of North Korea, as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong Un." Biegun is currently Vice President, International Governmental Affairs, at Ford Motor Company and having served as Executive Secretary of the National Security Council during the G. W. Bush administration (where he specialized in Russia/Europe issues. rather than Asia/North Korea). They'll be visiting Pyongyang next week.

    They'll have plenty to discuss, too, about Kim's lack of progress on denuclearization. A confidential UN report throws cold water on North Korea's claim that it is committed to denuclearization (Business Insider). And the think tank 38 North says sateillite images indicate North Korea halted dismantling of launch site (Reuters).

    I don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job. I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash.

    Good grief, he's setting up this probability ahead of time the same way he started talking about a stolen election in fall 2016. His economic policies are going to crash and burn sooner rather than later, so he might as well link that eventuality to his probable political downfall.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:02 AM on August 23 [7 favorites]


    Good piece in The Atlantic on Why Trump Supporters Don't Believe He's Corrupt despite saying strongly they're against corruption.

    tl;dr - they're against corruption of the American traditions that include rich men abusing power escaping the consequences of misbehaviour, not against corruption of the rule of law.

    It all depends what's being corrupted, and The Cult Of 45 see the correction of a corrupt body politic as being itself corruption. It's the pathogen's fear of the cure.
    posted by Devonian at 9:06 AM on August 23 [10 favorites]


    I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor

    I think it's a threat.
    "That's an awfully nice country you have there. Would be a shame if something happened to it... everybody would be very poor..."
    posted by sour cream at 9:08 AM on August 23 [47 favorites]


    "would you support a policy of medicare for all?"
    republicans: 51.9%


    Expect this to plummet once the health insurance industry sees it as a plausible outcome and starts spending money on lobbying and advertising to combat it.
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:18 AM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    Interesting article (Lawfare) by Alex Stamos, the ex-Facebook chief security officer, on election security: "It’s Too Late to Protect the 2018 Elections. But Here’s How the U.S. Can Prepare for 2020."
    If the weak response of the Obama White House indicated to America’s adversaries that the U.S. government would not respond forcefully, then the subsequent actions of House Republicans and President Trump have signaled that our adversaries can expect powerful elected officials to help a hostile foreign power cover up attacks against their domestic opposition.
    [...]
    Republican efforts to downplay Russia’s role constitute a dangerous gamble: It is highly unlikely that future election meddling will continue to have such an unbalanced and positive impact for the GOP. The Russians are currently the United States’ most visible information-warfare adversaries, but they are not alone. Their proven playbook is now “in the wild” for anyone to use. Recent history has shown that once a large, powerful nation-state actor demonstrates the effectiveness of a technique, many other groups rush to build cheaper, often more nimble versions of the same capability.
    [...]
    In short, if the United States continues down this path, it risks allowing its elections to become the World Cup of information warfare, in which U.S. adversaries and allies battle to impose their various interests on the American electorate.
    Stamos left Facebook this year after disagreements with other executives about the scope of public disclosures regarding the Russian government's influence operation, with Stamos pushing to disclose as much as possible.
    posted by ltl at 9:18 AM on August 23 [11 favorites]


    I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor

    Trump's mirror. His business would crash without Russian money-laundering propping it up, and he and his family would be very poor. That's what he means by "everybody".
    posted by rocket88 at 9:20 AM on August 23 [43 favorites]


    petebest, that RNC video is such a weird little time capsule.

    Thanks to you, I fell down the rabbit hole for more 2016 Manafort interviews and found this one from late July 2016 with CBS. The first two minutes, he points answers back to Hillary's emails and dodges a tax return question.

    And then there's this amazing moment at 1:58 where he's asked point blank about Trump's relationships with Russia and he can't seem to make himself fully voice the lie:
    Q: So to be clear, Mr. Trump has no financial relationships with any Russian oligarchs?
    Manafort: Th-that's what he said. I'dn't-- I-- That's what I-- Obviously that's what the-- our position is.
    Watch his eyes.
    posted by mochapickle at 9:22 AM on August 23 [40 favorites]


    Somebody's getting nervous. I'm sure there's a Footloose joke to be made.
    @nowthisnews ‘I can think of nothing more American.’ — Beto O'Rourke — the man taking on Ted Cruz — brilliantly explains why NFL players kneeling during the anthem is not disrespectful
    @kevinbacon Thanks For sharing this!
    @tedcruz Most Texans stand for the flag, but Hollywood liberals are so excited that Beto is siding with NFL players protesting the national anthem that Kevin Bacon just retweeted it. That means all of us us can now win Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!
    posted by scalefree at 9:27 AM on August 23 [20 favorites]


    I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash I would intentionally crash the market
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:27 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    Yes, there's definitely an implicit threat in Trump's prediction about a market crash if he's impeached.

    On that note, the conservative Weekly Standard outlines a nightmare scenario: Trump's Nuclear Option—With Cohen and Manafort going to jail, the president could choose to burn the system down.
    First, he will continue to draw a red line at his “no collusion” claim and insist that anything else Mueller finds is the harvest of an illegitimate Democratic “witch hunt” that seeks to overturn the election results through criminal process. This approach depends on Mueller finding no serious dirt on Trump related to Russian meddling. Even if that assumption holds, the mounting stench of criminality enclosing the Trump presidency may render the red line politically irrelevant.

    Which is why the president is also likely to deploy offensive weapons. Three powers that a president can wield unilaterally with practically limitless discretion and with little constraining process are pardons, dismissals of executive officials, and security clearance revocations.

    Trump could bark orders today to pardon everyone Mueller is investigating (except possibly himself); to fire Mueller and his team, as well as everyone in the Justice Department who didn’t carry out this order; and to yank the security clearances of anyone he didn’t fire, which would seriously slow any federal investigation that remained.

    If you think the wounded, cornered Trump won’t choose some version of this nuclear option, you haven’t been paying attention. Trump believes in his bones that razing the institutions around him brings him advantage. And even if that belief proves false in this context, he will enjoy trying to burn them down even as he is consumed.
    In a slightly better scenario, Trump could threaten this as leverage if he thought he could strike a deal with the political establishment to somehow save his skin. In his past business affairs when they went sour, he's certainly threatened his investors and creditors with declaring bankruptcy and walking away in order to negotiate better terms and keep his personal finances stable.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 9:31 AM on August 23 [10 favorites]


    That means all of us us can now win Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!

    If nothing else, imagine how much worse the world would be right now if the Texas Democratic Party hadn't been able to find a decent challenger and Ted Cruz had been allowed to just drift into a second term, propping up his eventual Presidential race.

    He's below 50 percent as a Republican in Texas. He may stay in the Senate, but he isn't moving up, ever again.
    posted by Etrigan at 9:32 AM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    Obama couldn’t get a meeting. Clinton couldn’t get a meeting. Bush couldn’t get a meeting. … I got a meeting

    Obama didn’t get rolled. Clinton didn’t get rolled. Bush didn’t get rolled. … I got rolled.
    posted by kirkaracha at 9:35 AM on August 23 [64 favorites]


    You can replace "if I ever got impeached" with "if Democrats take the house" or "if the next tax cut isn't passed" or any number of dumb excuses. The propaganda is already written. They know the market correction is coming eventually and they will find someone to blame.
    posted by dilaudid at 9:36 AM on August 23 [17 favorites]


    In a slightly better scenario, Trump could threaten this as leverage if he thought he could strike a deal with the political establishment to somehow save his skin. In his past business affairs when they went sour, he's certainly threatened his investors and creditors with declaring bankruptcy and walking away in order to negotiate better terms and keep his personal finances stable.

    I notice that in all the paying off women thing, Doe v. Trump and Epstein's strange resolution -- at the same time as Cohen's payouts -- didn't get drawn mentioned, and expect that it's a card that Cohen's holding to play if he has to.
    posted by mikelieman at 9:36 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


    Most Texans stand for the flag, but Hollywood liberals are so excited that Beto is siding with NFL players protesting the national anthem that Kevin Bacon just retweeted it. That means all of us us can now win Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon!

