"I would give myself an A+, is that enough? Can I go higher than that?"
November 25, 2018 7:46 PM   Subscribe

After the President escalated an extraordinary dispute with the Supreme Court's Chief Justice, he settled in for a hectic Thanksgiving morning of tweeting, asking perplexing questions of military officers, and pronouncing himself thankful for himself. As the nation woke up to Black Friday, the administration quietly released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a grim warning of the ongoing and future impacts of climate change on the nation. Moving into the weekend, there was word of a deal to require asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are considered, followed by the closure of the San Ysidro Port of Entry as US authorities fired tear gas across the border.

The US Government released the Fourth National Climate Assessment on Black Friday. The report warns that the United States is already feeling the effects of climate change, that vulnerable communities will experience greater impacts to health, quality of life, nature, and the economy, and of devastation from heat-related deaths, sea level rise, and infrastructure damage. The report predicts that US can expect hundreds of billions of dollars in annual economic loses from climate change. 3 big takeaways from the major new US climate report (Vox). The President, for his part, ignored the report, but tweeted out his confusion between local weather and global climate change. Trump Administration’s Strategy on Climate: Try to Bury Its Own Scientific Report (NYT). GOP Shrugs Off Bombshell Climate Report (HuffPost). CNN's Brian Stelter: "On Friday, when the government's newest climate change report came out, Fox News spent more time talking about @Ocasio2018's shoes than climate change". On the Blue, see also the open climate change FPP: Life on a shrinking planet.

The US reportedly reached a tentative deal with Mexico to require asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are processed (Washington Post), and Trump was quick to tweet about the arrangement, but a series of conflicting statements from the incoming Mexican government (Daily Beast) leaves much room for uncertainty as to whether a deal even exists. We still don't know much of how the arrangement would work (Vox) legally or in practice.

As confusion over the deal brewed, the San Ysidro Port of Entry was closed Sunday (BuzzFeed) as a group of migrants bypassed a blockade setup by the Mexican authorities and approached the border crossing and US authorities fired tear gas across the border: "'We ran, but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more,' [Ana Zuniga] told the AP while cradling her 3-year-old daughter Valery in her arms." The morning began with a peaceful march to urge US authorities to speed up the asylum process.

HEADLINE ROUNDUP:

• Ukraine Breaking News: Ukraine, After Naval Clash With Russia, Considers Martial Law (NYT). While Donald Trump tweeted earlier today about Europe having to pay "Military Protection" for NATO, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has now called for an emergency Security Council meeting for tomorrow at 11:00am. The Associated Press is tracking the unfolding events.

• Horserace/Invisible Primary: The 2020 Presidential Horserace Has Officially Begin (WaPo) ; New entrants—West Virginia State Sen. Richard Objeda (CNBC); Rep. Eric Swalwell(Politico); Sen. Sherrod Brown? (Cleveland Plain Dealer); Hilary Clinton? (Mark Penn, WSJ); 2020 Election Odds: Who Can Beat Donald Trump After 2018 Midterm Elections? (Newsweek)

• House Investigations Round-up: House Democrats Will Investigate Trump's Response To Khashoggi Murder—Incoming intelligence committee head Adam Schiff plans ‘deep dive’ into US-Saudi Arabia ties, report says (Guardian); House Intelligence Panel Hiring Money-Laundering Sleuths (Daily Beast) {n.b. re-upped from last thread}; House Democrats Pile on to Scrutinize DeVos (Politico); The President's Company Braces for Democratic Investigations (CNN) Why House Democrats Must Vigorously investigate Trump (CNN); Upcoming House Investigations: Maxine Waters Wants to Investigate Trump, But Her Party May Resist (Politico)

• Census Round-up: As the trial over the Census citizenship question wraps up, the Justice Department was again stymied in their attempts to halt the trial (Washington Post) as they await a Supreme Court case next year over Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can be deposed. Documents in a different Census lawsuit revealed that DOJ crafted an intentionally vague answer (NPR) when asked for policy about the confidentiality of census data because the issue could "come up later for renewed debate."

IN OTHER HEADLINES:

• 60 Minutes investigates the chaos behind Donald Trump's policy of family separation at the border—the separations that dominated headlines this summer began earlier and were greater in number than the Trump administration admits. (@realDonaldTrump calls the report "phony" and the program "Fake 60 Minutes", but the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale calls out his lies: "Obama did not have the same policy, and family separation was not mandated by law. Trump chose a policy of routinely criminally prosecuting people found crossing illegally, which resulted in routine separations.") More than 14,000 Immigrant Children Are In U.S. Custody, an All-Time High (SF Chronicle)

• Despite last-minute efforts to put the case on hold, Judge orders Papadopoulos to report to prison on Monday (CNN) for his 14 day sentence for lying to investigators in the Mueller investigation.

• The President continued to reject the conclusions of intelligence agencies about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, as several Republican senators have spoken out. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) took to television to pronounce that Trump's statements are "inconsistent with the intelligence I’ve seen."

• The Mississippi Senate run-off election is on Tuesday, as some companies that donated to the Hyde-Smith campaign request refunds.

Trump demands action to reduce deficit, pushes new deficit spending (Washington Post), in which the President thinks the the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has a $5 million salary and suggests he should receive a large raise, citing the number of stars on his uniform.

• Marcy Wheeler has begun a running post of the many reasons why Matt Whitaker is not qualified to be Acting Attorney General: Big Dick Toilets and Sasquatch Dolls: Matt Whitaker’s Qualifications to Be Dog-Catcher (Emptywheel.net)

Arkansas’s Medicaid experiment has proved disastrous (Catherine Rampell, Washington Post op-ed) Locked out of Medicaid Arkansas's work requirement strips insurance from thousands of working people (Benjamin Hardy, Arkansas Nonprofit News Network)

How Trump administration pressure to dump 4-H's LGBT policy led to Iowa leader's firing (Des Moines Register)

After Years of Taking Up Too Much Space, Trump Is Finally Small: "As the president’s lies and bullying get bolder and bolder, we can finally see him for what he is: boring." (Slate, Dahlia Lithwick)

It’s Easy to Fact Check Trump’s Lies. He Tells the Same Ones All the Time. (Daniel Dale, Washington Post); Margaret Sullivan on the art of the follow-up question, an endangered species (Washington Post); see also: Truth Sandwiches: George Lakoff explains how the media should respond to Trump’s lies (MeFi)

‘Nothing on this page is real’: How lies become truth in online America (Eli Saslow, Washington Post): "What viral insanity should we spread this morning?...The more extreme we become, the more people believe it." Why Social Media’s Misinformation Problem Will Never Be Fixed (Will Oremus, Slate): "A network built on encouraging people to spontaneously broadcast anything that strikes their fancy, and amplifies those messages based on their propensity to spark gut reactions in others, can’t fully root out sensationalism or misinformation without undermining its own core business."

• On Thanksgiving weekend Sunday, Donald Trump spent part of his day re-tweeting Fox News stories, Media Matters's Matthew Gertz shows.

Today is the 674th day of the Trump administration (NBC calculates, Trump has spent about 1/3 of his days as president at Trump properties, and about 1/4 of his days at a Trump golf club). There are 708 days left until the 2020 elections.

Keeping Track: The Weekly List (Amy Siskind); What The Fuck Just Happened Today?; Lest We Forget the Horrors: A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions, and Crimes; The “Everything Terrible The Trump Administration Has Done So Far” Omnibus

Previously in U.S. Politics Megathreads: No One Is Above the Law

Megathread-Adjacent Posts and Sites: Save me from tomorrow (US Election Day, cont.); Fighting fascism and building a movement (AskMe); Boycott Fox News; Truth Sandwiches (George Lakoff, framing, etc.); OnceUponATime's Active Measures site; and Chrysostom's 2018 Election Ratings & Results Tracker

Elsewhere in MetaFilter: On MeTa, what Mefites are doing to improve things; and on AskMe, nonpolitical volunteering from home.

As always, please consider MeFi chat and the unofficial PoliticsFilter Slack for hot-takes and live-blogging breaking news, the new 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 to Doktor Zed, box, and ragtime for helping to create this thread. U.S. Politics FPPs are generally collaborative, and a draft post can usually found on the MeFi Wiki.
posted by zachlipton (1859 comments total) 121 users marked this as a favorite
 
I mean... we're not just tear-gassing refugees, we're shooting into another country to do it. This is a real "Hans, are we the baddies?" moment, or at least it should be. But of course, the cruelty is the point.
posted by Etrigan at 8:05 PM on November 25 [120 favorites]


For all your email forwarding needs, here are The everlasting BLORT’s astonishing Trump archives, all in one place
posted by growabrain at 8:11 PM on November 25 [21 favorites]


It is fitting that someone with a narcissistic personality would choose to thank himself on Thanksgiving.

The real question is why does Trump still get so much support? I could have chosen the Thanksgiving holiday to ask certain relatives this question, but chose to keep the peace instead.

I have a strong feeling that the well oiled propoganda machines of Fox News and a large number of websites are carefully and quickly recasting bad news in a good light every time it pops up. People are always looking for excuses to keep holding strong emotional beliefs, and will accept all the talking points and excuses they are given to help them do this. They will not read this website.
posted by eye of newt at 8:11 PM on November 25 [10 favorites]


Echoing Etrigan... I get that it's A-OK to use chemical weapons against your own citizens (at least up until the point it becomes a talking point for neocon warhawks), but launching them into another country has to contravene the Geneva Conventions, no?
posted by 7segment at 8:31 PM on November 25 [11 favorites]


They would if it were legally classed as war, but that name is only used when politically convenient. (That particular pecadillo is essentially universal, FWIW)
posted by wierdo at 8:54 PM on November 25 [1 favorite]


I mean... we're not just tear-gassing refugees, we're shooting into another country to do it. This is a real "Hans, are we the baddies?" moment, or at least it should be. But of course, the cruelty is the point.
posted by Etrigan at 12:05 PM on November 26 [10 favorites +] [!]


My last heavily excerptive comment got deleted by the mods, fair, but I still want to make one more stab at this to say Mexico has been putting up with our shit forever, and there's a solid case to be made that American businesses themselves designed the illegal immigrant paradigm despite an attempt at legalization in the Bracero program. This is important history to know if you wonder hence & whence the psycho "illegals" conversation today. We have been persecuting citizens and legal residents for a long time.

First there were mass deportations of citizens by conquest (90 years after the fact. not immediately.), then there was a legitimization program of laborers (would-be citizen) hijacked by American businesses. Mexico has had ample reason to declare war for ages, they have not done so because they are saner than that, although you will see time and again that they tried to mitigate harm and advocate for their people.

It's not right or precedented that we tear-gas refugees, but it's built on a long official tradition that is known on both sides. Your objections should not begin or end at the violence shown yesterday.

I also want to add a personal note to this. I don't live in the US anymore, but my mom does, in the southwest corner of Minnesota, in a tiny pork processing town that got profiled in Vox, and well, back in the day she lived in a house for a family, but since the divorce and the kids becoming adults, she's renting rooms, as one does. The renters are Hispanic. From the plant. I go home for Thanksgiving/Christmas/[#HOLIDAY] and it's mom and the pork plant people. The neighbors, also, labor there, and have married Dusty's mom. Dude is the coolest. Mom raised me liberal, so no biggie, but I mean, I live in China (but I pay US taxes, so), and when I think America, it's mom and the house I think about. Mom and me help with the paperwork for said people. Most of them are already US citizens, but at least one I know of is illiterate.

The America the Republicans want to destroy is the one in my mother's house. Fuck them. I'm an infinitely better person for knowing those mostly-Hispanic renters, and I will stand until my death to see them made citizens of my country. I would rather live with them than voters for Trump. Whoever you are, look around you, and stand up for the immigrants around you doing good things. It's as simple as knowing they like you too. Stand up for them. We're Americans, and this is what we do.
posted by saysthis at 9:18 PM on November 25 [155 favorites]


The real question is why does Trump still get so much support? I could have chosen the Thanksgiving holiday to ask certain relatives this question, but chose to keep the peace instead.

Well, I went down that rabbithole, so that you don't have to. It's because he's keeping the brown people out. That's literally it, at least that I can tell. Everything else is window-dressing and showmanship as far as his supporters (voting, not financial; I presume the big-money supporters have other goals) that I ran into are concerned.

I'm dead serious; the last few weeks worth of "migrant caravan" stuff has really got people het up. My conclusion is there are a non-trivial percentage of people in the US who see non-English-speaking immigrants as a bona fide existential threat to the continued existence of the Republic. FWIW, these are predominantly not non-college-educated or "low information voters". They're educated, professional-class people. At least several are people who I know campaigned for Clinton back in the 90s and are probably registered as Democrats. Go figure.

It's unclear how exactly this will play out in the Pits of Corruption Republican Party, given that—as others have noted—the current immigration status quo is heavily favored by big agribusiness interests, who lean strongly R in their financial contributions. There's a vast disconnect between the money side and voting side of the Republican party, and while I would have expected it to close before the election—when they would have needed to appeal to business for contributions—that doesn't seem to have happened. Maybe Trump really doesn't give a shit about what Conagra et al want. That's what the MAGA crowd seems to be hoping for. But my guess is that if anything happens that actually starts to affect the situation on the ground insofar as the labor market can feel it, like causing salaries to go up, the rank-and-file Congressional Rs will find some way to pull the punch.

As always, I think Trump's supporters are the ones getting played, although I'm not sure if it's actually by Trump. He's not that clever.

Warning: Results may vary, your family members are not my family members, side effects may include shouting, cursing, extreme sideeye, and pie-throwing. Not valid in all states, particularly in those southern ones. Store away from religion. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist, but there's a good chance he's a Trump fan too, so maybe don't bother.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:35 PM on November 25 [33 favorites]


Hey, I was just in that SW MN town a few weeks ago for my aunt’s burial. The family farm is just up the road in Heron Lake.

Oddly enough, my cousin was talking proudly about how his son (an agent at a local insurance broker) hired a Spanish-speaking assistant and is selling insurance policies to the plant workers. It was a weird, bass-ackward route towards tolerance, but I guess it’s something? Several cousins mentioned that the immigrants were doing work that others weren’t willing to do.

Which is saying something because they’re all farmers, so it’s not like they don’t know how to work hard. That said, my dad only needed to work a summer unloading chickens at the old Campbell’s soup plant in Worthington to motivate him into joining the army.

If there is any hope for the rural Midwest, it is that the locals need to recognize how critical those immigrants are in keeping their communities viable. Economic interdependence is the key to mutual understanding, right?
posted by Big Al 8000 at 9:54 PM on November 25 [25 favorites]


Well, I went down that rabbithole, so that you don't have to. It's because he's keeping the brown people out. That's literally it, at least that I can tell. Everything else is window-dressing and showmanship as far as his supporters (voting, not financial; I presume the big-money supporters have other goals) that I ran into are concerned.

I'm dead serious; the last few weeks worth of "migrant caravan" stuff has really got people het up. My conclusion is there are a non-trivial percentage of people in the US who see non-English-speaking immigrants as a bona fide existential threat to the continued existence of the Republic.


I'm sorry to say I got you as far as I need to get you. Your description of the struggles is the same as we all face. BUT. At some point, you need to sit down with these immigrants-as-threat people and point out how wrong they are. Because they're just wrong, especially, stupidly, are-there-therapists-for-this wrong.

If I know these people, I will surprisingly say they're not malicious racist, they're racist by default. We may, if it is congenial to the concerned speaking parties, need to find immigrants who are willing to speak to these mooks. Now, I've said I live in China, and I know quite a few who would rhetorically uppercut the migrant-wary. Also case for quite a few Korean, Japanese, and Indonesian-Americans who have looked at things realistically and had it with white supremacy.

But apparently I'm a white guy and it's my job to find a venue for them. FFs. If they haven't been heard by America by now, PEOPLE AIN'T LISTENING.

(but if someone would like to offer a publishing venue by god I have content)

Trump and the stupids need a counternarrative yesterday. Let's give them one.
posted by saysthis at 10:01 PM on November 25 [10 favorites]


Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the US-Mexico border was early and honest in talking about how the border functions -- like all borders, as a crossing point between what is permitted and what is not -- and how the American restaurant industry functions. The San Ysidro / Tijuana crossing exists for college partiers and Americans who want cheap prescriptions and dental work and nachos, just as the state line to South Carolina exists for people who want to buy the kind of fireworks that will put them in hospital.

On the "why?" question -- I've said before that this is the final round of the Boomer argument, the argument of the (white) generation that got chrome-plated appliances and suburban childhoods and cheap college and tax cuts under Reagan, and was told they earned it by themselves for themselves; the generation that argues about Vietnam while voting for people who dodged Vietnam. This is the generation attuned to worry about inflation and deficits and the gas pumps running dry but not about climate change. (hashtag notallboomers) This is also the (white) generation that incorporated white euro-Catholicism -- Southern Protestants didn't give a shit about abortion until it became politically advantageous to find common cause with suburbanite Catholics -- but loses its shit about the candle-lighting Catholicism of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

Just as the Brexit generation never really experienced the Second World War but grew up with a bullshit mythology around it -- from The Dam Busters to Dad's Army to Allo! Allo! -- the Boomer generation has recapitulated a myth of the circumstances that created its childhood for as long as it had the political power to do so. And that leads to Republican GenXers like Cruz and Rubio and Sasse and Cotton living their political lives as cosplay Boomers.

The fundamental political question in large parts of the developed world is how badly the seventysomething generation (again, collectively; #notallseventysomethings) gets to fuck over everybody younger than them.
posted by holgate at 10:15 PM on November 25 [98 favorites]


If there is any hope for the rural Midwest, it is that the locals need to recognize how critical those immigrants are in keeping their communities viable. Economic interdependence is the key to mutual understanding, right?
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:54 PM on November 26 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Ya know, I heard locals say the things, and then (China expat, spaced visits is key here), went back now and again, and I would meander down to Wal-Mart at night, and literally be thanked, twice by counter staff three years apart, at 3 in the morning, for being "the right kind of people coming back", both by retirees. I was thanked for being white in Worthington at Walmart twice 3 years apart in the last decade. I say this a lot on this site, but I'll say it again, I live in China, so I know migrant from migrant. I don't harp on China but on comments on this site, but I mean, China. Beijing for 15 years. I would know.

Fuck. You. (not you Big Al 8000, just the general you) Factory workers slept in my bed while I slept on the couch. My mom taught at the county college until the R-led state senate eliminated her position (but not her pension, from which there were lawyer fees for a certain Nicaraguan spent). Real Americans give a fuck about migrants with every room and dollar they have. Real Americans do not give a fuck what color your skin is, they stand by you if you're in trouble. Anyone else? Any bigots? Well the American passport is quite diverse in its visa-free fuck-off options, and if you have one and would like to not pay income tax, there's a whole thing for that, so like, go away.

Seriously. My mom kicked ass, and continues to in that town. America makes it easy to leave if you don't want to be a part of it. Real Americans want immigrants. As an American, the real kind, I can think of many I'd sponsor. What about you, opposition Republican-nativist-knows-nothing-blindly-pays-taxes douche? How you been?
posted by saysthis at 10:18 PM on November 25 [37 favorites]


"The White House turned away several foreign students from a New Jersey school who were on a class tour after braving the harsh weather conditions during the recent nor'easter, according to reports.
The group of seventh-graders from Henry Hudson Regional School in Highlands plowed through a snowstorm on Nov. 15 for their bus trip to Washington DC, according to The New York Post. But Secret Service agents stopped three who didn't have their passports or other identification required for non-US citizens.
Henry Hudson administrators apparently did not verify that the students had the right ID before heading out on the trip, parents told The Post. Beforehand, the school had to send the White House a list of all students and adults expected to take the tour.
The students are in the US on visas, but didn't bring their documentation. Without the verification, White House "boarding passes" sent to visitors in advance would be no good, according to Daily Voice."

posted by jenfullmoon at 10:40 PM on November 25 [2 favorites]


That's on the school. It's not new. At least since 2001, non-citizens have to agree to a background checks and have very strict ID requirements for White House tours and also for the more extensive Capitol tours / chamber gallery passes provided by members, as opposed to the baby tour offered through the Capitol Visitor Center.
posted by holgate at 11:06 PM on November 25 [14 favorites]


That's on the school. It's not new.

It may not be new, but it’s only a good security measure if you happen to be Gerard Butler in Olympus Has Fallen.
posted by Etrigan at 11:33 PM on November 25 [9 favorites]


> Daily Beast, Ackerman, Trump Ramped Up Drone Strikes in America’s Shadow Wars: "In his first two years, Donald Trump launched 238 drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia—way beyond what the ‘Drone President’ Barack Obama did."

Is it just me or do drone strikes now get less media coverage than they did during Obama's presidency? There is some coverage, but you have to be keeping an eye out for it. Here are a few articles from this year:

Motherboard, David Axe, Jun 22: While No One Is Looking, Trump Is Escalating America’s Drone War: In expanding US drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan, Trump has "shredded" Obama-era safeguards to minimizing the risk of civilian casualties.

The Atlantic, August 10: Trump’s Secret War on Terror: Drone strikes continue and spread—away from public scrutiny or congressional oversight. President Donald Trump has dramatically expanded the War on Terror. But you—and perhaps he—would never know it.

NY Times, September 9:C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, October 11: US strikes causing civilian casualties more than double in Afghanistan: The UN has found civilian casualties from strikes have risen by 39 per cent, with the US responsible for over half of these

The Associated Press, November 14: The hidden toll of American drones in Yemen: Civilian deaths. The United States has waged a drone war in Yemen for 16 years, trying to suppress al-Qaida’s branch here. But the campaign has had a hidden cost: civilians cut down by the drones’ missiles.

ThinkProgress analysis of the AP report: Under the Trump administration an increasing number of civilians are being killed by U.S. drone strikes.
posted by homunculus at 12:26 AM on November 26 [37 favorites]


While Obama used drones a lot -- in many cases where earlier presidents might have sent in Marines or special forces -- his administration put in place protocols that drastically reduced the number of civilian collateral victimes.

There's a complicated argument about whether using drones vs. boots on the ground is worse, assuming a country is going to use what or the other. But of course Trump threw out all the protections, going back to the high civilian death rate also seen under Bush Jr.
posted by msalt at 12:42 AM on November 26 [21 favorites]


saysthis: "We may, if it is congenial to the concerned speaking parties, need to find immigrants who are willing to speak to these mooks."

Alternatively, you could sit them down with a "native American" to discuss immigration and its discontents.
posted by chavenet at 12:56 AM on November 26 [5 favorites]




LA Times: Mexico denies deal with U.S. to keep asylum seekers south of the border while cases are decided

"Mexico’s incoming leadership is denying a [Washington Post] report that it had agreed to a Trump administration proposal requiring asylum seekers arriving at the southwest border to wait in Mexico as U.S. authorities consider their claims for safe haven. […] “There is no agreement of any sort between the future Mexican federal government and the U.S.,” the incoming interior minister [Olga Sanchez Cordero] said in a statement. Moreover, she said Mexico’s new government had rejected any deal in which Mexico would be considered “a safe third country” for U.S. asylum applicants."
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:51 AM on November 26 [8 favorites]


And that leads to Republican GenXers like Cruz and Rubio and Sasse and Cotton living their political lives as cosplay Boomers.

Noah Smith: "'Nixonland' has taught me that America has invented essentially no new political ideas since the late 1960s. We just took all the 60s ideas, recycled them for a generation that mostly didn't know how old they were, and spread them over social media."
posted by kliuless at 5:06 AM on November 26 [35 favorites]


saysthis, thank you for your passionate and articulate commentary and insights.
posted by infini at 5:09 AM on November 26 [10 favorites]


Politico: White House lacks lawyers to deal with empowered Democrats
The White House counsel’s office is down to a skeletal staff, potentially leaving them unprepared to deal with a flood of subpoenas for documents and witnesses when Democrats take control of the House.

The office has been without a permanent leader since ex-White House senior attorney Don McGahn left the administration in mid-October. His replacement, Pat Cipollone, is caught up in an extended background check that’s prevented him from starting. And in the coming weeks, deputy counsel Annie Donaldson, who served as McGahn’s most trusted aide and as the office’s chief of staff, is expected to leave the administration, according to two Republicans close to the White House. Donaldson is moving to Alabama with her husband, Brett Talley, whose nomination for a federal judgeship the White House withdrew in December 2017.

Amid the leadership tumult, the counsel’s office has shrunk to about 25 lawyers, according to a second Republican close to the administration. That’s lower than its recent high point of roughly 35 attorneys and well short of the 40 people that some expect it will need to deal with a reinvigorated Democratic party eager to investigate the president’s tax returns and business dealings in foreign countries, reopen probes into Russian election meddling and explore the behavior of a bevy of Cabinet officials.

“They only have roughly 20 dedicated White House lawyers and a bunch of detailees who could leave at any time,” one former White House official told POLITICO. “I don’t think anyone who is paying attention thinks they are prepared for a Democratic takeover.”
Team Trump's legal strategy appears to be complain about "harassment of the president", claim executive privilege, and stall their way to the Supreme Court. Still, their present situation does raise the question of why Don McGahn was so eager to leave that he didn't wait for his replacement to come on board and instead left Emmet Flood holding the bag.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:24 AM on November 26 [37 favorites]


The San Ysidro border crossings have been reopened.

For those not familiar with it, this is a massive border crossing, one of the largest in the world, with people commuting daily between San Diego and Tijuana, with Americans visiting their relatives or their second homes on the Mexican coast or cheap dentists and auto body work, etc. It can't really sustain being closed for very long as the two economies here are tightly interlinked.

Everyone losing their shit about a few thousand poor, dispossessed people in a country of millions is a sign of the times I suppose. Focus on the poor migrants instead of the systemic problems. Governments (US and Mexico) are happy to promote it as it absolves them and distracts everyone from whatever pocket-lining activity is currently in play.
posted by vacapinta at 5:38 AM on November 26 [38 favorites]


homunculus: Is it just me or do drone strikes now get less media coverage than they did during Obama's presidency?

I suspect there is less attention to drone strikes under Trump than there was under Obama because (1) the Obama ones felt like "a story" in a Nixon-goes-to-China way, given the controversy among his own supporters (especially if the news sources you followed were left-leaning) and (2) there's so much other awfulness now, each instance of which tends to transcend "politics as usual", (of which drone attacks are unfortunately an example), so that's what takes center stage.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 5:48 AM on November 26 [10 favorites]


Crooked Media's Dan Pfeiffer makes a case for Beto O'Rourke.
posted by nangar at 6:12 AM on November 26 [6 favorites]


Yeah, there’s so very, very much that it’s hard to keep track of all the terrible things at once, and so the drone strikes fall off the radar, unfortunately.
posted by corb at 6:12 AM on November 26 [7 favorites]


I feel like when we look back on the failures of journalism this decade, someone will need to address the reality that treating twitter as both vox populi and source of record set them up to be manipulated as channels for propaganda.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:17 AM on November 26 [60 favorites]


Greed set them up as channels for propaganda. On that we can agree with Trump.

(I expect Drone policy and a lot more will pierce the Trump cloud as Democrats ramp up the oversight and seek to create a news storm of their own.)
posted by notyou at 6:29 AM on November 26 [4 favorites]


Crooked Media's Dan Pfeiffer makes a case for Beto O'Rourke.
Political pundits, campaign reporters, and seasoned operatives are speculating, with most political elites cynically looking down their noses at the prospect of a Beto O’Rourke 2020 campaign. “He hasn’t paid his dues;” “He is a creation of the media;” “It’s not his time.” The whole conversation around Beto has been eerily familiar to me, because these are the exact arguments people made to me when I told them I was considering working for Barack Obama 10 years ago.
Those criticisms were even more true of Trump in 2016 and he won.

When Obama ran in 2008, I thought about his slight resume. Like his hero Abraham Lincoln, Obama was pretty inexperienced in national politics. Lincoln was the best president and Obama was a good president. Lincoln's predecessor, James Buchanan, was one of the most experienced and qualified presidents, and one of the worst. So I believe the quality of the person can matter more than the resume.

I'd prefer to see a more experienced person, and a woman, get the nomination (Kamala Harris and/or Amy Klobuchar), but I will support whoever the Democratic nominee is.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:43 AM on November 26 [53 favorites]


Another aspect that's different between Obama and Trump, with respect to not only drone strikes but all military operations now is that Trump has purposefully ceded the authority of the office of president to manage, oversee, and indeed even choose particular courses of military action. The PR excuse they use for this is "giving the generals what they ask for" but of course it's just skipping out on responsibility so someone else gets the blame when an operation goes poorly.

With Obama, he was directly choosing drone strike actions, and as such was the public face of it, for both critics and supporters. This isn't the case with Trump. He's washed his hands of it, and nobody really knows who's in charge of them now. Is it a CIA action? Maybe? Is it a regular military action as part of an existing theater? Maybe? In any case what specific individual could be pointed to as a responsible party? Legitimately no one knows. It's madness.
posted by odinsdream at 6:48 AM on November 26 [20 favorites]


Greed is a part of it, but the failure of the news media to treat twitter as performative marketing puts the press into a particularly credulous position. Trump can create nonexistent policy slapfights when he has neither the authority or the political power to follow up on his statements, and that's primarily about playing to voters.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:56 AM on November 26 [5 favorites]


I was thinking this morning that I am going to stop trying to appeal to my conservative relatives' decency about Not Fearing Brown People; that fear is too well-defended and entrenched. Instead I'm going to start asking them if they really think the 1% care about their welfare as much as they care about that of the 1%. If the billionaires who run Fox News would even blink an eye if they and their kids lost everything.

I mean, I have to keep trying. Many of my relatives are just too scared to talk about politics and are either disengaged or already voting against Trump; a few are still throwing Fox talking points at me and of course those are the ones who I have to deal with when I visit.
posted by emjaybee at 6:59 AM on November 26 [22 favorites]



There's a complicated argument about whether using drones vs. boots on the ground is worse, assuming a country is going to use what or the other.


I knew a JAG whose job it was to characterise the range, effectiveness and failure rates of weapons systems in order to ensure that informed decisions could be made as to when it was legal or illegal to use them - if you were to fire Missle A at a ten mile range towards a target where there also civilians present, would that be within the rules?

Which gives you some idea of how complex and detailed the decision making process can be, and that it is well worth asking hard questions when things go wrong. (The fact that the JAG in question wasn't trained in that sort of technical analysis and was very unhappy about having to do it, also shows that questions should be detailed and specific about the whole process...) I know 45 doesn't give a fig about breaking laws or killing people, but he can and should be made accountable. There are ways.
posted by Devonian at 7:05 AM on November 26 [5 favorites]


O’Rourke/Gillum 2020. No 2016 PTSD, no inconvenient voting records or weird corporate connections, both pre-vetted, both of them telegenic political stars, and they’re from Texas and Florida.

This isn’t rocket science.

(And AOC will be the first female president. Just not quite yet, because fucking men.)

Re: war crimes against immigrants at the border: I’m increasingly concerned with the narrative we put together and how this gets cemented in the public consciousness. I think we’ll manage to beat back the Trumpian strain of fascism in the immediate future, but I think the narrative that goes with it will set the stage for the next flare up. And that flare up will come when migration starts to happen at the scale and with the urgency demanded by climate change and its attendant catastrophes.

Trump could be the infection that weakens us or that inoculates us. I figure we’ve got like 10-15 years. We have to show this cruelty for what it is, and we’ve got to regulate the propaganda machines that are driving people towards genocidal paranoia, and we’ve got to get everyone on board with a common sense of purpose. WW2 gave us that the last time. Maybe fighting climate change can do it this time.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:14 AM on November 26 [30 favorites]


(And AOC will be the first female president. Just not quite yet, because fucking men.)

Also because she'll be only 31 in 2020.
posted by explosion at 7:33 AM on November 26 [55 favorites]


Lol sadly I meant she might be the only woman with the star power to overcome the misogyny, and she won’t be able to run for quite a while. But yeah, same thing.
posted by schadenfrau at 7:39 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]


I'm down for Beto O'Rourke or Andrew Gillum (both great) paired with Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, or Stacey Abrams. Because I really do want a woman on the ticket, and I think that a woman not HRC has a chance that she didn't. But as long as it's not Biden or Sanders, I'm fine.

A "Green New Deal" like what AOC and others have proposed would fill the bill nicely for helping combat climate change, providing jobs, and providing Americans with a sense of common purpose.

I really hope that Trump is an inoculation, because he is a symptom, not a cause. The ugliness that he brought to the surface has been burbling underneath for a long time (Chauncey De Vega argues since 9/11, and I'm inclined to agree. His podcasts are here.) He better be an inoculation, because we really got lucky that Trump is so obviously inept and corrupt and has done such a good job at motivating the resistance. The next "Trump" might be much more smooth-talking and capable of fooling us until it's too late. But on the whole, the Blue Wave has been energizing and inspiring. I haven't felt so good and so optimistic since October 2016.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 7:41 AM on November 26 [35 favorites]


Well men wrote the rule in the constitution so I think your point still stands.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:41 AM on November 26


Why was the romaine outbreak so bad? Well our entire food system is exploitative and terrible and possibly killing us. (Twitter)
posted by The Whelk at 7:52 AM on November 26 [21 favorites]


[Folks, pre-litigating 2020 is not a good idea. We have lots and lots of time to discuss that. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:55 AM on November 26 [49 favorites]


And that leads to Republican GenXers like Cruz and Rubio and Sasse and Cotton living their political lives as cosplay Boomers.

Noah Smith: "'Nixonland' has taught me that America has invented essentially no new political ideas since the late 1960s. We just took all the 60s ideas, recycled them for a generation that mostly didn't know how old they were, and spread them over social media."


The complete and utter paucity and sterility of the American politicial imagination is not an accident, but a deliberate long term plan. The politics of there is no alternate.

For Christ’s sakes we basically have to reinvent the idea of public spending and people think it’s a revolutionary act.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 AM on November 26 [61 favorites]


Trump could be the infection that weakens us or that inoculates us.

Thanks so much for this mental model. I've long been thinking of Trump's ascendance as an opportunistic infection but yes, let's make of ourselves the immune system that renders him prophylactic. The man really is just a mass of dead virus particles in a suit.
posted by contraption at 7:56 AM on November 26 [31 favorites]


I mean, I have to keep trying. Many of my relatives are just too scared to talk about politics and are either disengaged or already voting against Trump; a few are still throwing Fox talking points at me and of course those are the ones who I have to deal with when I visit.

I think you're on the right path; it pains me to say it, but pushing any social issues with a lot of "these people" is a lost cause. The racism is so deep that any appeal to reason falls on deaf ears. What they say (I don't hate minorities) and what policies they support directly contradict each other. And they're not all being dishonest; some of them deep down really think (or try to tell themselves) they really don't hate brown people, they don't have any problem with skin color, but they do believe in "security." Because they're so blinded by their racism they can't acknowledge that skin color is absolutely playing into their mindset.

And we all know the conservatives have been exploiting these socials fears the last generation(+) to trick people into supporting their economic agenda. And some are fooled into thinking the economic policies might work, and others just don't care. Because that terrible Bill Moyers quote is painfully accurate; the white working class is happy to be ruled by the elites and make less money as long as they can feel good about "their place" in society, above the minorities.

We need to find a way to drive more of a wedge between the hard-right capitalists and the hard-right working class base. It defies irony that the former group makes up the "elite" that the latter group loves to rally against. But when the elites are white and on your side socially, it all becomes ok somehow.

And here's where it gets morally dicey, and some compromises I've made that I'm not happy about. But it's the only time I've had Trump supporters agree with me. I've said something like "y'know, we may not agree on all the social issues. But deep down, we want the same economic goals! We want a strong national economy, we want to take care of our workers, we want to protect our country by protecting our working class. The republican globalists are LYING to you. They'll say they support your economic policies but they're really not; they cut their own taxes and continue to ship jobs overseas. You may not like some of the social policies democrats support, but none of those affect you NEARLY AS MUCH as the globalists picking your pocket."

And I swear to you, this is the only time I've found support with fans of the current president. And I HATE it because I feel like I'm saying "forget about all the minorities and gays, let's just focus on economic policy!" Which hopefully all of you know I'm not trying to do...but when all hope is lost and these people continue to push their racist bullshit, I see it as the only way I can reach them. They still think that Trump is the "defender" of American interests, but they agree that the McConnell/Koch faction of the party DOES NOT HAVE THEIR ECONOMIC INTERESTS AT HEART. They can admit that....just aren't strong enough to leave the cult of personality which is our asshole president.

But to me, that's a start. Keep driving the wedge between social and economic conservatives. Maybe in time, we can peel off a few racist votes. People who still want to live in the past, but aren't stupid enough to keep shooting themselves in the foot.

Maybe.
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:03 AM on November 26 [12 favorites]


none of those affect you NEARLY AS MUCH as the globalists picking your pocket

You may not know this, but when you say “globalist”, it is heavily coded these days as “Jew”. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t talk about economic issues, but as a person of good intent, I’d probably try to find other language to do so.
posted by corb at 8:07 AM on November 26 [103 favorites]


MAGA
General Motors (GM) will lay off 14,700 workers in North America and put up to five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs.
posted by adamvasco at 8:18 AM on November 26 [28 favorites]


The complete and utter paucity and sterility of the American politicial imagination is not an accident, but a deliberate long term plan. The politics of there is no alternate.