    Cruz even attempting a burn is almost physically painful. How did this utter vacuum of charisma make it so far in life? I blame David Dewhurst.
    posted by orrnyereg at 9:38 AM on August 23 [22 favorites]


    So, with the national inquirer being a de facto Trump run magazine, this is ...interesting Publisher David Pecker of NE granted immunity in Cohen case.
    posted by The Whelk at 9:43 AM on August 23 [21 favorites]


    WSJ: Pecker Granted Immunity in Cohen Case (by federal prosecutors)

    The article is paywalled, but that's basically the entirety of the news, so.
    posted by cjelli at 9:43 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    The problem with expecting loyalty to go only one way is that eventually your allies catch on and aren't allies anymore.
    posted by chris24 at 9:44 AM on August 23 [11 favorites]


    How did this utter vacuum of charisma make it so far in life?

    @NinaTotenberg, 1:25 PM - 24 Feb 2016
    #SCOTUS sources say Cruz asked to sit w Scalia clerks @ funeral. They said no. Then GOP leadership said no bc he wasn't 1 of them either.
    You know no one likes you when you get shunned at a funeral.
    posted by kirkaracha at 9:45 AM on August 23 [57 favorites]


    Reflecting on the relative ease of obtaining Michael Cohen and David Pecker's testimony that the President committed a felony related to campaign finance, I'm beginning to have more hope about this whole situation. I'm beginning to believe that if the Democrats take the House of Representatives in January, and control the investigative apparatus, they will uncover so many crimes, including ones unrelated to Mueller's Russian remit, that they will be able to successfully impeach and convict the President regardless of Mueller's timeline. We don't need every Republican Senator to acknowledge such a tidal wave of evidence: just enough to join with every Democratic Senator to reach a safe 2/3rds majority. It could happen!
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:46 AM on August 23 [6 favorites]


    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but you don't grant immunity to Pecker unless he's got great evidence, the best evidence, evidence like you've never seen.
    posted by uncleozzy at 9:47 AM on August 23 [27 favorites]


    Which is why the president is also likely to deploy offensive weapons. Three powers that a president can wield unilaterally with practically limitless discretion and with little constraining process are pardons, dismissals of executive officials, and security clearance revocations. [...] If you think the wounded, cornered Trump won’t choose some version of this nuclear option, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Weird that this article refers to "three powers that a president can wield unilaterally with practically limitless discretion and with little constraining process", describing them as "offensive weapons" and a "nuclear option", without mentioning the fourth unilateral presidential power: the literal nuclear option.
    posted by chappell, ambrose at 9:50 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Senate Signals Interest in Investigating Cohen's Claims on Trump

    Let's check below the fold on that one...
    Senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican on the committee, said he didn’t want to open a probe at this point of Cohen’s claims that Trump directed him to pay hush money to two women in order to help him win the presidency because he didn’t want to interfere with an "ongoing investigation."
    Cool. Just one of the most senior Republican Senators clumsily trying to cover for Donny.
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 9:51 AM on August 23 [16 favorites]


    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but you don't grant immunity to Pecker unless he's got great evidence, the best evidence, evidence like you've never seen.

    I am voting this dude most likely to actually have the pee tape.

    Pecker has the pee tape. Fire the writers.
    posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:53 AM on August 23 [65 favorites]


    without mentioning the fourth unilateral presidential power: the literal nuclear option.


    Because the context for that list was ways he can hamstring the Mueller investigation. The idea of Trump dropping a literal nuclear bomb on DC is pretty far down on my list of immediate worries.
    posted by C'est la D.C. at 9:54 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    WSJ: Pecker Granted Immunity in Cohen Case

    You know the old saying: live by the pecker die by the Pecker.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:55 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


    Loony Left Update

    Tenants across NYC push for universal rent control

    holy shit new @Reuters poll

    "would you support a policy of medicare for all?"

    democrats: 84.5%

    republicans: 51.9%”
    posted by The Whelk at 9:58 AM on August 23 [36 favorites]


    without mentioning the fourth unilateral presidential power: the literal nuclear option.

    See, thoughts like this are why I am going to keep canning and storing all my garden produce down in the basement.
    posted by mike_honcho at 10:05 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    You don't have to believe that Hillary personally murdered Vince Foster or led the Benghazi embassy assault herself to hear twenty-five years of slander avalanches and think "well, at least SOME of that has to be true, right?"

    Remind me again why a foreign-owned propaganda machine is allowed to operate in this country...and literally talk to/at/for the president every GD day?
    posted by sexyrobot at 10:09 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    Remind me again why a foreign-owned propaganda machine is allowed to operate in this country...and literally talk to/at/for the president every GD day?

    I believe the root-cause is that the Constitution is very poorly written and is predicated on a culture where duels upon the field of honor were an out-of-band mechanism for limiting bad-faith and dishonesty.
    posted by mikelieman at 10:14 AM on August 23 [19 favorites]


    Yowzers, David Pecker goes from facing 10 years to national hero.
    posted by notyou at 10:17 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    TPM: Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s crusade to block Medicaid expansion in his state took another hit on Thursday, after the state’s highest court ruled that he must submit a plan to implement the Medicaid expansion voters overwhelmingly approved in 2017.
    posted by Chrysostom at 10:17 AM on August 23 [30 favorites]


    I believe the root-cause is that the Constitution is very poorly written and is predicated on a culture where duels upon the field of honor were an out-of-band mechanism for limiting bad-faith and dishonesty.

    Well they looked at the monarchy of King George the III and thought "we'll do the opposite".
    posted by Definitely Not Sean Spicer at 10:18 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


    Bold strategy, not endlessly praising Trump & cravenly promising to comply with his merest whim. Over/under on how long before he's out on his ass & replaced by Rudy?

    @ZoeTillman DOJ just released the following statement from AG Jeff Sessions: "While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action."
    [full statement follows]
    posted by scalefree at 10:28 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    chris24, I've never heard of Frank Wilhoit, but that is the single most elegantly concise formulation of the conservative mindset I've ever encountered. Thank you.
    posted by adamgreenfield

    Yes, that quote is prompting me to order a copy of The Politics of Massive Resistance.
    posted by ian1977


    That's a different Frank Wilhoit, although the book is probably excellent. The comment on Crooked Timber is by Frank Wilhoit the composer.
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:28 AM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    Remind me again why a foreign-owned propaganda machine is allowed to operate in this country...and literally talk to/at/for the president every GD day?

    The falcon's too distracted by all that money to hear the falconer.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 10:30 AM on August 23 [9 favorites]


    Bold strategy, not endlessly praising Trump & cravenly promising to comply with his merest whim. Over/under on how long before he's out on his ass & replaced by Rudy?

    Sessions has a meeting right now with Trump and Kushner on sentencing reform. Should be fun.
    posted by chris24 at 10:35 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


    Um, how reliable is Russia Today? Because this is…really interesting.

    The White House has Russian communication facilities
    KUBINKA, August 23 - RIA Novosti. The direct line of Washington - Moscow is carried out with the help of Russian communications, which are installed in the official residence of the US president, told RIA Novosti representative of Rostecha.

    "The complex of encrypted communications developed by Rostek, the concern of Automation, for the country's top leadership, which absorbed the best achievements in enciphering, was tested by US specialists and recommended by them for equipping the Moscow-Washington straight line. only Russian-made equipment, "- said the agency's interlocutor.
    Original story in Russian
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:36 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


    Um, how reliable is Russia Today?

    'Not.' (Unless you mean 'how reliably do they run false or misleading articles,' in which case, 'very.')

    Which doesn't mean that any particular piece of reporting is false, just that it's not a source to trust without independent verification.
    posted by cjelli at 10:40 AM on August 23 [22 favorites]


    Minneapolis free weekly City Pages shows how to cover murder. U.S.-born American citizen in country legally charged in teen's death
    posted by misterpatrick at 10:42 AM on August 23 [78 favorites]


    Prosecutors informed the court they plan to cite "aggravating factors" in the case against Rothmeyer, the Star Tribune reports -- including his fleeing police and a "callous disregard" for his victims -- though Rothmeyer's country of origin, the United States, was not among them.

    Nice.
    posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:45 AM on August 23 [11 favorites]


    Remind me again why a foreign-owned propaganda machine is allowed to operate in this country...and literally talk to/at/for the president every GD day?

    Assuming you’re talking about 21st Century Fox: Rupert Murdoch became a US citizen precisely so people wouldn’t ask this question.
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:48 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


    DOJ just released the following statement from AG Jeff Sessions: "While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations. I demand the highest standards, and where they are not met, I take action."

    CNN's Laura Jarrett (@LauraAJarrett) offers some background: “After months of attacks, am told Sessions hit back today in part b/c of Trump's assertion he "never took control of the Justice Department" -- a "macro" criticism compared to the more granular gripes on Twitter about different individual cases”

    Totally unrelatedly, Bloomberg reports: Key Republicans Signal Trump May Fire Sessions After Election
    Two key Republican senators signaled to President Donald Trump that he could replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions after the midterm elections in November, a move that would open the way for firing Robert Mueller or constraining his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    “The president’s entitled to an attorney general he has faith in, somebody that’s qualified for the job, and I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice,” Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who may be in line to head the Judiciary Committee next year, told reporters Thursday. “Clearly, Attorney General Sessions doesn’t have the confidence of the president.”[...]

    Graham warned against acting against Sessions before the election, calling that possibility “a nonstarter.” That “would create havoc” with Senate efforts to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and with the midterm elections in November, he said.[...]

    Senator Chuck Grassley, the current Judiciary chairman, also changed his position on Thursday, saying in an interview that he’d be able to make time for hearings for a new attorney general after saying in the past that the panel was too busy to tackle that explosive possibility.[...]

    Grassley declined to comment specifically on the fate of Sessions when asked about Graham’s prediction the president will replace him after the election.
    Sessions is meeting with Trump in the White House as we type…
    posted by Doktor Zed at 10:48 AM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    If Trump shot Michael Cohen in broad daylight, here's what Republicans would say.
    posted by adamvasco at 10:53 AM on August 23 [8 favorites]


    With Pruitt gone, is there another Senate-confirmed cabinet member with a legal degree that could step in without a confirmation hearing?
    posted by contraption at 10:55 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


    I would think that the RT article is referring to the “Red Phone” hotline, which according to Wikipedia, hasn't even involved voice communication for most of its history much less any actual red phones.
    Since 2008, the Moscow–Washington hotline has been a secure computer link over which messages are exchanged by a secure form of email.
    posted by XMLicious at 10:57 AM on August 23


    With Pruitt gone, is there another Senate-confirmed cabinet member with a legal degree that could step in without a confirmation hearing?

    Technically, there's no actual law requiring the AG to be a lawyer (although if you wanted them to actually do their job in a remotely competent fashion, it becomes a practical requirement, even if that job is 'cover for the president'); that said, Pompeo, Acosta, Azar, Wilkie, and Nielsen all have law degrees.
    posted by cjelli at 11:06 AM on August 23 [4 favorites]


    I'm beginning to believe that if the Democrats take the House of Representatives in January, and control the investigative apparatus, they will uncover so many crimes, including ones unrelated to Mueller's Russian remit, that they will be able to successfully impeach and convict the President regardless of Mueller's timeline. We don't need every Republican Senator to acknowledge such a tidal wave of evidence: just enough to join with every Democratic Senator to reach a safe 2/3rds majority. It could happen!

    A tiny reminder that when the Republican Senate faced bills that were slightly less popular than tertiary syphilis with the American public, the Democrats had to strain mightily to peel off _three_ defectors.

    Let alone the sixteen-plus defectors that even a best-case scenario this fall would leave the Democratic Senate needing.
    posted by delfin at 11:11 AM on August 23 [15 favorites]


    If the dems take the House, and do impeach, it almost won't matter if Trump is convicted. I'd expect the blowback to almost paralyze the administration and Senate. There would, of course, be desperate scuttling to do as much damage as possible through appointments and other means, but I think it would be the end of most of their mischief.
    posted by SandCounty at 11:13 AM on August 23


    Impeachment isn't going to happen. I could be wrong, but It just seems extremely far fetched despite all the insanity.
    posted by Liquidwolf at 11:16 AM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    Let alone the sixteen-plus defectors that even a best-case scenario this fall would leave the Democratic Senate needing.

    Particularly when in not reaching the sixteen-plus defectors, Donnie gets acquitted, and the GOP and its base see that as the Great Vindication.
    posted by Capt. Renault at 11:19 AM on August 23 [2 favorites]


    Which is why impeachment talk does one thing and one thing only: rev up the Breitbart base about how they all have to get to the polls this November to keep the dastardly Dems from impeaching Trump for the crime of Being Donald Trump Who Is Awesome.

    Not that we can stop them from using that as a bludgeon, of course.
    posted by delfin at 11:22 AM on August 23 [1 favorite]


    This anonymous tidbit from the WSJ yesterday packs plenty of schadenfreude in it, but it's also an instructive admission that Trump's mid-term rallies lack the appeal of his from 2016: "Mr. Trump [...] learned of Mr. Cohen’s guilty plea and Mr. Manafort’s conviction aboard Air Force One on his way to a campaign rally in West Virginia Tuesday and returned to the White House that evening in a “rotten” mood, further irritated by what he felt had been a flat audience, according to people close to the White House. His frustrations were amplified by the fact that his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is golfing in Scotland this week, people close to the president said."

    Also, Donald just made the cover of Time magazine, but not in a way he'd like.
    posted by Doktor Zed at 11:22 AM on August 23 [20 favorites]


    Gail Collins about the insanity

    I clicked the comment thinking, yeah, nothing can happen there. But she does have a point
    posted by mumimor at 11:22 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    ....Trump’s long, long train wreck of a life is full of broken, victimized, and traumatized people. His loyalty is conditional, transactional, and expedient on a good day. After so many long years of escaping consequences for his failures, his reprobate behavior, and his lack of any sense of honor or honesty, the Con Man in Chief is facing people who can tell his story outside the power of his tweeted and televised narrative. He doesn’t like it, and it’s not going to get easier from here.

    The most significant misread of yesterday’s news came from Trump’s media cheer section. They raced for their keyboards, declaring breathlessly that this had nothing to do with Russia, whew! The glorious era of Trump is safe! Witch hunt! Phoney! Mueller and Soros are BFFs! Many of them see themselves as serious people mounting an intellectual defense of Trump, but the gymnastics needed to mount what one wag called “the Titanic only hit part of the iceberg” defense are hilariously weak. Yesterday didn't end the Russia probe, as many of the Foxentariat declared.

    The fall of Cohen and Manafort is the first at-bat of the first inning of the first game of the World Series, and Bobby Three Sticks is next in the batting order.


    Rick Wilson, who worked for W, Cheney & Giuliani is currently my favorite Ex-Republican writer.
    posted by growabrain at 11:24 AM on August 23 [9 favorites]


    Impeaching Trump and paralyzing the country, even if he isn't able to be removed from office, would be harm reduction compared to the damage he's able to do now.
    posted by gerryblog at 11:25 AM on August 23 [12 favorites]


    Which is why impeachment talk does one thing and one thing only: rev up the Breitbart base about how they all have to get to the polls this November to keep the dastardly Dems from impeaching Trump for the crime of Being Donald Trump Who Is Awesome.

    If Democrats are already saying that they can't impeach Trump because (insert excuse here) then I see no reason to vote for them.
    posted by dilaudid at 11:27 AM on August 23 [10 favorites]


    Which is why impeachment talk does one thing and one thing only: rev up the Breitbart base

    The problem is that literally anything can go in front of that colon. The Breitbart base is gonna get revved up if (the collective) we talk about impeachment. They're gonna get revved up if we don't talk about impeachment because it shows that they're winning. They're gonna get revved up if we start calling it "the bagel" because Deep State blah blah blah.

    Fuck 'em. I don't want to play defense. I want to get people on my side revved up. Maybe impeachment talk does that, maybe talking about health care does that, maybe talking about the racist shitbag in the Oval does that. No one is doing just one thing, and it doesn't matter to the Breitbart base what we do, because Breitbart will gin up something regardless.
    posted by Etrigan at 11:29 AM on August 23 [69 favorites]


    If Democrats are already saying that they can't impeach Trump because (insert excuse here) then I see no reason to vote for them.