It's also a politics of not-invented-here. One cynical take: it's advantageous to leave people vulnerable from inadequate healthcare and workers' rights and the rest of the social safety net even when it's easy to assess which models work best elsewhere. Another perspective: white America collectively can't even expand the post-WW2 individuated-redistribution model to include non-white people. (I wish there were not something to the Bannonite argument that generous social safety nets tend to work better in more homogeneous populations, though the counterargument is that heterogeneous populations are okay with generous provisions during periods of economic improvement for median- and below-median earners.)
posted by holgate at 8:21 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Corb, you're right that I should find another word to use. I'm using the term they themselves seem to love and respond to, but that word in particular is highly problematic.

It really sums up everything I hate about my "Thanksgiving appeal" to relatives; I sort of had that little schtick prepared because I wanted to keep finding a way to reach them. And I was happy that it worked, and at least a few minds had to dwell on the fact they were supporting policies that hurt them. (Someone even admitted "maybe Trump does just care about money!" I thought I was making progress).

But I was not happy about the fact that I used codewords and dogwhistles to support this. Because I tried a similar speech a few months ago using different terms, and it didn't work as well. But for whatever reason, I found support talking to them in the language they know.

I don't know how to morally rectify this; perhaps I did something terrible by indulging them here. I didn't say anything outwardly racist, didn't mention minorities/Jews or say they were to blame. But I did use terms (WHICH THEY SAY REGARDLESS OF ME) to push economic policy over social reforms, because I knew it would reach them. And I'm not sure I'm happy I was right.

I get some here would say "Don't bother trying to use their language; give up on these people, they're lost," but what if they're not and maybe can yield some democratic votes in 2020? These people live in Michigan for chrissakes; what is it worth to flip their vote? Of course not overt racism, but can we "trick them" just as the republicans tricked them?

It all just makes me feel terrible.
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:24 AM on November 26 [17 favorites]


General Motors (GM) will lay off 14,700 workers in North America and put up to five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs.

The Independent buries the lede: "The company has said tariffs on imported steel, imposed earlier this year by the Trump administration, have cost it $1 billion." (Reuters)

(Steel tariffs have helped make GM's slow-selling gas-powered sedan models that much less profitable, and the Trump administration has opposed economic policies that would help/induce the auto industry to shift to electricity-powered vehicles).
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:28 AM on November 26 [42 favorites]


andruwjones26: Can I suggest "billionaire looter/moocher [pick your favorite] class"? It's accurate, it doesn't have antisemitic connotations, and it directly challenges the false narrative that billionaires have earned the money they are hoarding.
posted by sotonohito at 8:29 AM on November 26 [36 favorites]


> And I swear to you, this is the only time I've found support with fans of the current president. And I HATE it because I feel like I'm saying "forget about all the minorities and gays, let's just focus on economic policy!" Which hopefully all of you know I'm not trying to do...but when all hope is lost and these people continue to push their racist bullshit, I see it as the only way I can reach them.

If someone's socialism depends on their nationalism, they're likely going to end up as a national socialist.

basically, the storyline you push when you appeal to the economic benefit of the nativist working class is precisely the storyline that Ernst Röhm and the other OG nazis sold. It's something that's compelling to a lot of voters… but in the long run, it's even more dangerous than trumpism. Really the one lucky break we've had in the past three years is that Trump and the gang are too stupid and shortsighted and venial to really run the "herrenvolk socialism" strategy effectively. It's what Steve Bannon was trying for — it's one of the reasons he identified, perversely, as a "Leninist" — but thankfully he became too obviously influential for 45 to abide his presence.

(am I implying that Saturday Night Live saved the world with their "President Bannon" sketches? Why yes, I am implying that.)

I don't think the shaky antifascist alliance needs to appeal to the people who love trump but would prefer real herrenvolk socialism, especially since if you're seen making those appeals, people in the antifascist base — a multicultural, multiethnic, multifaith, multitendency coalition — will, justifiably, start to get the impression that you prefer the herrenvolk to them. That you'll start claiming that immigrants and refugees commit more crimes than native citizens. That you'll threaten to kick out immigrants and refugees if they don't speak English to your satisfaction. That you'll maybe, when put to the question, consider Black lives less important than herrenvolk lives, trans lives less important than cis lives, and so forth. The trick is, once you get elected by the multi-everything antifascist coalition — like the 40 new democratic party house members got elected by the multi-everything antifascist coalition — you can put in place material measures to improve the lives of everyone in the working class, even the white nativists. And that's how you start peeling 'em away from fascism — not by catering to their racism and nativism, but by just straight-up making their lives better.

He gets a bad rap these days, but one historical American politician to look toward might be Huey P. Long. It's been a while since I've read the doorstop biography I linked back there, but the short of it is that he applied all the rhetorical moves and underhanded parliamentary strategies of the southern populist demagogues, but in the service of an antiracist, antifascist policy platform aimed at lifting up the entire working-class south. He wasn't entirely successful, but he was successful enough at it to end up catching bullets for his trouble.

(there's a reason Huey P. Newton's mom gave her radical Black son that name. Huey Long was an icon and an inspiration to working-class left southerners for decades after his murder)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:30 AM on November 26 [37 favorites]


And I HATE it because I feel like I'm saying "forget about all the minorities and gays, let's just focus on economic policy!" Which hopefully all of you know I'm not trying to do...but when all hope is lost and these people continue to push their racist bullshit, I see it as the only way I can reach them.

It would only take one more sentence to extend what you already said and say that one of the ways McConnel, Koch, Mercer, etc. motivate people against their economic interests is by stirring up racial fear and resentment.
posted by duoshao at 8:34 AM on November 26 [5 favorites]


The Danger of Trump’s Foreign Policy Corruption - Josh Marshall, TPM Editorial
With a highly dangerous situation unfolding between Russia and Ukraine over the weekend, it’s important to return to a basic point about President Trump and the danger he represents to the United States. This is as relevant to the crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia as it is with Russia and Ukraine.

The problem in both cases is that Trump appears to be pursuing some definition of his own personal interests over national interests. It’s not always clear just what that personal interest is, whether it is a narrow financial interest or some kind of threat-influence or whether he’s just been buttered up by the strongman in question. But it makes the conduct of US policy almost impossible to predict or trust.

As a country we remain in a state of shadow paralysis, not even able to adequately discuss or devise responses to critical foreign policy because the President’s actions are opaque and almost certainly corrupt.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:36 AM on November 26 [32 favorites]


I was under the impression that Long's rhetoric was pretty racist and his "Every Man a King" platform explicitly excluded black citizens. Wasn't it an example of the threateningly successful herrenvolk strategy?
posted by Selena777 at 8:37 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


" CampFire is contained. With more than 80 ppl dead, 100s still missing & scientific consensus that this was a climate change fueled disaster, there's no choice: dem leaders must support a Select Committee on a #GreenNewDeal. Make sure they follow through https://t.co/AlY6WPMl70 https://t.co/iaJy1aiqvd"
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 AM on November 26 [20 favorites]


I appreciate everyone's feedback, as this is something I really want to do right. My wife's family (who I've been talking about) is a pretty good example of the suburban right centrist voter who never says "outright" racist things, but I can tell by their language and how they act they're conservative.

Sonohito, that is a good suggestion. I see the problems in using the word globalist and will make sure not to do it anymore; just because I'm selling my soul to reach these people doesn't mean I have to play by their terms.

I still treat how I talk to them about this as a last-gasp effort to help Michigan and swing 10 republican votes to 10 democratic votes. This is far larger than me and my in-laws, it's going to take everything we've got (up against likely more foreign interference) to win in 2020.
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:42 AM on November 26 [6 favorites]


Steel tariffs have helped make GM's slow-selling gas-powered sedan models that much less profitable

Ford got ahead of things by taking most of its passenger cars off the US market. This is a shitty reprise of the late 90s and early 00s when GM bet on trucks and SUVs and buying a Hummer for your small business made sense because of the tax break. The revealed preferences here are not great.

Although, a double impeachment seems unlikely.

A constitutional framework that prevents the presidency changing party between elections absent a double impeachment is unfit for purpose. In case of resignation or impeachment, there should be a new election.
posted by holgate at 8:44 AM on November 26


Beto O’Rourke Was Just the Beginning - Tim Murphy, Mother Jones
Democrats didn’t take back Texas this year—but they showed how they could.

Last fall, as Democrats in other tough races supported sending troops to fend off asylum-seekers, backed Trump’s wall, or hedged on birthright citizenship, O’Rourke ran as an unabashed fronterizo, an ambassador of the borderlands, not just in El Paso and Eagle Pass but everywhere, and he almost won, not in spite of that but because of it.

He set out to redefine what it meant to run in Texas in a way that pushed to the foreground another kind of Texas, one that was every bit as Texan—bluer, yes; crunchier, sometimes; but also younger and browner, rural and urban—and that the people who run the state, and the people who talk about the state from afar, can no longer afford to write off. That Texas has always been there, but it has never been this organized, and those Texans have never felt as if they were on the precipice of power like they did in November 2018. They didn’t get all the way there—they might not for a while—but Democrats aren’t afraid anymore.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:49 AM on November 26 [34 favorites]


Selena777: I wish I had something better than that doorstop to refer you to. the short answer is, roughly, "opinions differ." "Every Man a King" as he explained it in his radio speech , was not restricted on racial lines. Black people were welcome at Share Our Wealth clubs, and white supremacists used that to claim that Long was secretly registering Blac people to vote

Williams (author of the doorstop) argues that Long was just as interested in uplifting the Black people of Louisiana as he was the white folks; other biographers note that Long could have done more to break down Jim Crow so that Black Louisianans could vote. The thing that makes me tend toward suspecting he was flawed-but-decent instead of being the father coughlin figure that he's often presented as these days was that he focused his massive infrastructure and development projects on the poorest parishes, which also not by chance happened to be the Blackest parishes.

Well, and I trust Huey P. Newton's mom's judgment.

There were politically-minded white people in the South who were better than him on ending the subjugation of Black people… but most of them were members of socialist and communist organizations that could have never achieved his level of success. Incidentally, one thing that confounds attempts to get a handle on what Long was up to is that many of the people who are interested in writing about him are socialists, and organized socialist antipathy for Long runs deep.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:49 AM on November 26 [14 favorites]


Via TPM:
While arguing Monday that the use of tear gas on hundreds of migrants and asylum-seekers near the U.S. border the previous day was justified, a Fox News commentator asserted: “It’s natural. You could actually put it on your nachos and eat it.”

“So it’s a good way of deterring people without long-term harm,” the commentator, Border Patrol Foundation President Ron Colburn, told “Fox & Friends.” Colburn is the former national deputy chief of U.S. Border Patrol, according to an online bio.

The comment recalled when then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly called pepper spray “a food product, essentially” after a police officer at UC Davis pepper sprayed seated student protesters in 2011, leading to some creative Amazon reviews.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:51 AM on November 26 [30 favorites]


Fox News wants you to be very afraid of what’s happening at the border - Emily Stewart, Vox

Seems to be Trump standard practice now - sow fear, distract opponents, maintain control over base. Change topics as needed to keep everyone off balance.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:55 AM on November 26 [4 favorites]


Trump complains that Mueller hasn’t questioned campaign staffers who didn’t collude with Russia... (CW: linkage to Mr. T's twitter feed)
posted by growabrain at 8:58 AM on November 26 [7 favorites]


I would put every penny i had into a gofundme for a fired restaurant worker who literally put some pepper spray in Ron Coburn's nachos.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:58 AM on November 26 [54 favorites]


Megyn Kelly called pepper spray “a food product, essentially”

"One squirt and you're south of the border!"
posted by Paul Slade at 9:00 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Can we get someone to ask him for a list of all of those campaign staffers who didn't collude with Russia? Just so we can compare it to the list of all campaign staffers, period?

Asking for a friend.
posted by delfin at 9:03 AM on November 26 [19 favorites]


CNBC : Right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi said he was offered a plea deal on 1 count of perjury — but added that he would "rather sit in prison and rot" than say he lied to special counsel Robert Mueller. (Full story here.)

Corsi's been energetically peddling this latest narrative to the media this morning, including The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand and CNN. He also admits to Politico that he had unidentified "sources" about Democratic Party's computer security but that he only guessed from this that Assange had Podesta's e-mails—"I connect the dots." (And rightwing conspiracy Twitter is also circulating rumors Corsi will even file a criminal complaint against Mueller.)

The Special Counsel's office won't comment, of course, but the real question is if his media blitz is intended to send smoke signals to Trump's legal team or his pet AAG. At the very least, it helps reinforce @realDonaldTrump's latest "NO Collusion" tweets this morning about Mueller's final report (which is not happening any time soon), "hundreds of people closely involved with my campaign who never met, saw or spoke to a Russian during this period", and "all of the crimes of many kinds from those ‘on the other side’".

And that last item may be Trump's own signal to Whitaker to that maybe he should start charging Hilary Clinton…
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:04 AM on November 26 [4 favorites]


CW: linkage to Mr. T's twitter feed

please let us refrain from using the sobriquet "Mr. T" for anyone other than Laurence Tureaud.

donald trump is a fool beyond pitying and has no right to that name
posted by murphy slaw at 9:10 AM on November 26 [143 favorites]


US authorities fired tear gas across the border

How is firing chemical weapons across the border not an act of war?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:11 AM on November 26 [7 favorites]


How is firing chemical weapons across the border not an act of war?

once again, we are in the world of norms and not laws. it's not an act of war until Mexico treats it as an act of war, and the US is betting they won't, for obvious reasons.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:12 AM on November 26 [8 favorites]


The only reason it's not an act of war is that Mexico is used to our bullshit (we have shot their citizens through the fence more than once) and mostly has no desire to provoke our head shitgibbon with a military response.
posted by emjaybee at 9:13 AM on November 26 [9 favorites]


please let us refrain from using the sobriquet "Mr. T" for anyone other than Laurence Tureaud.

donald trump is a fool beyond pitying and has no right to that name


One pities the foolish, the other fools the pitiable.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 9:14 AM on November 26 [86 favorites]


Well, and I trust Huey P. Newton's mom's judgment.

I mean. This is a complicated statement, but I’d probably feel more comfortable in general if people stopped lionizing gleeful rapists.
posted by schadenfrau at 9:15 AM on November 26 [7 favorites]


I know it's not important compared to everything else, but...another event, another sign that Trump people (well, Melania this time) are more interested in bolstering their personal brands than doing the boring jobs.

(They KNOW it's creepy, ok??)
posted by grandiloquiet at 9:16 AM on November 26 [5 favorites]


Etrigan: "I mean... we're not just tear-gassing refugees, we're shooting into another country to do it. This is a real "Hans, are we the baddies?" moment, or at least it should be."

$Deity on a rubber crutch, can you imagine the uproar south of the border if Canada was firing tear gas into the US to deter refugees entering Canada from the US?

Rosie M. Banks: "He better be an inoculation, because we really got lucky that Trump is so obviously inept and corrupt and has done such a good job at motivating the resistance. The next "Trump" might be much more smooth-talking and capable of fooling us until it's too late."

I'm not sure the GOP can pull back from saying the quiet bits out loud and still get their vote out.

andruwjones26: "(Someone even admitted "maybe Trump does just care about money!" I thought I was making progress).
"

The problem is The Cheeto is an unabashed full on racist. His policies, such as they are, are full on racist not only as an appeal to the horribles but because he believes in racist rhetoric. 20 years from now, if the US doesn't end up full on Nazi, his presidency will be seen in the same light as Thurmonds' fillibuster of the Civil Rights Act.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 AM on November 26 [7 favorites]


He also admits to Politico that he had unidentified "sources" about Democratic Party's computer security but that he only guessed from this that Assange had Podesta's e-mails.

The "I worked it out myself" argument makes no sense to anybody who understands the timeline of the hack-and-leak operation and the role of the DCLeaks / Guccifer 2.0 persona before Wikileaks got directly involved. It's pretty clear from the GRU indictment that Mueller's team understands this timeline better than anyone not in Mueller's team.

It is, however, a signal to the people who were collating Clinton/Dem-related emails from Wikileaks [WSJ, sub. req.]-- Peter Schweizer, Alexander Nix, Rebekah Mercer -- and the people involved in the summer project to track down the "missing" Clinton server emails.

Corsi has little value to the special counsel as a cooperating witness, given that he's a whackjob conspiracy theorist. A plea would lock in a statement of facts that has value to other parts of the investigation.
posted by holgate at 9:23 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]


ALERT: Please ignore the Huey discussion at the moment and call/fax/write your senator to ask them to vote against confirmation of Thomas Farr as federal judge. We need 2 (I think) Republican senators to join Democratic senators to stop this particular nightmare. Feel free to encourage your friends and family with Republican senators (and Democratic ones as well, why not?) to vote against him.

For good reason, his nomination has earned universal opposition from the civil rights community.

A couple of weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "filed cloture on a pair of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, Jonathan Kobes and Thomas Farr. This is not great news.

"The pair are up for spots on the U.S. District Court and McConnell’s actions yesterday mean they are now one Senate vote away from lifetime appointments. Kobes isn’t much of a known entity; his nomination is being opposed by liberal and progressive groups in part because of his sheer inexperience. But the years-long opposition that’s been built up against Farr is one rooted in the acknowledgement that Farr has spent a lifetime defending and aiding outright racist campaigns and legislation. He is what you would call a Bad Lawyer.

"After the infamous Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court ruling opened the door for state legislatures to more efficiently suppress minority voters, Farr was tapped by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013 to help them draw up their Voter ID law legislation. Te General Assembly was being run by a supermajority of conservative ghouls, so the law was drafted specifically to target out poor and minority citizens, which is did magnificently."


Not convinced? A protégé of Jesse Helms wrote a law targeting minority voters with ‘surgical precision’ in North Carolina. His nomination is part of a plan to pack the courts with extremists.

Previously.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:37 AM on November 26 [49 favorites]


Trump complains that Mueller hasn’t questioned campaign staffers who didn’t collude with Russia...
So many campaign workers, people inside from the beginning, ask me why they have not been called (they want to be).
Trump was asked to answer questions in person and avoided it. Since he's claiming that people who weren't colluding with Russia want to talk to Mueller, doesn't that mean he did collude with Russia?
posted by kirkaracha at 9:38 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


The vote on Farr was scheduled for today but I think it has been pushed to later this week. Regardless, kindly call/write/whatever today, please, if you can. /Begging over.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:40 AM on November 26 [10 favorites]


20 years from now, if the US doesn't end up full on Nazi, his presidency will be seen in the same light as Thurmonds' fillibuster of the Civil Rights Act.

you mean, the filibuster that had such vicious political consequences that he remained in the Senate for another 47 years and picked up a brief crown as the longest-serving senator in US history, not so much retiring as dying in office

ah yes

that filibuster
posted by sciatrix at 9:41 AM on November 26 [51 favorites]


The 2018 White House Christmas Theme Is Apparently 'The Shining'
Another year in the Trump White House, another opportunity to add a touch of holiday magic to the banality of evil!
...
We are so excited for you to bring your children, kicking and screaming, into this year's display. To put you in the holiday mood we've chosen to go a little on-the-nose by using so much red it looks like the walls of the White House are bleeding. After all, what is Christmas with the Trumps if not a horror movie full of tired clichés?
...
Is this a wreath made out of sharpened Be Best pencils or a bottomless pit of despair? Can't it be both?! It's the holidays, after all. We were particularly struck by the metaphor of taking a tool that has an established educational use and shellacking it within an inch of its life and throwing it on the wall. We thought that would be best for it.

The irony of this elaborate display about a refugee family seeking protection from persecution is completely lost on us.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:46 AM on November 26 [18 favorites]


Buzzfeed's Zoe Tillman: "NEW: Remember how there was that court filing with the name "Assange" in it, causing speculation that there might be a sealed criminal case against Julian Assange? Per new filing, the gov't is neither confirming nor denying that charges exist" (PDF: Government’s Opposition to Reporters Committee’s Application To Unseal Criminal Prosecution of Julian Assange)

It is, however, a signal to the people who were collating Clinton/Dem-related emails from Wikileaks [WSJ, sub. req.]-- Peter Schweizer, Alexander Nix, Rebekah Mercer -- and the people involved in the summer project to track down the "missing" Clinton server emails.

Exactly—Laura Rozen is wondering about the implications of Corsi's admission for Schweizer, as well how it matches up with the timeline of Guccifer 2.0's Podesta e-mail dump on June 15 and Corsi's trip to Italy a month later, which was just before the Wikileaks DNC e-mail dump. (See Just Security's Timeline of Roger Stone, Russia’s Guccifer 2.0, and Wikileaks.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:46 AM on November 26 [2 favorites]


oooh but maybe history will frown on him

I mean he got zero political consequences when he was alive but maybe future historians will make frowny faces

assuming we don't just get Daughters of the Confederacy 2, Electric Boogaloo, anyway

history is political; fuck rosy visions of "what history will think." we write the stories now, and we won't get to tell them without waging war and emerging as victors. it's not just the now that lies in the balance: the history of the now does, too. write the damn stories later, when we have a victory to get complacent about (and maybe, if we're lucky, to use to inspire future victories).
posted by sciatrix at 9:47 AM on November 26 [35 favorites]


In the United States, right-wing violence is on the rise, Wesley Lowery, Kimberly Kindy and Andrew Ba Tran, Washington Post
Over the past decade, attackers motivated by right-wing political ideologies have committed dozens of shootings, bombings and other acts of violence, far more than any other category of domestic extremist, according to a Washington Post analysis of data on global terrorism. While the data show a decades-long drop-off in violence by left-wing groups, violence by white supremacists and other far-right attackers has been on the rise since Barack Obama’s presidency — and has surged since President Trump took office.

This year has been especially deadly. Just last month, 13 people died in two incidents: A Kentucky gunman attempted to enter a historically black church, police say, then shot and killed two black patrons in a nearby grocery store. And an anti-Semitic loner who had expressed anger about a caravan of Central American refugees that Trump termed an “invasion” has been charged with gunning down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:57 AM on November 26 [26 favorites]


This year has been especially deadly. Just last month, 13 people died in two incidents: A Kentucky gunman attempted to enter a historically black church, police say, then shot and killed two black patrons in a nearby grocery store. And an anti-Semitic loner who had expressed anger about a caravan of Central American refugees that Trump termed an “invasion” has been charged with gunning down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.

Not to mention some right wing yo-yo sending mail bombs to a fistful of media figures and Democratic politicians, including an ex-president, that aren't part of the body count just because none of them went off.
posted by Gelatin at 10:17 AM on November 26 [25 favorites]


Well, at least they said it in the article:

The uptick in right-wing terrorism comes amid a renewed national focus on hate-driven violence.

Maybe someday they will refer to terrorism as terrorism in the actual headline.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:21 AM on November 26 [8 favorites]


@emptywheel [citations behind the link]: LOLOLOLOLOL. Jerome Corsi now claims he's The Smoking Gun and the right wing hoaxstersphere is buying it. Here's Guccifer, using the alias of Stephan Orphan, offering that link to The Smoking Gun.

Corsi is an enormous liar, and it's honestly hard for me to believe he only lied to the Special Counsel just once. In any event, the only reason to publicly announce that you're expecting to be indicted is to fish for a pardon.
posted by zachlipton at 10:26 AM on November 26 [4 favorites]


ProPublica has partnered with Frontline on a series called Documenting Hate. They don't shy away from calling this white supremacist terrorism. The piece on Atomwaffenand what law enforcement has ignored is chilling.
posted by gladly at 10:29 AM on November 26 [20 favorites]


The only reason it's not an act of war is that Mexico is used to our bullshit (we have shot their citizens through the fence more than once) and mostly has no desire to provoke our head shitgibbon with a military response.

"The best distillation of the Trump Doctrine I heard came from a senior White House official with direct access to the president and his thinking. [...] “The Trump Doctrine is ‘We’re America, Bitch.’ That's the Trump doctrine.” - extracted from this article in The Atlantic attempting to distill Trump's view of foreign relations.
posted by Paul Slade at 10:34 AM on November 26 [9 favorites]


Remember that the Judiciary Committee passed Farr's nomination on party lines. That means any one of Jeff "The Flakiest" Flake, Ben "More Like Asshole Amirite" Sasse, and Mike "The Konztitooshunal Skolar" Lee could all have voted against this guy and killed his nomination for this Congressional session, but instead supported straight-up Jim Crow policies. And yet they're still being defended by so-called "sane" and "moderate" NeverTrumpers as being principled conservatives.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:42 AM on November 26 [29 favorites]


what law enforcement has ignored is chilling

i would further call these things in which law enforcement is directly and enthusiastically complicit.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:42 AM on November 26 [29 favorites]


Regarding the border, a critical point from Todd Schulte on Twitter:
The *goal* of some of those shutting ports of entry *is* to get footage of people in large numbers at the border. Because an orderly process is boring b-roll. Over 100k people legally cross the border each day; an orderly asylum process is a tiny fraction.

But if you close ports of entry and deny people their legal right to apply for asylum—or functionally do the same by “metering” where you manufacture massive wait times—you’re going to encourage some of those fleeing for their lives to cross through the desert, while others...

Are going to wait...and wait...and wait...along the border. There are no current plans to handle these people. Conditions won’t be good. And THIS creates more b-roll. These people who previous might wait out asylum case in US with family and working now are portrayed as...

...the teeming masses. They’ll be called a hoarde. This will be used to justify even more attacks on the asylum process. It’s manufacturing a feedback loop where by stopping an orderly process, you create visuals of chaos to scare people to justify your goal

Its intentional.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:57 AM on November 26 [109 favorites]


Im writing something about 2014 and the extreme protests following the police murdering people in broad daylight and then facing no consequences absolutely helped create this moment
posted by The Whelk at 11:02 AM on November 26 [5 favorites]


Rev. Barber on Democracy Now about the asylum seekers.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 11:38 AM on November 26 [7 favorites]


In case anybody doesn't know about them, Postcards to Voters is a pretty great group to combine crafting/coloring with activism. They're doing cards for the Dec 4 runoff with John Barrow and Lindy Miller in Georgia right now.
posted by joannemerriam at 11:39 AM on November 26 [14 favorites]


Megyn Kelly called pepper spray “a food product, essentially”

Jean Chretien as prime minister of Canada beat her to it in 1997. In reference to pepper spray being used on APEC protestors who were upset about Suharto : "For me, pepper I put it on my plate".

For bonus giggles he was being questioned by Narduar the human serviette. Keep on rockin' in the free world. doot doota loot doo.
posted by srboisvert at 11:43 AM on November 26 [11 favorites]


(Postcards to voters feels very lib and corny but i still do every one they have cause i can draw and it helps to do something ..also postcards to city council ppl)
posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on November 26 [9 favorites]


Better a praxis that’s “lib, corny,” and effective than one that flatters our chosen politics but is tantamount to handing out pamphlets to bored commuters or preaching to the choir.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 11:48 AM on November 26 [18 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: While CNN doesn’t do great in the United States based on ratings, outside of the U.S. they have very little competition. Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair........and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!

@lachlan: It'd be like America's voice, broadcast around the world. Hey, we could even call it...Voice of America

This was posted as a thread, without the usual 15+ minute gap between the two tweets, which makes me think it's a Scavino special. There were initial concerns in 2017 about what Trump would do to the US's international broadcasting operations, and I wonder if that subplot is going to return once he realizes that the network he's ranting about, er, already exists.
posted by zachlipton at 11:57 AM on November 26 [35 favorites]


Barack Spinoza: Better a praxis that’s “lib, corny,” and effective than one that flatters our chosen politics but is tantamount to handing out pamphlets to commuters or preaching to the choir.

Sometimes the choir needs to be reminded to sing along, and commuters forgot that there's an election coming up. Don't discount even a small percentage bump in election turn-outs, particularly in close elections. See this [IMO] faulty coverage of political signs: Political signs have little impact on elections, expert says -- WHYY, Nov. 1, 2018, where the article notes that "On average, lawn signs increase vote share by 1.7 percentage points."
Political scientist Donald Green of Columbia University has studied races where candidates ran out of money and didn’t put signs in every corner of their district. The lack of signs did not seem to make much of a difference, he said.

“It doesn’t have an effect on voter turnout, but it does have an impact on vote share,” he said. “It won’t cause a candidate that is trailing by 10 points to have an astonishing comeback, but it would make a difference in a close election.”
How much of an impact was the author or editor hoping to see? Every vote counts, so anything above a zero percent impact is of some value. How much you invest, in terms of time and money, is left up to the individual or campaign.

Meanwhile, EPA reconsidering biofuel targets after production goals are missed -- Balance between refiners' interests and corn states' interests has been delicate. (Megan Geuss for Ars Technica, Nov. 25, 2018)
This week, two anonymous sources told Reuters that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering revising biofuel quotas downward after years of underperformance from the biofuel industry.

Biofuel, which is predominantly made from corn in the US, is a political minefield in the Trump Administration.
On the one hand, biofuel processors have enjoyed years of subsidies from the US federal government. The EPA mandates that oil refiners must mix a certain amount of biofuel into their gas and diesel before it is sold in the US, reasoning that cutting oil with biofuel reduces the carbon footprint of fossil fuel use. The quota also helps politicians curry favor with heavy corn-producing midwest states like Iowa, Nebraska, and Indiana, which supported Trump in the most recent presidential elections.

On the other hand oil refiners, another bastion of support for the Trump Administration, oppose having to blend ethanol into their product, arguing that it costs too much to buy ethanol or biofuel credits to come into compliance with federal rules.

In 2007, the US set progressively more ambitious biofuel targets in for oil refiners out to 2022. The Trump Administration tried to revise the targets in favor of oil refiners in 2017, but met staunch opposition and later said it wouldn't cut biofuel quotas.

Now, Reuters says that the EPA will move to reduce the biofuel targets for 2020, 2021, and 2022. "An EPA official confirmed the agency is working with stakeholders on a reset proposal, and aimed to finalize its plan by November 2019," Reuters wrote.

Part of the reasoning behind the attempts to revise targets downwards is that the biofuel industry seems to be lagging. Reuters notes that the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standards targets specify 36 billion gallons of biofuel should be sold in 2022. Biofuel producers only delivered about 20 billion gallons of biofuel to refiners in 2018, with advanced biofuels from algae and other low-impact feedstock falling particularly short of their individual goals.
Instead of doing anything to support the economies that could help meet those targets, let's just ratchet back the requirements. Also, let's punt it for a couple years, when Trump might be out of office.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:00 PM on November 26 [7 favorites]


A worldwide network pumping out American propaganda? Sure. You could call it... oh, I don't know... America Today.
posted by delfin at 12:02 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


I guess I bristled at the dismissal of proven get-out-the-vote-efforts as “lib and corny.”

I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that the blowback against Postcards From Voters happens to feature a highly gendered target (“women writing postcards, how silly, why aren’t they manning (sic) the barricades”) that itself was the product of the Women’s March(es).

Just sick of the patriarchy, I guess. I’ll take it to the venting thread.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:07 PM on November 26 [19 favorites]


So I'm going to tell a little anecdote, inspired by the stories from Texas, and by other recent comments not least holgate's quoting Bourdain. Today, I was on a field trip to the border country between Denmark and Germany. There's a lot to see there, and some years ago I did extensive community work in the area with my then students.
Back then, there was an election where the liberal party lost half their votes to the nationalists. This is an area where the liberals were as solid as rock. But their main candidate, and probably a few more down ballot were corrupt as hell.
Everything is different here, because half of Denmark or more are Social Democrats or Socialists, so "liberal" is the right, and nationalists are the very far right. (But not at all so far right they think Steve Bannon is acceptable).
Still, the pundits and the politicians themselves interpreted this as a notion to build a fence between Denmark and Germany because the nationalists won. Which is absurd, tone deaf and also stupid because everyone on the border has business across the border, family across the border and friends across the border. They were voting against corruption, it was that simple. Their only alternative was to vote socialist, and that was too far a bridge. And now the nationalists have turned out to be corrupt too, hoarding EU funds while being anti-EU. I have no idea how this will end.
What I'm trying to say is that the usual categories only work if there are no alternatives. I'm thinking if someone turns up with a positive agenda for that region in 2019 (when we have both national and EU elections), things can change at a radical scale. (Note to self: maybe I should write my EU rep...)
posted by mumimor at 12:09 PM on November 26 [12 favorites]


I live about a mile from the arena where Trump is holding a rally tonight for the run-off election for the Mississippi Senate seat, it's been really odious to see the dudes parked out on the side of the road the last few days selling their assorted rally-paraphernalia--confederate flags, blue lives matter flags, trump flags, etc.

And the opportunity to vote *again* for the very milquetoast democratic candidate Mike Espy tomorrow is not really getting me too excited, it's the only time I'll ever have voted in a single candidate election, and he has a snowball's chance in hell, so it's not going to be a pleasant time.
posted by skewed at 12:13 PM on November 26 [6 favorites]


(Postcards to voters feels very lib and corny but i still do every one they have cause i can draw and it helps to do something ..also postcards to city council ppl)

I think you use the levers that work, and I think that historically people on the left who are committed have understood this. People may have disagreed over what works and what "work" means, but serious people are pragmatic about tactics.

I think that people coming from a...I dunno, a basically white middle class radical activist tradition are coming from a political culture where we don't really do pragmatism very well. We go from "I'm trying to help the peasants by being a doctor but there are more problems than I can solve" to "therefore we should invigorate the intelligentsia by assassinating the czar, this is obviously the only solution" on a dime.

Obviously, we have to think about the long-term effects and trade-offs of any given project, but we actually have to think about it, not just assume about it.

Sometimes I feel like we've all been taught to expect that there will be the Event (whether an election, the rev or whatever) and then there won't be any more capital-P Politics, everyone will be free to straightforwardly do what they believe in with no considerations of tactics or strategy. And as a result we're mystified when, eg, a politician criticizes another, gets something (important committee appointments, concessions on legislation, etc) and backs off. The whole point of being public with criticism is to get leverage, because the whole point is leverage - the whole point is levers. Getting leverage is what you do when you don't think "let's assassinate people" is the best next step. because it's a thing you can do.

Similarly, send your postcards and feel good about them (as long as you're confident in the relationship between the postcards and your end goals) because you're doing what you can do.
posted by Frowner at 12:14 PM on November 26 [59 favorites]


ABC has inside info on the origin of Trump's bullshit figure on KSA military purchases from the US: Jared Kushner Pushed to Inflate Saudi Arms Deal to $110 Billion: Sources
President Donald Trump's reluctance to hold Saudi leadership accountable for the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi stemmed from a partly aspirational $110 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Saudia Arabia that was inflated at the direction of Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, according to two U.S. officials and three former White House officials.

Kushner, in a bid to symbolically solidify the new alliance between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia while claiming a victory on the president's first foreign trip to Riyadh, pushed State and Defense officials to inflate the figure with arms exchanges that were aspirational at best, the officials said. Secretary of Defense James Mattis supported Kushner's effort and ultimately endorsed the memorandum, according to a former NSC official familiar with the matter.

“We need to sell them as much as possible," Kushner told colleagues at a national security council meeting weeks before the May 2017 summit in Saudi Arabia, according to an administration official familiar with the matter.

Another U.S. official said there was a back and forth between Kushner and Department of Defense and State officials on how to get to a larger number because the officials initially told Kushner that realistically they had about $15 billion worth of deals in works, based on the Saudi government's interest in a THAAD system and maintenance of other systems.
Speaking of Jared Kushner, Maggie Haberman has some hints of the Trump Family's strategy for dealing with House Democrats' coming investigations: "Mr. Trump has told aides that he believes that Democrats have the potential to appear overly partisan in investigating his family and that voters may be sympathetic to efforts to rebuff them. [...] On the other hand, people close to [Jared and Ivanka] noted that they might be shielded by executive privilege in some instances, whereas the president’s adult sons, who do not serve in the administration, are not."
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:15 PM on November 26 [6 favorites]


This is really bugging me. The Chief Justice does not answer to The President, and certainly not via Twitter. Given this, Trump shitposting in response to Roberts disagreeing with him isn't escalation or extraordinary. It's just Trump doing a marketing performance for his supporters. Trump's entire brand is based on shouting "wrong" at people (or clouds in the sky). It would be nice if the news media took a step back from it's dude vs. dude meta-narrative and recognized that many of Trump's shitposts are just marketing.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:15 PM on November 26 [11 favorites]


There were initial concerns in 2017 about what Trump would do to the US's international broadcasting operations

It could be that Putin has asked him to deal with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
RFE/RL is registered with the IRS as a private, nonprofit Sec. 501(c)3 corporation, and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) as a private grantee. RFE/RL's editorial independence is protected by U.S. law.
Who are doing some of the best anglophone journalism about the Russian oligarchy/expansionism out there.