    Nah, I'd rather a paralyzed administration and congress, alongside an endless endless Endless series of congressional hearings and investigations of every organization, group, business, and individual Trump has ever had contact with, with weekly releases of salacious damaging material until 2020. Done well, we will take back the presidency, the senate and secure the House. Then... MEDICARE FOR ALL.
    posted by Chrischris at 11:32 AM on August 23 [18 favorites]


    Lindsey Graham, 2:03 PM - 3 May 2016: If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it
    posted by growabrain at 11:33 AM on August 23 [55 favorites]


    Poll after poll shows voters, even many Republicans, want a check on Trump. You don't have to run on impeachment, but you don't have to run away from it either. Ds should be saying 'We will provide appropriate oversight of the government and will go where the evidence leads. If high crimes and misdemeanors are found, then that's what it is, but the important thing is Congress provide its constitutional role as a check on the presidency.'
    posted by chris24 at 11:36 AM on August 23 [34 favorites]


    Spurring Democratic in-fighting about whether or not impeachment is the top priority for a Democratic congress is exactly why Republicans keep bringing up the topic.

    Stop getting played.
    posted by 0xFCAF at 11:37 AM on August 23 [28 favorites]




    Was it once not legal for jurors to give interviews to the media?

    The first amendment to the Constitution would suggest not. Jurors have an absolute right to discuss the trial after it is finished. Maybe there are some edge cases with national security stuff (I have no idea) but in general the only bar to jurors talking about cases is their own desire to remain relatively anonymous.

    The reason you maybe see it more often now is that national news channels are ubiquitous.
    posted by Justinian at 11:40 AM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    I'd rather a paralyzed administration and congress, alongside an endless endless Endless series of congressional hearings and investigations of every organization, group, business, and individual Trump has ever had contact with, with weekly releases of salacious damaging material until 2020.

    Look at how much of today's republican leadership is run by people who got their start in the Great Clinton Penis Hunt of the 1990's: Brett Kavanaugh, Kellyanne Conway, Laura Ingram, David Bossie, and Barbara Comstock just off the top of my head. Fully funding extensive investigations into every dirty corner of TrumpWorld is an opportunity to replenish the democratic back bench and fill the bullpen with young, smart, dedicated people.
    posted by peeedro at 11:42 AM on August 23 [25 favorites]


    Yahoo, White House blocks bill that would protect elections
    A bill that would have significantly bolstered the nation’s defenses against electoral interference has been held up in the Senate at the behest of the White House, which opposed the proposed legislation, according to congressional sources.
    This is a bill backed by Republicans Lankford, Graham, and Collins and Democrats Harris and Klobuchar. A summary of the bill:
    As it currently stands, the legislation would grant every state’s top election official security clearance to receive threat information. It would also formalize the practice of information-sharing between the federal government—in particular, the Department of Homeland Security—and states regarding threats to electoral infrastructure. A technical advisory board would establish best practices related to election cybersecurity. Perhaps most significantly, the law would mandate that every state conduct a statistically significant audit following a federal election. It would also incentivize the purchase of voting machines that leave a paper record of votes cast, as opposed to some all-electronic models that do not. This would signify a marked shift away from all-electronic voting, which was encouraged with the passage of the Help Americans Vote Act in 2002.
    posted by zachlipton at 11:42 AM on August 23 [70 favorites]


    While impeachment is, of course, a worthy end goal, I don't think we should underestimate the necessity of things like congressional investigations. Every cabinet secretary and department needs to get dragged in front of Congress to answer for their various crimes and/or fuck-ups.
    posted by mhum at 11:54 AM on August 23 [12 favorites]


    I don't know if it's even necessary to impeach. Certainly that's a long term goal, but I think just as effective would be crippling investigations. Of everything Trump. That seven dollars Trump scammed from his foundation to pay for his son's boy scout fee? We should find out where every single dollar came from.
    posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:57 AM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    Rick Wilson, who worked for W, Cheney & Giuliani is currently my favorite Ex-Republican writer.

    A couple weeks ago Rick Wilson had himself an "Ask Me Anything" thread on the r/politics subreddit.

    I asked him: "What behavior on the part of the GOP will it take for you to no longer call yourself a Republican?"

    He responded: "Stay tuned."

    At first I thought that this was a placeholder and that he'd later get around to writing an actual, detailed response. Eventually I realized that the place-holder was his response. Something clicked when in the same thread I saw him praising "poor people should die and women who get abortions should be executed" Kevin Williamson.

    He's not ex-Republican. He will never be ex-Republican. He's a lying grifter of the highest order and he'll keep us staying tuned forever so long as his checks keep coming in from people desperate to see some human goodness from the other team.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 12:00 PM on August 23 [53 favorites]


    Was it once not legal for jurors to give interviews to the media?

    Justinian has the right of this, I think, although I'd add that there is another edge case: judges have occasionally issued gag orders temporarily barring interviews out of an expectation that they would be prejudicial to other ongoing or about-to-start cases -- it's not common, but it has happened. (Outside of the United States, some countries do bar jurors from talking about jury deliberations.)

    You can find plenty of 'jurors speaks about case' articles in American newspapers going back for...about as long as we've had newspapers and juries? But they're not frequent stories because the jury's decision is generally more noteworthy, and part of the public record; there's not, generally speaking, many reasons for jurors to be interviewed, except in already high-profile cases. It doesn't mean they can't be, it's just that that most people in most professions aren't interviewed by the media most of the time.
    posted by cjelli at 12:07 PM on August 23


    Ideally Trump should be impeached and removed from office by the current Congress, but congressional Republicans are cowards and/or traitors who won't go along. I believe Trump could be impeached right now just based on what's in the public record.

    Democrats shouldn't mention impeachment at all unless they're asked about it, and if they are they should says it's premature to talk about it without either a report of Trump's criminal behavior from Mueller or a congressional investigation that finds criminal behavior.

    As a practical matter I don't think that Trump should be impeached by the House unless it's pretty certain he would be convicted by the Senate. That won't happen unless it becomes the safe smart play for enough Republican senators to impeach. That's hard to imagine now but if Trump were to obviously be on track to lose in 2020 the smart play might be to distance themselves.
    posted by kirkaracha at 12:08 PM on August 23 [5 favorites]


    Rust Moranis - Re Rick Wilson, I stand corrected. But I still love to read his acerbic columns.
    posted by growabrain at 12:09 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]


    Doktor Zed: If you think the wounded, cornered Trump won’t choose some version of this nuclear option, you haven’t been paying attention. Trump believes in his bones that razing the institutions around him brings him advantage. And even if that belief proves false in this context, he will enjoy trying to burn them down even as he is consumed.

    But he still has to face lawsuits in New York and beyond: New York files civil suit against President Trump, alleging his charity engaged in ‘illegal conduct’ (David A. Fahrenthold for Washington Post, June 14, 2018) and Trump Named in More Than 50 Lawsuits Since Inauguration (Phil McCausland for NBC News, Feb 2, 2017)
    President Donald Trump has been named in more than 50 lawsuits since taking the oath of office, a staggering number compared to the first days of past administrations.

    Since being sworn in Jan. 20, Trump has been named in 52 federal cases in 17 different states, according to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Comparatively, Barack Obama was named in three and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were each named in four cases between Jan. 20 and Feb. 1.
    AND THAT STORY IS FROM FEB. 2017. Even if the orange atrocity avoids impeachment, and if the gods above and below really have no mercy, is re-elected, I hope he spends the rest of his life in different courts, if not in jail.


    notyou: Yowzers, David Pecker goes from facing 10 years to national hero.

    Wut? He just has immunity in this case. That doesn't mean he has a get out of jail free card. Also, national hero status is a bit much.
    posted by filthy light thief at 12:09 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]


    Rick Wilson is also actively advising Republican campaigns. Listen to him on monthly with Ana Marie Cox, he’s advising Republcians on how to defeat us on a daily basis, both for pay and for free. They may not be taking his advice, and he may not have as much work as before, but he has in no way, none, walked away from the Republican party or its money.

    Like all NeverTrump critics, 100% of his criticism is tone, not policy. And even that is sort of rich for a guy who’s main schtick is saying “shit” on cable news and homophobic and/or mental disability jokes in print.