Particularly relevant at the moment is Christopher Miller's reporting on the situation in Ukraine. [twitter, frequently updated]

(Martial law passed, but in limited form - for those keeping up).

He's got a longer form explainer about the situation here.
posted by Buntix at 12:15 PM on November 26 [12 favorites]


@sahilkapur: Trump tells reporters re: his administration's new report detailing the rising dangers of climate change: "Yeah, I don't believe it." "No. No. I don't believe it," he says.

Um, I don't think that's how peer review is supposed to work.
posted by zachlipton at 12:15 PM on November 26 [24 favorites]


Alternatively, you could sit them down with a "native American" to discuss immigration and its discontents.

I wouldn't recommend this rhetorical route. I see a lot of dumb Facebook stuff that apparently thinks it's very clever, drawing comparisons between the Pilgrims (or European colonists generally) and modern-day immigrants. I don't really get who they think it's going to convince. The idea that Central American refugees/migrants are basically colonists in disguise is exactly what conservatives are afraid of, and—on the extreme/alt-right end—what they are telling each other to psych each other up for a "race war". It's practically unintentional alt-right propaganda.

The European extermination of the native Americans fits neatly into the post-neocon Grimdark Zero-Sum Narrative: modern Americans own the country because we scraped the previous occupants off of it. And that's how everything works as far as they're concerned: if your group wants land, it must perforce take it from some other group, which is typically a fatal transaction (literally or culturally) on the receiving end. And so, having land, it must be defended strenuously against anyone who might be a crypto-colonist trying to set up an outpost of another civilization. (See also: antisemitism, "hyphenated Americans", etc.)

The idea that someone might be trying to do unto them as their antecedents did unto the Natives is exactly why they see immigrants as an existential threat. Because European colonists were. In this view, the failure of the Algonquian and Powhatan to kill the Europeans while their feet were still wet was their fatal mistake. (The counternarrative here, IMO, is more or less the thesis of Guns, Germs, and Steel—basically "because smallpox". Not Wille zur Macht.)

So, yeah. I am not a big fan of refugees = Pilgrims as a counterargument to xenophobia.

The only reason it's not an act of war is that Mexico is used to our bullshit (we have shot their citizens through the fence more than once) and mostly has no desire to provoke our head shitgibbon with a military response.

This is probably about it. I was watching the new Trevor Noah special on Netflix last night, and among the usual lol Trump stuff (not undeserved), he said, totally seriously, "Trump wants a war". I think you can't ignore this as a risk, particularly as he gets closer to 2020 and re-election. Plus, it's obvious that Trump has a Putin fetish, and invading Mexico would be the logical parallel to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Exactly what the win for the US would be down there, I'm not sure; there's no obvious Crimean peninsula equivalent. A naval base in the Gulf of California seems like it'd have questionable utility.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:16 PM on November 26 [26 favorites]


Daily Beast, Centrist Group Behind Pelosi Holdouts Plotted to Make Her ‘Bogeyman’
Internal communications reviewed by The Daily Beast show that early this year the group No Labels, a centrist advocacy organization, contemplated a plan to kneecap Pelosi’s political standing. In one exchange, a top official with the group even laid out the pros and cons of turning the California Democrat into a “bogeyman.”
...
Emails obtained by The Daily Beast show that No Labels leadership contemplated a campaign to attack Pelosi aggressively after the primary campaign of centrist Rep. Dan Lipinski, who faced a primary challenge this year from Marie Newman, a progressive political neophyte. Lipinski’s pro-life stance had alienated a number of Democrats, but he was a proud member of the No Labels-backed House Problem-Solvers Caucus, and the group worked through a network of allied super PACs to support his reelection bid.

“Nancy, I have been thinking about our using Pelosi as the chief bogeyman in our messaging post-Lipinski,” began one email, subject line: “Pelosi as bogeyman.”
...
According to the emails, No Labels chief strategist Ryan Clancy appears to have tried to talk Jacobson down. A direct confrontation with Pelosi would blow back on the group’s congressional allies, he explained. It would also be unprecedented; No Labels had never engaged in similar campaigns against congressional leaders of either party. Clancy instead proposed to make Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the object of the group’s criticism. Unlike Pelosi, Sanders had actually endorsed Newman; had no procedural power to wield against members of the Problem-Solvers Caucus; and wasn’t even a Democrat.
I don't know about you guys, but I think "bogeyman" sounds rather like a label to me. Of course:

@internethippo: Just got back from the centrist rally. Amazing turnout. Thousands of people holding hands and chanting “Better things aren’t possible”
posted by zachlipton at 12:19 PM on November 26 [51 favorites]


Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!

Oh boy...

It would not have been possible for us to take power or to use it in the ways we have without the radio....It is no exaggeration to say that the German revolution, at least in the form it took, would have been impossible without the airplane and the radio. ...[Radio] reached the entire nation, regardless of class, standing, or religion. That was primarily the result of the tight centralization, the strong reporting, and the up-to-date nature of the German radio....Above all it is necessary to clearly centralize all radio activities, to place spiritual tasks ahead of technical ones,...to provide a clear worldview,*

So, who's up for Trump's casting call for Lord Haw-Haw? Taking bets now.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:21 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Why was the romaine outbreak so bad? Well our entire food system is exploitative and terrible and possibly killing us. (Twitter)

Buried the lede: Dr. Sarah Taber's agriculture podcast is called Farm to Taber.
posted by Etrigan at 12:24 PM on November 26 [33 favorites]


dudes parked out on the side of the road the last few days selling their assorted rally-paraphernalia--confederate flags, blue lives matter flags, trump flags, etc.

Yeah they just found nooses and “hate signs” in the Mississippi State Capitol, so...

God I hope that idiot klan handmaid loses
posted by schadenfrau at 12:24 PM on November 26 [22 favorites]


PBS: Ukrainian Lawmakers Vote to Impose Martial Law In Wake of Standoff With Russia

"Ukraine’s parliament has voted to support the president’s motion to impose martial law in the country for 30 days. Martial law will include a partial mobilization and strengthening of the country’s air defense. The measures before parliament also included vaguely worded steps such as “strengthening” anti-terrorism measures and “information security.”" (This applies only to regions that border Russia or the Russian-backed Transnistria, not the whole country.)

Back at the UN, ABC's Matthew Bevan reports: "The UN Security Council meeting went pretty much as expected, with Western powers backing Ukraine's version of events, and Russia disputing it, saying that their actions are justified because the Ukrainian boats violated their territorial waters."
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:29 PM on November 26 [5 favorites]


Yeah they just found nooses and “hate signs” in the Mississippi State Capitol, so...

Casual reminder that Jackson, MS is just about 80% Black.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:40 PM on November 26 [8 favorites]


I just want to point out some approval/disapproval ratings (from RCP):
Pelosi 28.5/52
McConnell 21.8/48

And yet for some reason the media has not been attacking McConnell as being divisive etc...
posted by nolnacs at 12:43 PM on November 26 [63 favorites]


We need to find a way to drive more of a wedge between the hard-right capitalists and the hard-right working class base. It defies irony that the former group makes up the "elite" that the latter group loves to rally against. But when the elites are white and on your side socially, it all becomes ok somehow.

So...I was thinking along these lines the other day while in the tub (so, bathtub idea, take it with a grain of (bath) salt) and came up with a possible solution...let's let the republicans have everything they want...for republicans. Like, each bill in Congress gets to have a rider attached by the other party, just for that party. This would require mandatory voter registration (but not mandatory voting) by party (and I'm not sure how it would work for 3rd parties/independents).
So, for example the GOP Healthcare Reform bill (let's take the entire health budget and give it to these billionaires) affects only republicans, and the Dem rider (Medicare for all) means we all get healthcare. Or the tax bill (GOP:No moar taxes. Also, no more roads, schools, sewage, garbage pickup, or clean water. Dems:We'll pay taxes and enjoy civilization, thx) etc etc. And it would be so easy to talk the Rs into it by playing on their secessionist, us vs them mentality. Just let them have exactly what they want...and find out who the real villains are. I imagine the GOP would last, at most, 2 election cycles if left to their own devices.
And yes, this is (mostly) fantasy...but the more I think about it the more I see how it could work...like my example of roads. Oh, you're a republican? Ok all the roads are toll roads for you ($100/mile)...we'll bill you when you come to get your $1000 monthly driver's license at the DMV. That we paid for. With taxes. And then we put all that fee money in a social fund and go have aperol spritzes in our luxury gay space condo. I really have my best ideas in the tub.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:45 PM on November 26 [9 favorites]


Even if the spray was just plain old grocery-store hot sauce for your nachos, I'd like to know where it's legal to intentionally spray said nacho sauce in children's eyes. It's like, quit with the fucking sidestepping of the issue and acknowledge that you're harming children, you disgusting monsters.
posted by Rykey at 12:49 PM on November 26 [77 favorites]


> Trump tells reporters re: his administration's new report detailing the rising dangers of climate change: "Yeah, I don't believe it." "No. No. I don't believe it," he says.

Um, I don't think that's how peer review is supposed to work.

It's precisely how it does work, though. As in: I have seen, verbatim, "I don't believe this," as the entire text of a review, and the editor saw no problem with that and rejected the paper.

(of course the author was a woman, why do you need to ask?)
posted by automatronic at 12:49 PM on November 26 [8 favorites]


In other news, the InSight probe has landed safely on Mars, an enviable 90.82 million miles away from Donald Trump.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:06 PM on November 26 [87 favorites]


basically, the storyline you push when you appeal to the economic benefit of the nativist working class is precisely the storyline that Ernst Röhm and the other OG nazis sold. It's something that's compelling to a lot of voters… but in the long run, it's even more dangerous than trumpism. Really the one lucky break we've had in the past three years is that Trump and the gang are too stupid and shortsighted and venial to really run the "herrenvolk socialism" strategy effectively.

I mean, it is true that herrenvolk socialism is dangerous as fuck and I am so glad Trump somehow never figured it out. But I do think it's possible to pitch storylines that appeal to the economic benefit of the nativist working class, that peel them away from nativism. Obviously, for me, I think that unions are a good way to do that, when you unite people against how shitty their boss is it tends to increase solidarity in the shop, and racial resentments tend to be lower in racially diverse unions. So you know, if you make, idk, like one big union or something...you are appealing to economic interests while still lessening racial tensions and anti-immigrant fervor.

But other people have other ideas about it and I don't object to them pursuing them as long as we all get to try our best shot together.
posted by corb at 1:27 PM on November 26 [8 favorites]


I'm really pissed at his coordinated attack on Pelosi.

Do you have a reference for this?
posted by contraption at 1:27 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


let's let the republicans have everything they want...for republicans. Like, each bill in Congress gets to have a rider attached by the other party, just for that party.

BZZT, 14th Amendment.
posted by rhizome at 1:39 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Trump's approval rating is currently 38%, with 60% disapproval.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:48 PM on November 26 [21 favorites]


WSJ, Trump Blasts GM Plans to Cut Jobs and Shutter Plants
President Trump said he told General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra that she should stop making cars in China and open a new plant in Ohio to replace the ones where the company is planning to end production.

“They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday. He said he had talked Sunday night with Ms. Barra, who discussed the company’s production cutbacks.

“I love Ohio,” Mr. Trump said. ‘I told them, ‘you’re playing around with the wrong person.’”
Does GM make up some lies so he can feel like he's "won," as companies liked to do in 2017, or do they just ignore him because you can't bully a car company into opening a factory?
posted by zachlipton at 1:58 PM on November 26 [21 favorites]


The lack of signs did not seem to make much of a difference, he said.

Here's where yard signs DO make a difference-they signal to other people around you what your political positions are and whether you're a safe person to talk with. I live on a cul de sac in a very Republican part of town and we are (we thought) the only Dems on our street of 10 homes. No other houses put any sort of political sign out, but just in conversation, we knew that we were the only Dems. Until I was flagged down by the daughter of the neighbor on the corner, who told me how grateful and relieved she was to see my Gillum and Nelson signs in the yard. She is living in the house while trying to sell it after her parents' deaths, so she didn't feel that putting a sign in the yard would help with buyers. We talked for about half an hour about feeling alone as Dems on the street and we made concrete plans to attend meetings and canvass together. If I hadn't put the sign in my yard-I wouldn't have made a friend and we both would have continued to feel very alone.

Also, I still have my Hillary sticker on my car, much for the same reason. I WANT people to know on the road that they aren't alone or that they were the only votes for her. I also have a Thin Blue Line sticker on my car (my son is a police officer), so my son says that I probably give people whiplash when they look twice at a person who can vote Hillary and not hate cops.
posted by hollygoheavy at 2:03 PM on November 26 [53 favorites]


So, who's up for Trump's casting call for Lord Haw-Haw? Taking bets now.

Nigel Farage has been doing it for a while, no?
posted by ocschwar at 2:09 PM on November 26 [5 favorites]


It's (un) official: Beto's not not running!

@davidsiders . @BetoORourke acknowledges he has changed his answer on #2020 ... now not ruling it out
posted by scalefree at 2:09 PM on November 26 [11 favorites]


Sen. Bernie Sanders has a new book out, was on The View today, clearly interested in running for 2020. I'm really pissed at his coordinated attack on Pelosi.

OK, I'm confused. Here's his appearance on the show today, and there's not even a mention of Pelosi, let alone a "coordinated attack." In fact, I can't find anything from Sanders talking about Pelosi recently apart from a video that is titled "Sanders defends Pelosi: 'Nancy has done a good job'" where he actually calls out her critics for being sexist.

I'm not a fan of Sanders running in 2020, but this seems like smoke-but-no-fire drama.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:29 PM on November 26 [10 favorites]


[We are not taking a hard turn into general law enforcement discussion, thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:30 PM on November 26 [8 favorites]




Trump's approval rating is currently 38%, with 60% disapproval.

In one poll. The average is still roughly where it's been for months, which is near the top of his approval range.
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on November 26 [6 favorites]


We have one of those by-now cliche all purpose liberal yard signs that we put out pretty soon after the election, and a few months later the father of a guy who lives up the street (a poc, though our neighborhood is pretty well integrated for our very segregated city) knocked on our door specifically to tell us that he appreciated our sign and it made him feel safer in our community. We've kept that sign out for two years and added a sign for Sara Innamorato (successful DSA supported primary challenger from the left for state assembly) at the primary and then the general because I wanted people to know that a household with our stated values was supporting her. In small ball local politics, I do think that matters.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:35 PM on November 26 [20 favorites]


BZZT, 14th Amendment.

Gahdamnitt...I guess I need a laminated constitution to bring in the tub with me :/
But hmm...interesting question of whether or not it's a violation of equal protection if you yourself chose which of the two 'governing styles' you subscribe to. But yeah, it would probably end up with the Dems bankrupting themselves with superfund cleanups after GOP deregulation ended up with nuclear waste dumped all over the fucking place.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:39 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


Remember that the Judiciary Committee passed Farr's nomination on party lines. That means any one of Jeff "The Flakiest" Flake

@sahilkapur: .@JeffFlake tells me he’ll vote NO on the Thomas Farr nomination, holding to his threat to oppose all judges until the Mueller protection bill is brought up for a vote.

Still needs another Republican to oppose though.
posted by zachlipton at 2:46 PM on November 26 [10 favorites]


Trump's approval rating is currently 38%, with 60% disapproval.

Or else it's 44%. Depends who you ask.

This is why I try to go by the FiveThirtyEight average. Which is currently infuriatingly high at 42.5%
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:47 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


I can't find anything from Sanders talking about Pelosi recently apart from a video that is titled "Sanders defends Pelosi: 'Nancy has done a good job'" where he actually calls out her critics for being sexist.

I wonder if folks are confusing the Problem Solvers caucus arguing over whether to launch a coordinated attack on Sanders or Pelosi with Sanders coordinating an attack on Pelosi.
posted by This time is different. at 2:48 PM on November 26 [9 favorites]


Back in the early days, even before he'd even taken office if I remember right, Trump could scare CEOs and rattle markets with a tweet. These people actually believed Trump would be able to hurt them if they got on his wrong side. Now he's yelling at the CEO of GM, and... nothing. Should be a doozy of a 3 am tweetstorm coming up.
posted by azpenguin at 2:48 PM on November 26 [11 favorites]


First of all, Flake could have prevented Farr from ever coming to a floor vote by not voting him out of committee in the first place. And second, he's only promising not to vote on him over the Mueller issue, he otherwise seems totes cool with letting a Neo-Confederate fuckstick on one of the highest courts in the land. Given his reputation on the Hill, it's clear that all he's doing is posturing at this point, because he knows that no one on either side takes his wimpy bullshit seriously.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:52 PM on November 26 [16 favorites]


Jeff Flake is only trying to pad his "mavericky" resume for his next career as a CNN contributor for the rest of his life. The time he could've done anything was a year ago, not 6 weeks before Republicans gain votes in the Senate.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:56 PM on November 26 [7 favorites]


@ericawerner: Shelby says Trump has told them that $5b for Wall is a red line.
(D’s have agreed to $1.6b)
(Shutdown deadline Dec. 7)

welp.
posted by zachlipton at 2:58 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


The back and forth re: 'globalist' was a ways upthread, but I'm curious if anyone has worked to reclaim it. 'Globalist' as a slur implies that considering the lives of others is bad: the 'globalist' is concerned with everybody, not just 'our' people, the people that matter. In that context, hell yeah I'm a 'globalist'. We all live here; our lives are entwined; people all around the globe are my people.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:00 PM on November 26 [6 favorites]


I don't think the word globalist ever meant "someone who cares about people around the globe." Others please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the original academic meaning of "globalist" was more like "a capitalist who benefits from and advances globalism by moving their business practices around the world to take advantage of local economic and political conditions and to access a world-wide market for their products", and then the right co-opted the word to mean "a Jew."
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 3:05 PM on November 26 [36 favorites]


Wemayfreeze, you might be thinking of cosmopolitanism.
posted by This time is different. at 3:14 PM on November 26 [8 favorites]


Politico: Watchdog Office to Probe Mar-a-Lago Members' Influence at VA
The Government Accountability Office will investigate whether members of Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida, improperly influenced the Department of Veterans Affairs, including over a $10 billion contract to modernize veterans’ health records, according to a letter from the watchdog office released by Democratic lawmakers Monday.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) had requested an investigation in August following reports that Trump confidant Ike Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment, and Bruce Moskowitz, a West Palm Beach doctor, used their access to the club — and the president — to delay and shape a plan to overhaul digital health records at the VA.
Previously, from ProPublica: The Shadow Rulers of the VA—How Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter and two other Mar-a-Lago cronies are secretly shaping the Trump administration’s veterans policies.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:18 PM on November 26 [21 favorites]


That awkward moment when you agree with Margaret Thatcher:

"The choice is clear. We can play a role in developming Europe, or we can turn our backs. By turning our backs we would forfeit our right to influence what happens. But what happens will inevitably affect us." - Thatcher, 1975

I'm whatever kind of -ist that is. I guess we didn't used to need a name for it, because it was the widely shared consensus of everybody across the political spectrum post World War II. We used to understand that nationalism leads to wars, because not every nation can be "first" and attempts to benefit your country at the expense of someone else's is inevitably going to cause conflict.

Now that the world war II generation is mostly gone, I guess we have forgotten that lesson. Now we have nationalists and "America First" again.

But Earth is a pretty small space ship to house 7 billion people, as it turns out. And it's crazy to imagine that what happens on the other side of it won't affect me, in this age of multinational companies and transoceanic airplanes and the internet and climate change and satellites and ICBMs.

Nationalism is a stupid destructive fantasy. The opposite of nationalism is just realism.
posted by OnceUponATime at 3:21 PM on November 26 [26 favorites]


(Shutdown deadline Dec. 7)

welp.


YAY HE'S HOLDING HUGE SEGMENTS OF THE ECONOMY HOSTAGE TO PAY FOR HIS STUPID VANITY PROJECT

if he ever builds it I hope people block off the concrete trucks until the loads solidify, I hear timing is important on those
posted by sciatrix at 3:22 PM on November 26 [29 favorites]


@chrisgeidner: CENSUS CASE UPDATE: DOJ goes to #SCOTUS on the eve of closing arguments in the Census citizenship question trial and “suggests” it “may wish to reconsider” putting trial proceedings on hold while it considers the discovery question. Wild to see this filing coming from SG Noel Francisco only on late Monday — after DOJ received trial stay denials from the district court (11/20) and 2nd Cir (11/21) by last Wednesday.

Here's the filing.

@steve_vladeck: I _still_ don’t understand why the SG is pulling out every stop to try to stop the district court from entering a judgment in the (concluded) Census trial. As its own letter makes clear, there isn’t even a coherent reason why such a judgment would actually cause irreparable harm.

They just keep desperately appealing. It's madness.
posted by zachlipton at 3:27 PM on November 26 [7 favorites]


I don't think the word globalist ever meant …

I use the word 'reclaim' here to mean 'co-opt', in the way that marginalized groups have taken slurs used against them and re-used them for their own positive ends. The original meaning of the word isn't the issue, but rather what we can make of it moving forward.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:43 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


"Guess what, President Donald Trump is doing a campaign rally. It is in Tupelo, Mississippi. Tweets in this thread," writes Daniel Dale. Some highlights from this shorter, but not weirder, rally:
—Trump complains that his "guys" didn't set up the room optimally, should have pushed the media back. He adds, "Sometimes my people let me down. That happens a little bit."
—Trump on the day of the GM cuts: "For years you watched as powerful forces in Washington shipped away your jobs. You saw that. You saw that. That's changing. You see what's coming in. So many companies coming in to Mississippi. And everyplace else, by the way."
—For the 33rd time as president, Trump lies that foreign governments put problem citizens into the U.S. green card lottery to get rid of them. This time, in Tupelo, he adds that the governments aren't putting Elvises into that lottery.
—Trump says he has brought a "star" to the rally: Sen. Lindsey Graham. He says Graham's "brilliant and beautiful" speech during the Kavanaugh hearings really helped their cause.
—Lindsey Graham: "If you like Kavanaugh, there's more coming."
—This speech is a bit weird because he's saying the same things he said over and over before the congressional midterms, which are over except for this race.
—Trump was winding up to his inspirational scripted conclusion but then said, "We have a lot of bad people. We have a lot of phony stuff. Like the Russian witch hunt garbage."
Trump's doing another one at 9 PM, and Dale's going to cover that, too ("It's okay I'm at peace with my bad choices").
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:50 PM on November 26 [13 favorites]


The back and forth re: 'globalist' was a ways upthread, but I'm curious if anyone has worked to reclaim it. 'Globalist' as a slur implies that considering the lives of others is bad: the 'globalist' is concerned with everybody, not just 'our' people, the people that matter. In that context, hell yeah I'm a 'globalist'. We all live here; our lives are entwined; people all around the globe are my people.

I'm always overcome with giggles when I remember that Hyatt revamped their entire travel rewards program to include a top-level "Globalist" tier. It probably doesn't count as reclaiming, since I think they rolled it out a few months before conservatives started frothing at the mouth about those, uh, cosmopolitan types. That said, they haven't changed the name yet, so I guess multinational corporations don't regard the work as particularly toxic. (That's probably not what you had in mind, though.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 4:01 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]






More on Manafort from Jim Scuitto

Breaking: Fmr Trump campaign Chmn Paul Manafort lied to the FBI and special counsel’s office “on a variety of subject matters” after pleading guilty, prosecutors say, and they would like him to be sentenced by a judge in DC, according to a new filing tonight
posted by bluesky43 at 4:09 PM on November 26 [12 favorites]


Here's the court filing. It's pretty vague, just that Manafort lied to the FBI and Special Counsel's Office "on a variety of subject matters" and they'd like him to go to jail now. Manafort's lawyers say he's told the truth and has been helpful.

We still don't entirely know what happened during the campaign, but it sure seems like everyone involved keeps getting caught lying about it.
posted by zachlipton at 4:11 PM on November 26 [10 favorites]


Here's the court filing

also linked in the original comment. Yes it's vague but Scuitto reports they want him sentenced now, which must mean the plea deal is off. I'd like to know what the lies were.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:14 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


I think the plea deal is still on in the sense that he is required to cooperate but can’t get a lesser sentence. That’s my understanding from the filing at least?
posted by lazaruslong at 4:37 PM on November 26


"Guess what, President Donald Trump is doing a campaign rally. It is in Tupelo, Mississippi. Tweets in this thread"
Trump, campaigning for Cindy Hyde-Smith, calls the Republican Party "the home of Abraham Lincoln."
Way to read the room Confederacy, Don.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:47 PM on November 26 [5 favorites]


emptywheel points out that the "detailed sentencing submission … sett[ing] forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies” will be a de facto public reporting of many/most details of the investigation, which will not be subject to approval from the Attorney General.
posted by contraption at 4:53 PM on November 26 [28 favorites]


NYT:
Prosecutors working for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said Mr. Manafort’s “crimes and lies” about “a variety of subject matters relieve them of all promises they made to him in the plea agreement. But under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Manafort cannot withdraw his guilty plea.

Instead, after at least a dozen sessions with him, federal prosecutors have not only decided Mr. Manafort does not deserve leniency, but also could seek to refile other charges that they had agreed to dismiss as part of the plea deal.

The prosecutors did not describe what Mr. Manafort lied about, saying they would set forth “the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies” in an upcoming sentencing memo.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:58 PM on November 26 [30 favorites]




WSJ, Transcript of President Trump’s Interview With The Wall Street Journal in which " Small portions of the interview have been excluded from this transcript that were off the record or that have been withheld for future Wall Street Journal articles," because this newspaper is still run by garbage people even as it has produced some excellent work.

The big thing here is that he's threatening to raise tariffs yet more, but don't blame him when businesses are struggling as a result because "a lot of times people like to blame tariffs when they’re doing badly."
posted by zachlipton at 5:03 PM on November 26 [7 favorites]


I know reality means nothing, and Trump's words mean even less, but I **REALLY** would like to see every Democrat who test to interact with Trump bring up his promise that Mexico would pay for the stupid fucking wall. And every reporter make it a centerpiece of their questions as well.

"I guess I'm just confused Mr. President, why do you need five billion dollars from Americans? You said Mexico would pay for the wall."

"Mr. President, what if we pledged to provide ten dollars for every dollar Mexico pays for the wall, would that be good?"

"If Mexico is paying for the wall, why are you trying to bill the American people Mr. President?"

Stuff like that. Just never letting it go and driving him even nuttier with the constant repetition. For bonus points have some of video of him saying Mexico would pay for the wall queued up on your phone so you can play it if he tries to claim he never promised Mexico would pay for it.

I realize of course that this will never happen. The media is totally cowed by Trump, and the Democrats have never had a spine to lose, but I can hope.

The idea of Trump being able to blackmail one single penny for his stupid fucking wall by shutting down the government is just enraging. And that the Democrats (yet fucking again) pre-negotiated with themselves and are offering $1.6 billion is even worse.

Seriously Democrats, WTF? This isn't rocket surgery, you don't start by giving the enemy close to half of what they want. You open with zero dollars for the fucking wall, and loud obnoxious questions about why Trump wants any of our money since Mexico is paying for the wall. Then, if you absolutely must, you let the Republicans negotiate that up from zero. But you don't fucking start at halfway.
posted by sotonohito at 5:19 PM on November 26 [115 favorites]


From The Guardian by Carole Cadwalladr: Parliament has used its legal powers to seize internal Facebook documents in an extraordinary attempt to hold the US social media giant to account after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly refused to answer MPs’ questions.

A weird update here: BuzzFeed, New Court Filing Names Journalist To Explain How A Parliamentary Committee May Have Obtained Internal Facebook Documents, in which court documents indicate that Cadwalladr was the one who informed Parliament of the existence of the documents and may have tipped them off specifically to Kramer's location, though that's not been demonstrated for certain. Which kind of raises some pretty significant journalistic ethics concerns.

@MarkDiStef: Suggest there’s *a lot* of questions here for Carole Cadwalladr and The Guardian about their alleged involvement in the unprecedented seizure of Facebook’s internal documents in a London hotel

This is kind of petty of me, but I've been fuming for months over this tweet of Cadwalladr's from the Zuckerberg hearings in April is still up, and it's blatantly false (watch the tape, he does not say "to target you better"). She has straight-up added words to the end of the quote, in quotation marks, to claim the opposite of what Zuckerberg is saying. I can give her the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't deliberate, but it's sloppy at best and went uncorrected despite plenty of replies pointing out it was false.
posted by zachlipton at 5:23 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


In CA-21, Democrat TJ Cox has pulled into the lead (Twitter link). Looks like that 40th seat might be happening.
posted by lalex at 5:26 PM on November 26 [37 favorites]


Facebook told Parliament to eat dirt and a UK paper threw them off a pier for it.

I'm not seeing the issue.
posted by Slackermagee at 5:30 PM on November 26 [12 favorites]


@annalecta [Open Secrets]: NEW: Tax return reveals Trump remained Trump Foundation president his whole first year in office. It was funded entirely by his business & a “reimbursement” by his golf club for a 5-yr-old payment under scrutiny by NY AG lawsuit as “improper self-dealing." New Trump Foundation tax return: 6-foot-tall “speed painter” oil portrait of Donald Trump his charity paid $10,000 to buy after Melania won it at a charity fundraiser auction at Mar-a-Lago was valued at $700 at the start of 2017 but dropped to Ø by the end

More details and the Form 990.
posted by zachlipton at 5:34 PM on November 26 [51 favorites]


The same pundit class that says Beto has no heat because he didn't win in TX, are they waxing philosophical about how bizarre it is that the Republican POTUS makes it a priority to physically go down to Mississippi to salvage a Republican candidate?
posted by Selena777 at 5:38 PM on November 26 [11 favorites]


emptywheel points out that the "detailed sentencing submission … sett[ing] forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies” will be a de facto public reporting of many/most details of the investigation, which will not be subject to approval from the Attorney General.

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti delves into the significance of Mueller's filing:
Today's filing indicates that Mueller believes he can prove that Manafort lied on multiple occasions. It's worth noting that we knew of at least one unusual issue with Manafort's cooperation--Trump's lawyers said Manafort's lawyers were updating them on Manafort's actions.

That is very highly unusual, because typically flippers are completely on the government's team. Today's filing could mean that Manafort was trying to protect Trump, or he could be trying to shield another person or entity, or trying to hide wealth from prosecutors.[...]

Manafort is now in a worse position than if he didn't cooperate in the first place and just pleaded guilty. Mueller can now invalidate the cooperation deal and has indicated in the report that he *has* broken the deal.

So on top of pleading guilty, Mueller will "file a detailed sentencing submission" that "sets forth the nature of the defendant's crimes and lies, including those after signing the plea agreement." So the judge will learn of Manafort's efforts to deceive Mueller and the FBI.[...]

Could Manafort have been promised a pardon in exchange for lying to the special counsel? Sure, but offering anything of value to someone in exchange for the commission of a federal crime is itself a federal crime.

What if it wasn't a quid pro quo, and a pardon was hinted at by Trump's lawyers but not explicitly in exchange for anything? That would be a much harder case to prove as well as a case that might involve a legal challenge because it is, as far as I know, unprecedented.

Could Manafort have lied in the hopes of obtaining a pardon? Yes. Could he nonetheless receive a pardon? Sadly, yes. He would still be subject to state criminal prosecution, although lying to the FBI is not a state crime. There are relevant state crimes like tax evasion.
It's only gradually sinking in with me how truly screwed Manafort is—he's facing a minimum sentence of 10 years now that the sentencing reduction is off the table, but all his obligations under the deal remain intact—and how well Mueller has turned this setback into an advantage, effectively creating a workaround for releasing his report to the public in case Trump's AAG/AG tries to sit on it.

It will be interesting to see if Trump can keep himself together during tonight's rally (and we already know "the Russian witch hunt garbage" is on his mind).
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:54 PM on November 26 [25 favorites]


I think the apposite terms in the Cadwalladr article linked above were "hints" and "suggests". Kramer and his lawyers have zero proof that she tipped off Collins and the DCMS committee with his hotel address.

And please can we not go down the demonification route with another high profile female journalist, especially one who is fearlessly pushing ahead in investigating international conspirators connected to extraordinarily dangerous people.

OH NOES, a misquote! How very dare she.
posted by doornoise at 5:55 PM on November 26 [18 favorites]


Seriously Democrats, WTF? This isn't rocket surgery, you don't start by giving the enemy close to half of what they want. You open with zero dollars for the fucking wall, and loud obnoxious questions about why Trump wants any of our money since Mexico is paying for the wall. Then, if you absolutely must, you let the Republicans negotiate that up from zero. But you don't fucking start at halfway.

Just because we all got a whole lot angrier and more radicalized in the last two years doesn’t mean our Democrats a) learned or b) got better at negotiating.

Go back and read all the threads on Obamacare and the 2011 debt ceiling showdowns where they tried desperately to get Republicans to agree to getting 70-90% of their stretch demands and were only rebuffed because Republicans kept demanding 110% and a pony. We’re all going to remember the reality of Democrat’s reluctance to actually wield power now that we’ve won it back for them.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:02 PM on November 26 [23 favorites]


Mueller team says Manafort breached plea deal by lying to the FBI and the Special Counsels office

This is nuts, although one must admire Mueller's sang froid in sitting on this until after Trump handed in his open-book questionnaire.


On very short first impression, it looks to me like Trump's written answers are maybe the very basis of the assertion that Manafort lied, pitting Trump's answers against Manafort's, using Trump's answers to put new pressure on Manafort in an area where pressure has already worked well once, and thereby pressuring Manafort to double down against Trump and provide greater detail and proof than he did previously in order to prove that Trump committed perjury even when assisted by counsel in crafting written answers under oath.
posted by The World Famous at 6:02 PM on November 26 [45 favorites]


@karentravers:
NEW: I asked Pres Trump how he felt seeing the images of women and children running from tear gas.

“I do say why are they there?...Why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming and it’s going to be formed. And they’re running up with a child” 1

“In some cases you know they’re not the parents. These are people they call them grabbers, they grab a child because they think they’re going to have a certain status by having a child.“ (2)

The president also said the tear gas is “very safe.”

“First of all the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe. The ones that were suffering to a certain extent were the people that were putting it out.” (3)
So, um, he thinks the Border Patrol officers firing the tear gas were suffering more than the women and children being gassed. I suppose they could have offered to switch places if that was the case?

@ToluseO: CBP Commissioner contradicts Trump, saying none of his agents were seriously injured at the border Sunday. Trump just told the press pool: "Three border patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt, getting hit with rocks and stones."
posted by zachlipton at 6:09 PM on November 26 [39 favorites]


There's another theory circulating on Twitter, multi-dimensional chess style. Sorry for lack of link...

That Mueller held out on revealing how little credence he put in Manafort's "assistance" until he had the matching lies in writing from Trump.

It's a nice thought.
posted by doornoise at 6:10 PM on November 26 [16 favorites]


There's another theory circulating on Twitter, multi-dimensional chess style

That's Marcy Wheeler's theory: that Manafort's "cooperation" allowed his lawyers to pass on inside information to the White House, and that it fed into the written answers. There was never any indication that the information-sharing agreement between Manafort and the White House had come to an end after the plea deal.

A weird update here: BuzzFeed

Buzzfeed has a really weird axe to grind with Cadwalladr. (See: her Twitter thread on an earlier profile.)
posted by holgate at 6:20 PM on November 26 [8 favorites]


Yup, if both testimonies are demonstrably false, and in the same particulars, then you have further evidence of conspiracy.

Mueller may have waited until after Trump handed in his "easy" homework to reveal that he already knew that the story they'd cooked up was total bullshit.

I bet Whittaker's phone is red hot right now.
posted by doornoise at 6:25 PM on November 26 [23 favorites]


I don't think Manafort's behavior here was motivated by a desire to stay out of prison, nor did he hope for a presidential pardon. Instead I think it affirms many people's prior suspicions that he fears the Kremlin to a mortal degree.

When I first learned he would cooperate I was pretty confused because of the implication that he was no longer afraid for either himself or his family members, and I concluded that the Mueller people must have been able to offer credible assurance of protection. But now I suspect that his lying to them was either a delaying tactic or an attempt to send the team down the wrong investigative path, because he believes he simply cannot tell the truth.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:39 PM on November 26 [12 favorites]


It's impossible to get a read on Mueller, but I think at this point we have A) Manafort's testimony and B) Trump's written answers.

Assuming they don't match up in material ways, ONE of them MUST be lying.

We have Manafort in custody, and he's already promised not to lie, let's throw the book at him, and see what happens next.
posted by mikelieman at 6:48 PM on November 26 [6 favorites]


He did business with real life Bond villain Oleg Deripaska.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:49 PM on November 26


"the tear gas is forming"

"the tear gas is forming"

i just
his fucking use of the third-person passive voice style has somehow stirred up even more rage in me and i thought i'd already maxed out my rage capabilities

tear gas doesn't just fucking happen, it's not like the fucking weather
posted by halation at 6:50 PM on November 26 [97 favorites]


That's Marcy Wheeler's theory: that Manafort's "cooperation" allowed his lawyers to pass on inside information to the White House, and that it fed into the written answers.

I love how this fits with Trump's "I'm only answering Russia questions, nothing on obstruction!" and Mueller's seeming big ol' shrug on pressing that point. In hindsight it looks like Trump blatantly saying "I'm only answering questions I can copy off this other guy's paper!" since Manafort wasn't involved in the obstruction, and Mueller knew what was going on the whole time and responded with a "Please proceed, Mr. President", letting Manafort and Trump think they're clever, letting Rudy think he's a big shot for negotiating terms on Trump's take home test, trying so very hard to keep the poker face on the whole time...
posted by jason_steakums at 7:03 PM on November 26 [13 favorites]


Assuming they don't match up in material ways, ONE of them MUST be lying.

Or both! They could try to double-cross each other by tweaking their testimony in their favor while pretending to get their stories straight!

Seriously, we know Manafort and Trump had a joint defense agreement that appears to have been maintained in some form after Manafort's plea deal. Giuliani seemed oddly confident about Manafort (WaPo): "Trump attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani said that Manafort’s legal team assured him as recently as Saturday — the day after Manafort struck a plea deal with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — that he has no information that will incriminate the president or his family, including eldest son Donald Trump Jr."

And then there were Trump's tweets on November 15 about how "The inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess. They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want." and how "These are Angry People, including the highly conflicted Bob Mueller". Even taking into account Trump's penchant for exaggeration and projection, this was the day before Mueller asked Judge Berman Jackson for a 10-day delay in submitting his status report on Manafort's cooperation.

But even if Trump and Manafort were comparing notes the entire time, not only does Mueller have the cooperative testimony of Rick Gates and Michael Flynn (and Felix Sater) that they're not privy to, but the Special Counsel also has the files FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation and all the surveillance from the Five Eyes (remember Comey's NZ trip in April 2017, for instance).

Trump and Manafort can't even begin to guess at how much Mueller knows, but they're stupid and arrogant enough to underestimate this. While they think they're David Mamet characters, they're really in a Coen brothers movie.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:06 PM on November 26 [39 favorites]


I think at this point we have A) Manafort's testimony and B) Trump's written answers.

And you have C) all the documentary evidence Mueller's team have recovered.

We know that Mueller can prove certain important statements in A represent non-cooperation, i.e. lies. I'd say the likelihood is he can also prove that B contains lies by omission (invoking non-existent privilege) or out-and-out lies.

(Edit: not a lawyer tho, so who knows?)
posted by doornoise at 7:06 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


tear gas doesn't just fucking happen, it's not like the fucking weather

It was evening all afternoon.
Tear gas was forming
And it was going to form.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 7:07 PM on November 26 [14 favorites]


It's impossible to get a read on Mueller, but I think at this point we have A) Manafort's testimony and B) Trump's written answers.

Assuming they don't match up in material ways, ONE of them MUST be lying.


Yes but it is not an XOR. They can both be lying. The takeaway is that if Mueller is confident enough to formally accuse Manafort of lying that means he thinks he has unassailable independent evidence regarding the facts in question.

So if Trump coordinated with Manafort's lies in written testimony then he backed away from the verbal perjury mousetrap and instead jumped into an inescapable perjury buzzsaw. There is no way he can "locker room talk" or "verbal diarrhea" his way out of signed written testimony vetted by his own legal staff.
posted by srboisvert at 7:14 PM on November 26 [19 favorites]




Let's check in with Daniel Dale to see how Trump's second rally went this evening in Biloxi. Some highlights:
—Fake snow falls on Trump. He marvels at it and swats it away in dramatic fashion. He begins, "Look, snow, I didn't know what was going on, this is, I said, are you sure this is indoor, that beautiful snow looks so real, that's the end of my suit, that's the end of my hair..."
—Trump says what is happening is "frankly unprecedented," then tries and fails to say unprecedented again, saying something like, "What's happening is un-prentice."
—"We are respected like at no time before," Trump says. He says foreign leaders walk in and tell him, "Mr. President, it's incredible what's happened with your country in such a short time."
—Trump: "We had three seats even four seats that were so close. We almost won. In areas that a lot of people say don't bother contesting. We almost won in four states that a lot of people say don't bother, you can't win." This did not happen.
—Trump alleges "a little tricky business going on" in the midterms. He does not say what he's talking about.
—Trump: "You still have deep state, but one by one we're getting them out. You have deep state bad people. You have a lot of phony stuff going on. But you know what? One by one, we're winning. We're winning winning winning."
—Trump said win win win win and now the crowd is chanting win win win win.
—Trump has concluded. Like his rally this afternoon, this one was much shorter than usual.
And weirder than usual, frankly.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:42 PM on November 26 [19 favorites]


He says foreign leaders walk in and tell him, "Mr. President, it's incredible what's happened with your country in such a short time."

"Mr. President, your country has lost all credibility in such a short time."

"Yes, I am incredible."
posted by jason_steakums at 7:47 PM on November 26 [69 favorites]


@ericawerner: Shelby says Trump has told them that $5b for Wall is a red line.
(D’s have agreed to $1.6b)
(Shutdown deadline Dec. 7)


And note the timing between this and the Trump-generated crisis on the border. You can be sure that when the shutdown happens, the media is going to be filled with pictures ad video of the chaos along the border. All contributing to a "Look at Democrats dong nothing to stop the invasion!" rhetoric.this is going to be a perfect storm of nativism and racist fearmongerng, and it will probably work.
posted by happyroach at 8:02 PM on November 26 [10 favorites]


And weirder than usual, frankly.

C'mon, we can't let the very first tweet of that thread go unacknowledged.
-- They're playing YMCA at Trump's rally in Biloxi, Mississippi. I will tweet tweets in this thread when it stops and he starts.
posted by mikelieman at 8:03 PM on November 26 [8 favorites]



In case anybody doesn't know about them, Postcards to Voters is a pretty great group to combine crafting/coloring with activism. They're doing cards for the Dec 4 runoff with John Barrow and Lindy Miller in Georgia right now.


Vote Forward is doing letters for the Georgia runoff as well. There are still a little over 39,000 addresses available. (This is super quick and easy to do.)
posted by SisterHavana at 8:13 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Mueller knew what was going on the whole time and responded with a "Please proceed, Mr. President", letting Manafort and Trump think they're clever, letting Rudy think he's a big shot for negotiating terms on Trump's take home test, trying so very hard to keep the poker face on the whole time...

And Mueller may have not only found a loophole for publicly releasing his report, but also effectively checkmated Trump's claims for executive privilege. By lying to the Special Counsel, Manafort could have actually shafted Trump worse than if he had cooperated.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:14 PM on November 26 [32 favorites]


They're playing YMCA at Trump's rally in Biloxi, Mississippi.

For some reason, Trump constantly emphasizes to his audience how they can use the Village People's song as a mnemonic for his trade deal, as Daniel Dale has pointed out today and at other rallies:

Trump again calls NAFTA a disaster and his USMCA, which is very NAFTA, incredible. He repeats, of the name USMCA, "like the song, YMCA, right."
Trump on his new trade agreement: "The USMCA. Like YMCA. The song. YMCA." He sings: "Y-M-C-A."
Trump on the USMCA trade deal: "Like the song, YMCA. If you have any problem - if you have any problem remembering, just think YMCA."
Trump says that USMCA is "like YMCA, or United States Marine Corps with an A at the end. I liked the way it sounded."

Is this one of those times when Trump learned something that was otherwise obvious and now has to point it out to everyone? Or is he cognitively impaired to such an extent that he needs to remind himself???
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:21 PM on November 26 [13 favorites]


CNN: Trump Refuses to Condemn Russian Aggression Against Ukraine—“When asked how he felt about the clash, Trump said, "not good. Not happy about it at all." He seemed reluctant to blame Russia, adding, "we do not like what's happening either way. And hopefully it will get straightened out."”

This ranks with Trump's Charlottesville equivocations about "blame on both sides" as presidential pusillanimity goes.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:28 PM on November 26 [17 favorites]


Hey President Marblemouth: “USMCA” does not scan to “YMCA.”

Try it and see how far you get: “It’s fun to stay at the U S MCA...”
posted by notyou at 9:16 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


theory: someone told trump that “YMCA” was a song about “rough trade” and he completely misinterpreted it
posted by murphy slaw at 9:41 PM on November 26 [75 favorites]


I love the theory that Mueller let Trump's team think he believed Manafort's lies, knowing they would repeat them and thereby be caught lying themselves.

But even if it's not true, I still think it's good news. This is the part of the tv show where the cop says "you lied, our agreement is off" and then the crook says "then why should I tell you the truth?" and then the cop says "because that's all you have left" and then the crook spills everything and doubles up in a pool of his own tears on the floor. At this point, Manafort's only play is to tell something absolutely damning to Mueller and hope the court finds this freely given, no strings attached information so helpful they give him a lesser sentence.
posted by xammerboy at 9:55 PM on November 26 [4 favorites]


A federal judge calls Trump's DC hotel business "unseemly, if not unethical," but not a violation of the city's anti-competition law, Court tosses D.C. wine bar’s suit against Trump alleging unfair competition (WaPo).
posted by peeedro at 10:03 PM on November 26 [5 favorites]


zombieflanders: "First of all, Flake could have prevented Farr from ever coming to a floor vote by not voting him out of committee in the first place."

I thought McConnell could bring nominees to the floor even if the Judiciary Committee voted against, unlike bills voted down in committee?
posted by Chrysostom at 11:01 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


Have to pre-delete so much grrrar! because ... well, you know. Thankfully, you know. [Still, mods, please delete if this belongs in the Fuckalicious thread, or a therapy session, etc.]

So two quickish things: We need to fully support AOC--and more importantly, the people who support her--because as much as our more-senior Democratic leadership can maximize and leverage the making of the congressional priorities and sausage, it's AOC and her cohort that have the vision, ideas, energy, and moral clarity to push them and us to where we need to be. Without compromising. Full stop.

Second, on the pernicious point of cultural appropriation, these very non-Mexican people on Fox and elsewhere are suggesting it's safe to eat pepper and/or tear gas on nachos, a Mexican food. I.e., 'we don't want your people, but your food is our food and we'll tell you how to eat it.' This is such a full-on double (at least!) insult and call back to Plantation Mentality as to leave my mind and heart spinning. Fucking spinning.

Thank you each for your time, your energy, and your love MeFites! Keep leanin' into the gig!
posted by riverlife at 11:34 PM on November 26 [24 favorites]



I thought McConnell could bring nominees to the floor even if the Judiciary Committee voted against, unlike bills voted down in committee?



Absolutely. Which means that Flake’s “principled stand” in this case, as with all of the other times he’s taken one in the past, is meaningless. He leaves office as he has always served: feckless in his symbolic gestures, and, when not making a symbolic gesture, voting with the worst of the worst of his caucus far more often than not.

Good riddance. So glad to replace him with a Dem (albeit a now-centrist one).
posted by darkstar at 11:42 PM on November 26 [4 favorites]


Buzzfeed has a really weird axe to grind with Cadwalladr. (See: her Twitter thread on an earlier profile.)

That's because Buzzfeed UK's political desk is now run by Alex Wickham who was previously at Guido Fawkes - a right wing, anti-EU, pro-Brexit outlet aimed pretty much at the UK a-hole demographic - which has a history of getting into dust ups with Cadwalladr.
posted by PenDevil at 11:43 PM on November 26 [30 favorites]


Quick transcript from Ezra Klein's interview with Whitney Phillips on trolls (including Trump etc.) and mainstream media (hat tip to xammerboy who posted the link in the last thread):

59:50 WP: Gamergate & Trumpism represents for so many for the first time in their lives, challenges to the ability to not have to consider consequences. Early trolls, they never had to think about how their behavior impacted others, never had to think about the [physical safety of] bodies of different others. . . . Decontextualized & fetishized thinking: You only see what is thru that little tiny pinprick [then] suddenly being told that you now have to take into account an entire world that u never had to think about once in your life! . . . that's been the source of a great deal of resentment & rage on behalf of a lot of people who never had to think that way . . .
1:22:00 WP: my 2015 book on trolls [described the] relationship between trolls & media [as] "a cybernetic feedback loop predicated on sensationalism." Trolls were paid in lulz. Journalists weren't after trolls' objective to harm & dehumanize readers, but journalists got paid in the financial equivalent of lulz. . . . 1:25:00 Trump is beneficiary of all this.
1:33:00 even if u push back against Trump's narrative, it buys into his worldview. Instead, so "No, I will take control of narrative, I am the central, I set the discursive frame, YOU are the bit actor, I am the protagonist." Must be a way to scale that, . . . to FORWARD A DIFFERENT NARRATIVE, take conversation down different path entirely, then u r creating yr own game , u r generating your own oxygen for that game & not so reliant on his oxygen tanks. Probably not enough for 1 journalist to do this but would need many many people to open up different lines of discourse, that didn't make everything revolve around him & his administration.
EK: "But 1:35:00 this runs up against business incentive. Don't feed the trolls is don't get the clicks. . . .
WP: That's not a failure of the system, it's a success of the system [capitalism] the whole point of the system is to amass capital. There is no incentive to stop doing it even as it destroys democracy. . . . 1:39:00 audiences are saying Yes please we want to read stories about hearts & minds of white supremacists. . . .
EK: advice for editors?
WP: listen to the writers? 1:41:00 there are power dynamics within orgs where u have a lot of homogeneity, predominantly white, predominantly male, creates a power dynamic where if u have less power cuz of your position (freelancer, contingent) or a woman (taken less seriously) or PoC (not treated with same respect as yr white colleagues)... All of that can create an environment where those who might be inclined to [point out that stories] that just hand microphones to Richard Spencer or white supremacists . . . pose embodied dangers for PoC and women, trans, disabled people, whomever else those ideals actively threaten, [those people aren't heard]. If you talk to & if listen to the bodies in the newsroom that understand those threats then different editorial decisions could be navigated. But as it is, if you have one kind of body w one kind of experience in life . . . calling all of the shots, there's gonna be lots of stuff that gets overlooked, lots of strategizing that doesn't happen cuz they themselves might be subject to the same kind of decontextualized fetishized thinking that is at the heart of trolling media manipulation to begin with.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:00 AM on November 27 [16 favorites]


on nachos, a Mexican food

Hate to burst your bubble, but nachos were invented in the 40’s because some US Army officers’ wives were just over the Texas border on a shopping trip when they became hungry. The restaurant they went to’s kitchen was closed, so the maitre’d scrounged up whatever was handy. They fucked up and assumed his name (Nacho, short for Ignacio) was the name of the dish he just threw together. So, nachos are definitely white people food. Or Tex-Mex if you want to get specific.
posted by sideshow at 1:01 AM on November 27 [28 favorites]


Welp, looks like it's not yet an "act of war" but we're definitely in "international incident" territory:

Reuters: Mexico asks U.S. to investigate use of tear gas at border
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s foreign ministry presented a diplomatic note to the U.S. government on Monday calling for “a full investigation” into what it described as non-lethal weapons directed toward Mexican territory on Sunday, a statement from the ministry said.
posted by murphy slaw at 1:16 AM on November 27 [25 favorites]


Bubble not burst. :) Pretty sure they were created by a Mexican, in Mexico, using Mexican staples, and then fairly instantly appropriated by the American ladies you mentioned. But whether we want to classify them as strictly Mexican or Tex-Mex, the larger point is that no one on Fox is suggesting putting pepper gas on a potroast. :)
posted by riverlife at 1:18 AM on November 27 [12 favorites]


[aaand let's just leave this at "it's okay to be furious about ludicrous, baldfaced lies by a supposed news organization in order to minimize the psychopathic gassing of totally helpless kids and innocent others whether or not it's also cultural appropriation."]
posted by taz (staff) at 1:26 AM on November 27 [24 favorites]


He says foreign leaders walk in and tell him, "Mr. President, it's incredible what's happened with your country in such a short time."

Damn it, I just needed "crying" and "calling him sir" for bingo.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:56 AM on November 27 [49 favorites]


Guardian liveblog of the UK Parliament committee meeting about the data they confiscated from Facebook is up and running or watch live on Youtube.
posted by PenDevil at 4:40 AM on November 27 [8 favorites]


In case you weren't sure if there was a Blue Wave a few weeks ago: Democrats smash Watergate record for House popular vote in midterms (38 seats gained with two more pickups looking more likely)
posted by gwint at 6:02 AM on November 27 [29 favorites]


And yet for some reason the media has not been attacking McConnell as being divisive etc...

McConnell follows Newt Gingrich's advice on constantly demeaning Democrats and their policies -- "job-killing regulations," "Democrat party" -- and the media never calls him on it, possibly because he still uses the antiquated language of Senate comity as well. But McConnell is a divisive political figure, and more, unlike Trump he does it for political power and not to assuage his narcissistic vanity. McConnell doesn't care if people like him as long as his agenda prevails, and the media has no more idea how to cover him than they do about Trump.
posted by Gelatin at 6:21 AM on November 27 [14 favorites]


We had three seats even four seats that were so close. We almost won. In areas that a lot of people say don't bother contesting. We almost won in four states that a lot of people say don't bother, you can't win." This did not happen.

Technically it did happen, except when people were saying "don't bother, you can't win," they were saying it to Democrats. After all, Republicans did get really close in Orange County, UT-04, and throughout Arizona.
posted by jackbishop at 6:31 AM on November 27 [12 favorites]


Guardian: Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy
Exclusive: Trump ally met WikiLeaks founder months before emails hacked by Russia were published
Manafort’s 2016 visit to Assange lasted about 40 minutes, one source said, adding that the American was casually dressed when he exited the embassy, wearing sandy-coloured chinos, a cardigan and a light-coloured shirt.

Visitors normally register with embassy security guards and show their passports. Sources in Ecuador, however, say Manafort was not logged.

Embassy staff were aware only later of the potential significance of Manafort’s visit and his political role with Trump, it is understood.

The revelation could shed new light on the sequence of events in the run-up to summer 2016, when WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of emails hacked by the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency. Hillary Clinton has said the hack contributed to her defeat.

The previously unreported Manafort-Assange connection is likely to be of interest to Mueller, who has been investigating possible contacts between WikiLeaks and associates of Trump including the political lobbyist Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:37 AM on November 27 [60 favorites]


The previously unreported Manafort-Assange connection is likely to be of interest to Mueller, who has been investigating possible contacts between WikiLeaks and associates of Trump including the political lobbyist Roger Stone and Donald Trump Jr.

Likely interested? I am sure Mueller knew about this meeting months ago.
posted by jasondigitized at 6:42 AM on November 27 [7 favorites]


I literally cannot imagine Manafort wearing a cardigan.
posted by gucci mane at 6:44 AM on November 27 [4 favorites]


Guardian: Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy

There are even more suspicious revelations in the Guardian's scoop:
Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House.[...]

Manafort’s first visit to the embassy took place a year after Assange sought asylum inside, two sources said.

A separate internal document written by Ecuador’s Senain intelligence agency and seen by the Guardian lists “Paul Manaford [sic]” as one of several well-known guests. It also mentions “Russians”.

According to two sources, Manafort returned to the embassy in 2015. He paid another visit in spring 2016, turning up alone, around the time Trump named him as his convention manager. The visit is tentatively dated to March.[...]

According to sources, Manafort’s acquaintance with Assange goes back at least five years, to late 2012 or 2013, when the American was working in Ukraine and advising its Moscow-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovych.
The upheavals at the UK Ecuadorian embassy lately—the government just removed their pro-Assange ambassador—is clearly shaking loose a lot of information.

Also, as if to confirm how badly Manafort's new legal jeopardy has rattled Team Trump—the NYT's Michael Schmidt reports, "The development stunned some people close to the White House, as well as legal experts."—this morning @realDonaldTrump went on a notably lengthy rant about the "Phony Witch Hunt" and "Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems", how "horribly & viciously they are treating people", with baseless accusations about Mueller "doing TREMENDOUS damage to our Criminal Justice System" and repeated complaints about "ruined lives". And then he tacitly calls for a purge of the Special Counsel's office—"Let these terrible people go back to the Clinton Foundation and “Justice” Department!"—just to add to the list of obstruction of justice charges. It's like he's publicly tweeting out his version of Nixon's late-period Watergate Tapes.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:49 AM on November 27 [34 favorites]


Politico, The Pathetic Pelosi Putsch:
Dumping a historic figure like Pelosi, the first female speaker, after she weathered a Republican blitzkrieg to help her party win back the House, was always going to be a tall order... But Moulton’s operation has been, to borrow some military jargon, FUBAR. He’s poised to not only lose his battle with the party establishment, but to lose in such humiliating fashion that it could ruin his reputation and douse whatever presidential fires may be burning in his belly.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:17 AM on November 27 [30 favorites]


Regarding the Manafort-Assange meetings: This story would have the potential to inoculate Jr. and others with respect to “collusion,” wouldn’t it?

(See, it was all him, and he was only on the campaign for a couple of months, and not anyone of any consequence, besides.)
posted by notyou at 7:45 AM on November 27 [2 favorites]


I know I posted it, but I think we should wait for some other news outlets to confirm the Guardian's reporting -- there's a lot of circumlocutions in the reporting, and not a lot of named sources. I'm not sure we can draw any conclusions from it yet.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:47 AM on November 27 [8 favorites]


Reminder that Manafort is how we got Pence and that Mnuchin was finance chair of the campaign.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:49 AM on November 27 [18 favorites]


CNN, Business Insider, HuffPost are all picking up Manafort Assange story.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:56 AM on November 27 [4 favorites]


Regarding the Manafort-Assange meetings: This story would have the potential to inoculate Jr. and others with respect to “collusion,” wouldn’t it? (See, it was all him, and he was only on the campaign for a couple of months, and not anyone of any consequence, besides.)

I think the the better question is less 'could this do x?' and more 'how likely is this to do x?' and, while there are lots of ways things could go, I'm skeptical that public and consequential proof of actual collusion would reduce the overall risk to Trump & Co. -- going from 'NO COLLUSION' to 'WELL ACTUALLY SOME COLLUSION' doesn't sound like winning.

That said, inoculation is a good metaphor for how the Trumps have been handling this story, going all the way back to Don Jr. releasing his emails ahead of the press reporting on them. Putting their malfeasance in public has worked surprisingly well as a PR approach, although, similarly, I'm skeptical that it reduces their legal risk.
posted by cjelli at 7:59 AM on November 27 [8 favorites]


holgate: Ford got ahead of things by taking most of its passenger cars off the US market. This is a shitty reprise of the late 90s and early 00s when GM bet on trucks and SUVs and buying a Hummer for your small business made sense because of the tax break. The revealed preferences here are not great.

And trucks somehow have higher profit margins. Back in 2015, Ford could make as much as $13k profit for every F-150 (Chris Bruce for Auto Blog, Apr 30th 2015)
However, AutoPacific analyst Dave Sullivan suggests these figures could be on the right track, if a bit high. "The rough guess has been $10,000. Obviously that is a little different for a $60k truck vs a regular cab 4x2 work truck, but $10,000 is the ball park that is used," he said to Autoblog.

If you ever wonder why Ford might be loathe to bring the smaller Ranger back to the US when it's available elsewhere, these huge profits are likely part of the answer. The Blue Oval has little reason to cut into the sales of a model that makes the brand billions.
zachlipton: Does GM make up some lies so he can feel like he's "won," as companies liked to do in 2017, or do they just ignore him because you can't bully a car company into opening a factory?

Doubtful, if increased profit is the driver: GM axes Volt, Cruze, and Impala for North America in cost-cutting move -- GM is cutting jobs and car models despite earning healthy profits. (Timothy B. Lee for Ars Technica, Nov. 26, 2018)
... GM has positioned itself for these technological shifts by producing the all-electric Bolt and acquiring the startup Cruise (pricetag reported to be "more than $1 billion") to spearhead self-driving car efforts. In its Monday press release, GM positioned its plant closings and layoffs as another part of its modernization effort.

"The actions we are taking today continue our transformation to be highly agile, resilient, and profitable, while giving us the flexibility to invest in the future," GM CEO Mary Barra wrote.

But others had more caustic responses. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) denounced the plant closings—which includes the Lordstown plant in the northeast corner of Brown's state—as "corporate greed at its worst."

GM has been planning to reduce its workforce for several months. Last month, the company offered long-serving salaried employees the option to take a buyout package that was worth six months of pay.

But uptake of that offer was low, so now GM is turning to involuntary layoffs to help achieve the company's goal to reduce annual costs by $6 billion by 2020.

GM is de-emphasizing passenger cars
Along with its staff reductions, GM is also axing several of its passenger cars. According to a GM spokesman who talked to USA Today, GM is discontinuing the Chevy Volt, Impala, and Cruze vehicles for the North American market (the Cruze vehicle is not to be confused with the Cruise technology). The spokesman "declined to say whether the company would sell any of those products in markets outside North America."

GM is stealing a page from Ford's playbook here. Ford announced in August that it would eliminate a bunch of passenger car models and turn Ford into a company that mostly makes pickup trucks and SUVs. These larger vehicles tend to have higher profit margins.

The vehicle changes that GM has announced so far aren't quite as dramatic, but they're a step in the same direction.

Meanwhile, Ford is working on a cost-cutting plan of its own. The company announced last month that it would likely lay off workers, but it has yet to provide specifics about how many jobs would be lost.
And citing "market preference" for vehicles is weaksauce, otherwise why do they spend so much on advertising?

Also, a reminder that there's now (more) blood on the hands of car companies who decide to focus on making light trucks and SUVs over passenger vehicles in light of grim fuel efficiency numbers (Consumer Reports, Last updated: November 14, 2018). Some vehicles are down to the teens for fuel efficiency. I get it, there are definitely uses for trucks and SUVs, but cutting small car production because of "decreased demand" is pretty much saying "we're OK selling marked up trucks and pushing climate change just that much faster, sorry about your flooding, fires and famine. It's stakeholders first, long-term health of the planet ... last?"

[Now I long for AdBusters ads showing gas-guzzling SUVs with one passenger, driving past burnt-out California, and fleeing flooding coastal regions, but in that usual Car Ad Visual of smoothly driving along roads that are otherwise uninhabited. "Enjoy the view -- because it's on you." /enviro-rant]
posted by filthy light thief at 8:03 AM on November 27 [33 favorites]


If Mueller has evidence of these meetings between Manfort and Assange he may well also have evidence that Don Jr. helped planned them and more explicitly was looking for dirt on Clinton or clearly states the quid-pro-quo or something just as damning (like, aside from the stuff Jr. just tweeted out what seems like decades ago.

What we've seen so far is that, as keeps getting quoted, these guys are not very bright and they got in over their heads. So I start with the base assumption that all of these goons are guilty AF and were not all that careful in planning it. They are exactly the kind of people who LOVE the idea of sitting around a darkened room sipping expensive booze and smoking cigars while discussing who they think should be whacked. If you're an idiot that has failed upwards your whole life it's pretty easy to convince yourself that you're smart and that, therefore, you've thought of everything and covered your tracks and you're such a badass little schemer.

I think Manafort was probably the most experienced criminal and was the most careful of the bunch and it seems the Mueller knows about ALL his dirty laundry. Given that Jr. almost certainly talked at length about their scheming in places/over methods of communication he should have known better than to be blab about how good they are at crimes I really doubt he'll fair any better than Manafort.

TL:DR: If they're as dumb as they seem the evidence exists and from what we've seen so far, if the evidence exists Mueller has it.
posted by VTX at 8:10 AM on November 27 [14 favorites]


Regarding the Manafort-Assange meetings: This story would have the potential to inoculate Jr. and others with respect to “collusion,” wouldn’t it?

Reminder. The leaders of the Trump Campaign ( Manafort, Junior, Kushner ) illegally met with Russian criminals ( 52 USC 30121 ) in Trump Tower. ( 18 USC 2, 18 USC 371 ), then lied about it ( 18 USC 1001 ).

This was the low-hanging fruit Mueller started with, and it's still relevant, although it appears he's continuing his deep-dive into Manafort, since this whole Manafort leaking false information planted by Mueller's team to Trump, who wrote them down in his written testimony, not to mention the whole Manafort < = > Assange thing is a surprise ( as is everything in the Mueller investigation, but really, I've been watching this close and -- out of nowhere -- this drops. )

I expect some of the hypothetical sealed indictments are for Junior and Kushner
posted by mikelieman at 8:11 AM on November 27 [19 favorites]


A Wall Street Journal interview on trade shows Trump has no idea what he’s doing - Matthew Yglesias, Vox

Presumably referring to the interview zachlipton linked.
He confuses tariffs and interest rates, and invents phantom new steel plants.
Oh, joy.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:12 AM on November 27 [22 favorites]


And citing "market preference" for vehicles is weaksauce, otherwise why do they spend so much on advertising?

Also, a reminder that there's now (more) blood on the hands of car companies who decide to focus on making light trucks and SUVs over passenger vehicles in light of grim fuel efficiency numbers (Consumer Reports, Last updated: November 14, 2018). Some vehicles are down to the teens for fuel efficiency. I get it, there are definitely uses for trucks and SUVs, but cutting small car production because of "decreased demand" is pretty much saying "we're OK selling marked up trucks and pushing climate change just that much faster, sorry about your flooding, fires and famine. It's stakeholders first, long-term health of the planet ... last?"

[Now I long for AdBusters ads showing gas-guzzling SUVs with one passenger, driving past burnt-out California, and fleeing flooding coastal regions, but in that usual Car Ad Visual of smoothly driving along roads that are otherwise uninhabited. "Enjoy the view -- because it's on you." /enviro-rant]


None of this is wrong, per se, but every auto exec I know has been wishing for years for an increase in gas taxes (or some other force to put higher and more predictably priced gas in pumps). Otherwise the small cars built to keep the fleets within fuel efficiency standards end up being sold at a loss, if at all.

If gas is cheap, people buy trucks. You can make all the compact cars you want, but 1: environmentally-minded car-purchasers aren't as big a market as we'd like; 2: they tend to buy foreign; and 3: Americans fucking love gas guzzling trucks.
posted by TheProfessor at 8:13 AM on November 27 [16 favorites]


CNN, Business Insider, HuffPost are all picking up Manafort Assange story.

Note that those stories are all sourced to the Guardian report. None of those outlets has their own independent reporting to confirm this, nor have they been able to get the Guardian's sources to talk to them directly yet. So those stories are just a vote of confidence in the Guardian's reporting (which seem justified.) We don't have independent confirmation yet.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:17 AM on November 27 [7 favorites]


Disrupting Fox News Narrative, Geraldo Rivera Blasts Inhumane Treatment of Migrants at Border - Inae Oh, Mother Jones
“These are not invaders. Stop using these military analogies.”
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:17 AM on November 27 [44 favorites]


If gas is cheap, people buy trucks. You can make all the compact cars you want, but 1: environmentally-minded car-purchasers aren't as big a market as we'd like; 2: they tend to buy foreign; and 3: Americans fucking love gas guzzling trucks.

In order to handle climate change, we need top-down regulations. You have to internalize the external costs. So, we need vehicle weight limits, stronger emissions standards, higher gas taxes, and lots of lower-and-middle-class tax incentives for smaller, more efficient vehicles. Also should probably impose lower inter-state speed limits again.

That's the stuff that might be achievable. But in my opinion, climate change isn't going to be resolved until governments start treating it like the crisis it is, which is going to look much more radical. War-time spending. Rationing. Nationalization of important industries. Universal provision of birth-control at no cost and public ad campaigns to reduce the birth rate.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:24 AM on November 27 [15 favorites]


[If folks want to peel off a separate thread about GM, vehicle size and climate change, that'd probably be better -- better not to drive off onto that readily-separable subject in here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:26 AM on November 27 [13 favorites]


Jake Kanter, Business Insider: Secret Facebook documents show it was warned about a potentially huge data issue involving Russia back in 2014
A Facebook engineer warned in 2014 about a potentially huge data issue involving Russia, according to a lawmaker who reviewed a cache of sealed Facebook documents.

The engineer reportedly warned that entities with Russian IP addresses used a Pinterest API key to pull over three billion data points a day.

During a hearing on Tuesday, UK lawmaker Damian Collins asked Facebook policy chief Richard Allan if the potential data breach was reported. Allan did not answer.

Following the hearing, Facebook said it investigated the issue and "found no evidence of specific Russian activity."
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:30 AM on November 27 [30 favorites]


TPM: We’ve Internalized That Trump Is Like a Mobster, Is a Mobster. A former federal public corruption prosecutor writes to them:
Trump and his Congressional allies seem to be getting a pass from the media on his refusal to cooperate with the Mueller investigation by sitting for an interview and/or testifying to the grand jury. It is easy to chalk this up to yet another outrage that, over time, fades in our memories and seems to become the new normal for the pundit class. Instead, the “will he or won’t he” question has become the classic Trumpian reality show cliffhanger that has set the media narrative around this issue. But let’s be really clear about one thing: it is still an outrage and must be described as such. The man is President of the United States, not a mob boss. This should not be a “will he or won’t he” question. The real question should be “why the hell won’t the President of the United States agree to an interview with federal law enforcement”?[...]

Instead, we have the President’s party doing nothing to call out the President’s unwillingness to speak to prosecutors and some actively seeking to discredit and derail the investigation. Chuck Todd et al. need to ask every Republican member of Congress, “yes or no, will you call upon the President to sit down for an interview with the Special Counsel or testify to the grand jury? What should Congress do if the President refuses?” We need to get them on the record on this.
Trump, of course, has had ties to organized crime throughout his career (Politico) and has lied many, many times about his mobster associations (MoJo)—and that's before he took up with the Russian mafiya.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:34 AM on November 27 [52 favorites]


Democrats Learn a Big Lesson for 2020 Vote About Taking on Trump - Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg News

The Democratic Party thinks it’s found a formula that will help it defeat Donald Trump in 2020 - Brad Reed, Raw Story via Salon
Democratic strategists argue that the best way to defeat President Donald Trump is to ignore him whenever possible
Heh. This reminds me of a song from Lisa Simpson and Paul Anka.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:35 AM on November 27 [19 favorites]


Things the New York Times thinks you need to know about the Mississippi runoff: "But the senator’s rhetorical gaffes gave Mr. Espy enough of an opening to spook Republicans and offer Democrats a dose of political hope in a state where they have not had much lately." (Emphasis mine)
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 8:38 AM on November 27 [5 favorites]


Democratic strategists argue that the best way to defeat President Donald Trump is to ignore him whenever possible

when pressed, democrats should say "president trump is a matter for law enforcement" and return to talking about their policy agenda
posted by murphy slaw at 8:50 AM on November 27 [102 favorites]


Democratic strategists argue that the best way to defeat President Donald Trump is to ignore him whenever possible

Sometimes this is not a bad idea. I get so, so sick of all these headlines that say "OMG, the president doesn't know what he's doing! He's not acting presidential!"
posted by Melismata at 8:51 AM on November 27 [10 favorites]


He’s poised to not only lose his battle with the party establishment, but to lose in such humiliating fashion that it could ruin his reputation and douse whatever presidential fires may be burning in his belly.

Good, he absolutely deserves every bit of it. Him being primaried because of it in 2020 (unlikely, I know) would be icing on the cake.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:57 AM on November 27 [17 favorites]


FOIA requests by the Sierra Club show that Fox provided Scott Pruitt interview questions ahead of time and submitted show scripts for approval, ‘Fox & Friends’ Fed Interview Script to Trump’s EPA Chief, Emails Show:
“Every American journalist knows that to provide scripts or articles to the government for review before publication or broadcast is a cardinal sin. It’s Journalism 101,” said David Hawkins, a CBS News and CNN veteran who teaches journalism at Fordham University. “This is worse than that. It would and should get you fired from any news organization with integrity.”
posted by peeedro at 9:15 AM on November 27 [58 favorites]


"But the senator’s rhetorical gaffes gave Mr. Espy enough of an opening to spook Republicans and offer Democrats a dose of political hope in a state where they have not had much lately." (Emphasis mine)

They must have realized and edited further; at least when I just opened it, the article appears currently to use the word "worry" rather than "spook."
posted by solotoro at 9:20 AM on November 27 [2 favorites]


Chuck Todd et al. need to ask every Republican member of Congress, “

When this is the solution, we've already lost. Chuck Todd, the same Chuck Todd that has on 80%+ Republicans every single week, and brings on Erick Ericson to cover for school shooters after a school shooting, will never save us. He's explicitly paid not to even try, along with every other cable news host outside of the MSNBC late night lineup.

Cable news created Trump. They worked tirelessly to elect Trump. They're working to cover for Trump's crimes every day. They will work to reelect him and work to undermine and attack the 2020 Democratic nominee exactly like they did to Clinton. They want more Trump, and no one else but Trump to ever hold power. Trump sells ads. That's all they care about.

Changing that reality requires acknowledging that it is true.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:23 AM on November 27 [53 favorites]


Likely interested? I am sure Mueller knew about this meeting months ago.

The world-wide intelligence community knew about this meeting, months ago.

I went to London for work this summer, and after stopping at Harrods (seriously, the most impressive shopping experience of my life, I've never a place like that in The States), I (apparently) walked by the Ecuadorian embassy, which is like a block over. I was actually lost on my way back to the Knightsbridge tube station.