    In short, no, Rick Wilson is not your friend. Just like Egg or Bill Kristol.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 12:11 PM on August 23 [21 favorites]


    If you're assuming that Republicans will never ever break with Trump and vote for removal, then impeachment should be timed for maximum political impact, whether that's Day 1 or farther down the line (or never, though I doubt that impeachment would end up a net negative for the Dems). If you see a possibility that they might actually turn, then you wait until the best time for that, which would have to be after the Mueller investigation produces a report to Congress.
    posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:12 PM on August 23


    David Pecker goes from facing 10 years to national hero

    You don't get to be a hero by sneaking a shark in the pool only to later tell the lifeguards how you snuck a shark into the pool.
    posted by gwint at 12:13 PM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    Wut? He just has immunity in this case. That doesn't mean he has a get out of jail free card. Also, national hero status is a bit much.

    I think he was just referencing the quote below, which was reported somewhere up there ^^^^

    Trump to Fox: "It's called flipping and it almost ought to be illegal ... they go from 10 years to they're a national hero. They have a statue erected in their honor. It's not a fair thing."
    posted by history_denier at 12:13 PM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    NYT, Jim Rutenberg and Rebecca R. Ruiz: David Pecker, American Media Chief, Is Said to Have Immunity in Trump Inquiry

    Right, we know that already, but wait, there's more --
    Though several people familiar with American Media’s operations have said that the company keeps a strict records policy that ensures that emails are deleted regularly, it is not clear the same held for encrypted communications or recordings; Dylan Howard, the company’s chief content officer, who is also said to be cooperating, was known to have a recording device in his office, according to people familiar with his operations. American Media would not comment.
    Lordy, there are probably even more tapes.
    posted by cjelli at 12:14 PM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    We get these warnings about "ex-" Republicans every time they get quoted here. We do not need them. It's really patronizing to assume people are going to succumb to conservatism just because we like hearing the Rick Wilsons of the world tee off on Donald Trump.
    posted by prize bull octorok at 12:15 PM on August 23 [15 favorites]


    The real easy solution there is not to quote them.
    posted by T.D. Strange at 12:18 PM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    Axios, Trump won't endorse criminal justice bill before midterms
    President Trump has stymied a plan to push prison and sentencing reform before the midterms, according to an administration source with direct knowledge. In a White House meeting on Thursday afternoon, Trump decided that the compromise package that Jared Kushner, Sen. Chuck Grassley and others have been advocating for is too politically difficult to endorse before the elections, the source told Axios.

    Why it matters: Without the president backing the bill, which might have reduced some mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes and sent around 4,000 prisoners home, it has zero chance of getting a vote before the midterms. Senate leadership was already reluctant to bring it up for a vote. The collapse of the bill is a win for opponents of the package, including law-and-order hardliners Sen. Tom Cotton and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
    Sorry Jared. Thanks for trying, I guess.
    posted by zachlipton at 12:19 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Reality Winner Sentenced To 5 Years, 3 Months For Leaking Classified Info (NPR, Aug. 23, 2018)
    Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor who pleaded guilty to leaking classified intelligence to a media outlet, has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.

    On Thursday, a federal judge in Georgia approved a plea deal that called for five years and three months in prison along with three years of supervision after release.

    Winner, 26, also will have to complete 100 hours of community service once she is released.
    ...
    It's more than twice as long as the sentence for a former CIA officer who disclosed the name of a covert officer to the press, and more than three times as long as the sentence for an FBI translator who leaked wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy to a blogger.

    In justifying the sentence, federal prosecutors emphasized that Winner acted "willfully" and was always aware the report she leaked was classified as top secret. They said comparing her case to other leaking cases is "of little utility" because the details of such cases are often classified.

    Winner, who worked for private contractor Pluribus International, sent classified documents to the online news site The Intercept detailing an attempt by Russian military intelligence to attack U.S. elections, specifically by trying to "phish" more than 100 local election officials.
    ...
    After The Intercept published its report, NPR's Pam Fessler has reported, "State election officials express[ed] anger that they learned about the cyberattack from the news media, and not from federal authorities."
    I'm still confused why what she leaked was sensitive. Was it because it published the ways that Russia exploited the US systems, so someone else could try the same thing more easily?
    posted by filthy light thief at 12:23 PM on August 23 [20 favorites]




    Reality Winner is the source that The Intercept shanked, right?

    I'm a bit surprised that Winner accepted a plea that included 5+ years of prison. That's incredibly harsh. Of all the people to throw the book at she seems like a poor choice of targets.
    posted by Justinian at 12:27 PM on August 23 [22 favorites]


    Whereas Cruz, as Texas solicitor general, was tasked with upholding a dildo ban

    There's a conundrum for you.
    posted by Gelatin at 12:27 PM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    GOP tax cut is less popular (40% favorable) than Obamacare (51% favorable)

    Take the hint, Democrats: It's really okay to say that it's high time that all the people of this great nation, and not just the super-rich, get to enjoy the benefits of the economy to which we all contribute.
    posted by Gelatin at 12:40 PM on August 23 [38 favorites]


    > Impeachment isn't going to happen. I could be wrong, but It just seems extremely far fetched despite all the insanity.

    I think the insanity is that it seems far fetched. (not a slam at you personally, just the prevailing attitude.)
    posted by klarck at 12:41 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]


    From The Brookings Institution, Laying out the obstruction of justice case against President Trump:
    Forget the Russians, the adult film stars, the Playboy bunnies, and the illegal payoffs covering up sexual misconduct. Forget the hotels full of foreigners enriching the president. And forget the convictions of his former campaign manager and his personal lawyer who may in the near future implicate the president himself in their wrongdoings.

    The clearest potential violation of the law so far has been around a much less sexy issue—the issue that got President Richard Nixon in the end—obstruction of justice. In an exhaustively documented, 167-page 2nd edition of their report, “Presidential Obstruction of Justice: The Case of Donald J. Trump,”(big pdf warning) Barry H. Berke, Noah Bookbinder and Norman L. Eisen lay out the historical and legal bases for the concept and the charge. If, at some point in the future, some young lawyers on the House Judiciary Committee are instructed to draft articles of impeachment they will, no doubt, read this paper first and put its analysis to use.
    posted by peeedro at 12:42 PM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    Flint water crisis: Michigan health director ordered to manslaughter trial -- Michigan Health Director Nick Lyon is highest-ranking official charged for Flint water issues. (Beth Mole for Ars Technica, Aug. 21, 2018)
    A judge on Monday ordered Michigan’s top health official, Nick Lyon, to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter charges in two deaths linked to the Flint water crisis.

    Genesee District Judge David Goggins determined that there was probable cause that Lyon committed involuntary manslaughter against Robert Skidmore and John Snyder in 2015. The two men died during an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease, which researchers have connected to the devastating use of improperly treated water in Flint starting in 2014.

    Lyon, the director of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, is the highest-ranking official in the state to stand trial in connection with the catastrophe. An additional 14 current or former state and local officials have been criminally charged in connection with the water issues.
    Further Reading: Michigan health director, 4 others charged with manslaughter over Flint water -- Lead poisoned thousands, but infections also linked to water killed at least a dozen. (Beth Mole for Ars Technica, June 16, 2017)


    What Tech Has—and Hasn’t—Done for Puerto Rico -- Balloons, batteries, and the crypto invasion. A progress report on the industry's aid to the island. (Nick Stockton for Wired, Aug. 23, 2018) tl;dr: not a lot.

    In contrast: What Happened in the Dark: Puerto Rico's Year of Fighting for Power -- More Americans rely on Puerto Rico's grid than on any other public electric utility. How one renegade plant worker led them through the shadows. (Daniel Alarcón for Wired, Aug. 23, 2018) tl:dr; PREPA employees and volunteers helped bring power back in very real ways.

    More from Jorge Bracero, the primary "renegade plant worker" in the Wired article: Three months after Hurricane Maria, power outages linger -- Jorge Bracero knew the road to recovery after the hurricane would be a tough one, but he underestimated just how bad the aftermath of the storm was. (9 News / ABC10 Staff, December 26, 2017)
    posted by filthy light thief at 12:46 PM on August 23 [41 favorites]


    Good piece in The Atlantic on Why Trump Supporters Don't Believe He's Corrupt despite saying strongly they're against corruption.

    tl;dr - they're against corruption of the American traditions that include rich men abusing power escaping the consequences of misbehaviour, not against corruption of the rule of law.


    That's part of it -- I think at some level the GOP really does want a society of privilege rather than a nation of laws.