I say "apparently" because I didn't realize I had walked by it at the time, and I looked up my route later. But what I did realize was that there was some cop looking dudes just kinda hanging around on a quiet street. There was some sort of minor terrorist incident that week (guy drove his car into the front gate of Parliament or something), so I thought it might have been some plain clothes dudes related to that.

Anyway, I'm just a SoCal techbro on my way from shopping to the Tottenham/Fulham match at Wembley, and I'm sure I'm in some report somewhere. If I were someone who had worked elections in Ukraine and had been an American lobbyist, I'd have to be a fucking moron to think no one would notice all the times I visited the embassy with a self-imposed exiled famous dude. If Manafort is getting popped for lying that that, I cannot believe that anybody could be so stupid.
posted by sideshow at 9:31 AM on November 27 [13 favorites]


Cable news created Trump.

Did Fox News prompt Trump to have refugees tear gassed at the border? - Amanda Marcotte, Salon
Fox News needs to be singled out here. Sure, most of the mainstream media is guilty of amplifying Trump's racist delusions about the refugees, reflexively giving the story undue levels of coverage because the president spent the weeks leading up to the midterm election strategically throwing public fits over a few thousand people seeking passage into a country of 326 million people. But with Fox News, there's reason to believe the causality flows in the other direction — Trump isn't manipulating them as much as they are manipulating him, and it's quite likely that helped lead to this human rights crisis.

Without Trump's meltdowns driving the story, most media outlets largely dropped the migrant caravan story after the election. But Fox News has kept up the pressure, devoting endless amounts of coverage in the weeks after the election to convincing viewers, including Trump, that these refugees are actually a criminal invading army out to destroy us all. On Saturday night, Ann Coulter even went so far as to appear on one of Trump's favorite Fox News shows and, knowing full well Trump was likely watching, argued that the government should "go one yard into Mexico" in order to shoot at migrants, in order to evade laws forbidding soldiers to shoot civilians on U.S. soil.

Within 24 hours, Trump's government fulfilled Coulter's request, firing tear gas into Mexico. It may not have been the bullets that Coulter was clearly asking for, but this is still beyond alarming. A Fox News personality asked for Trump to cross an international border to lash out violently at the refugees, and somehow her wish was (mostly) granted.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:41 AM on November 27 [48 favorites]


What You Do To Survive, Abigail Nussbaum
Wow. We’re really doing this? OK then.
My grandfather, Herbert Nussbaum (1910-1970) was the son of a prosperous merchant in Dortmund, Germany. In 1937-8 he got into trouble fighting brown-shirts, and his father was advised to get the boy out of Germany.
Herbert and a friend made their way to Holland, presumably because that’s where they could get to. Not sure whether crossing the border was illegal, but working in Holland almost certainly was. But they had little money and no way out of Europe.
...
But the important point is: my grandfather lied, cheated, manipulated, and broke multiple laws in his efforts to get out of Europe before WWII. And if he hadn’t done that, he would have died, and I wouldn’t exist.
...
So if you’re trying to pretend that the survival of your relatives in the Holocaust had anything to do with them calmly obeying the law and abiding by immigration rules, I’d like to invite you, on behalf of all my ancestors, the ones who escaped and the ones who died, to fuck off
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:50 AM on November 27 [198 favorites]


Could This Be the Week the Indictments Drop? - Ian Masters had a good conversation yesterday with David Halperin, a senior fellow at Republic Report who was a special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. (After a 1 min. intro)
posted by growabrain at 9:59 AM on November 27 [2 favorites]


Time: Read the 211 Arguments President Trump Has Made Against the Mueller Investigation
Since the first questions were raised about the Russian influence operation in 2016, Trump has put forward defenses, raised doubts and thrown out attacks and counter-claims at a rate that dwarfs the typical presidential response to an investigation.

To arrive at that number, TIME combed over statements from the Trump campaign, transition team and administration and key figures such as Donald Trump Jr. and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani to isolate the major arguments. (We did not include Trump allies in Congress or the media.)
The full article is longer than some short novellas, because the President lies a lot.
posted by cjelli at 10:31 AM on November 27 [14 favorites]


This is worse than that. It would and should get you fired from any news organization with integrity.

I think I see your problem right there.

Democrats Learn a Big Lesson for 2020 Vote About Taking on Trump - Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg News

It's not just Trump. Frank Luntz lives on, and we, like the sheep we are, keep accepting his framing. saysthis's comment on another thread argues eloquently for overturning the framing that the GOP has used to beat us up for a couple of decades. One example is "job-killing regulations," a framing used frequently by not only Trump, but basically the entire GOP. You can't say "regulations" anymore without the phrase "job-killing" popping out of your subconscious. Same with "death taxes," "entitlements," "illegal aliens," and "radical Islam." They've burrowed into our collective brains without significant pushback.

So in addition to ignoring Donald, we need to expand that idea to ignoring all the emotional framing pushed by the GOP and using our own chosen framing with equal emotional impact, yet based on reality. For example, all regulations provide protection, generally to ordinary people. They prevent you from getting sick and injured, make it harder for criminals and unscrupulous businesses (but I repeat myself) to take your money, make sure your kids get a useful education, and protect your access to the commons like healthy food, clean air, safe roads, beautiful parks, and recreational waterways. They're protections, and we need to call them that every time we talk about regulations (and avoid that word). We also need to talk about what they do for "you," not about some vague entities like "citizens" or "folks."

LIkewise, not "entitlements," but "earned benefits." Not "death taxes," but "fair shares." Not "illegal aliens" or "undocumented immigrants," but simply "immigrants" and "refugees." Not "radical Islam," but "fellow religious people." Etc. We need to examine the emotional content that motivates our policies and philosophies and craft short, simple, clear statements of that impact directly addressing those who benefit. Then we need to discipline ourselves to use that framing every time we speak.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:36 AM on November 27 [67 favorites]


AP: Desert detention camp for migrant kids still growing

By Monday, 2,349 largely Central American boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were sleeping inside the highly guarded facility in rows of bunk beds in canvas tents...More people are detained than Tornillo’s tent city than in all but one of the nation’s 204 federal prisons, yet construction here continues. [...]

An Associated Press investigation has found that the camp’s rapid growth has created problems, including:

— Costs appear to be soaring more than 50 percent higher than the government has disclosed: What began as an emergency, 30-day shelter has transformed into a vast tent city that could cost taxpayers more than $430 million.

— The government is allowing the nonprofit running the tent city to sidestep mental health care requirements: Under federal policy, migrant youth shelters generally must have one mental health clinician for every 12 kids, but shelter officials told AP the facility has just one mental health clinician for every 50 kids.

— Federal plans to close Tornillo by New Years’ Eve will be nearly impossible to meet: There aren’t 2,300 extra beds in other facilities. A contract obtained by AP shows the project could continue into 2020 and planned closures have already been extended three times since this summer.

Tornillo’s teens were not separated from their families at the border this summer, but they’re held there because federal immigration policies have resulted in the detention of a record 14,000 migrant children, filling shelter beds around the country to capacity. Almost all came on their own from Central America hoping to join family members in the United States.[...]

The nonprofit social service agency contracted to run Tornillo says it is proud of its work. It says it is operating the facility with the same precision and care used for shelters put up after natural disasters.[...]

Annunciation House director Ruben Garcia, whose El Paso nonprofit works with recent immigrants, said Tornillo is far more secretive than other government shelters, where he and his staff are routinely allowed inside. At Tornillo workers must sign non-disclosure agreements and visitors are rarely allowed.

“What’s happening inside? Nobody knows. They cannot speak about what they see,” he said. “We’ve been doing this work for 20 years and we’ve never seen anything like this.” [...]

BCFS, a San Antonio nonprofit, runs Tornillo as it operates evacuation centers for hurricanes: there’s food, first aid, activities and rows of bunk beds, but no normal-life activities for stressed-out teens, like formal school or unsupervised stretches. [...]

BCFS confirmed that the current ratio of mental-health clinicians to children is 1 to 50, and said that each child sees a mental health specialist every day.
--------
So, a few things:
1. these children have committed no crime (not that it would all be ok if they had)
2. this facility is set up for emergency disaster relief, not long term housing. These kids don't have any educational structure in their life.
3. it is run by a non-profit, which is fucked up
4. each of these kids supposedly sees a mental health professional once a day, and there is one professional for every 50 kids. so if they put in an 8 hour work day, that's less than 10 minutes per kid on average.
5. at the end of the article, they basically say people have lost interest in this story and stopped protesting.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:48 AM on November 27 [72 favorites]


argued that the government should "go one yard into Mexico" in order to shoot at migrants, in order to evade laws forbidding soldiers to shoot civilians on U.S. soil.

Of course, there's also the pesky little matter of what it means for one nation's military to enter another nation uninvited, but you do you, Ann Coulter.
posted by Rykey at 10:49 AM on November 27 [11 favorites]




“What’s happening inside? Nobody knows. They cannot speak about what they see,” he said. “We’ve been doing this work for 20 years and we’ve never seen anything like this.”

Yes, it is unspeakable. All of it.

The concentration camps are becoming the concentration camps they were all along.

I am going to want names for every person responsible for this. I’m going to want to see them all in prison. Every single one.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:01 AM on November 27 [80 favorites]


At Tornillo workers must sign non-disclosure agreements

Then the question needs to be asked, repeatedly, what are they hiding?

If not the mere fact that they're keeping thousands of kids in a concentration camps, what are they hiding?
posted by Gelatin at 11:09 AM on November 27 [38 favorites]


AP: Desert detention camp for migrant kids still growing

Also worth noting in this:
In June, as detention centers for migrant children overflowed, Scott Lloyd, director of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, signed a memo granting BCFS a waiver to staff up Tornillo without the required child abuse and neglect checks, which raise a red flag about any potential employee who has a record of hurting a child. There were two reasons for the waiver, according to the inspector general: first, the agency was under pressure to move quickly to open the detention camp, and second, Lloyd’s agency assumed Tornillo staff had already undergone FBI fingerprint checks. They had not.
...
Two days after Lloyd waived the safety checks, BCFS opened the tent city. Lloyd, under fire for his handling of the migrant crisis, was transferred out of the refugee resettlement branch and to a different division of HHS last week. Weber did not immediately respond to questions as to why the department waived background checks, and referred inquiries to the inspector general.

Three service providers who were brought on to work in the camp in recent months also told AP they were not fingerprinted, including one who started work there just two weeks ago.

Failing to properly check staffers’ backgrounds “can lead to potential abuse and neglect of these kids,” according to Dr. Colleen Kraft, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
I know people who have had to go through more rigorous background checks to work merely around children; not even directly with them. This is not good and it should raise some giant, glaring red flags.

Obviously, the underlying problem here is that these children are being separated and detained, period -- it's not as though doing proper checks would make this okay; but it's -- like so much of the Trump administration -- fractally horrible, where everything about it splits apart into horrible parts that are somehow even worse than the whole.
posted by cjelli at 11:15 AM on November 27 [57 favorites]


I am going to want names for every person responsible for this. I’m going to want to see them all in prison. Every single one.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:01 AM on November 27
[12 favorites +] [!]


1. I agree with this.
2. I think a barrage of postcards to the facility outlining the punishments meted out at the Nuremberg trials might also be an option.
3. Or like the plowshares protestors used to do, chain ourselves to the fences.
4. It’s harder and harder to be an American living abroad.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:22 AM on November 27 [6 favorites]


Trump brags, ‘I blow Ronald Reagan away’
President Trump believes that his long list of achievements in office make him “far greater than Ronald Reagan.”

In a new book out Tuesday about his “enemies,” the president said that while he feels “I blow Ronald Reagan away,” the “fake news” media is robbing him of bragging rights by ignoring his successes and focusing on his problems.
Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 11:24 AM on November 27 [4 favorites]


Obviously, the underlying problem here is that these children are being separated and detained, period

For clarity, the children in this tent city have not been separated from their parents. They arrived here alone planning to meet relatives already in the US.
posted by Emmy Rae at 11:25 AM on November 27 [11 favorites]


One example is "job-killing regulations," a framing used frequently by not only Trump, but basically the entire GOP. You can't say "regulations" anymore without the phrase "job-killing" popping out of your subconscious.”


I prefer “life-saving regulations” and “liberty-preserving regulations” and “common-sense regulations”. Make the other guy fight against life, liberty and common sense.

Also, I have many times specifically pushed back on the “death taxes” bullshit, along the lines of:

“There’s no such thing as a death tax. Dead people aren’t taxed, because dead people don’t have legal ownership of anything anymore. Do you mean the Aristocracy Tax? Because that’s what Estate and Inheritance Taxes are.

The federal Estate Tax taxes a residual estate — which, again, is not owned anymore by the deceased — and only on that value above a million dollars.

Or are you talking about state Inheritance Tax? Because that taxes living people on the money they receive from inheritances, and it only kicks in after the first two million.

Or do you prefer our country having a built-in hereditary aristocracy?”
posted by darkstar at 11:27 AM on November 27 [53 favorites]


For clarity, the children in this tent city have not been separated from their parents. They arrived here alone planning to meet relatives already in the US.

Thank you, I missed that; it's horrifying to realize there are enough child-related immigration-detainment stories that it's possible to conflate them.
posted by cjelli at 11:27 AM on November 27 [8 favorites]


Guardian:
The White House is preventing the CIA director, Gina Haspel, or any other intelligence official from briefing the Senate on the murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:30 AM on November 27 [50 favorites]


and only on that value above a million dollars.

One million certainly sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
But no! It was not enough for the rich.

It WAS well over five million.

Now it's ten.

That giant tax cut to the children of the ultra rich, paid for by capping state and local tax deductions! Middle class homeowners in California and New York get to pay for it!

I speculate (with no evidence) that that is part of why OC went blue.
posted by flaterik at 11:42 AM on November 27 [21 favorites]


The White House is preventing the CIA director, Gina Haspel, or any other intelligence official from briefing the Senate on the murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The proper response from the Senate -- to any president -- should be "oh, okay. Then we'll resume confirming your judges just as soon as you send Haspel over."
posted by Gelatin at 11:44 AM on November 27 [40 favorites]


Middle class homeowners in California and New York get to pay for it!

Illinois too. Over here in IL-6 we managed to kick Peter Roskam* out of office over it.

* Roskam served on Ways and Means and helped write the SALT cap. Karma is a BITCH.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:45 AM on November 27 [7 favorites]


In case you weren't sure if there was a Blue Wave a few weeks ago: Democrats smash Watergate record for House popular vote in midterms (38 seats gained with two more pickups looking more likely)

Update: 39
posted by gwint at 11:47 AM on November 27 [18 favorites]


Carl Bernstein, writing for CNN: Mueller Investigating 2017 Meeting Between Manafort and Ecuador's President "Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has been investigating a meeting between former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in Quito in 2017 and has specifically asked if WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange, were discussed in the meeting, a source with personal knowledge of the matter tells CNN."

TMP's Josh Marshall notes "Manafort arrived in Ecuador the same Day Trump Fired Comey!" and "Before traveling to Ecuador to meet with the president elect Moreno on May 9 2017, Manafort set up a cell phone and email address, both under an alias."

Incidentally, Giuliani was on CNN this morning, for some reason. Basically, he tried to amplify @realDonaldTrump's latest talking points while reassuring Paulie that Donnie "has been upset for weeks about what he considers the un-American, horrible treatment of Manafort." Rudy also told the NY Daily News that “Pardons are never really ruled out” as far as Trump and Manafort go.

And Wikileaks has started a GoFundMe project to sue the Guardian over their Manafort-Assange scoop, which they claim is an "entirely fabricated story", which is presumably their translation from the Trumpian "fake news".

@nycsouthpaw points out that The Guardian has softened its story somewhat since publication. (This is mainly to reflect their sourcing and confirmation thereof.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:49 AM on November 27 [5 favorites]


For clarity, the children in this tent city have not been separated from their parents. They arrived here alone planning to meet relatives already in the US.

This is a distinction without a difference. There are relatives that they are trying to meet and being kept separate from because they are being detained.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:49 AM on November 27 [11 favorites]


LIkewise, not "entitlements," but "earned benefits." Not "death taxes," but "fair shares." Not "illegal aliens" or "undocumented immigrants," but simply "immigrants" and "refugees." Not "radical Islam," but "fellow religious people." Etc. We need to examine the emotional content that motivates our policies and philosophies and craft short, simple, clear statements of that impact directly addressing those who benefit. Then we need to discipline ourselves to use that framing every time we speak.

If we have to talk about their topics, it is best to use our own framing and locutions. But in a larger sense, if we're battling to reframe, we've lost the first war already. Agenda setting is more powerful than framing: instead of pushing "earned benefits" vs "entitlements," we should be shifting the agenda altogether -- eg, to debates about whether universal healthcare is a fundamental right, or just pragmatically cheaper than the current system. Reframing is a rear-guard action since you're still debating their chosen issues, and they've usually chosen those issues because they are inherently beneficial to their side. Much better to instead attack on an entirely different flank and change the whole conversation to topics where they are fighting to reframe your ideas.
posted by chortly at 11:54 AM on November 27 [42 favorites]


@pdmcleod: Mitch McConnell says he will continue to block the Senate bill to protect the Mueller investigation. "This is a solution in search of a problem. The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller."

This comes a few hours after McConnell's #2, whip Cornyn said it was possible the Senate could vote on the bill.
posted by zachlipton at 12:04 PM on November 27 [4 favorites]


> I speculate (with no evidence) that that is part of why OC went blue.

It didn't help, but I don't recall much being made of it around here. I believe Rohrbacher voted against the tax bill, but it wasn't enough to save him.
posted by Horselover Fat at 12:09 PM on November 27 [2 favorites]


> "This is a solution in search of a problem. The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller."

And of course, after he fires Mueller, Shitstain McTurtle will be quoted with something like "This bill is no longer relevant because why would you want to lock the barn doors now?"
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:09 PM on November 27 [17 favorites]


@pdmcleod: Mitch McConnell says he will continue to block the Senate bill to protect the Mueller investigation. "This is a solution in search of a problem. The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller."

I wonder, if the President of the United States had made 211 arguments that Mitch McConnell should have a pie thrown in his face, whether Mitch McConnell would be so determined to block the Do Not Throw a Pie in Mitch McConnell's Face Bill.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 12:40 PM on November 27 [15 favorites]


Jim Acosta reports "Manafort:“This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or Wikileaks on any matter""
posted by Devonian at 12:40 PM on November 27


I believe Rohrbacher voted against the tax bill, but it wasn't enough to save him.

He actually managed to vote both ways on it -- he was an Aye on the House bill that went to the Senate (spending bills have to start in the House), but was a No on the compromise bill that came back.
posted by notyou at 12:45 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


"This is a solution in search of a problem. The president is not going to fire Robert Mueller."

And of course, after he fires Mueller, Shitstain McTurtle will be quoted with something like "This bill is no longer relevant because why would you want to lock the barn doors now?"


He might go with his Garland tactic and just refuse to acknowledge that there ever was a special counsel.
posted by Etrigan at 12:46 PM on November 27 [7 favorites]


I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks either directly or indirectly

Roger Stone is connected to WikiLeaks, and Manafort used to run a lobbying firm with him!
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:47 PM on November 27 [41 favorites]


I wonder, if the President of the United States had made 211 arguments that Mitch McConnell should have a pie thrown in his face, whether Mitch McConnell would be so determined to block the Do Not Throw a Pie in Mitch McConnell's Face Bill.

It's important to remember that Mitch McConnell isn't arguing in good faith -- and deliberately so, as a demonstration of power. Here he's signalling that he will continue to participate in Trump's cover-up by withholding, himself, any protection for the Mueller probe. I'm sure he hopes to keep his caucus in line with this demonstration of power. I suspect, though, that such tactics will work less well in Federal prison.

Jim Acosta reports "Manafort:“This story is totally false and deliberately libelous.

Public complaints about libel are easy. Winning a case is hard.
posted by Gelatin at 12:49 PM on November 27 [9 favorites]


I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to Wikileaks either directly or indirectly

Sarah Kendzior: "Off the top of my head, people with whom Manafort met who are connected with Assange and/or Wikileaks: Donald Trump Jr, Roger Stone, Jared Kushner, Oleg Deripaska, Dana Rohrabacher..."

Roger Stone is connected to WikiLeaks, and Manafort used to run a lobbying firm with him!

And, per the Daily Beast, Roger Stone Convinced Trump to Hire Paul Manafort, Former Officials Say—The former Trump adviser, who disliked first campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, helped seal the deal to get Paul Manafort on board in 2016, according to former Trump officials.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:54 PM on November 27 [10 favorites]


Please delete if a double. This is from the Leopards Eating their Faces Dept. "Saved GM & this is the thanks we get."
posted by yoga at 12:55 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


Hahaha holy shit Jared is definitely on tape somewhere discussing, with lots of foreknowledge, that particular murder

I've been watching David Ignatius' columns because he's stayed on the Khashoggi beat and he's a conduit for CIA leaks, and today's was a doozy. It's all palace intrigue about the power struggle within the Saudi royal family, but he does bring up Kushner and the suspicious timing of his visit to MBS and the internal coup of MBS's enemies being imprisoned in the Ritz-Carlton. Ignatius paints a picture of extreme paranoia within the kingdom where royals are spying on each other, hacking cell phones, and "surveillance devices hidden in ashtrays and other items were scattered around palaces in Riyadh to pick up political plots and gossip," so lordy there might be tapes. Ignatius closes out with an ominous comparison between Riyadh under MBS and Bagdad under Saddam Hussein; he carries a lot of water for the CIA (eg Iraq War) so I'm guessing he didn't come up with that assessment on his own.

Also, along those lines, negotiations continue for the Saudis to buy US nuclear reactors, but the hitch according to the NYTimes is that they want control over the fuel production which would allow them to divert it to a covert weapons project.
posted by peeedro at 12:59 PM on November 27 [24 favorites]


@ABCPolitics [video]: John Bolton says he has not listened to Khashoggi recording. "What do you think I'll learn from it?" he asks. "Everybody who says 'Why don't you listen to the tape'—unless you speak Arabic, what are you going to get from it?

“You…don’t have access to a translator?” an incredulous reporter asked.

I would think that dealing with things in foreign languages you don't speak would be a routine part of the National Security Advisor's job. Anyway, yes, read David Ignatius's column.
posted by zachlipton at 1:02 PM on November 27 [69 favorites]


A lot of people are looking for some kind of personal story where Trump is covering for MBS because of Kushner's corruption, but this whole time I've suspected that this is really just another case of the US getting Saudi Arabia's back because they cut us a good deal on oil. Trump is just a lot clumsier than usual about papering over the grimmer aspects of this relationship.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 1:13 PM on November 27 [11 favorites]


Whew, great news, everybody, we can all heave a collective sigh of relief: Jim Comey is feeling confident that the institutions of government will prevent the worst case scenario from coming to pass.
posted by contraption at 1:18 PM on November 27 [8 favorites]


This is a distinction without a difference. There are relatives that they are trying to meet and being kept separate from because they are being detained.

I think this is an interesting distinction, because a relative in the US may have an immigration status that could move a child from potential asylee to another immigration category. When I worked with newcomers we had a couple of cases like these, we used to call them reunification cases. Usually a grandparent back in their country would care for the child for a few years. Then they would send her off to the US. After arrival, the child would eventually adjust status and receive a green card.

I 100% agree that asylum is a legal process and we should not be detaining asylum claimants in the first place, but if some of these children have parents/guardians in the US, we are essentially detaining future US citizens whose claims are much more straightforward. I don't trust Trump's administration to corroborate the existence of each of the children's relatives, and I don't expect the relatives are too excited about approaching ICE, even if they are legally here.
posted by Tarumba at 1:23 PM on November 27 [9 favorites]


Also, along those lines, negotiations continue for the Saudis to buy US nuclear reactors, but the hitch according to the NYTimes is that they want control over the fuel production which would allow them to divert it to a covert weapons project.

I guess it isn't mentioned in the NYT article because it was more Trumpaciously ambiguous than I remember but around the time Trump was proposing giving South Korea and Japan nuclear weapons he appeared to sort of propose providing the KSA with nukes too. From Wikipedia:
In March 2016, Anderson Cooper asked, "Saudi Arabia, nuclear weapons?" Trump answered: "Saudi Arabia, absolutely." Cooper then asked, "You would be fine with them having nuclear weapons?" Trump responded, "No, not nuclear weapons, but they have to protect themselves or they have to pay us."
posted by XMLicious at 1:26 PM on November 27 [3 favorites]


...just another case of the US getting Saudi Arabia's back because they cut us a good deal on oil.

The US produces the most oil in the world. If there's some sort of a deal, it's shady.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:29 PM on November 27 [10 favorites]


@mkraju
Sen. Chuck Schumer tells reporters at his on-cam presser that Democrats’ position is $1.6 billion for wall funding - far less than the $5 billion Trump wants - but he won’t say if Democrats are shutting the door on anything more, saying he’s not going to negotiate in public.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on November 27 [2 favorites]


NBC News, Anna Schecter, Mueller has emails from Stone pal Corsi about WikiLeaks Dem email dump
Two months before WikiLeaks released emails stolen from the Clinton campaign, right-wing conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi sent an email to former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone anticipating the document dump, according to draft court papers obtained by NBC News.

"Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps," Corsi wrote on Aug. 2, 2016, referring to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to the draft court papers. "One shortly after I'm back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging."

The email was revealed in a draft court document, known as a statement of the offense, sent to Corsi by special counsel Robert Mueller's office. Mueller also sent Corsi a draft plea agreement stipulating that the special counsel would not oppose Corsi requesting a sentence of probation if he agreed to plead guilty to one count of lying to federal investigators.

As NBC News reported on Monday, Corsi said he has rejected the deal. He has described Mueller's team as "thugs" and insisted that he did not "intentionally lie" about his communications related to WikiLeaks.
...
The interviews began on Sept. 6 when Corsi told investigators that an associate, identified by Corsi as Stone, asked him in the summer of 2016 to get in touch with an organization, identified by Corsi as WikiLeaks, about unreleased materials relevant to the presidential campaign, the draft court papers say.

"Get to (Assange) [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending (WikiLeaks) emails," read the email to Corsi dated July 25, 2016, according to the draft court documents.

Corsi said he declined the request and made clear to Stone that an attempt to contact WikiLeaks could put them in investigators' crosshairs, according to the draft court documents.

But Mueller's team said that was a lie.

Instead of turning down the request, Corsi in fact passed it along to a person in London, according to the draft court documents. Corsi said that person was conservative author Ted Malloch. Eight days later, Corsi sent the email to Stone saying that WikiLeaks possessed information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign and planned to release it in October.
...
Mueller's team says in the court papers that Corsi scrubbed his computer between Jan. 13, 2017, and March 1, 2017, deleting all email correspondence that predated Oct. 11, 2016, including the messages from Stone about WikiLeaks and Corsi's email to Malloch.
This, um, would appear to be collusion.
posted by zachlipton at 1:38 PM on November 27 [78 favorites]




President Trump believes that his long list of achievements in office make him “far greater than Ronald Reagan.”

For everybody who's wondered just what Trump would have to do to get his base to turn on him. They totally won't, but it probably comes the closest.
posted by Rykey at 1:49 PM on November 27 [4 favorites]


Naw, Reagan wasn’t as openly racist as Trump, so that alone vaults Trump onto the top of the podium for them.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:03 PM on November 27 [5 favorites]


The US produces the most oil in the world. If there's some sort of a deal, it's shady.

We are a net exporter at this point, mostly due to the developments of long-lateral horizontal drilling, geosteering, and fracking back in the 90's. These technologies made drilling, completing and producing shale beds economical.

So when do we say to KSA: "So long, and thanks for all the oil?"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:04 PM on November 27 [6 favorites]


This is a long but helpful Trump/Russia explainer for your friends who have the patience for long reads but haven't been following along...

Conspiracy Against the United States: The Story of Trump and Russia

By Max Bergmann, Jeremy Venook, and the Moscow Project Team
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:04 PM on November 27 [35 favorites]


So, every person involved in the Unitarian sunday school down the street in my town has to get a background check to be allowed to take part in a children's activity that's one morning a week, in a building with the rest of the congregation just a shout away...

... while hundreds of teenagers under lock and key are being watched by people who have no background checks. Just lovely.
posted by ocschwar at 2:22 PM on November 27 [30 favorites]


WaPo, Rucker, Dawsey, Trump slams Fed chair, questions climate change and threatens to cancel Putin meeting in wide-ranging interview with The Post
“I’m doing deals and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”

He added, “So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”

Trump also dismissed the federal government’s landmark report released last week that found damages from global warming are intensifying around the country. The president said “I don’t see” climate change as man-made and he does not believe the scientific consensus.

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump said. “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.”

The president added of climate change, “As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.”

itting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Trump also threatened to cancel his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a global summit later this week because of Russia’s maritime clash with Ukraine. He said he was awaiting a “full report” from his national security team Tuesday evening about Russia’s capture of three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews in the Black Sea on Sunday.

“That will be very determinative,” Trump said. “Maybe I won’t have the meeting. Maybe I won’t even have the meeting . . . I don’t like that aggression. I don’t want that aggression at all.”
*starts drinking at 2:30 in the afternoon*
posted by zachlipton at 2:34 PM on November 27 [61 favorites]


NBC News, Anna Schecter, Mueller has emails from Stone pal Corsi about WikiLeaks Dem email dump

Stone's still trying to pitch modified limited hangouts on the Trump-Wikileaks connection, telling Vice in an e-mail today, "In fact I don’t think we ever discussed wiki leaks [sic] at all during the time [Manafort] was with the campaign."

That could be technically true, since Manafort left the Trump campaign in August, but Stone has been confirmed to have been in contact with Wikileaks in October 2016—which was not only when Manafort was unofficially advising the campaign, but also when Trump was praising Wikileaks in his stump speeches.

However, the fact is, @realDonaldTrump first tweeted about WikiLeaks on July 23rd, which makes Stone's claim look like bullshit from the start.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:37 PM on November 27 [15 favorites]


We've got them to (occasionally) use the word 'lie', the next frontier is to describe these "wide-ranging" interviews as what they are, deranged and incoherent.
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:37 PM on November 27 [10 favorites]


"wide-ranging interview" is the nice way to say "frothing rant" now, i guess?
posted by murphy slaw at 2:38 PM on November 27 [29 favorites]


> It's (un) official: Beto's not not running!

Cramped Calves 2020!

Background.
posted by homunculus at 2:55 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


So when do we say to KSA: "So long, and thanks for all the oil?"

When the rest of the world also no longer needs their oil and thus we don’t need them to price everything in dollars anymore, because that ship has already, presumably, sailed, and we are enjoying — for certain values of “enjoying” — the consequences of no longer being the world’s reserve currency?
posted by schadenfrau at 2:56 PM on November 27 [7 favorites]


Sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, Trump also threatened to cancel his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at a global summit later this week because of Russia’s maritime clash with Ukraine. He said he was awaiting a “full report” from his national security team Tuesday evening about Russia’s capture of three Ukrainian naval ships and their crews in the Black Sea on Sunday.

This posturing is transparently bullshit. There's already enough on record for Nikki Haley to have demanded Russia "immediately cease its unlawful conduct" in the Azov Sea and for Mike Pompeo to issue a statement condemning "this aggressive Russian action" (the tell, however, is that at this afternoon's press conference, Bolton punted to Haley's censure). Trump's stalling for time until the G20 meeting, where he'll meet with Putin for Helsinki 2.0.

The 2018 White House Christmas Theme Is Apparently 'The Shining'

Fun fact: Ukraine renamed the area around the Chernobyl reactor disaster site “Red Forest” after lethal radioactivity turned the green pine trees there red-brownish in 1986. (WaPo)
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:04 PM on November 27 [15 favorites]


“You…don’t have access to a translator?” an incredulous reporter asked.

An English-language transcript of this apparent recording right now would be swell. Russia, if you're listening.
posted by petebest at 3:11 PM on November 27 [2 favorites]


The European extermination of the native Americans fits neatly into the post-neocon Grimdark Zero-Sum Narrative: modern Americans own the country because we scraped the previous occupants off of it. And that's how everything works as far as they're concerned: if your group wants land, it must perforce take it from some other group, which is typically a fatal transaction (literally or culturally) on the receiving end. And so, having land, it must be defended strenuously against anyone who might be a crypto-colonist trying to set up an outpost of another civilization. (See also: antisemitism, "hyphenated Americans", etc.)
"Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and into this continent by giving small pox infected blankets to native Americans. Yes, that was biological warfare! And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. And we grew prosperous. And, yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves.

And so it goes with most nation states, which, feeling guilty about their savage pasts, eventually civilize themselves out of business and wind up invaded, and ultimately dominated by the lean, hungry and up and coming who are not made of sugar candy."
posted by non canadian guy at 3:13 PM on November 27 [6 favorites]


Missouri GOP already trying to stymie the anti-gerrymandering amendment voters just passed.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:23 PM on November 27 [14 favorites]


If you were baffled by those Post interview excerpts, you can now baffle yourself further with the full transcript, which they're working on annotating with fact checking. Notably:
DAWSEY: Last night, Mr. President, the special counsel’s team charged Paul Manafort with saying, they accused him at least of saying more lies, and ended his plea deal. People around you have told me you’re upset about the way he’s been treated. Are you planning to do anything to help him?

TRUMP: Let me go off the record because I don’t want to get in the middle of the whole thing.

[Trump speaks off the record.]

DAWSEY: Is there any version of that you're willing to give us on the record in answer to that question?

TRUMP: I'd rather not. At some point, I'll talk on the record about it. But I'd rather not.

[Trump speaks off the record.]
The section after the President pronounces the air and water to be "at a record clean" is also interesting, in that he is now blaming Asia for garbage on our beaches:
But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including – just many other places -- the air is incredibly dirty. And when you're talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.
He has more to say about raking forests too. It seems like he saw firefighters creating firelines during the fire and decided that "if that was raked in the beginning, there’d be nothing to catch on fire." Which is not how anything works.

There's also the point where Rucker just turns to him and says "But you’re the president, sir" because what else do you say to this kind of nonsense?
posted by zachlipton at 3:30 PM on November 27 [13 favorites]


The Conspiracy Against the United States: The Story of Trump and Russia, that OnceUponATime linked to above is very thorough and is available as a pdf, as well.

Also, probably because everything, this story from July got past me: Senate confirms Justice Department nominee with ties to Russian bank

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Brian Benczkowski to lead the Justice Department's criminal division on a near party-line vote over Democratic objections to his nomination due to ties to a prominent Russian bank.

The Senate confirmed Benczkowski 51-48. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the only Democrat to vote yes.

Benczkowski's nomination was controversial because of his work for Alfa Bank, which has been scrutinized by FBI counterintelligence. Benczkowski, a former lead staffer to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Senate and a Trump transition official, has faced criticism from Democrats since he was nominated last year over his past private-practice work on behalf of Alfa Bank, one of Russia's largest financial institutions.

... In a statement Tuesday night, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, lamented Benczkowski's refusal to recuse himself permanently from matters involving the ongoing Mueller probe, saying his nomination presented "glaring conflicts of interest."


Cripes.
posted by petebest at 3:31 PM on November 27 [32 favorites]


Give me your poor, your weak and hungry....blah blah blah....
Families Are Still Being Separated at the Border, Months After “Zero Tolerance” Was Reversed.
Immigration lawyers say border agents are again removing children from their parents. The explanation? They’re protecting kids from criminal dads and moms. Immigration advocates say it’s zero tolerance by another name.
posted by adamvasco at 3:49 PM on November 27 [11 favorites]


In today's wtf department:
Mexico to grant highest honor to Jared Kushner
posted by Omon Ra at 4:23 PM on November 27 [6 favorites]


Corsi gave the entire draft plea agreement from Mueller (since rejected) to the Daily Caller (link to scribd upload by Chuck Ross).
posted by pjenks at 4:27 PM on November 27 [7 favorites]


Lies Corsi Told (By Robert Mueller):
  1. CORSI said he declined the request from Person 1 [(Stone)] and made clear to Person 1 that trying to contact Organization 1 [(Wikileaks)] could be subject to investigation. CORSI also stated that Person 1 never asked CORSI to have another person try to get in contact with Organization 1, and that CORSI told Person 1 that they should just wait until Organization 1 released any materials.
  2. CORSI further stated that after that initial request from Person 1, CORSI did not know what Person 1 did with respect to Organization 1, and he never provided Person 1 with any information regarding Organization 1, including what materials Organization 1 possessed or what Organization 1 might do with those materials.
When in fact:
  • CORSI did not decline the request as he stated in the interview. Instead, CORSI contacted an individual who resided in London, England (“overseas individual”) to pass on Person 1’s request to learn about materials in Organization 1’s possession that could be relevant to the presidential campaign.
  • On or about August 2, 2016, CORSI responded to Person 1 by email. CORSI wrote that he was currently in Europe and planned to return in mid-August. CORSI stated: “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.... Time to let more than [the Clinton Campaign chairman] to be exposed as in bed w enemy if they are not ready to drop HRC [Hillary Rodham Clinton]. That appears to be the game hackers are now about. Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke -- neither he nor she well. I expect that much of next dump focus, setting stage for Foundation debacle.”
He also deleted all of his emails and then handed his devices over to Mueller's team.
posted by pjenks at 4:37 PM on November 27 [25 favorites]


Apparently that plea agreement was actually linked in the earlier NBC story posted by zachlipton. No need to click through the DC. Apologies for not reading!
posted by pjenks at 4:50 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


Trump also dismissed the federal government’s landmark report released last week that found damages from global warming are intensifying around the country. The president said “I don’t see” climate change as man-made and he does not believe the scientific consensus.