    But for me this piece filled in a crucial piece of a puzzle regarding George Lakoff's works (previously. I think Trump is an especially EXTRA (if unbalanced) form of Lakoff's strong father model.... except he's so so obviously corrupt himself, and even Lakoff has said the one thing the strict father can't be is corrupt or a betrayer of trust, and maybe that'd be Trump's downfall. But nope. We've had Trump's supporters double and triple down on him being the force for good and the rest of the system being corrupt at every turn.

    This piece fills the gap. It isn't that his supporters see themselves as allied with corruption, and afraid of accountability. It's that the "law and order" has little to do with the law itself as written and especially doesn't have to do with any enlightenment/liberal principles that may be behind it. It has everything to do with a social order that they see as legitimate.... and exists in the archetypical if non-reasoned strict father mold that Lakoff describes. It's the wholesale embrace of tribal patriarchy as the orienting metaphor.

    I don't know if this means Lakoff may be right in some ways about how to engage this problem. He's always been a little hard to apply, I think, and I have my doubts that any approach is going to dent the crazification-floor. But some things about what the Trump phenomena have revealed makes me think there's more to Lakoff's approach than I'd previously considered.
    posted by wildblueyonder at 12:46 PM on August 23 [33 favorites]


    I'm a bit surprised that Winner accepted a plea that included 5+ years of prison. That's incredibly harsh. Of all the people to throw the book at she seems like a poor choice of targets.

    Marcy Wheeler suggests the harsh sentence has to do with: 1) the new Trump Admin wanting to crack down and set an example; 2) the Trump appointed ADA in charge is a terrible human.
    posted by notyou at 12:47 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    Ds should be saying 'We will provide appropriate oversight of the government and will go where the evidence leads. If high crimes and misdemeanors are found, then that's what it is, but the important thing is Congress provide its constitutional role as a check on the presidency.'

    Out of curiosity, chris24, about how long would you say it took you to formulate that statement?

    I'm curious because I don't understand how, given teams of experienced operatives and writers, the likes of Senator Schumer and various other powerful Democrats haven't been hitting the airwaves and web for months and months with such a concise and powerful declaration about how they will handle this President and his collaborators.
    posted by lord_wolf at 12:48 PM on August 23 [31 favorites]


    WaPo, Trump sought his lawyers’ advice weeks ago on possibility of pardoning Manafort but they counseled against it, Giuliani says
    President Trump sought his lawyers’ advice several weeks ago on the possibility of pardoning Manafort, Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said Thursday. The subject of the pardon came up while Manafort was on trial on multiple charges of bank fraud and tax evasion, and the president was expressing his anger at how federal prosecutors had “beat up” and mistreated the former Trump campaign manager, Giuliani said. The president’s lawyers counseled him against the idea, suggesting he should wait until special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation was concluded, and Trump agreed.
    Well, we all know that Trump loves to follow the advice he's given, so surely this will take. And hold up a second, does that really say they advised him to "wait" instead of "not do that thing that's obviously an abuse of power?"
    posted by zachlipton at 12:52 PM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    There is speculation that Donny Jr. and Eric might be directly involved in the illegal payments to Cohen. From Cohen's plea agreement:

    "Executive-1 forwarded the invoice to another executive of the Company ("Executive-2") the same day by email, and it was approved. Executive-1 forwarded that email to another employee at the Company, stating: ‘Please pay from the Trust. Post to legal expenses. Put ‘retainer for the months of January and February 2017’ in the description.'"

    It is quite possible that Executive-1 and Executive-2 are Donny and Eric. This is quite plausible. The Trump Organization is quite flat. There aren't really any other executives or vice-presidents. The family runs everything themselves. And if you were submitting bills for hush money, you wouldn't send them to just anybody in the organization. You would send them to a family member. And it would have to someone familiar with the hush money arrangement to get approval for disbursement and the "legal expenses" cover story.

    The whole family might be directly involved in the campaign finance and tax fraud conspiracy.
    posted by JackFlash at 12:54 PM on August 23 [51 favorites]


    The whole family might be directly involved in the campaign finance and tax fraud conspiracy.

    Maddow detailed last night on her show how Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric and the Trump corp. are all in legal jeopardy over the use of the Trump "Charitable Foundation". Barbara Underwood, new AG in NY has already filed.
    posted by Sophie1 at 12:58 PM on August 23 [20 favorites]


    That Charitable Foundation stuff is small bore. It might hurt Trump in public relations but nobody is going to jail over it. The worst case is that the foundation is disbanded, they pay restitution and some penalties, and the kids are banned from running a charity for a year or two.
    posted by JackFlash at 1:03 PM on August 23


    The whole family might be directly involved in the campaign finance and tax fraud conspiracy.

    Lock ‘em up.
    posted by Barack Spinoza at 1:04 PM on August 23 [10 favorites]


    Longtime Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg was subpoenaed by the DOJ as part of the Cohen investigation, so I'd guess he's one of the Executives mentioned.
    posted by notyou at 1:06 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]


    @JackFlash, I believe the NY AG action referenced above is a new, criminal rather than civil action.
    posted by notyou at 1:08 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]


    What Tech Has—and Hasn’t—Done for Puerto Rico...the crypto invasion.

    One of the things I devoutly hope there's some reckoning with in the long run, if there is a long run, is the ungodly amount of time, space, energy, attention and actual material investment siphoned up by crypto bullshit (of either the conscious, Ponzi-scheming or mark-ass mark varieties) that could have been devoted instead to concrete progress toward addressing the various crises that beset us.

    It feels sickeningly criminal to me that what Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans needed was a state-actor-scale effort to restore, upgrade and stormproof their critical infrastructure, and what they got instead was some self-regarding cryptobros douching the place up with their etherian nontributions. A seeping, permanent pox on anyone who talks blockchain jazz, anywhere ever, when there's mission-critical applications under discussion & real human lives on the line.
    posted by adamgreenfield at 1:08 PM on August 23 [47 favorites]


    It is quite possible that Executive-1 and Executive-2 are Donny and Eric. This is quite plausible. The Trump Organization is quite flat. There aren't really any other executives or vice-presidents.

    There's Allen Weisselberg.
    posted by snuffleupagus at 1:09 PM on August 23


    I don't understand how, given teams of experienced operatives and writers, the likes of Senator Schumer and various other powerful Democrats haven't been hitting the airwaves and web for months and months with such a concise and powerful declaration about how they will handle this President and his collaborators.

    This is sort of shades of 2016 to me, because most of the Democratic leadership does routinely talk about the need for investigations, oversight, and anti-corruption efforts. You can trawl through anybody's public press archive if you're curious. We just -- and this is the 2016 parallel I'd draw -- don't hear about it much because 'Democrats criticize Trump' or 'Democrats call for support of Mueller' isn't treated as news. There's no specific verbiage that can guarantee news coverage, and without amplification by social media & the press it doesn't particularly matter how concise or how powerful anyone's statements are -- you don't hear them unless you go looking for them.
    posted by cjelli at 1:09 PM on August 23 [42 favorites]


    Ilyse Hogue (president of NARAL Pro-Choice America) wrote a really wonderful letter to a friend about the situation with Kavanaugh.

    And a friend posted this link from Indivisible East Bay this morning claiming that Senators aren't feeling a "groundswell" against Kavanaugh. I haven't been calling as much lately, but I'll call one more time about this.
    posted by sunset in snow country at 1:10 PM on August 23 [11 favorites]


    I called my Republican U.S. Senators' D.C. offices to ask whether the two campaign finance felonies Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to were in fact crimes, or were, as the President tweeted yesterday, not crimes. The senatorial staff were unable to clarify whether bills passed into law by Congress and signed by a President providing penalties of imprisonment for violations are describing crimes or, as the President now claims, are not describing crimes, because crimes are something totally different from that. I suggested that the President was being inaccurate in saying that crimes are not crimes, truth is not truth and America First is Russia First, and was doing so because he is guilty of the very same crimes that Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to, among many others, and deserves to go to prison for a long time, along with any Republican politician who refuses to speak out and knowingly enables his felonious desecration of the Constitution and the rule of law. I was thanked and my message will be passed along
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:12 PM on August 23 [55 favorites]


    @JDiamond1: The President, via his attorney, is essentially telegraphing that he'll likely pardon Manafort after the Mueller investigation has wrapped. Meaning Manafort just has to stick it out, not offer damaging information about Trump & he'll be home free
    posted by zachlipton at 1:14 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]


    ~The whole family might be directly involved in the campaign finance and tax fraud conspiracy.
    ~It might hurt Trump in public relations but nobody is going to jail over it.