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers,” Trump said. “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean."
Oh man, I think I know where this is coming from, other than his usual willful ignorance. Anyone else of a certain age (I'm in my late 50s) may remember that 45-50 years ago the big environmental issue wasn't climate change but pollution. I remember media reports where the most commonly used images used to illustrate the extent of the problem would be huge factories belching noxious smoke clouds from their chimneys and streams of fouled cooling water into scum-covered rivers and lakes, with plenty of diseased and dead fish washed ashore. So, as far as the Fuckhead-in-Chief is concerned, since the steel mills have now all closed and the air in the cities isn't quite as brown, it means that this whole pollution/climate/environment thing must be solved already, at least in the USA. He literally can't tell the difference between carbon (soot) and carbon dioxide (colourless gas). More importantly, he doesn't give a shit.
posted by hangashore at 4:57 PM on November 27 [56 favorites]


@rgoodlaw: Bingo! Nugget in Mueller draft doc has significant legal implications. Shows coordinating campaign messaging with Wikileaks: Corsi to Stone: “Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke...I expect that much of next dump focus”

@oneunderscore__: These are, no exaggeration, the top 3 talking points hammered home on InfoWars in the months before the election. One extremely viral, extremely ridiculous Paul Joseph Watson/InfoWars video suggested Hillary had "Parkinson’s disease, syphilis, brain damage, a brain tumor, autism, a degenerative disease that is giving her seizures and/or strokes, and a blood clot." That Paul Joseph Watson video about Hillary's health, which was insane and was completely wrong, has 6.7 million views. (InfoWars was banned from YouTube, but PJW remains.) For people who think this foreign influence campaign didn't sway the American electorate, look at the data. The second-most Googled "Hillary Clinton" topic on 8/8/2016: "Is Hillary having health problems?"
posted by zachlipton at 5:12 PM on November 27 [52 favorites]


New WaPost article (Leonnig, Helderman, and Roig-Franzia) on the Corsi draft plea agreement has whiny statements from Trump's legal team:
The draft statement of offense describes Stone as “Person 1” and someone that Corsi “understood to be in regular contact with senior members of the Trump Campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump.”

The inclusion of Trump by name infuriated Trump’s legal team, which obtained a copy of the draft the week before Thanksgiving. In response, the president’s attorneys delayed submitting his written answers to Mueller and formally complained to both the special counsel’s office and the Justice Department, according Giuliani.

“It’s gratuitous. It’s not necessary,” he said. “If you read out of context, it creates a misimpression that they were in contact with the president during this critical time. And I believe that was done deliberately.”
posted by pjenks at 5:15 PM on November 27 [4 favorites]


Bingo! Nugget in Mueller draft doc has significant legal implications. Shows coordinating campaign messaging with Wikileaks: Corsi to Stone: “Would not hurt to start suggesting HRC old, memory bad, has stroke...I expect that much of next dump focus”

That right there is "conspiracy to defraud the United States." Soon it will be Roger Stone's time in the barrel, as he might put it.
posted by Justinian at 5:16 PM on November 27 [19 favorites]




> Chuck Todd et al. need to ask every Republican member of Congress,

When this is the solution, we've already lost. Chuck Todd, the same Chuck Todd that has on 80%+ Republicans every single week, and brings on Erick Ericson to cover for school shooters after a school shooting, will never save us. He's explicitly paid not to even try, along with every other cable news host outside of the MSNBC late night lineup.


Stop Letting Republicans Lie on TV About Climate Science: Conservatives have been repeating the same handful of absurd talking points for years. Why aren't reporters calling them out?

Meet The Press Booking a Denier to Discuss Climate Change Is a Portrait of Our Dangerously Dumb Times: Our nation's leading political news programs routinely host propagandists to spread nonsense about climate change.
posted by homunculus at 5:18 PM on November 27 [27 favorites]


He literally can't tell the difference between carbon (soot) and carbon dioxide (colourless gas).

Yup. He's hung up on the visuals of 50-year-old environmentalism. If the rivers aren't on fire, things must be ok.

His other comments about the Camp Fire are horrifying: he thinks that digging firebreaks should be done in advance. He really has no idea how fucking huge this country is, does he?
posted by suelac at 5:19 PM on November 27 [17 favorites]


Apologies for derailng this Mueller train but FURFUCKSAKES SCHUMER! Pelosi gets dragged around the block for the sake of new leadership and Schumer is promising 1.6 billion? Schumer has to go and not just for new leaderships sake but because what he does best is to cave to the GOP.

Sen. Chuck Schumer tells reporters at his on-cam presser that Democrats’ position is $1.6 billion for wall funding - far less than the $5 billion Trump wants - but he won’t say if Democrats are shutting the door on anything more, saying he’s not going to negotiate in public.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on November 27

posted by bluesky43 at 5:32 PM on November 27 [17 favorites]


Every argument for removing Pelosi goes twice for Schumer, and with no downsides to removing him from power.
posted by The Whelk at 5:35 PM on November 27 [49 favorites]


What do we hear from the magnolia state? GIMMIE EXIT POLL DATA YEAH!
posted by vrakatar at 5:37 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]




The Post added a new detail to its interview story:
Trump considered reappointing Yellen to the post, and she impressed him greatly during an interview, according to people briefed on their encounter. But advisers steered him away from renominating her, telling him that he should have his own person in the job.

The president also appeared hung up on Yellen’s height. He told aides on the National Economic Council on several occasions that the 5-foot-3-inch economist was not tall enough to lead the central bank, quizzing them on whether they agreed, current and former officials said.

Discussing his decision to tap Powell, Trump said Monday: “Look, I took recommendations. I’m not blaming anybody.”
posted by zachlipton at 5:55 PM on November 27 [21 favorites]


“Look, I took recommendations. I’m not blaming anybody.”

The buck stops ... over there, somewhere.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 5:57 PM on November 27 [9 favorites]


Every argument for removing Pelosi goes twice for Schumer, and with no downsides to removing him from power.

As a constituent, he's out in the primaries. Gillibrand can be my Sr. Senator just fine.
posted by mikelieman at 6:00 PM on November 27 [10 favorites]


The anti-Schumer movement, while having far (far!) more justification than the anti-Pelosi movement, suffers from one of the same problems; there isn't anyone running against him. It's not enough to say "NOT SCHUMER", you have to find somebody to run.
posted by Justinian at 6:01 PM on November 27 [7 favorites]


Every argument for removing Pelosi goes twice for Schumer

More than double. Even if she's not Speaker, Pelosi is a fine and experienced Congresswoman with a long record of success. She'd be an asset behind the scenes even if she wasn't the one leading. Schumer has done nothing to earn his position and brings nothing positive to the party whatsoever. The one election cycle he led, his hand picked candidates under performed Clinton significantly. His "leadership" against Trump has been laughable when it hasn't been outright cooperative. He has no significant legislative achievements like Pelosi does, and his policy positions are the median of the party, at best. He doesn't propose actual solutions or direction for the party and has no control over his own caucus. He's entirely reactive without any vision whatsoever. It's a very fair question to ask what the fuck Chuck Schumer has ever led anyone to do other than make him Minority Leader.

He shouldn't just be voted out of Leadership, we don't need him in the party as the Senior Senator from New York, one of our only two leading liberal states. He needs to be primaried out of the party. There's nothing more important on a national level for New York Democrats and Leftists to do over the next 4 years than lay the groundwork to get Chuck Schumer out of Congress and let someone, literally any other Senate Democrat not named Joe Manchin, lead the party.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:04 PM on November 27 [26 favorites]


The anti-Schumer movement, while having far (far!) more justification than the anti-Pelosi movement, suffers from one of the same problems; there isn't anyone running against him. It's not enough to say "NOT SCHUMER", you have to find somebody to run.

Dick Durbin, current Minority Whip.

Done.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:04 PM on November 27 [18 favorites]


I got more calls, postcards and texts for this runoff (7 texts just today) than I did for the regular election by far. I think the country finally started paying attention to us here in Mississippi. I signed up to drive voters to the polls (thanks, Metafilter. I would not have done that without all of y'all) and got my little family all there despite some hurdles. It doesn't look great, but things get incrementally better here. Maybe we can get a little more help from the national party leadership in the next campaign.
posted by thebrokedown at 6:05 PM on November 27 [21 favorites]


The anti-Schumer movement, while having far (far!) more justification than the anti-Pelosi movement, suffers from one of the same problems; there isn't anyone running against him.

Well, that and he's not up for re-election until 2020.

Give us Noo Yawkers a couple years.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:05 PM on November 27 [4 favorites]


NYT (Haberman and Schmidt): Manafort’s Lawyer Said to Brief Trump Attorneys on What He Told Mueller As usual, Giuliani the bullshitter-cum-attorney is quoted as an authoritative source of information, with his version of events creeping into the reporting, but there's still useful information to be gleaned from the article:
A lawyer for Paul Manafort, the president’s onetime campaign chairman, repeatedly briefed President Trump’s lawyers on his client’s discussions with federal investigators after Mr. Manafort agreed to cooperate with the special counsel, according to one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers and two other people familiar with the conversations.

The arrangement was highly unusual and inflamed tensions with Mr. Mueller’s office when prosecutors discovered it after Mr. Manafort began cooperating two months ago, the people said. Some legal experts speculated that it was a bid by Mr. Manafort for a presidential pardon even as he worked with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, in hopes of a lighter sentence.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, one of the president’s personal lawyers, acknowledged the arrangement on Tuesday and defended it as a source of valuable insights into the special counsel’s inquiry and where it was headed. Such information could help shape a legal defense strategy, and it also appeared to give Mr. Trump and his legal advisers ammunition in their public relations campaign against the special counsel’s office.[...]

Even if the pact was mostly informal at that point, law enforcement experts said it was still highly unusual for Mr. Manafort’s lawyers to keep up such contacts once their client had pledged to help the prosecutors in hope of a lighter punishment for his crimes.

Mr. Manafort must have wanted to keep a line open to the president in hope of a pardon, said Barbara McQuade, a former United States attorney who now teaches law at University of Michigan. “I’m not able to think of another reason,” she said.
Too bad for Manafort that the civil forfeiture in his plea deal is not contingent on the status of his criminal conviction.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:08 PM on November 27 [7 favorites]


Done.

I didn't say you couldn't find somebody you want to replace Schumer, I said that person has to want to run against him. It doesn't matter if Durbin would be acceptable to us if he has no interest in knocking off Schumer.
posted by Justinian at 6:08 PM on November 27 [4 favorites]


Well, that and he's not up for re-election until 2020.

2022. He was just reelected in 2016 at the same time his Senate slate was getting asswhipped. And he hoarded money for his own reelection in an noncompetitive race until belatedly transferring some late in the campaign.

There's enough time to find someone else. 4 years is a long time, and we're stuck with him that long.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:10 PM on November 27 [8 favorites]


I can think of exactly five senators from the west coast who'd make great senate minority leaders / eventual senate majority leaders.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:12 PM on November 27 [4 favorites]


I was gonna ask why 5 and not 6. Then I realized... poor Diane Feinstein.
posted by Justinian at 6:15 PM on November 27 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, Stone and Corsi appear to be having difficulty keeping their stories to the media straight after Corsi leaked the draft of his plea deal.

CNN's Marshall Cohen: "BIG NEWS: Days after the DNC leaks in July 2016, Roger Stone asked his pal Jerome Corsi to "get to [Assange]" and "get the pending [Wikileaks] emails, according to draft court filings obtained by CNN. The docs come from Corsi's possible plea arrangement."

The Atlantic's Natasha Bertrand: "This is weird—yesterday Corsi told me that he was the one who told Stone to get to Assange.[...]"

(And the Daily Caller's reporting about Corsi's claim of a secret joint defense agreement with Trump strains credulity, especially since the only corroboration of this comes from Roger Stone.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:28 PM on November 27 [7 favorites]


> I was gonna ask why 5 and not 6. Then I realized... poor Diane Feinstein.

hey maybe I got beef with maria cantwell you don't know me.

(honestly? If the pick-a-senate-leader fairy comes to me and says "reclusive novelist thomas pynchon! I grant you the power to pick the democratic party senate leader!," I'd probably blurt out "Patty Murray!" without thinking too hard about it. well-established, fantastic voting record, has a low-key master-of-the-senate reputation, doesn't seem like she wants to run for president, isn't a dude)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 6:36 PM on November 27 [20 favorites]


I'd go Hirono, but we can probably play Fantasy Senate Coups outside of this thread.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 PM on November 27 [14 favorites]


I would vote for an actual chimpmunk before I vote for Schumer. I hope he resigns before 2022 but we could do so, so much better,

Literally Anyone Else 2022
posted by The Whelk at 6:41 PM on November 27


Chance Schumer resigns from office before 2022: 0.000001% (I mean, unless he has a stroke or develops terminal leukemia or something)

Chance Schumer resigns as Minority Leaer: I don't know, 0.5%.

People don't give up these gigs.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:44 PM on November 27 [5 favorites]


More on the Art of the Deal as practiced by Mr. "I would give myself an A+":

NYT: Despite Tough Talk on Trade, Trump Could Seek a Truce with Xi Jinping at G-20
President Trump has signaled a fresh willingness to make a deal with President Xi Jinping of China, whom he will meet over dinner at the summit meeting.
The gyrations in the stock market, the rise in interest rates and thousands of layoffs announced by General Motors this week have all rattled Mr. Trump, officials said, fueling his desire to emerge from his meal with Mr. Xi with something he can claim as a victory.
Leaking that you're desperate to strike a deal is how you get maximum negotiating leverage, right?
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:46 PM on November 27 [24 favorites]


I also get tired of Schumer's statements and hope that he faces a liberal primary challenge in 2022, but:

It can be worth remembering that any time we see one of these deals with his name attached to it, it's almost-but-not-quite certainly going to be a unanimous consent agreement. Which is to say that Harris approved it. And Sanders, and Gillibrand, and Durbin, and Klobuchar, and, and, and. Any one of them could have nixed it by objecting and didn't.

This not to pour gasoline on the ALL THE DEMS ARE POOP fire because it's a silly fire, but to remind myself that, yeah, they're playing with a bad hand and maybe I should be a leedle beet more generous in my first-glance assessments of actual tactics (as opposed to some of the dumb shit he says which is yeah just ugh).
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:47 PM on November 27 [15 favorites]


@kashanacauley

Bully: I’m going to kick you in the nuts.

Chuck Schumer: A true, bipartisan solution would be for you to only kick me in the nuts halfway.

7:09 PM - 27 Nov 2018
posted by bluesky43 at 6:47 PM on November 27 [25 favorites]


The news that Manafort was, as Justin Miller quipped, "cooperating with Trump" is not really news:
Reuters (22 Oct 2018) Trump lawyer: Manafort said nothing damaging in Mueller interviews
And Marcy Wheeler has been banging the drum for the past couple days that Mueller knew that Manafort was a mole for Trump all along.
posted by pjenks at 6:53 PM on November 27 [9 favorites]


How much of an asshole do you have to be to get subtweeted by the Auschwitz Museum? Apparently Lindsey Graham asshole amounts.
posted by Justinian at 6:55 PM on November 27 [37 favorites]




This not to pour gasoline on the ALL THE DEMS ARE POOP fire because it's a silly fire, but to remind myself that, yeah, they're playing with a bad hand and maybe I should be a leedle beet more generous in my first-glance assessments of actual tactics (as opposed to some of the dumb shit he says which is yeah just ugh).

Oh I'm not under the impression this isn't a planned tactic, it's just that I think it's a bad one.
posted by odinsdream at 6:57 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


WP: GOP divided over appointing McSally to McCain seat.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:02 PM on November 27 [4 favorites]


I didn't say you couldn't find somebody you want to replace Schumer, I said that person has to want to run against him. It doesn't matter if Durbin would be acceptable to us if he has no interest in knocking off Schumer.

I don't want to pre-litigiate NY Senate 2020, but give AOC 2 good years in the House, and I'd vote for her for Senate.
posted by mikelieman at 7:03 PM on November 27 [3 favorites]


on the one hand AOC is a goddamned phenomenon and we're lucky to have her. On the other hand, the best lesson to learn from AOC's successful run is probably a little bit less "AOC is phenomenal!" and a little bit more "get out there and run for something! You might be phenomenal!"
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 7:09 PM on November 27 [65 favorites]


[Honestly just as a general thing, if everybody could basically embrace the idea that "I don't want to pre-litigiate X, but..." is a good reason to just skip a comment, it would enormously reduce the amount of time-filling arguing that happens in here.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:23 PM on November 27 [24 favorites]


Dave Wasserman:
Preliminary highest turnout CDs (based on House votes/adult citizens):

1. #MN03 - 73%
2. #CO02 - 73%
3. #VA10 - 71%
4. #WA07 - 71%
5. #CO04 - 69%
6. #MN05 - 69%
7. #MN02 - 69%
8. #FL04 - 68%
9. #WA01 - 68%
10. #MI11 - 68%
11. #GA06 - 68%
12. #CO06 - 67%
We really, really disliked Comstock.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:12 PM on November 27 [15 favorites]


Jim Comey is feeling confident

Surely there is an unoccupied blue curtain somewhere that this man can quietly fade into, never to be heard from again?
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 8:12 PM on November 27 [39 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump: Brenda Snipes, in charge of voting in Broward County, Florida, was just spotted wearing a beautiful dress with 300 I VOTED signs on it. Just kidding, she is a fine, very honorable and highly respected voting tactician!

I don't usually post his every twitter insult in the thread just so we can gawk at how unpresidential they are. So what's the point here? This tweet appears to be based on an 17-day-old /r/the_Donald post. That reddit cesspool that was a favorite of Russian propaganda operations.

The deeply alarming pipeline from the chans/reddit to Scavino/Trump to Trump's Twitter is still alive and well.
posted by zachlipton at 8:26 PM on November 27 [19 favorites]



The anti-Schumer movement, while having far (far!) more justification than the anti-Pelosi movement, suffers from one of the same problems; there isn't anyone running against him. It's not enough to say "NOT SCHUMER", you have to find somebody to run.

Dick Durbin, current Minority Whip.

Done.


I would be all for this. I am still aggravated that Schumer leapfrogged Durbin to become Minority Leader in 2016, after Reid retired. Durbin would be a zillion times better.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:31 PM on November 27 [10 favorites]


And Marcy Wheeler has been banging the drum for the past couple days that Mueller knew that Manafort was a mole for Trump all along.

To be fair, she's been wondering about this since Giuliani bragged about the Trump-Manafort joint defense agreement to Reuters late last month: Who Is Paying Kevin Downing’s Bills To Serve As Trump’s Mole?

She also brings up again:
Another detail to remember: Mueller could have, but did not, gag Manafort (he gagged Gates).

So he could have prevented those briefings.

*Chose* not to.
All in all, it seems that while the Special Counsel's office prepared in good faith for Manafort to become a cooperating witness, Mueller trusted him not even as far as he could throw him and set up contingency plans in case he stayed secretly loyal to Team Trump—which he could leverage in a worst case scenario.

Besides, former Assistant US Attorney Mary Shannon Little comments: "When I was a prosecutor working for Rudy Giuliani, if a defense lawyer representing a cooperating witness continued to participate in a joint defense agreement, he would have investigated that lawyer and others in the joint defense for obstruction of justice." And obstruction of justice is the main area that Mueller's been working on about which Trump appears to know as much as we do.

On the topic of obstruction of justice, this evening @realDonaldTrump continued his recent series of attacks on Mueller, calling "Mueller Witch Hunt […] a total disgrace" and ranting about the "Emails that Hillary DELETED & acid washed AFTER getting a Congressional Subpoena!" If he can't drop the hint to Whitaker to sabotage the Special Counsel investigation, he'll settle for the DoJ bringing charges against his former political opponent.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:39 PM on November 27 [9 favorites]


All those "I voted" stickers are obviously shopped. They didn't even bother to change any of the aspect ratios or shading.
posted by M-x shell at 8:40 PM on November 27


All in all, it seems that while the Special Counsel's office prepared in good faith for Manafort to become a cooperating witness, Mueller trusted him not even as far as he could throw him and set up contingency plans in case he stayed secretly loyal to Team Trump—which he could leverage in a worst case scenario.

Worst case scenario for anyone under investigation. Frankly, I'm once again amazed at how competent Mueller's team is. He's chewing through these nitwits like a wood-chipper.
posted by mikelieman at 8:48 PM on November 27 [7 favorites]


It feels as if the shit and the fan are getting closer to each other.
posted by perhapses at 8:49 PM on November 27 [27 favorites]


If you were baffled by those Post interview excerpts, you can now baffle yourself further with the full transcript, which they're working on annotating with fact checking.

Trump’s Washington Post interview shows a presidency that’s beyond satire - Matthew Yglesias, Vox
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:24 PM on November 27 [11 favorites]




While Mueller's team has maintained a professional silence, I get the sense that those prosecutors really do not like Manafort and Stone on account of their decades of making American politics shittier, then exporting that shittiness around the world -- while getting rich with apparent impunity. The Manafort indictment and subsequent plea agreement was structured in a way to both lock him up and take all of his money. It was a fuck-you from the career prosecutors on GS salaries to the filthy influence peddlers whose northern Virginia McMansions were bought with other people's blood. When they finally drop the hammer on Stone, it's going to be from a great height.
posted by holgate at 10:12 PM on November 27 [28 favorites]


WSJ, Jerome Corsi Says Roger Stone Sought ‘Cover Story’ for 2016 Tweet: "Former ally says Trump adviser asked for his help to create ‘alternative explanation’ for tweet foreshadowing 2016 release of Clinton emails." The main story here is over Stone's August 21st "Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel" tweet. Corsi is claiming that Stone called him nine days later and asked for help creating an "alternative explanation" for it and that Corsi helped write a memo about Podesta that they could use as a cover story. Stone says this is nonsense.

So it's two massive liars competing to publicly throw each other under the bus as Mueller circles. There's also this interesting detail:
In another twist, Mr. Giuliani said a member of the president’s legal team, Jay Sekulow, received a packet of court papers two weeks ago relating to Mr. Corsi that included the draft plea document. The sender was anonymous, Mr. Giuliani said.

The president’s legal team notified the Justice Department that it had received the documents, Mr. Giuliani said.
I'm going to assume Mueller's office didn't anonymously send the documents to Trump's team, but it sure sounds like something Corsi would do. Per the reporter on Twitter, Trump's legal team also "complained that Trump was named in the draft."
posted by zachlipton at 10:19 PM on November 27 [8 favorites]


Fox News legal analyst stunned at how Mueller made it impossible for Trump to save Manafort: Napolitano explained that Mueller designed the plea agreement in such a way that it is “pardon proof.”
“The guilty plea is 175 pages long. In my career, I have never seen one like this. It was so carefully crafted by Bob Mueller and signed by Paul Manafort, that at the time he pleaded guilty to the charges he was indicted for — which was basically bank fraud, money laundering, and some form of commercial bribery of foreign officials in federal court. He also pleaded guilty to uncharged state crimes in New Jersey, in Virginia and in California.”

He added, “Why did they do that? To make it pardon proof so if President Trump, which he can do, does pardon him for the federal crimes the state prosecutors in those states already have his guilty plea.”
posted by homunculus at 10:21 PM on November 27 [65 favorites]


You Are Going to Want to Watch This Horrifying Footage of Stephen Miller in High School That Hasan Minhaj Dug Up - Matthew Dessem, Slate

The Stephen Miller bit starts around 9:15.
posted by St. Oops at 10:44 PM on November 27 [5 favorites]


> Trump’s Washington Post interview shows a presidency that’s beyond satire - Matthew Yglesias, Vox

This is worth reading. I mean, just the raw quotes... Feel free to add your own record scratch sounds:
One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers.

... when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.

... it was very interesting, I was watching the firemen and they’re raking brush — you know the tumbleweed and brush and all this stuff that’s growing underneath. It’s on fire and they’re raking it working so hard, and they’re raking all this stuff. If that was raked in the beginning, there’d be nothing to catch on fire. It’s very interesting to see. A lot of the trees, they took tremendous burn at the bottom, but they didn’t catch on fire. The bottom is all burned but they didn’t catch on fire because they sucked the water, they’re wet. You need forest management, and they don’t have it.

... Don’t forget we’re still up from when I came in 38 percent or something. You know, it’s a tremendous — it’s not like we’re up — and we’re much stronger. And we’re much more liquid. [...] It’s easy to make money when you’re not doing any pay-downs, so you can’t — and despite that, the numbers we have are phenomenal numbers.
My fellow R-voting Americans, this is the man you selected to be our President.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:48 PM on November 27 [10 favorites]


My fellow R-voting Americans, this is the man you selected to be our President.

I understand what is up with Trump. It's Dunning-Kruger. He is too dumb and incompetent to realize he's dumb and incompetent. Ok, fine. Given he has access to the nuclear launch codes that's less than ideal. But I get what's happening.

His supporters, though? They still insist he's super smart. Can nearly half the country be so unintelligent that they are literally unable to identify intelligence? Like... I may not be the most brilliant person to ever walk the earth but I can tell if somebody is very smart after spending some time with them. I might not be able to tell you if they're in the 82nd percentile or the 94th percentile or whatever, but I sure as shit can tell you if they're dumb as a bag of hammers or not.

How can they not do that? Some of them must know he's dumb and are lying about it to justify their vote, right? Right?
posted by Justinian at 11:20 PM on November 27 [69 favorites]


step 1: assess social status on factors other than intelligence (hey, that's probably a good idea! because we don't live in a smartsocracy and really that's probably for the best)
step 2: decide that the features that give someone high social status are the possession of inherited wealth, a dangerous sense of self-entitlement, narcissistic self-regard, and a willingness to eagerly shame the lil people. this might even be an accurate way to assess someone's genuine social status, because people like that tend to get rewarded by our extant politico-economic systems, more's the pity.
step 3: (this is where it gets fun) your heuristic selects the people with high social status. the people with social status must be good, otherwise the world would not be just. the world is just. therefore good people have good features, like intelligence, good looks, a functioning moral sense, and so forth. therefore the people with exceptionally high social status necessarily have all the good features anyone could name.
step 4: You now are prepared to insist that donald trump is smart, good-looking, pleasant, witty, ethical, whatever.
step 5: oh yeah? you disagree? well if you're so smart how come you ain't rich?
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:42 PM on November 27 [24 favorites]




How can they not do that? Some of them must know he's dumb and are lying about it to justify their vote, right? Right?
Some of them are trapped in a phenomenon I've witnessed firsthand when, once upon a time, I was unfortunate enough to cross career paths with a malignant narcissist with Trump-like properties (fortunately on a much smaller scale, but still something I took years to recover from.)

At least some of the people who are showing signs of cult-like devotion to Trump's increasingly unhinged claims are people who bought in early on claims he made that were attractive to them because they were what they wanted to hear. People around them may have warned that the claims were not true but they chose to believe him because they wanted them to be true and at least at that point they weren't being asked to believe that up is down, the sky is green, etc. As his demands upon his believers became greater and greater, some people slipped away -- unable to commit to the latest ridiculous belief they were asked to adopt -- but not nearly as many as you would perhaps think, because for anyone who swallowed the easier lies to disavow him later meant admitting -- to themselves at least, but also likely to those around them -- how thoroughly they were taken in. There are many, many people who simply cannot countenance that sort of loss of face. And as a result they're trapped by their own pride into believing more and more ludicrous things.

It is a terrifying cycle, especially since they know at some level that they are trapped but the very nature of their problem renders them unable to focus their fear and rage on the person who has trapped them. Many will find other outlets for it.

[If you're curious: I talked about my fear of this very thing a bit in this post from August 2016 in the run-up to the election.]
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:19 AM on November 28 [51 favorites]


The Assange story, already questioned upthread is heavily torpedoed by Craig Murray which in itself is a bit dodgy but he should know about standard Embassy procedures having been an Ambassador.
posted by adamvasco at 3:33 AM on November 28


DAWSEY: Last night, Mr. President, the special counsel’s team charged Paul Manafort with saying, they accused him at least of saying more lies, and ended his plea deal. People around you have told me you’re upset about the way he’s been treated. Are you planning to do anything to help him?

TRUMP: Let me go off the record because I don’t want to get in the middle of the whole thing.


The Post's answer here should have been, "No, this is an on-the-record interview. If you don't wish to comment for the record, we can move on."

With some sources, there is value in sharing information with a reporter that is for background or not for attribution. With the President of the United States during an on-the-record interview, such cases should be rare indeed, and with Trump there's no value at all.

Besides, I bet if they had said they didn't want to hear it off the record, Trump would have wound up saying whatever he wanted to say anyway.
posted by Gelatin at 3:44 AM on November 28 [59 favorites]


Question as a not-journalist: What was the value for Trump in even going off the record momentarily? Like, what kinds of things are said during these asides that would help him set the terms of the interview, or be better understood or whatever? As opposed to just saying, "I'm not going to answer that" or "I can't comment" or something? Going off the record just seems unusual for Trump, who has no problem not answering, lying, changing the topic, or drowning his response in word salad. I don't understand how this works.
posted by Rykey at 4:40 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


[A couple deleted. We've gone over the "do Trump supporters really not realize how dumb he is" (and variations) so many times it's just automatic space-filling at this point.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:11 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


Okay, jury may be out on his supporters, but he... he is abysmally stupid.
From the annotated interview transcript:
TRUMP: One of the problems that a lot of people like myself — we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers. You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and when you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including — just many other places — the air is incredibly dirty. And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.
What even the fuck?
TRUMP: Number two, if you go back and if you look at articles, they talked about global freezing, they talked about at some point the planets could have freeze to death, then it’s going to die of heat exhaustion. There is movement in the atmosphere. There’s no question. As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it — not nearly like it is.
It's not just that he is ignorant, he is unwilling to learn even the tiniest bit beyond soundbites he snaps up somewhere and then repeats, embellishing them as he goes.

I really wish one reporter or interviewer had the guts to ask him to explain himself - just a little polite "excuse me, I don't quite follow, could you explain the in layman's terms?"
posted by PontifexPrimus at 5:35 AM on November 28 [40 favorites]


And when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean, we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific, it flows, and we say where does this come from. And it takes many people to start off with.

Can the FDA declare this word salad as contaminated and have it recalled?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:40 AM on November 28 [70 favorites]


So, tear gas and border closings in the US, meanwhile this on Vox:

Why Colombia has taken in 1 million Venezuelans
Colombia isn’t closing its doors.


In addition to Germany and Syrians, remember that Bangladesh also took in something close to a million refugees from Myanmar this year. The video goes on to detail how Colombians are taking Venezuelans into their homes, and how the government has granted the all the refugees 2 years to reside legally in the country, including the right to work and access social services.

The contrast with Republican and US government policies speaks for itself. Ethnic conflict and resource strife are not inevitable, they are manmade.
posted by saysthis at 6:04 AM on November 28 [59 favorites]


I was just in Bogotá for a week shooting a travel story and the admission of refugees came up a few times – including among more upper class types you'd think would be more Republican-esque – and while I'm sure there are people who think different, the feeling among the people I met was it was a good thing. And they also hated Trump and what he stood for. It was refreshing, though I guess not surprising since my experience with Colombians is that they are amazingly friendly, helpful and protective. /anecdata
posted by chris24 at 6:16 AM on November 28 [28 favorites]


After going off the record with the WaPo yesterday when asked directly about the Special Counsel investigation, @realDonaldTrump started the day with still another attack on Mueller and the wave of media coverage of his legal moves against Manafort, Corsi, and Stone:

"While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief. This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!"

Which, coming from a protégé of Roy Cohn, demonstrates an absolute lack of self-awareness that guarantees Donald Trump's authorship of this tweet.

The account then switched to re-tweeting anti-immigrant noise from "The Trump Train 🚂 🇺🇸" (@The_Trump_Train).
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]




There’s no way Trump wrote that tweet, which is quite odd.
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


I can't help but wonder how much of Trump's rage at the media is pure narcissism, and how much of it is shock and a justified feeling of betrayal that the media that once feted him, quashed negative stories about him, failed to investigate or report on his numerous crimes, and basically helped puff up his own lies about himself and his wealth is now being ever so slightly critical.

His entire life the media, especially the New York establishment media and most especially the New York Times, had done nothing but amplify his latest lies, give him free advertising for his various scams, and run puff pieces on his tasteless interior decorating.

I hate to sympathize with him, but I can see how it'd be a shock going from that to a media even as cowed, submissive, and differential in its very mild criticism of him as the current media is.

Obviously any narcissist will feel betrayed by any criticism, they see themselves as perfect after all, but in Trump's case there really is some kernel of truth to that narrative of betrayal. The media, and especially the NYT, used to be his buddies, and now they're sometimes gently critical of him. Even a neurotypical person would feel betrayed in that sort of situation.

Again, we're seeing why the future of both America and our species will require the media to stop being nice to billionaires and the government to start treating white collar crimes the way it currently treats minor drug offenses committed by black people. If the media and law enforcement had done its job, Trump would never have been in a position to run for President because he'd be broke, in prison, and a national byword for corruption.

Ask yourselves this: which is more likely, that Trump is uniquely corrupt for a billionaire, or that he's uniquely stupid in the way he flaunts his corruption? I'm betting the latter. What stories on Zuckerburg, Gates, Musk, Bezos, etc have been quietly quashed, never investigated? How many crimes have they committed that law enforcement never even knew about because they don't investigate billionaires?

Our two tiered system of justice depends on a compliant media as much as it does a judicial system geared to prosecuting poor minorities. Trump was a beneficiary of a media environment that catered to his every whim and helped build him up for his entire life.
posted by sotonohito at 6:31 AM on November 28 [38 favorites]


Eric Idle came to my town to promote his new autobiography. In an interview here he quoted a section of it:
I pay taxes in three countries and I can vote in none of them. I wasn’t even allowed to vote against Brexit. The Russians had more say than I did. And of course, I can’t vote in the States, though they coined the phrase “No taxation without representation.” I was once coming home through LAX when a steely- eyed immigration officer peered suspiciously at me.

“How long have you been a green card holder?”
“Oh, I have had it for ages,” I said. “More than twenty years.”
“Then why aren’t you an American?”
“Erm. Er . . . Well . . .” I hesitated. What should I say? What was the correct thing to say?

“Because, sir, I am an Englishman. Born and raised in England under the bombs of Hitler. A member of one of its most prestigious universities, from a college founded in 1347. A man who watched England win the World Cup at Wembley in 1966 and Manchester United lift the European trophy in 1968. An Englishman, a proud Elizabethan, heir to the traditions of Shakespeare, Chaucer, Wilde, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Dickens, a cricket- loving survivor of the Sixties and a member of one of the most admired comedy groups in the world. Is it not enough I live in your fair country and pay my taxes? Now you wish me to put my hand on my heart and pledge allegiance to a self- righteous, lying, tax- avoiding moron, and his racist, gay- bashing, environmentally dangerous, greedy- bastard, science- denying cronies, who reject evolution and the rights of women, and plunder the planet for profit to please their powerful funders, stealing the very air and clean water of their children, while tweeting insanely and lying through their teeth on propaganda TV channels that would have shamed Joseph Goebbels? No, sir! The French do not shrug at me sardonically and ask me why I am not French. The Norwegians do not stop me on their shores and insist I wear thick knitwear and a large red anorak and retire into the countryside suffering from Ibsen and ennui. The Australians don’t force me into baggy swim pants to stand on planks in orange sunscreen hurtling across their shark- infested waters singing ‘Advance Australia Fair.’ No, sir. Enough, sir. I am a tax payer, a member of your Academy, a Grammy winner, a Tony winner, a father of an American, a lover of America, married to an American wife with an American child, but not, sir, an American!”
It may be a bit mean spirited to say so, with those desperate people needing to get in so badly, but no-one with better options wants to be American. Remember when trump lamented he'd like more Norwegian immigrants than people form shithole countries? From 2007-2016, less than 1,000 Norwegians naturalized as US citizens, according to US Department of Homeland Security data. That's an average of 100 Norwegians a year -- less than .000001 percent of Norway's population. No-one in Norway wants to become American. Norway is civilised.
posted by adept256 at 6:36 AM on November 28 [142 favorites]


There’s no way Trump wrote that tweet, which is quite odd.

That's a re-tweet, from "The Trump Train 🚂 🇺🇸" (which uses Trump's twitter profile pic for its own).