    Maybe. I’ve always gotten the feeling that Trump would kick Eric and/or Jr. under the bus at a moment’s notice, if it suited his needs, though.
    posted by Thorzdad at 1:15 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]




    Meaning Manafort just has to stick it out, not offer damaging information about Trump & he'll be home free.

    I keep running across the theory that Manafort has kept silent because of his decades-long involvement with Russian powerbrokers, and he sincerely fears for his life, should he talk. Maybe someone should “leak” information saying he is talking to Mueller, and see if that doesn’t kick-start him into talking in exchange for a complete disappearing act?
    posted by Thorzdad at 1:21 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


    Republican Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota for some reason went on CNN today and got smushed into itty bitty pieces:
    CNN'S JOHN BERMAN: The constitution says it's Congress's job to provide this oversight. Why not look for the answers? Can Congress look for the answers to these questions?
    ROUNDS: To begin with, you have a hearing going on right now with Mr. Mueller who has started the process. He'll do a report to Congress. He'll do it based upon whether or not there was any activity with the Russians concerning the campaign that Mr. Trump ran and to this point there has been no evidence of any collusion there.
    BERMAN: This isn't about -- sorry, this isn't about collusion. This isn't about collusion. Michael Cohen's not about collusion. Michael Cohen's not about the Russians. This is, again, about a campaign finance law that he admitted to breaking, that he's convicted of breaking here. On just this matter, we're not going to hear anything from Robert Mueller.
    ROUNDS: There's a difference between being in violation of a campaign finance law which in many cases is settled on a civil side. You can have violations of a campaign finance law and in fact I think there were some by Mr. Obama --
    BERMAN: But those were civil. This is criminal. This is a criminal violation.
    ROUNDS: No, wait. We don't know whether we're talking about a criminal violation.
    BERMAN: Michael Cohen is. Michael Cohen absolutely pleaded to a criminal violation.
    ROUNDS: Well, but Mr. Trump did not.
    ...
    BERMAN: Second very quick question, do you believe the President?
    ROUNDS: Say that again now? You're saying do I believe the President?
    BERMAN: Do you believe what the President says when he talks about what happened with Michael Cohen? Do you believe him?
    ROUNDS: I think the President has a way of expressing things to where there is doubt in what he is telling us and I think just as many people across the United States want to see this President succeed in what he's trying to get done, most of them are willing to look at this and saying look, a lot of the discussions he's having is a coffee klatch conversation. And we're prepared to understand that sometimes Mr. Trump will share things that are favorable to him and that that's a part of -- when they elected him they knew that and at the same time they're saying look, for the most part we like his policies, we want him to be successful. We want to continue to support him and we think the President long term is doing what he believes is right for the country.
    BERMAN: That's not a yes.
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:28 PM on August 23 [59 favorites]


    I keep running across the theory that Manafort has kept silent because of his decades-long involvement with Russian powerbrokers, and he sincerely fears for his life, should he talk. Maybe someone should “leak” information saying he is talking to Mueller, and see if that doesn’t kick-start him into talking in exchange for a complete disappearing act?

    I think that would be an understandable stance if he were up against the Mayberry PD vs the mob or something.

    But really he couldn't just say 'Look Robert, I got all these puloniuum umbrellas pointed at me. Can you help me out if I talk?'

    I don't buy that he is afraid for his life.
    posted by ian1977 at 1:32 PM on August 23




    This is sort of shades of 2016 to me, because most of the Democratic leadership does routinely talk about the need for investigations, oversight, and anti-corruption efforts. You can trawl through anybody's public press archive if you're curious. We just -- and this is the 2016 parallel I'd draw -- don't hear about it much because 'Democrats criticize Trump' or 'Democrats call for support of Mueller' isn't treated as news. There's no specific verbiage that can guarantee news coverage, and without amplification by social media & the press it doesn't particularly matter how concise or how powerful anyone's statements are -- you don't hear them unless you go looking for them. - cjelli


    Exactly right. It's not that the Dems need a better message, thay just need better methods of getting it out. Here's Pelosi last week:

    "A key part of our For The People agenda is to CLEAN UP CORRUPTION to make Washington work for the American people. The most recent revelations of corruption among the Trump Administration, his friends and the GOP Congress are a call to action that present an opportunity for change to happen now.

    In the election of 2006, Democrats pointed out the Republicans’ pattern of corruption, cronyism and incompetence, under the frame “Drain the Swamp.” In the Majority, we acted on that promise by passing a strong ethics package. Donald Trump hijacked the name and totally betrayed the mission...

    To honor the pledge of our For The People agenda, a Democratic Majority will swiftly act to pass tougher ethics and campaign finance laws and crack down on the conduct that has poisoned the GOP Congress and the Trump Administration. We are grateful to Congressman John Sarbanes and the Democracy Reform Task Force for their leadership on A Better Deal For Our Democracy. We urge members to highlight it in events in August, as was suggested by our DPCC co-chairs on yesterday’s conference call."
    posted by jetsetsc at 1:38 PM on August 23 [12 favorites]


    cjelli:
    We just -- and this is the 2016 parallel I'd draw -- don't hear about it much because 'Democrats criticize Trump' or 'Democrats call for support of Mueller' isn't treated as news. There's no specific verbiage that can guarantee news coverage, and without amplification by social media & the press it doesn't particularly matter how concise or how powerful anyone's statements are -- you don't hear them unless you go looking for them.
    This thissy this. The messenger isn't just the party, it's the party and the media. Otherwise I could open a sandwich shop and become rich overnight by "hitting the airwaves" with the message of how tasty my sandwiches are.

    One possible workaround is shown by Trump's own behavior: be vulgar, or at least yelly and screamy. There are a lot of drawbacks to the approach, but at least some Democrats should try it out even while others play concilatory. "Impeach Trump the traitorous fuckwad" may go father than "Impeach Trump" does. Literally flip off your Republican colleagues in the hallowed halls of the Senate. You'll get sanctioned for contempt of some sort, but the last time that happened, "Nevertheless she persisted" became a rallying cry.

    (I think my examples also make it clear why that isn't happening -- Democrats generally are sensible people you'd actually want to stand in an elevator with. The behaviors I have in mind are very counter to that, and burn a lot of social capital fast; I don't know if I'd be capable of them, myself.)
    posted by InTheYear2017 at 1:41 PM on August 23 [7 favorites]


    We're back to this again. Bloomberg, Trump Tells Sessions He Favors Death Penalty for Fentanyl Dealers

    It doesn't seem like the sentencing reform meeting went as Jared planned.
    posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on August 23 [6 favorites]


    There are a lot of drawbacks to the approach, but at least some Democrats should try it out even while others play concilatory.

    Avenatti is whole-heartedly endorsing this approach. Whether he actually considers a run for the 2020 primaries remains to be seen, but maybe he's the guy to kick the ass of left into being just a touch more aggressive in the future.

    In the meantime, it's fun to watch him taunt Trump on Twitter. Avenatti must have something on the guy, since he never gets a response.
    posted by JoeZydeco at 1:54 PM on August 23 [9 favorites]


    Counterpoint: Beto O’Rourke.
    posted by notyou at 2:00 PM on August 23 [20 favorites]


    AJC: The elections consultant who proposed closing most voting locations in a majority African-American rural Georgia county has been fired ahead of a vote Friday on consolidating precincts.
    posted by Chrysostom at 2:03 PM on August 23 [76 favorites]


    One possible workaround is shown by Trump's own behavior: be vulgar, or at least yelly and screamy.

    There's another possible workaround that we've talked about in this thread, and it's exemplified by Beto O'rourke's answer to the kneeling question: Be bold. Be honest. Be calm.

    He was asked a difficult, polarizing question, but he didn't answer with doublespeak. He gave a bold, simple answer without dodging: "My short answer is no, I don't think it's disrespectful."

    Then he honestly, thoughtfully, and calmly elaborated on his thinking behind the answer. And he's been getting a lot of news coverage as a result. A lot of that coverage is about the substance of his answer, but the style of it is also remarked upon positively, even among some of my Republican friends here in Texas.

    Let Trump be as vulgar, yelly, and screamy as he wants. I think that a lot of the country is tired of all the yelling and wants someone who sounds honest.
    posted by Uncle Ira at 2:06 PM on August 23 [92 favorites]


    Good piece in The Atlantic on Why Trump Supporters Don't Believe He's Corrupt despite saying strongly they're against corruption.

    tl;dr - they're against corruption of the American traditions that include rich men abusing power escaping the consequences of misbehaviour, not against corruption of the rule of law.
    i reread the article a few times and it really just strikes me as a lot of words to say, "they're sexist, racist bigots"

    and then i read the tl;dr quote a few times and it really just strikes me as a lot of words to say, "they're sexist, racist bigots"
    posted by anem0ne at 2:08 PM on August 23 [14 favorites]


    That was delightfully fast! But not as fast as these kids hacked the election! Just Hacked a State Election. I’m 17. And I’m Not Even a Very Good Hacker. -- It took a lot less than you'd think for myself and my fellow teens to steal the midterms. (River O'Connor for Politico, August 21, 2018)
    The replica state election websites used in this year’s competition were built on MySQL, a database management system that stores data in simple tables containing columns and rows. By inputting a command into the search bar to see all the website’s tables, I could then see all of its data, including vote tallies, candidate names and tables of basic website functions. Once someone has that kind of access, they can do plenty of damage. First, the organizers instructed us to double candidates’ vote tallies. Then, with the assistance of volunteers, some of us easily changed the names of candidates or even their parties, or inflated the vote tallies to ridiculously high, Putinesque numbers.

    The entirety of the hacking came down to entering no more than two lines of code: the first to display all columns and rows for the site, the second to alter the vote tally. Of the few dozen participants, most completed the very simple hack assigned by the instructors. About a quarter figured out how to rename or delete other candidates and their parties from the list.
    The Voting Machine Village at DEF CON was discussed in prior threads, but I missed the fact that The DNC Enlists Kids in Its Fight Against Hackers (Wired coverage, Aug. 2, 2018).
    But getting kids involved was more than just a cutesy ploy to get the public to pay attention to election security, says Jake Braun, who worked for the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama and is organizing the event. State election sites are so deeply flawed, Braun says, no adult hackers would be interested in cracking them. “The hackers would laugh us off the stage if we asked them to do this.”

    So the Voting Village team partnered with r00tz Asylum, a nonprofit that runs security training for kids and is one of the cosponsors of the event along with the DNC and the University of Chicago. They tapped prominent cybersecurity expert Brian Markus to design mockups of state websites for 13 presidential battleground states, which the kids will attempt to hack.
    Tell me again that things will be better by 2020, Alex Stamos.
    posted by filthy light thief at 2:10 PM on August 23 [13 favorites]


    like, it's in the article.

    for trumpists, being brown is "corruption". that's just racism.
    for trumpists, being a woman who is talented, skilled, and ambitious is "corruption". that's just sexism.

    traditional order, for trumpists, is one of white supremacist patriarchy.

    they're sexist, racist bigots.
    posted by anem0ne at 2:11 PM on August 23 [21 favorites]


    > Chrysostom:
    "AJC: The elections consultant who proposed closing most voting locations in a majority African-American rural Georgia county has been fired ahead of a vote Friday on consolidating precincts."

    Dude was only making $55/hr? That seems low for this amount of damage done.
    posted by rhizome at 2:14 PM on August 23 [3 favorites]


    “The current policies of [the South African] government are explicitly racist, because not all South African citizens are treated equally before the law (some people are favored over others, as was the case under apartheid),” Tupy wrote.
    [...]
    Some in Washington appear to be persuaded by Roets’ narrative. “It is my understanding that AfriForum did not refer to ‘so-called’ injustices of apartheid; that we all agree that apartheid was an unjust system; that the words ‘so-called’ were lifted out of context to besmirch the reputation of AfriForum; and that a non-racial society based on individual, not group, identity ought to be the goal in South Africa,” Tupy wrote in an unprompted follow-up email that included Roets on the cc line.


    This "starting now everything is equal" is exactly how reparations are never paid, justice never done and the perpetrators of past injustices preserve their ill-gotten gains and powers.

    Forgiveness should never precede justice unless you want to incentivize injustice.
    posted by srboisvert at 2:32 PM on August 23 [26 favorites]


    Goodwin = Badlose: one of Deandre Harris's attackers from Unite the Right 1.0 has been sentenced to 8 years in prison.
    posted by Rust Moranis at 2:34 PM on August 23 [49 favorites]


    The entirety of the hacking came down to entering no more than two lines of code

    So the "hacking" started with the kids just being given an account to the database? Sure they could tear it up then. And it's a good point that there should be redundancy. But I'd like to know how difficult it is for an attacker to obtain those credentials, too, starting from just knowing a public URL.
    posted by thelonius at 2:35 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]


    > Rust Moranis:
    "Goodwin = Badlose: one of Deandre Harris's attackers from Unite the Right 1.0 has been sentenced to 8 years in prison."

    And not a single mugshot to be found in any of the stories.
    posted by rhizome at 2:37 PM on August 23 [17 favorites]


    Yeah, that article made it sound like all they did to test the security was sit the kids down in front of the SQL database with full permissions already granted. That kind of bypasses the security entirely, doesn't it? It's not news that you can use basic SQL commands to delete things in a SQL database. Why didn't they model the actual hard part, the process of getting into the database?

    I'm not a database security expert though. Is the problem that they're using a regular SQL database in the first place, or what?
    posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:39 PM on August 23


    There's another possible workaround that we've talked about in this thread, and it's exemplified by Beto O'rourke's answer to the kneeling question: Be bold. Be honest. Be calm.

    You think that was good? You should hear him do it for an hour straight, extemporaneously. He's the best natural campaigner I've ever seen, hands down. He's going to set the standard for many years to come.
    posted by scalefree at 2:39 PM on August 23 [35 favorites]


    No, they had a website. Which was vulnerable to SQL injection attacks, a very common situation. The code was entered into the search fields on the site, where normally you'd put common search terms.
    posted by odinsdream at 2:40 PM on August 23 [19 favorites]


    No, they had a website. Which was vulnerable to SQL injection attacks, a very common situation. The code was entered into the search fields on the site, where normally you'd put common search terms.

    Oh, okay, that makes a lot more sense. Guarding against injection attacks is super basic security... Whoever is in charge of securing these systems isn't even trying.
    posted by One Second Before Awakening at 2:42 PM on August 23 [9 favorites]


    I’m beginning to suspect these were not in fact the best people (Alexandra Petri, WaPo, gets a bit surreal)
    I thought I had the best team ever to be assembled, but I had, just, a big coat full of skunks, six rejected concepts for Batman villains, and a disembodied voice that yells rude things in the Quiet Car.

    I thought I had the finest cadre of advisers and lawyers the Earth had ever seen, but now that I look I see that all I had was the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, an aardvark in a Model U.N. sweater, a hairpiece on top of a novelty skeleton with light-up eyes, a Mr. Monopoly Man, a paid advertisement for unscientific vitamin supplements and a cursed Oscar statuette brought to life until someone speaks the single phrase that will allow him to sleep once more. […]

    I thought I had the best people, but I had a big plane filled with money, a bear that has wandered into a school by mistake, Zombie James Buchanan, a pair of Ivanka Trump pumps that want to speak to a manager, the hair of a televangelist, a Pixar villain whose origin story involved a tanning bed struck by lightning and an anthropomorphic liver. I had a scorpion asking for a ride across a river, an ominous forwarded email with a sad face drawn on it, a statue brought to life by the love of its sculptor but in a twist on the classic Pygmalion scenario it was a Confederate statue, a piece of toast on which sexist words appeared for no reason, a gallon container of snake oil in an expensive leather coat, everyone at a surf-side bar on a Thursday, a reality-TV contestant and Anthony Scaramucci.

    I am chagrined. I thought that a pick-up artist book in a big collared shirt, an animatronic statue of Rutherford B. Hayes reprogrammed by HYDRA, and the Thing that appears in the mirror when you blink were good people to surround yourself with, but, in fact, no. A television chicken sales personality, a stand of reeds into which hateful words have been whispered for months, a bag of money with a severed finger in it, a book by a Fox News personality brought to life by the love of a lonely child and a phrenology hea