As ever, Trump's morning tweets combine "Message of the Day" signals to his followers with cathartic exercise of his own obsessions and fears. (He's scheduled for lunch with NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo today, so he has to get this out of his system before then.)

Now @realDonaldTrump just re-tweeted flattery/Hilary-bashing from a vice presidential "fan account", @MikePenceVP, and has moved on to re-circulating month-old tweets from the odious Charlie Kirk and sycophant Dan Bongino.

If executive time has started this early, today could be interesting.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:37 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


cjelli: A Totally Normal Morning In America: (via Daniel Dale) the President retweeting a meme of Rod Rosenstein (among others, including Obama and Hillary Clinton) imprisoned for treason.

I think I see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez behind bars with the rest of them? Someone who has yet to spend a day in elected office of any kind? What, did she commit "treason" while getting her econ degree or bartending?

Or is she able to direct the asteroid that got named after her directly into a major American city. That last one is probably already a Qanon belief.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:50 AM on November 28 [10 favorites]


There’s no way Trump wrote that tweet, which is quite odd.
---
That's a re-tweet, from "The Trump Train 🚂 🇺🇸" (which uses Trump's twitter profile pic for its own).


I think odinsdreams is referring to this:
"While the disgusting Fake News is doing everything within their power not to report it that way, at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief. This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!"
And I think he's right. No way Trump uses intimating. And the grammar/sentence structure is basically comprehensible.
posted by chris24 at 6:52 AM on November 28 [16 favorites]


It's not just that he is ignorant, he is unwilling to learn even the tiniest bit beyond soundbites he snaps up somewhere and then repeats, embellishing them as he goes.

He's exceptional at working as little as possible for maximum returns.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:54 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


> Can the FDA declare this word salad as contaminated and have it recalled?

I think we should start using the word "articulate" as a passive-aggressive insult for Republican politicians.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:56 AM on November 28 [20 favorites]


No way Trump uses intimating. And the grammar/sentence structure is basically comprehensible.

The Trump or Not Bot rates that tweet with an 82% chance of being authored by Trump himself, but as we know, @realDonaldTrump is the work of many hands (especially since Bill Shine got his grabby mitts on it). Although "intimating" is indeed a word he's never tweeted before, I surmise this tweet originates with Trump, right down to the McCarthy reference, even if it's clearly been processed by his comms team.

Meanwhile, @realDonaldTrump has tweeted a couple of times to complain about GM, plant closings, and vehicle tariffs—and to threaten, "Get smart Congress. [...] The President has great power on this issue - Because of the G.M. event, it is being studied now!" These tweets sound a lot more authentically Trump-y, but the subject matter is so far outside his capabilities—Trump has never before referred to the US's so-called “chicken tax” on small truck imports—they almost certainly originate with an aide.

Trump's either trying to stir up shit this morning or has nothing but executive time on his hands.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:21 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


Trump's either trying to stir up shit this morning or has nothing but executive time on his hands.

I keep in mind that Trump's ENTIRE shtick is campaigning. All he CAN do is say stuff that gets the campaign event attendees ( his base ) enthusiastic. Dunning-Krueger, ( or Krueger-Dunning, as Dunning once said.. )
posted by mikelieman at 7:28 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


I remember when Dick Cheney used the word "qualitative" in an interview, and I thought "You know, Bush would never use that word. He probably doesn't know that word. Cheney is so much smarter than Bush. He must have Bush wrapped around his little finger. Dammit, Cheney is the real president, isn't he?"

(And nothing has happened since to really convince me otherwise.)

So I spent the first few months of the Trump administration wondering who the "real president" in this case. At first I thought Bannon. Then I thought Sessions. Now that both are gone, I've been afraid maybe we just don't HAVE a real president, which is worse, maybe?

But if Fox News's Bill Shine is the one who put the word "intimating" into that tweet, maybe the truth is that the Real President has been Fox News all along.
posted by OnceUponATime at 7:28 AM on November 28 [52 favorites]


I think I see Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez behind bars with the rest of them? Someone who has yet to spend a day in elected office of any kind? What, did she commit "treason" while getting her econ degree or bartending?

I'm pretty sure that's Huma Abedin, although I'm sure AOC will have her photoshop-day behind bars if she hasn't already.
posted by gladly at 7:28 AM on November 28 [7 favorites]


America: Trump's either trying to stir up shit this morning or has nothing but executive time on his hands.
posted by notyou at 7:37 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


maybe the truth is that the Real President has been Fox News all along.

Media consolidation and the defanging of antitrust laws led to a cable news company being the president.

What a timeline.

Anyway the lunch with Coumo seems weird unless you remember they’re both extremely petty, vainglorious outer brougho con men. I hope it’s a friendly chat among sociopaths and not part of some revenge plot cause NYS Andy’s cooked up cause he had to face a primary and that’s not fair.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 AM on November 28 [18 favorites]


But if Fox News's Bill Shine is the one who put the word "intimating" into that tweet, maybe the truth is that the Real President has been Fox News all along.

As Daily Beast e-in-c Noah Schachtman put it when the news broke about Shine's ongoing multi-million-dollar Fox payout:

"Forget state-sponsored TV. This is a TV-sponsored state."
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:44 AM on November 28 [34 favorites]


Maybe Trump will convince Cuomo to renege on his deal with Bezos.
posted by notyou at 7:44 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


If Pelosi Returns As Speaker, So Would The GOP Playbook Against Her (NPR, November 28, 2018)
For nearly a decade, Nancy Pelosi was the GOP's not-so-secret weapon.

Tying a congressional candidate to the Democratic leader and raising the specter of another would-be speakership was a Republican's silver bullet for much of the past decade.

But in 2018, that strategy failed — badly. Democrats flipped control of the House and are on pace to pick up as many as 40 seats with their biggest popular-vote margin since the Watergate scandal, and Pelosi is hoping to become speaker of the House again as her fellow Democrats take a first vote Wednesday.
Emphasis mine -- well-played, NPR. Well played.
"I still think she's a toxic figure and and an unpopular figure to definitely tie Democrats to," said GOP strategist Andrea Bozek, a former communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee. "That's why you had a lot of Democrat incumbents and candidates during the campaign say that they weren't going to vote for her, which is sort of unprecedented."
That's so kind of NPR to allow GOP talking points to air for free. Such blatant political ads can cost serious money to spread. But I guess you might feel obliged to give then a few free pot-shots and stage-setting, after that comparison of Trump and Nixon, and what follows...
Pelosi has once again shown her political prowess in wooing even skeptical lawmakers and wavering freshmen to her side. A formal vote for speaker won't be held until January, but enough possible defections have now petered out that it looks as if the California Democrat will claim the gavel again.

Coalescing support

On Tuesday, a group of 20 freshmen — including some who were lukewarm about her on the campaign trail — released a letter (PDF) explaining their rationale for backing the 78-year-old Pelosi now.

"The incoming class of first-term members is younger and more diverse than ever before. A proven leader like Leader Pelosi will be a valuable resource as we, ourselves, step up to lead, and as we work to make life better for the people we represent," the letter reads.

One of those signatories, Rep.-elect Angie Craig of Minnesota, admitted that she campaigned saying she would consider new leadership but said Tuesday during a panel discussion on bipartisanship that "you can't beat something with nothing" and that she was supporting Pelosi after meeting with her and talking about taking action on several issues she stressed during her campaign.
...
Rep.-elect Lauren Underwood of Illinois was one of those on the fence [about supporting Pelosi]. But she also said Tuesday that she eventually realized that people in Washington were focused on Pelosi but said flatly "people at home don't care."
Emphasis mine, because these points are all true, and it's good to hear them as counters to the GOP spin. Why is she toxic? Why is she unpopular? What, you only have those soundbites to throw out? Hmm, it's like your betting on misogyny to carry this one, GOP.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on November 28 [35 favorites]


From our mouths to their ears.

MSNBC declines to allow Sarah Sanders to dictate its programming
It had been nearly a month since Sarah Sanders had held what was once known as a “daily” briefing. So when the White House press secretary — along with White House officials Larry Kudlow and John Bolton — took the podium on Tuesday afternoon, cable-news channels jumped right on the proceedings. Well, most of them, anyway.

While CNN and Fox News carried the tripartite briefing from the very beginning, MSNBC stayed away — until it had blown off the entire session.

In doing so, it had missed a chance to beam a live presentation of Kudlow saying, “We’ll see what happens. … Our economy’s in very good shape right now”; of Bolton saying he hadn’t listened to the audio recording of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi (“I guess I should ask you, why do you think I should, what do you think I’ll learn from it?”); of Sanders saying this about Trump and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation: “I don’t think the president has any concerns about the [Mueller] report because he knows that there was no wrongdoing by him and that there was no collusion.”

Instead of all that, MSNBC carried segments on the following topics: Trump’s trade wars; the state of the auto industry, in light of GM’s announced plant closings; the stock market and the welfare of the U.S. worker; a deadly attack on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan; a Guardian report that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, had met with Julian Assange; and the U.S. Senate election in Mississippi. After the press briefing concluded, MSNBC plowed ahead with more on GM, including an interview with Hamtramck, Mich., Mayor Karen Majewski, a segment on the Mueller investigation, a politics roundup, a mention of “giving Tuesday.”
posted by scalefree at 7:50 AM on November 28 [92 favorites]


[Couple comments deleted. Sorry, as always nobody's doing anything wrong, but "here's my nightmare scenario of what will happen if he stays in office" and "which is better Trump or Pence" are both really well-trod lines of discussion that basically always go the same way, and it's better to just not get started on them.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:09 AM on November 28 [10 favorites]


“We are far off course,” the development guru Jeffrey Sachs laments in his new book. The curmudgeonly geo-strategist John Mearsheimer agrees: “Something went badly wrong.” So does Stephen Walt, the dissenting realist at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “Pursuing liberal hegemony did not make the United States safer, stronger, more prosperous, or more popular,” Walt concludes. “On the contrary, America’s ambitious attempt to reorder world politics undermined its own position, sowed chaos in several regions, and caused considerable misery in a number of other countries.”

In their new books, all three of these heretics pronounce American foreign policy a failure. They assert that the drive for “full-spectrum dominance,” on which we have been embarked since the Cold War ended a quarter-century ago, has destabilized the world and undermined our own security.

posted by infini at 8:13 AM on November 28 [19 favorites]




People around them may have warned that the claims were not true but they chose to believe him because they wanted them to be true and at least at that point they weren't being asked to believe that up is down, the sky is green, etc. As his demands upon his believers became greater and greater, some people slipped away -- unable to commit to the latest ridiculous belief they were asked to adopt -- but not nearly as many as you would perhaps think, because for anyone who swallowed the easier lies to disavow him later meant admitting -- to themselves at least, but also likely to those around them -- how thoroughly they were taken in.

Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a drug.
posted by Gelatin at 8:15 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


gladly: I'm pretty sure that's Huma Abedin

Oops! Yes, you are correct.

Insight from Alexdra Erin about vocabulary, excerpted from a long tweet thread of last March, referring to a tweet that said "So much Fake News. Never been more voluminous or more inaccurate. But through it all, our country is doing great!"
Okay. So. Anyway.

I'm seeing a lot of people asking "Who wrote this tweet? Trump wouldn't say voluminous." And I have to say, I think there's a trap we're falling into there, as a culture.


When it becomes an article of faith that Trump doesn't use big words, we throw out any time he does as an anomaly that proves it's not him, thus preserving the record of Trump not using big words, thus "proving" that we were right all along.

Trump uses big words. Especially words like "voluminous", which, to be honest, is a little out of place in that sentence not because it's him saying it, but because it's hardly the most natural fit.

Which is part of how he uses them.

Remember Trump saying he has the best words? He latches onto words that are particularly euphonious to his ear.

What sorts of words? Well, if someone told him that his speech was euphonious, we'd hear him repeating it, I'm pretty sure.

If you think I'm making this up... I'm pretty sure I've heard Trump say the word "braggadocious" way more times than I've heard anyone else who wasn't quoting him or talking about him saying it has.

I've heard and read "braggadocio", the Italian word at the root of it, all over the place. But "braggadocious"? That one stuck with him.

So I read a tweet where he's saying "voluminous" and it's slightly out of place but not technically incorrect and I don't think, "His lawyer wrote this." It's Trump, "being his own best spokesman". Trying to channel a bit of the Don King hype and evoke an air of erudition.

So with that in mind, don't rule out Trump saying "intimating". If anything, it's only suspect for being an unusual word without being a "big" one, not for being "too big" a word.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:18 AM on November 28 [28 favorites]


Frustrated by lack of influence and disheartened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, Department of Defense civilians are heading for the door, leaving key positions unfilled in a Pentagon increasingly run by active-duty or retired military officers.
[...]
The attrition has caused concern outside the Defense Department as well. An independent, congressionally mandated review of the National Defense Strategy released this week highlighted the “relative imbalance of civilian and military voices” on critical national security issues, and urged the department to reverse this “unhealthy” trend.
source
posted by infini at 8:22 AM on November 28 [6 favorites]


lunch with Coumo seems weird

Not if you’re trying to avoid prosecution for yourself and your family in NYS it doesn’t

This is why getting rid of Cuomo and his entire slate was important. I guess now we see how Tish James handles it.

I say we burn the political career of anyone who doesn’t go after the Trumps like they’ve been infected with a very Trump-specific fast-moving zombie virus.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:23 AM on November 28 [27 favorites]


In their new books, all three of these heretics pronounce American foreign policy a failure.

This is now considered a heretical position?

Guess I missed the memo.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:23 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


So I spent the first few months of the Trump administration wondering who the "real president" in this case. At first I thought Bannon. Then I thought Sessions. Now that both are gone, I've been afraid maybe we just don't HAVE a real president, which is worse, maybe?

Bush (G.W.) was the elitist presidency; he did the aw-shucks Texas thing, and spoke Spanish with what was apparently not an awful accent, but either he was consciously playing the yokel lobby, or he was himself being played. Hard to say. But yeah, the real power was Cheney et al. And really that's about the best thing you can say about that administration. They were evil, but they were competent. (Much of what people allege as incompetence isn't, in my accounting anyway; it's just stuff they didn't care about doing well. Like setting up governments in places after retooling them with high explosives.) I wouldn't go so far as to saw "lawful evil", but... competent villany.

Trump is the crowdsourced presidency. He doesn't have the iron-fist-velvet-glove power-behind-the-throne person, at least as far as can be discerned. (Maybe it'll turn out to have been Ivanka all along? We're not that lucky.) Instead he has a revolving-door cavalcade of resume-burnishing morons with otherwise limited career prospects as a staff, probably doing the day-to-day legwork of policymaking, and then he has the continuous howling chasm of Twitter.

There are no adults in the room.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:26 AM on November 28 [11 favorites]




"Fox isn't state-run media. The state is run by Fox." — Nicole Wallace
posted by kirkaracha at 8:28 AM on November 28 [18 favorites]


A Totally Normal Morning In America: (via Daniel Dale) the President retweeting a meme of Rod Rosenstein (among others, including Obama and Hillary Clinton) imprisoned for treason.

From the WaPo's article Senate Panel Delays Vote on Trump Pick to Lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement: "One issue they raised in a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is [Ronald D. ] Vitiello apparently sharing images of Trump on Twitter that compare the president to the cartoon character Dennis the Menace."

Totally normal.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:31 AM on November 28 [5 favorites]


> Trump is the crowdsourced presidency. He doesn't have the iron-fist-velvet-glove power-behind-the-throne person, at least as far as can be discerned. (Maybe it'll turn out to have been Ivanka all along? We're not that lucky.) Instead he has a revolving-door cavalcade of resume-burnishing morons with otherwise-limited career prospects as a staff, probably doing the day-to-day legwork of policymaking, and then he has the continuous howling chasm of Twitter.

There are no adults in the room.


We are sort of not stating the obvious / dancing around the depressing elephant in the room. 45 is not a subtle man, and he's not a smart man, and he is owned lock-stock-and-barrel by Vladimir Putin, and he is terrible at hiding it.

(gods, remember back during the conventions, when his team gave precisely zero fucks about the republican party platform oh except for this one little change they wanted to make about Ukraine? and how we were like "well that's a tell" but didn't panic because we didn't think he'd ever be president?)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:37 AM on November 28 [41 favorites]


Stephen Miller High School Clips Prove Some Folks Don’t Ever Grow Up. Includes full episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj from Nov. 25. (Miller is what passes for "adult" in the room regarding immigration policy, which...gah.)
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]




and how we were like "well that's a tell" but didn't panic

Eh, that’s not...super accurate. Even people on MF were treating talk of a Russian conspiracy like it was on par with chemtrails and faked moon landings, and pretty much the only mainstream leftward media person sounding the alarm was Josh Marshall at TPM.

And reality has turned out to be worse than anything any of us was willing to say out loud.

Yay.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:48 AM on November 28 [22 favorites]


I didn't panic, and sadly to be honest still am not panicking over the change to the Republican platform, because there is so much more pressing shit going on. Trump is the most perfect Gish Gallop ever devised at the moment. I distinctly remember a debate in August 2015 where I was sure Trump was about to be finished as a candidate. That's the last time I remember not feeling this eternal fatigue.

Another thing I remember is how it was totally obvious Manafort was bought and paid for by foreign powers when the convention thing came up, there was reporting and it's been gratifying to know that was completely accurate. I eagerly await the fact that he picked Mike Pence to mean something tangible.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:50 AM on November 28 [8 favorites]


>> and how we were like "well that's a tell" but didn't panic

> Eh, that’s not...super accurate. Even people on MF were treating talk of a Russian conspiracy like it was on par with chemtrails and faked moon landings, and pretty much the only mainstream leftward media person sounding the alarm was Josh Marshall at TPM.


if you're capable of reading megathread material from the before time (I can only take it in small doses), hit up this thread and search for "ukraine" and "russia."

iirc the only thing that we were like "okay that might be interesting but perhaps this is getting a little tinfoil hat?" about that in retrospect we should have gotten more tinfoil hat about was the server that only talked to alfa bank.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:01 AM on November 28 [18 favorites]


The Miami Herald's superb long-form investigation into billionaire pedophile—and friend of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton—Jeffrey Epstein reveals an ugly coverup in all but name by one of Trump's cabinet secretaries:
In 2007, despite ample physical evidence and multiple witnesses corroborating the girls’ stories, federal prosecutors and Epstein’s lawyers quietly put together a remarkable deal for Epstein, then 54. He agreed to plead guilty to two felony prostitution charges in state court, and in exchange, he and his accomplices received immunity from federal sex-trafficking charges that could have sent him to prison for life.

He served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade. His alleged co-conspirators, who helped schedule his sex sessions, were never prosecuted.

The deal, called a federal non-prosecution agreement, was sealed so that no one — not even his victims — could know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes and who else was involved. The U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, was personally involved in the negotiations, records, letters and emails show.

Acosta is now a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. As U.S. secretary of labor, he has oversight over international child labor laws and human trafficking and has recently been mentioned as a possible successor to former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned under pressure in early November.[...]

Documents nevertheless show that Acosta not only buckled under pressure from Epstein’s lawyers, but he and other prosecutors worked with them to contain the case, even as the FBI was uncovering evidence of victims and witnesses in other states, FBI and federal court documents show.
The only rule with Trump is that no matter how bad it appears, it's always worse than imagined when examined.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:09 AM on November 28 [78 favorites]


In a live interview with Andrea Mitchell just now on MSNBC a congressman (i have it on in the background but missed who it was) just said they have elected Hakeem Jeffries as Caucus leader of the Dems in the House.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 9:12 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


The only rule with Trump is that no matter how bad it appears, it's always worse than imagined when examined.

Penn Jillette (fellow Apprentice cast member) on Donald Trump, “However bad you think he is, he’s worse”
posted by Burhanistan at 9:13 AM on November 28 [13 favorites]


The only rule with Trump is that no matter how bad it appears, it's always worse than imagined when examined.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:09 AM on November 29 [1 favorite +] [!]


I was typing a comment to say essentially that. Yes. Holy crap put them all in jail forever, and if #metoo organizations have any powder they're keeping dry, this is the one to use it on. Everyone who knew Epstein should be under investigation for years. Holy shit. 80 underage victims that they know about, model agencies to bring in 13+ year-olds and house them at his property, a jet named the "Lolita Express" with lots of mysterious female passengers in the logs...
posted by saysthis at 9:17 AM on November 28 [43 favorites]


The Jeffrey Epstein thing should be a gigantic story and I don’t understand why it isn’t.
posted by gucci mane at 9:19 AM on November 28 [41 favorites]


Metafilter is not a monolith. Every thread had a little "OMG Trump is a Russian agent," and a little " Don't be ridiculous" and a little "the whole Russia thing is just a distraction." What was maddening was the occasional denials that Russia even had anything to do with the DNC hacking -- the insistence that Julian Assange was credible and he said it was an inside job. That was never the consensus around here, but a few people insisted on it, and it is frustrating even to remember. It's such a relief that basically everyone now acknowledges what Russia did, and we are now just trying to understand Trump's role in it.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:22 AM on November 28 [12 favorites]


Here’s the Senate Math You Need to Memorize for 2020
If Democrats win the White House, they will need a net of three pickups to control the chamber (since the vice president can break 50-50 ties in the Senate). But if they lose the White House, they will need to net four seats for control.

The early Senate battlegrounds for 2020: Alabama (D), Arizona (R), Colorado (R), Georgia (R), Iowa (R), Maine (R), Michigan (D) and North Carolina (R).
posted by kirkaracha at 9:22 AM on November 28 [9 favorites]


To counter the NPR bullshit, here's an interview with New York Times Magazine journalist Robert Draper on FreshAir

In the midterms that we just saw, I think she was the Republican's favorite target. I mean, they clearly - their messaging and polling convinced them that attacking Nancy Pelosi was a way to beat the Democrats. How did she get in this position?

ROBERT DRAPER: Well, I think it starts with the fact that she is a woman who lives in San Francisco, who is wealthy and who is a liberal. All this makes her the quintessence of California limousine liberalism. In other words, she is very, very easy to caricature. The fact that she is a woman of a certain age has caused these caricatures to be particularly unkind and with more than an aroma of sexism to them, I think. But nonetheless, it remains a fact that she is a progressive. She is wealthy, and therefore, seemingly, the very picture of the out-of-step Democratic politician.


.....near the end of it all in February, let's say, of 2010, there were a lot of people saying to Speaker Pelosi, let's settle for, you know, a fifth of a loaf, even a tenth of a loaf. Let's just get in and get out to, you know, pass something like on pre-existing conditions and call it a day. And Pelosi said, nope. We were here to do something major. We're going to do something major.

And yet the major thing to do was not going to include the public option hybrid of managed health care and single-payer that, for a lot of progressives, was the draw to health care legislation to begin with. She had enough street cred to convince them that this was a still worthwhile thing. And she had enough street cred and enough just tenacity to convince blue dog moderates and others that they needed to do something big, not something small. And as you say, it passed in the House by a margin of three. It is widely understood in the Obama administration as well as amongst her colleagues that that legislation simply would not have been passed but for the efforts of Nancy Pelosi.


....Nancy Pelosi really knows how to count votes. And that's the secret to her success. But that's a really reductive way of saying that, in fact, Pelosi understands the substance of legislation, understands what that substance means to various constituent parts, understands the leverage that she has to commit to those constituent parts and then finally, understands the number 218 and how to get there.

... the other thing that Pelosi actually managed to do and did it through the Trump administration was to obtain one concession after the next in budget fights, like increase spending for community health centers, freezing the number of deportation officers, that sort of thing. And it would leave House Republicans infuriated, but she was simply a better negotiator by dint of the fact that she knew she had a unified caucus who would vote for whatever she was negotiating at. And she just simply knew the legislative substance better than her Republican counterparts did.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:25 AM on November 28 [64 favorites]


If I'm reading correctly, the Miami article (credited to Emily Michot and Julie K Brown) says this deal not only granted immunity to suspected co-conspirators, but to any potential ones.

One example of context for how huge that is: the article lists Prince Andrew, Duke of York among Epstein's friends. He has been accused by a woman named Virginia Roberts of having sex with her when she was 17 (which he basically denies, but they have been publicly photographed together). She claims that she wouldn't have done it if she hadn't felt threatened by Epstein's other connections. So we're talking about multiple powerful people, men either involved in committed sex crimes themselves, or abetting them by threats.

Ever since I first heard about the anonymous woman claiming that, while she was a child in Epstein's slavery ring, Trump raped her... nothing I've seen has caused me to doubt it, except maybe when she dropped her lawsuit a little before the election. It's definitely an extraordinary claim, and the evidence may not yet be extraordinary, but it is absolutely compelling.

gucci mane: The Jeffrey Epstein thing should be a gigantic story and I don’t understand why it isn’t.

It's not a gigantic story because it's much too gigantic.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 9:25 AM on November 28 [34 favorites]


From the must-read, outraging excellent Miami Herald report discussed above (emphasis below mine): In 2011, Epstein petitioned to have his sex offender status reduced in New York, where he has a home and is required to register every 90 days. In New York, he is classified as a level 3 offender — the highest safety risk because of his likelihood to re-offend.

A prosecutor under New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance argued on Epstein’s behalf, telling New York Supreme Court Judge Ruth Pickholtz that the Florida case never led to an indictment and that his underage victims failed to cooperate in the case. Pickholtz, however, denied the petition, expressing astonishment that a New York prosecutor would make such a request on behalf of a serial sex offender accused of molesting so many girls.


The Miami Herald has several interactive reports that go with the main investigative story. Vitally important reading as well as deeply discouraging reading for fans of the rule of law. The newspaper has done amazing reporting here. About to go throw some money at it.
posted by Bella Donna at 9:26 AM on November 28 [27 favorites]


The Miami Herald's superb long-form investigation into billionaire pedophile—and friend of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton—Jeffrey Epstein reveals an ugly coverup in all but name by one of Trump's cabinet secretaries:

The preponderance of evidence in Doe v. Trump and Epstein shows that in 1994, Donald J. Trump raped a 13 year old girl. Recruited by Epstein's madam... At the bus station. All the filings in Doe v. Trump and Epstein The details are beyond belief.

SPOILER: At the same time Trump's fixer Michael Cohen was paying women for their silence, Doe voluntarily withdrew the lawsuit -- when the preponderance of evidence was trending her way.

tl;dr: Donald J. Trump is a child rapist. His supporters do not consider that a show-stopper.
posted by mikelieman at 9:27 AM on November 28 [71 favorites]


Jeffrey Epstein's scandals were coveredly extensively by Gawker back in the day. They always had Jared Kushner's number too, even before he had anything to do with the Trumps. I know it didn't get a lot of love on here, but Gawker employed some of the sharpest, most insightful, writers and editors while it was going. I think it's shady takedown by Peter Thiel will go down as the beginning of the death of any actual anti-establishment journalism in this country.
posted by aiglet at 9:31 AM on November 28 [47 favorites]


>

on the one hand AOC is a goddamned phenomenon and we're lucky to have her. On the other hand, the best lesson to learn from AOC's successful run is probably a little bit less "AOC is phenomenal!" and a little bit more "get out there and run for something! You might be phenomenal!"


I got a really neat e-mail last week for National Run for Office Day, encouraging me to run. I went ahead and signed up and will be in on a conference call sometime in the next week to navigate the process. I am not sure I will run and I doubt I will run for anything higher than a city position, but I am sharing the link specifically because I 100% agree with the recluse. If everyone in these megathreads ran for something, I think we would be a whole lot better off.

The specific group behind this, from what I could gather from e-mail confirmation is runforsomething. I have not looked through much of their materials, but at first glance they seem pretty cool.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 9:35 AM on November 28 [36 favorites]


There are some good reasons that Trump/Epstein child rape story was not picked up by the media, mostly related to who as promoting it TO the media. This Vox explainer has some good background and good links.
posted by OnceUponATime at 9:41 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


A transgender woman who died in the custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency appeared to have been physically abused before her death in May from dehydration, along with complications from H.I.V., according to an independent autopsy released this week.
posted by adamvasco at 9:41 AM on November 28 [11 favorites]


“The media” could still heavily scrutinize the evidence and the connections and make it a big story again. There’s still a story there, even if they don’t want to outwardly say what we’re talking about. Bill Clinton is in on it too.

And yes, this is something that has always bothered me about Pizzagate: you have Hillary’s husband on the flight logs of a pedophile’s creepy private jet with the names of girls on there and you don’t pounce on that? Wtf. I know it’s obviously a combo of misogyny plus the fact that Trump’s name is on those flight logs, too, but regardless...
posted by gucci mane at 9:41 AM on November 28 [15 favorites]


[Friendly reminder, let's bring it back to signal, less "ugh these fuckers" reaction stuff, even though that feeling is fully understandable.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:44 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


Another action to pile onto resistance fatigue: Another Net Neutrality Day of Action Draws Fewer Big Names (Klint Finley for Wired, Nov. 28, 2018)
TIME IS RUNNING out for Congress to restore net neutrality protections this year.

The Federal Communications Commission last year voted to jettison Obama-era rules prohibiting broadband internet providers from blocking or otherwise discriminating against lawful internet content. Earlier this year, the Senate passed legislation to restore those protections. But the Senate used an unusual legislative maneuver that requires the House of Representatives to pass the same bill by Dec. 10.

In a final push to restore the FCC rules, internet activists plan to hold a "day of action" Thursday, with celebrities like Ant-Man and Wasp star Evangeline Lilly and electronic musician Bassnectar joining internet companies like Etsy and Tumblr encouraging citizens to call their representatives and demand a vote on the legislation.

It's a long shot. Net neutrality advocates need to win over more than 20 Republicans, as well as every Democrat in the House. Even if they succeed, they'll need to get President Donald Trump to sign it.

Then again, every part of the fight for net neutrality has been a long shot, from efforts in 2014 and 2015 to pass rules at the FCC, to the recent push to approve the legislation in the Senate. As net neutrality has become a more mainstream issue, more Republicans are at least paying lip service to the idea, and three Senate Republicans voted to restore the Obama-era rules this year. There's even some hope for support from Trump, who has not historically been a fan of net neutrality: earlier this year, Politico reported that Earl Comstock, a top Commerce Department official, has pushed Trump to support the effort.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:49 AM on November 28 [10 favorites]


A Ghanaian friend got mad at Trump yesterday and tweeted at him in all caps that Trump was sadder than the fart that dies in the butt. I don't know if that insult is a Ghanaian thing or my friend's personal Dorothy Parker, but I share it here for your amusement.
posted by angrycat at 9:52 AM on November 28 [91 favorites]


I am fairly confident living in Iowa now that Joni Ernst will be a one term senator. She just doesn't have a good image here from what I gathered, and Iowa is pretty fired up on a lot of fronts. Though we did lose the governor race to Kim Reynolds who was appointed by Terry Branstad when he became an ambassador... the rest was a pretty good sweep. Steve King barely held on in a district he should have won by 20.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:55 AM on November 28 [6 favorites]


I think there's still a lot of question what effect the Russians actually had on the outcome of the election. Not that there was both meddling (by Russia) and collusion (by Team Trump). The former has been known since the election and the latter isn't exactly surprising to anyone except the FNC crowd, to whom it will always be mysteriously controversial no matter how much proof there is.

But separate from that is whether the meddling actually changed the outcome of the election, and further beyond that is how much of the change was luck. Even if the meddling did change the outcome, it's not like the Russians would have known which states were going to swing and thus needed to be pushed on. It's more likely that they were pushing Trump for the sake of hurting Clinton (who Putin apparently fears or at least dislikes), and ended up spectacularly overachieving. It's very likely to be a non-repeatable performance.

Trump should be investigated and insofar as possible punished, pour encourager mostly—we don't want cozying up to foreign governments to become an established part of campaigning. But it would be bad, particularly for Democrats, if the dominant narrative about 2016 was "the Russians did it", and not something that encourages a greater degree of self-reflection on how exactly they let so many formerly-blue states go red. Perversely, I think the Republicans (sans Trump) would actually benefit from blaming everything 2016-2020 on Russia. It gives them an excuse for Trump, and a way to paint him as an outlier and not the logical conclusion of their platform, when they finally need to dispose of him.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:12 AM on November 28 [7 favorites]


andrew kaczynski, CNN
Donald Trump told Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Oh, in writing you say.
posted by Brainy at 10:13 AM on November 28 [33 favorites]


it's not like the Russians would have known which states were going to swing and thus needed to be pushed on.

wasn't this the whole Cambridge Analytica deal
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:14 AM on November 28 [47 favorites]


You are in Melania Trump’s nightmare forest. Keep to the path. (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)
Listen to me. The trees in the White House were all green when I got here. They were all green as recently as Monday. But the trees have turned.

Walk faster.

Don’t be afraid. The trees would smell it.

Things are wrong here. Little details are wrong. The attorney general is different. He hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate. We go nearly a month between daily press briefings. The trees are red. The phrase “Be Best” is everywhere. “Be Best.” As though to “be best” is grammatical and not the clumsy articulation of a child. But there are no children in the forest. This forest is no place for children.

Last year the trees were a hideous, ghastly white. It was always winter and never Christmas.

This year everything is red. It is perfectly natural that the trees are red. The trees are red (the Internet says) as a handmaid’s cloak. Do not think of blood. Keep walking.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:16 AM on November 28 [81 favorites]


Perversely, I think the Republicans (sans Trump) would actually benefit from blaming everything 2016-2020 on Russia.

I would have bought this a year ago, but the Republican Party fully hitched itself to Trump during the midterms. They don’t get to decouple now and if we grant them that rhetorical victory, that’s our failure.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 10:17 AM on November 28 [17 favorites]


I am fairly confident living in Iowa now that Joni Ernst will be a one term senator.
Ooof. I wish I felt as confident. She's a nightmare, but she's a very effective campaigner, and she plays really well in rural communities, which turn out to vote like nobody's business. I think it's going to be really hard to beat her, although we'll certainly try.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:18 AM on November 28 [7 favorites]


You are in Melania Trump’s nightmare forest. Keep to the path. (Alexandra Petri, WaPo)

This is the best part:
Outside the White House you will hear the great murmuring, the women in their hats, crying, “Mueller shall deliver us.” The litany goes up. The supplication echoes. “Mueller is coming to change everything. Everything will be Revealed. Nothing will be suffered to be hidden. The trees will crackle and burn in his magnifying glass’s purifying flame.”
posted by bluesky43 at 10:34 AM on November 28 [20 favorites]


The Jeffrey Epstein thing should be a gigantic story and I don’t understand why it isn’t.

We've discussed not only Trump's ties to Epstein many times in the megathreads, but also specifically how Acosta's sweetheart prosecution deal with Epstein should have been a scandal when he was nominated to as Secretary of Labor—the head of the very government department that combats human trafficking. And I still had to look up the particular megathread comments because, like the RNC platform scandal, one practically needs an eidetic memory to retain all the Trump-related outrages of the past three years. The possibility of Acosta heading the DoJ, potentially as a quid pro quo for his negotiations with Epstein, is the only thing that keeps this scandal from sinking out of the collective memory (at the very least mine).
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:35 AM on November 28 [13 favorites]


Some research has been done on what effect the Russian active measures actually had on the election results, and I've collected links to that research here with a short summary for those who are interested.
posted by OnceUponATime at 10:41 AM on November 28 [39 favorites]


Seconding OnceUponATime's fantastic site for All Things Russian.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 11:03 AM on November 28 [16 favorites]


I think there's still a lot of question what effect the Russians actually had on the outcome of the election.

Sure, but working with the Russians is still a crime even if it didn't actually work. Conspiracy to commit murder is a crime. Attempted robbery is a crime. And so on.

But it would be bad, particularly for Democrats, if the dominant narrative about 2016 was "the Russians did it", and not something that encourages a greater degree of self-reflection on how exactly they let so many formerly-blue states go red.

Partially agree but I don't want to overreact to and overcorrect for the loss. Clinton got 3,000,000 more votes nationwide and lost because a football stadium's worth of people over three states voted for Trump. And many of those states returned to blue in the midterms.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:05 AM on November 28 [23 favorites]


Perversely, I think the Republicans (sans Trump) would actually benefit from blaming everything 2016-2020 on Russia.

Only insofar as a lot of their own political donations have been properly laundered.
posted by srboisvert at 11:06 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


there is a distinction to be drawn between "the trump org worked with russia to help them win the election" and "the trump org is working for russia." The point I was making upthread wasn't that 45 won due to russian interference. it was that the person who counts as "the adult in the room" — the person who all these nitwits are working for, the person they're taking guidance from — is Putin.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:09 AM on November 28 [11 favorites]


The Year the Clock Broke: How the world we live in already happened in 1992 (John Ganz for The Baffler). I think it's worth reading if you have the stomach--he argues that the '80s split between neoconservatives and paleoconservatives led to the rise of Pat Buchanan, and then the rise of Trump.
posted by box at 11:13 AM on November 28 [10 favorites]


Exceptional_Hubris: "In a live interview with Andrea Mitchell just now on MSNBC a congressman (i have it on in the background but missed who it was) just said they have elected Hakeem Jeffries as Caucus leader of the Dems in the House."

This is the #5 slot in leadership, Jeffries defeated Barbara Lee 123-113. He's seen as a real up and comer, especially since most of the leadership ahead of him is on the elderly side.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:15 AM on November 28 [7 favorites]


This is the best part:
Outside the White House you will hear the great murmuring, the women in their hats, crying, “Mueller shall deliver us.” The litany goes up. The supplication echoes. “Mueller is coming to change everything. Everything will be Revealed. Nothing will be suffered to be hidden. The trees will crackle and burn in his magnifying glass’s purifying flame.”


You stopped before the scary bit!

Do not listen to the forest, which whispers that in the end he is only a man telling people what they already know. Keep to the path.

The scenario whispered by the forest is, Mueller will show collusion and lawbreaking, and then we will switch to a new battle between the courts and White House to extract penalties, and nothing will be different.
posted by chortly at 11:20 AM on November 28 [18 favorites]


We definitely need to have a national reckoning about the role that white supremacy has in our society, and how it made for the 2016 election to be as close as it was, such that Russia’s interference campaign was able to be so effective. However, this doesn’t preclude bringing the Trump campaign members and Trump himself to justice for their crimes. In fact, it’s a vital part of that national discussion, they’re linked entirely. I want the Democratic house to fully investigate and prosecute the crimes that were perpetrated against the United States. “Looking forward, not backward” is absolute bullshit on this topic, and must be fought whenever it comes up.
posted by odinsdream at 11:33 AM on November 28 [16 favorites]


The Problem Solvers have reportedly reached a deal with Pelosi for their support. The "Never Nancy" reps, headed by Rep. Rice (D-NY) remain opposed, which I guess shouldn't be a surprise given that always remaining opposed is literally their name (though we all know how flexible Never Trump turned out to be):
“Moments ago we met with Leader Pelosi and tried to engage her in a reasonable conversation about leadership transition,” Rep. Kathleen Rice (N.Y.) said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our concerns were dismissed outright. We remain united behind our goal of new leadership and intend to vote against Leader Pelosi in Caucus and on the Floor of the House.”
Since nobody is running against Pelosi, it's not really a question that she wins the caucus vote that's coming up shortly, but she'll need enough votes to win on the floor in January.
posted by zachlipton at 11:35 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


NYPost - Trump says pardon for Paul Manafort still a possibility

Short Oval Office interview, usual bargain bucket of outrage salad.
posted by Devonian at 12:05 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


@jaketapper: After briefing senators, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells reporters there is “no direct reporting” connecting the crown prince to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

A bunch of weasel words to be sure. This is exactly the kind of politicization of intelligence to match whatever happens to already be in Trump's head that has been the concern all along. It's going over poorly in the Senate though:

White House Muzzled C.I.A. on Khashoggi Slaying, Mattis and Pompeo Say: "The secretaries of state and defense went to Capitol Hill to shore up support for Saudi Arabia. It backfired."
The White House blocked CIA Director Gina Haspel from attending a highly anticipated Senate briefing on Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis told senators on Wednesday.

“The most persuasive presence at this briefing was an empty chair—a chair that should have been occupied by Gina Haspel, head of the Central Intelligence Agency,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) told reporters. “We were told at this briefing that it was at the direction of the White House that she not attend.”
...
That absence contributed to the exact opposite result their briefing was meant to accomplish—to shore up support for the bloody U.S.-backed Saudi-Emirati war in Yemen. As Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) are set to force a vote on ending Washington’s support for the conflict, previously undecided senators left the briefing indicating they will join an effort that would deliver a forceful rebuke to President Donald Trump and two key authoritarian Mideast allies.
...
“The White House can fix this this afternoon. They can fix it in an hour. The secretary of state can fix it in an hour,” Corker added. “... It’s like we’re dancing on the head of a pin to keep from—look, [MBS] is responsible for this death.”
The Senate just might have the votes—it only needs 50 and it's looking good—, but there's zero chance Ryan allows a vote in the House.
posted by zachlipton at 12:07 PM on November 28 [16 favorites]


Here's what Pelosi promised the Problem Solvers. From what I can see, I would call these "minor, but unobjectionable changes" but I'm open to feedback from parliamentary procedure folks.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:09 PM on November 28 [10 favorites]


While I'm frustrated by the "Problem Solvers," I agree with your assessment - It doesn't seem to be like much of the nonsense we've seen bandied about in the name of "bipartisanship."

The "Never Nancy" group of traitors, however, makes absolutely no fucking sense any way you look at it. As far as I can tell it's going something like this:

"We don't like her."
"Why not?"
"I don't want to get into specifics. We just need someone new."
"Do you have anyone lined up?"
"No."
"So you'll vote for her anyways, to ensure that we have a Democratic speaker of the house, one of the most powerful positions in the nation, thus giving your party as a whole more power?"
"No."
"Then what do you propose instead?"
"....."
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:14 PM on November 28 [30 favorites]


@jaketapper: After briefing senators, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tells reporters there is “no direct reporting” connecting the crown prince to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

If memory serves me correctly, "no direct reporting" was the same weasel words they used to get us into a war with Iraq. I mean, yeah, in neither case to they have a confession by the head of state. And the intelligence we have comes indirectly thru our own agencies. It's still evidence, and loyal Americans -- which excludes the likes of Mike Pompeo -- see the truth.
posted by Gelatin at 12:18 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]


Deseret News: Sen. Mike Lee blocks effort to vote on bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller
posted by Chrysostom at 12:19 PM on November 28 [16 favorites]


Here's a Facebook video of Mike Lee doing that after Coons, Booker, and Flake painstakingly state the obvious need for this legislation.
posted by OnceUponATime at 12:22 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


For two years, Donald Trump had fun amidst the mess. He reveled in stage-managing a reality-television version of an executive branch staffed by weak-willed and morally vacant appointees selected more for their ass-kissing skills than for any remote talent in governing or even any talent at all. He consumed every ounce of scenery, and his every desire, whim, and impulse were carried out by White House minions unable to say no. Republican Members of Congress may as well have sported “Property of Donald Trump” forehead tattoos.
Advertisement

During those halcyon days, the power of the Republican House was used to obstruct justice, block the Mueller probe into Russia’s pro-Trump efforts, and to attack the intelligence community in order to protect Team Putin. They were a blocking force against investigations into his taxes, finances, and his administration's misdeeds. Trump has never displayed even the most cursory interest in governing or leadership, but he loves the roar of the crowd, the high-fructose smell of the MAGA set jammed into arenas, his long-running pissing match with the media, and trolling the known universe on Twitter. A supine House was his shield.

Donald Trump, a princeling who was raised in luxury, never held accountable for any of his countless personal and business betrayals and failures, and who literally lived in a golden tower for most of his life, is not good with stress. His rage-tweeting shows us that he knows he can’t juggle all the crises steaming toward him, that he knows his astounding power to distort reality for his followers won’t shield him from the political, legal, and personal perils closing in on him.

Playtime is over, and Donald doesn't like it.
posted by growabrain at 12:26 PM on November 28 [30 favorites]


NYT op-ed, Ken "Popehat" White, Why Did Manafort Cooperate With Trump Over Mueller?
Some analysts speculate that Mr. Mueller intended this result — that he knew that Mr. Manafort would lie to him, knew that Mr. Manafort’s lawyers would brief Mr. Trump on those lies, and knew that Mr. Trump would foolishly repeat those lies in his written statement to Mr. Mueller, thus committing a new federal crime.

That’s a good plot for a legal thriller, but it’s not how real federal prosecutors work. Mr. Mueller is a by-the-book sort of prosecutor, not one to indulge in such ploys. To the extent he trusted Mr. Manafort and revealed details of his investigation, he made a mistake. Of course, the president’s team — never a font of shrewd criminal defense strategy — may have made a mistake, too, if they incorporated Mr. Manafort’s lies into their own written responses to Mr. Mueller’s questions. That could expand the scope of Mr. Mueller’s investigation to include new false statements to the F.B.I., the downfall of several of his targets.

Mr. Mueller’s mistake is understandable. Mr. Manafort’s lawyers’ communications with Mr. Trump’s lawyers are shocking and unprecedented, a brazen violation of criminal defense norms notable even in an investigation full of them. They are consistent with only one conclusion: Mr. Manafort and his lawyers seek a presidential pardon, not a reduced sentence through sincere cooperation.
posted by zachlipton at 12:29 PM on November 28 [29 favorites]


McSally has a "why I lost" memo out which fingers factionalism in the AZ GOP. She's not wrong, but saying it would seem to increase the chance of a strong primary challenge in 2020, if she's appointed to the seat.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:33 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


@aterkel: 32 Dems voted against Pelosi for speaker today. Note that in 2016, she had 63 no votes. This time she was unopposed, and then, Tim Ryan was challenging her. But with all the hoopla this time, that’s far fewer no votes

@jamisonfoser: Congratulations to Seth Mouton & Tim Ryan for cutting opposition to Nancy Pelosi in half in just two years.

Also, as Thomas Farr's nomination advances over Sen. Flake's objection (Sen. Scott hung around in the cloakroom for 45 minutes as the deciding vote before he finally showed up to vote yes on the cloture vote), with the final vote coming soon, @steve_vladeck: In all of American history, there has _never_ been a federal judge whose final confirmation vote was determined by a vice-presidential tiebreaker...

Only need one GOP defection here; this would be a good one to call your Senators about.
posted by zachlipton at 12:36 PM on November 28 [32 favorites]


Also, as Thomas Farr's nomination advances over Sen. Flake's objection (Sen. Scott hung around in the cloakroom for 45 minutes as the deciding vote before he finally showed up to vote yes on the cloture vote)

Will Tim Scott be the Jeff Flake of Susan Collins's?
posted by zombieflanders at 12:39 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


Argh.. apostrophes are not for pluralization. Susan Collinses or (if you're a snarky MeFite) Susans Collins.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:42 PM on November 28 [25 favorites]


If I'm reading Popehat correctly his theory is that Mueller didn't intend for what happened to be a trap but it may have ended up a trap anyway? I suppose that matters ethically speaking (since "traps" aren't really how prosecutors should be operating in an investigation rather than a prosecution) but I don't think it makes a difference practically. Give somebody enough rope to hang himself and it doesn't matter much if you were hoping he'd hang; dude is dead anyway.
posted by Justinian at 12:42 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]


If memory serves me correctly, "no direct reporting" was the same weasel words they used to get us into a war with Iraq.

Sorta, but in reverse. With Iraq, the CIA used the phrase no "direct evidence" to contradict the the Bush administration's cherry picking and deliberate mischaracterization of Iraqi weapons programs intel to push for war. Here, the Trump administration is using "no direct reporting" to undercut the CIA's high confidence assessment that MBS directed Khashoggi's murder. Pompeo is being evasive to the point of dishonesty:
That denial leans heavily on the words “direct reporting.” CIA assessments are not criminal documents laying out irrefutable evidence. They are conclusions based upon the best American intelligence. That intelligence has concluded that Mohammed was behind Khashoggi’s killing, according to The Washington Post’s reporting. By citing “direct reporting,” Pompeo is basically saying there is no smoking gun.
But you don't need a smoking gun for an intel assessment to conclude that MBS has a journalist's blood on his hands. That's the only reason to keep Haspel from speaking to senators.
posted by peeedro at 12:46 PM on November 28 [12 favorites]


as i understand it, the outcome of all of this skullduggery is that, once manafort copped a plea, the normal expectation would be that his joint defense agreement with trump was void (because the justification for that agreement, that trump and manafort had "common interests" in their defense, was no longer operative).

however, manafort's counsel acted as if the agreement was still in place, sharing privileged information with trump's counsel.

ken is saying that mueller has a slam-dunk case that those communications should not be privileged, and therefore are subject to subpoena by the special counsel.

nothing contained in those communications is likely to look good for trump or manafort.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:47 PM on November 28 [11 favorites]


good one to call your Senators about

Useless because I know how they'll vote anyway, but I am going to call McCaskill's office out of premature nostalgia.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:47 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]


That’s a good plot for a legal thriller

Predicting that Manafort would lie and that the information would find its way to Trump is a plot twist worthy of the Hardy Boys, not a legal thriller. If Mueller didn't have a hedge in place for that situation, he'd be failing to do his job.
posted by Candleman at 12:54 PM on November 28 [13 favorites]


@jerome_corsi: I have retained attorney Larry Klayman to assist David Gray in my defense. In a memo to my attorneys, I have instructed Klayman and Gray to file with Acting AG Whitaker a criminal complaint against Mueller's Special Counsel and the DOJ for prosecutorial misconduct in my case.

I'd ordinarily say good luck with that because it's crazy, but given the circumstances, I fear any opportunity that invites Whitaker to interfere is pretty frightening right now.
posted by zachlipton at 12:56 PM on November 28 [22 favorites]


Donald Trump told Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

CNN's exclusive rests, of course, from unnamed sources (more than likely Rudy G. and Jay Sekulow, but maybe, just maybe a DoJ leak): "President Donald Trump told special counsel Robert Mueller in writing that Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, nor was he told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his son, campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, according to two sources familiar with the matter.[...] One source described the President's answers without providing any direct quotes and said the President made clear he was answering to the best of his recollection."

The article re-ups one detail that missed the megathreads: "Before the answers were submitted, Mueller had asked Trump's lawyers for call logs and visitor logs related to Stone from Trump Tower, CNN reported earlier this month. The request this late in the investigation surprised Trump's legal team."

Marcy Wheeler points out, "Since Trump is officially on the sworn record that Stone didn't talk to him about WikiLeaks, remember that in response to GRU indictment, Stone first claimed, then reversed, that he ONLY talked to Trump on campaign."

Otherwise, the "best of my recollection" is a presidential strategy for dodging that harkens back to Reagan's numerous "I don't recall"'s during his Iran-Contra affair testimony.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:00 PM on November 28 [5 favorites]


I have retained attorney Larry Klayman

FWIW Larry Klayman is the lawyer equivalent of Trump Doctor Leo Spaceman. I know that's not his real name but you know who I mean, don't you.
posted by Justinian at 1:01 PM on November 28 [43 favorites]


i was trying to find a good quote to sum up larry klayman and i think i have to go with
An October 2016 opinion by a federal appellate court noted 12 cases "in which Klayman’s ability to practice law in an ethical and orderly manner was called into question."
and also that his wikipedia page has an entire section on "Sanctions and Discipline Imposed"
posted by murphy slaw at 1:11 PM on November 28 [28 favorites]


I have retained attorney Larry Klayman to assist David Gray in my defense.

Larry Klayman, the founder of the right-wing rabid attack dog group Judicial Watch before he fell out with them, warrants his own profile page as an extremist on the SPLC's web site: "Larry Klayman is a pathologically litigious attorney and professional gadfly notorious for suing everyone from Iran’s Supreme Leader to his own mother. He has spent years denouncing Barack Obama as a crypto-Communist Muslim, convening meaningless “citizens grand juries,” and railing against an endless list of enemies. [...] Convinced that the Clinton administration was up to its ears in conspiracies and corruption, he filed at least 18 lawsuits between 1992 and 2000 against the president, first lady, and other administration officials." (During the Obama administration, he represented a birther conspiracist in a Florida primary ballot case in 2012 and petitioned the DHS to deport Obama in 2014, to name only a couple of his many, many conspiracy-flavored lawsuits.)

Fun fact: "In 2011, acting on behalf of publisher and friend Joseph Farah, who runs WorldNetDaily, Klayman sued Esquire magazine for more than $120 million over a satirical piece claiming that Farah had decided to destroy 200,000 copies he published of Jerome Corsi’s Where’s The Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President, which was about to go on sale when the president released his birth certificate. That suit was dismissed in June 2012."

In short, he's exactly the kind of attorney Corsi would hire for maximum media-circus rat-fuckery.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:14 PM on November 28 [37 favorites]


WaPo, Trump administration expected to extend military mission along border through the holidays
The Trump administration is expected to extend the military mission along the U.S. border with Mexico, a White House official said Wednesday, likely keeping troops away from their normal posts through the holidays.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that have not yet been announced, said the assignment was expected to last at least 45 days beyond its scheduled end date of Dec. 15.
Oh good. Another never-ending US military operation.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on November 28 [11 favorites]


Oh good. Another never-ending US military operation.

I hope they're getting their HDIP since it's so dangerous and fraught, per the President.
posted by phearlez at 1:22 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]


Update on the above-mentioned Yemen vote in the Senate: it moved quickly.

@johnmdonnelly: The #Senate, in an ongoing procedural vote, is poised to overwhelmingly agree to allow floor debate (probably next week) on a measure that would end most U.S. military aid to #SaudiArabia's war in #Yemen--a milestone sign of U.S. disaffection with the Saudi regime.

@lex_samuels: Vote still open for S J Res 54, but already 60+ in favor.

The administration really pissed off the Senate with today's briefing.
posted by zachlipton at 1:31 PM on November 28 [51 favorites]




The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that have not yet been announced, said the assignment was expected to last at least 45 days beyond its scheduled end date of Dec. 15.

Well, of course. The President's team likely wants there to be an incident on or shortly after the Government Funding vote on the 7th. When Trump shuts the government down because of lack of wall funding, he can create a crisis at the border to suggest there's an otherwise non-existent need for a wall.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:36 PM on November 28 [5 favorites]




Though as best as I can tell nothing really came from his arrest the other week?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:39 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


Well, of course. The President's team likely wants there to be an incident on or shortly after the Government Funding vote on the 7th. When Trump shuts the government down because of lack of wall funding, he can create a crisis at the border to suggest there's an otherwise non-existent need for a wall.

I'm not sure they're coordinated enough/smart enough to pull that off or even conceive of it. It may well just be a way for him to blame Dems (of course) for those soldiers not getting to come home. We wanted to bring them all home but without wall funding we need to secure blah blah blah. I'd wager these poor folks aren't even getting to rise to the level of a component in a scheme; they're still just a prop.
posted by phearlez at 1:39 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug: Though as best as I can tell nothing really came from his arrest the other week?

I'd say "nothing came from it" in the sadly usual way that things don't come from domestic abuse allegations. Charges were dropped, but probably because the evidence is tricky beyond the accuser's testimony. She is seeking a restraining order and it would not surprise me if she got it.

A thread or two ago, I had suggested the possibility this was Jacob Wohl just inventing things as he did regarding Mueller, and that even the LAPD might have been in on the act by simply accepting some anonymous tip from "Surefire Intelligence" as grounds to arrest someone.

However, it turned out that the accuser Mareli Miniutti is not a fabrication (like, say, "Caroline" the fashion designer whose name spelling Wohl and his partner in dumbassery couldn't agree on). She's a very real actress, with no apparent motive to lie.

Furthermore, Avenatti is not actually denying his relationship with her (with an age gap just outside the half-plus-seven rule for creepiness), which in my view multiplies the credibility even more (it's one thing to suppose a stranger got bribed, but another to successfully persuade an actual current acquaintance, which is the most common victim of violence anyway).
posted by InTheYear2017 at 2:00 PM on November 28 [8 favorites]


I'd say "nothing came from it" in the sadly usual way that things don't come from domestic abuse allegations. Charges were dropped, but probably because the evidence is tricky beyond the accuser's testimony

That's a great point. Thanks.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:07 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


“It Is Not a Natural Disaster”: Dana Frank on How U.S.-Backed Coup in Honduras Fueled Migrant Crisis

Climate change has arguably made this situation even less tenable. (WaPo Op-ed) (“It didn’t rain this year. Last year it didn’t rain,” a caravan migrant from Honduras named Jesús Canan told the Guardian. “My maize field didn’t produce a thing. With my expenses, everything we invested, we didn’t have any earnings. There was no harvest.”)
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:22 PM on November 28 [11 favorites]


Mnuchin retweeted a @The_Trump_Train tweet last night attacking GM. He's now removed it and is claiming his account was accessed by an unauthorized person, which just does not strike me as a credible story that someone would hack the Secretary of the Treasury's Twitter account and all they would do is a single retweet of the kind of thing that comes out of Trump's mouth all the time; indeed, it's the same anti-GM tweet that Trump retweeted.

Mnuchin can now go sit with Ajit Pai in the "government officials who stupidly claim they were hacked" corner.
posted by zachlipton at 2:32 PM on November 28 [37 favorites]


You can't really believe in climate change w/o believing that there are going to be climate refugees. I wish there was a way we could talk about how to address this problem without about a 1/3 of white guys just freaking out about their end of their empire or whatever. Thinking about this was one reason I didn't get angry at HRC's comments the other day, because I wasn't sure about the context, and the left really needs to say this is our plan for immigration reform w/r/t refugees from any environment.
posted by angrycat at 2:37 PM on November 28 [16 favorites]


@ZoeTillman: Senate Judiciary Committee has cancelled a meeting scheduled for tomorrow to vote on a long list of federal court nominees — cancellation comes as Sen. Flake is pledging to vote no on all nominees until McConnell puts a Mueller protection bill up for a vote

Did...did Jeff Flake just sort of do something?
posted by zachlipton at 2:43 PM on November 28 [41 favorites]


Another Daily Beast scoop: Unkempt, Heavily Bearded Julian Assange No Longer Has Embassy Cat For Company—WikiLeaks founder is living in isolation with limited human contact. Even his cat found it too lonely.
The Ecuadorian embassy staff have apparently grown tired of hosting their global persona non grata, and are essentially trying to squeeze him out by forcing him into what amounts to isolation. They’ve cut off his internet—his lifeline, and won’t let most visitors in to see him. Those who try to leave messages, like Trump presidential adviser Roger Stone, who left his card earlier this year, are apparently turned away. Not even former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, his ardent supporter who was a frequent guest and suspected paramour, can get past the guards.

But last week, journalists from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, who have visited Assange annually for the last six years, were able to once again gain access—on the condition that they do not print an interview that might provoke even more pressure on Ecuador to kick him out.[...]

They say Assange’s cramped quarters at the embassy do not allow him access to the garden, which means he does not go outside—something even prisoners serving life sentences in isolation are afforded. He only speaks to his lawyer and the security guards, he has limited phone service, and his mail is strictly monitored.
Strange how this sympathy-tugging profile comes out right after the accidental revelation of the US's sealed indictment—the Italian journalists write that Assange let his cat go because he “preferred to spare the cat an isolation which has become unbearable and allow it a healthier life” and not because he told the embassy their requests he clean up after it were "denigrating."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:45 PM on November 28 [26 favorites]



Did...did Jeff Flake just sort of do something?


Even if he did it's important to remember that he would be delaying the nominees for a month, not stopping them. Since he's leaving.

His leverage was always Kavanaugh. And he refused to use it, saying it would be inappropriate.
posted by Justinian at 2:46 PM on November 28 [19 favorites]


They say Assange’s cramped quarters at the embassy do not allow him access to the garden, which means he does not go outside—something even prisoners serving life sentences in isolation are afforded.

I sure hope Assange's life improves to that of a life sentence in solitary.
posted by M-x shell at 3:02 PM on November 28 [13 favorites]


That Vox piece linked above w/r/t the alleged Trump rape of a 13-year old (CW, obvs) is interesting for a couple of reasons.

One, it was published on November 5th, 2016. Which, for those of you who haven't let your Repressitol™ prescription lapse, was a mere four days before the world produced a loud snapping sound and rattled into our current event-timeline. It has that kind of Oswald-in-the-parking-garage quality to it. It finishes with due reporting on the Clinton campaign's post-pussygate advertisements and other curios. And its reporting of the allegations seems more consistent with the Klown we've grown to know than the author could have foreseen - before all our fears were so fully, fully grounded. It's almost irrationally even-handed, even apologetic.

Two, the gist of the article is that the case isn't believable because two men - a Jerry Springer producer and a right-wing spammer - got the story first.

In conclusion, it's fucking believable and 2016 was a more innocent, gentler time. Even if there is no plaintiff (and there are a few credible people who say there is), we are watching a Predisent commit and get-away-with crime on 300 channels in real-time. 2016, man. Good times.
posted by petebest at 3:17 PM on November 28 [21 favorites]


Did...did Jeff Flake just sort of do something?

You know the rule. Flake always flakes.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:18 PM on November 28 [5 favorites]


For Papadopoulos’s third day in prison, Natasha Bertrand has bombshell: "George Papadopoulos allegedly told a confidant in 2016 that he was pursuing a business deal in Russia that would result “in large financial gains” for him and Trump. The House Intel Committee and FBI are now investigating."

The Atlantic: Papadopoulos’s Russia Ties Continue to Intrigue—The former foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign boasted of a Russia business deal even after the election, according to a new letter under review.
The letter, obtained last week by The Atlantic, was sent to Democratic Representative Adam Schiff’s office on November 19 by an individual who claims to have been close to Papadopoulos in late 2016 and early 2017. The letter was brought to the attention of Schiff and House Intelligence Committee staff, according to an aide who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The letter was also obtained by federal authorities, who are taking its claims “very seriously,” said two U.S. officials who also requested anonymity due to the sensitivities of the probe.

The statement makes a series of explosive but uncorroborated claims about Papadopoulos’s alleged coordination with Russians in the weeks following Trump’s election in November 2016, including that Papadopoulos said he was “doing a business deal with Russians which would result in large financial gains for himself and Mr. Trump.” The confidant said they were willing to take a polygraph test “to prove that I am being truthful” and had come forward now after seeing Papadopoulos “become increasingly hostile towards those who are investigating him and his associates.” A lawyer for Papadopoulos declined to comment.
It seems as though Papadopoulos was jumping on board the same bandwagon as Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, and Erik Prince to start striking under-the-table deals with overseas interests as soon as the election results came in.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:22 PM on November 28 [25 favorites]


The teen girls Jeffrey Epstein allegedly sexually abused will get their day in court
The paper found 80 of Epstein’s alleged victims, reached out to 60 of them, and interviewed eight. This is the first time some of their stories have been told publicly. The girls who accused him of sexual assault over a decade ago were not notified by Acosta and his team of the non-prosecution agreement crafted for Epstein before he was sentenced. They never appeared in court. Epstein, a former Bear Stearns banker, may have provided federal prosecutors with information about the global investment bank, which failed during the subprime crisis, the Herald suggests.

The teens who say Epstein paid them for nude massages, and sometimes sex, at his mansion in Palm Beach will finally be able to publicly testify against him, however. On Dec. 4, a jury trial for the first of two civil lawsuits filed in relation to the long-running legal battle between Epstein and Bradley Edwards, the top attorney for Epstein’s accusers, begins in a Palm Beach court. The trial is “the first time that Epstein’s victims will have their day in court, and several of them are scheduled to testify,” the Herald says.
posted by homunculus at 3:24 PM on November 28 [30 favorites]


> The Jeffrey Epstein thing should be a gigantic story and I don’t understand why it isn’t.

The Herald's story came out today, so the rest of the news world hasn't had much time to digest it. I assume it will show up on MSNBC's evening shows. Also, the amount of attention the rest of the mainstream media pays to it may depend on the scale of the social media reaction to it.
posted by homunculus at 3:34 PM on November 28


It seems as though Papadopoulos was jumping on board the same bandwagon as Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, and Erik Prince to start striking under-the-table deals with overseas interests as soon as the election results came in.

Don’t forget the President’s very own lawyer (and “fixer”) Michael Cohen!
posted by notyou at 3:42 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


So he just...what, let the cat outside to go free?

One of Assange's lawyers tweeted: "In the same document in which Ecuador threatened to hand Assange over for arrest, Ecuador also threatened to put Assange's cat in the pound. Insensed at the threat, he asked his lawyers to take his cat to safety. The cat is with Assange's family. They will be reunited in freedom."

Somehow, it seems exactly in keeping with Assange's character that he'd force his relatives to take care of his pet rather than clean out its litter box regularly.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:46 PM on November 28 [34 favorites]


David Nir (DailyKos)
My god. This is just so typical of the @NYTimes. Pelosi won *more* votes and had *fewer* "nos" than Ryan in 2015, but Ryan won "overwhelming support" while Pelosi had "significant defections"
SCREENSHOT OF ARTICLES
posted by chris24 at 3:50 PM on November 28 [99 favorites]


Republican Members of Congress may as well have sported “Property of Donald Trump” forehead tattoos.
Advertisement


I see no ads for Trump facial tattoos. I am disappointed.
posted by homunculus at 3:52 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]


Pelosi won *more* votes and had *fewer* "nos" than Ryan in 2015, but Ryan won "overwhelming support" while Pelosi had "significant defections"

"In a secret-ballot vote that dramatized rifts among Democrats only weeks after midterm elections handed them House control..." Rifts! Dems in disarray!

Compare and contrast:
To become speaker, she must win 218 votes in a House floor vote on Jan. 3, so the tally will touch off what promises to be an intensive period of arm-twisting and cajoling to reach her goal.
Versus:
Although Mr. Ryan was short of the 218 votes needed to win Thursday's floor vote, supporters said he would pick up backers now that he is the nominee.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:01 PM on November 28 [41 favorites]


Did...did Jeff Flake just sort of do something?

Even if he did it's important to remember that he would be delaying the nominees for a month, not stopping them.


And McConnell could put these nominees to the floor without a committee vote if he wanted to, but there's no reason with Flake gone in a month, and there's other priorities on the limited lame duck calendar. Flake deserves less than zero credit for this. He only took even this useless action when he knew with 100% certainty that it would have no detriment to McConnell's plans. Every other time he voted for Trump. Every single time that it mattered. Even when he promised he wouldn't.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:01 PM on November 28 [12 favorites]


Just in time for Leak O'Clock, ABC reports: Mueller asked Trump about 2016 RNC platform change regarding Ukraine: Sources
The list of questions special counsel Robert Mueller submitted to President Donald Trump included a query about a controversial change to the Republican party’s convention platform in July 2016 regarding the U.S. providing arms to Ukraine, according to sources familiar with the president’s responses.

Trump submitted his answers to special counsel Mueller last week after months of negotiating over how the questions would be handled. ABC News has previously reported that the questions, which were divided into five sections, focused mostly on whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the presidential campaign cycle, according to sources.[...]

Sources tell ABC News the president told Mueller he was not aware of the platform change to the best of his recollection. That would be consistent with his answer to a question about the matter to ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos during the summer of 2016.

“I wasn't involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved,” Trump said at the time.

In addition to the platform change question, sources tell ABC News the president was also asked about the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian attorney in hopes of obtaining dirt on Hillary Clinton. According to sources, the President’s written response said he was unaware of the June 2016 meeting before and after it happened.
ABC also confirms CNN's story about Mueller asking about the Trump Tower 2016 meeting and Roger Stone.

Essentially, now that Manafort's cooperation deal with the Special Counsel is dead, Team Trump appears to be confident it can leak to the press about some of the major subjects on which he could have flipped.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:09 PM on November 28 [9 favorites]


Daily Beast, Will Sommer, Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi Pushed Seth Rich Lie After Privately Admitting Hackers Stole DNC Emails, in which Corsi acknowledged in a 2016 email to Stone that that hackers stole the DNC emails, not Seth Rich, but he kept on with the conspiracy theories anyway.

It's not exactly surprising that the WorldNetDaily and InfoWars guy kept on with baseless conspiracy theories, but I still find this notable. First, it shows a level of depravity to keep doing this to the Rich family when you know full well that you're lying, and I hope this email is useful to them in their lawsuit. But beyond that, I've been trying to get a handle of just how much Corsi has been getting high on his own supply of nonsense. There are plenty of signs that he's lost it, like hiring Larry Klayman and saying he's going to file a "criminal complaint," but also stories like these that show he's had some kind of a grasp on reality and is acting.
posted by zachlipton at 4:11 PM on November 28 [27 favorites]


A Totally Normal Morning In America: (via Daniel Dale) the President retweeting a meme of Rod Rosenstein (among others, including Obama and Hillary Clinton) imprisoned for treason.

He went on to tell the New York Post that Rosenstein's inclusion wasn't an accident:
When asked during an interview with The Post: “Why do you think he belongs behind bars?” Trump responded: “He should have never picked a Special Counsel.”
The President thinks that people who investigate him should be jailed. Believe him.
posted by zachlipton at 4:13 PM on November 28 [75 favorites]




Is there a definite consenus on whether Pelosi would win even if all Democrats who had promised not to vote for her stick to that promise? I assume it would take 38+ defectors to stop her; are there that many?

Also, what happens if nobody secures a majority of the chamber -- do they just keep holding elections until someone manages it?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:16 PM on November 28


Defense One, White House Seeks Alternatives to Independent Space Force
For months, Pentagon officials have been rushing to prepare plans for an independent Space Force, a sixth branch of the military ordered up by President Trump. But since Oct. 26, they have been marching to new White House orders: go back and look at different ways to reorganize the military’s space operations.

One of the four new options is an old one, defense officials said: a space corps that would be part of the Air Force, the way the Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy. The proposed structure is similar to a bipartisan proposal that passed in the House but failed in the Senate last year.

Why the second thoughts? The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, suggested that some in the Trump administration fear that the proposed independent Space Force might not make it through Congress.
...
The four options, according to one of the officials, include: 1) an Air Force-owned space corps that includes only Air Force assets, 2) an Air Force-owned space corps that also takes space-related troops and assets from the Army and Navy, 3) an independent service that takes from the Air Force, Army, and Navy, and 4) an independent service that takes from the three services plus parts of the intelligence community.
Trump's been campaigning on this for months, and I see the actual planning phase has advanced to precisely nowhere.
posted by zachlipton at 4:16 PM on November 28 [9 favorites]


I assume it would take 38+ defectors to stop her; are there that many?

There's 235 Democrats (projected), she needs 218 floor votes to become Speaker. She can lose 17. If all 34 of those defectors stick to that position in the floor vote, which is unlikely, she's done. There were 16 signatories on the anti-Pelosi letter, that's probably the core of the floor vote dissenters, and it's not enough, but she can't lose any more than that.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:23 PM on November 28 [6 favorites]


Maybe we could call it Air Force Space Command. Shoot, just change the logo graphic to Space Force Command and call it a day.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:23 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


Thanks, T.D. Strange. That makes sense. (I was mixing up the number of seats gained in November with the margin over the halfway mark).

I suppose that, for any given Democrat who made some sort of pledge, voting against her in the caucus could also be seen as fulfilling it, yes? Unless some were so specific as to say "Even on the floor vote, I'd abstain".
posted by InTheYear2017 at 4:28 PM on November 28


Because one horrible propagandist news network isn't enough.

Sinclair Group reportedly required over 100 TV stations to air 'must run' segment that defends use of tear gas on migrants at the border
Reports on Tuesday said Sinclair Broadcast Group gave over 100 of its local news outlets a "must run" segment that included a defense of the US's use of tear gas against a group of migrants, including children, at the US-Mexico border on Sunday.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a right-leaning broadcasting company based in Maryland, is the largest TV-station owner in the United States. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that "the company distributes 'must-run' segments to its newsrooms, requiring they air them within 48 hours." They often appear in the middle of otherwise objective local news broadcasts and "typically feature conservative commentary, including a recurring segment" from Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump administration official who now serves as Sinclair's chief political analyst.

According to Media Matters for America, a nonprofit that monitors conservative media, Sinclair forced about 100 local news networks to air Epshteyn's defense of US Customs and Border Protection agents' using tear gas on the migrants, many of whom are part of a caravan traveling to the US to seek asylum.
posted by scalefree at 4:32 PM on November 28 [41 favorites]


Manafort Lied About Business Dealings, Mueller’s Team Believes
Paul Manafort’s alleged misstatements to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators include comments about his personal business dealings and about his contacts with a former associate in Ukraine, say people familiar with the matter.
...
In interviews with Mr. Mueller’s team, Mr. Manafort allegedly made inaccurate statements about his communications with Konstantin Kilimnik...

Mr. Mueller has long been interested in the relationship between Messrs. Manafort and Kilimnik. He has questioned witnesses about a boat trip that Mr. Manafort took with Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump, after Mr. Manafort was ousted from the Trump campaign in August 2016, say people familiar with the matter. Witnesses believed investigators were seeking to determine whether Mr. Manafort ever met with Mr. Kilimnik on that trip.

In his conversations with Mr. Mueller’s team, Mr. Manafort also allegedly misrepresented information about payments he received related to his lobbying work, the people familiar with the matter said.
posted by BungaDunga at 5:03 PM on November 28 [5 favorites]


Mueller seems to have become awfully leaky of late. Wonder what the trigger was - Sessions being resigned? 45 getting his homework in?

I dream of a Mueller Advent Calendar, a fresh indictment behind each door, leading up to the big one just before the big day...
posted by Devonian at 5:09 PM on November 28 [20 favorites]


Mueller seems to have become awfully leaky of late.

Not Mueller's team, Manafort's lawyers and, by extension through his joint defense agreement, Trump's.

Now that Manafort's plea deal is deader than disco, the attorneys have nothing to lose by leaking to the press as a way of signalling about his meetings with the Special Counsel's group to everyone else on Team Trump who's prohibited from finding out through "ethical" channels.

Speaking of Manafort's lawyers, the NYT's Kenneth Vogel reports, "NEW FILING: PAUL MANAFORT, who arrived for his last court appearance in a wheelchair with his foot wrapped in a white bandage, tells the judge he won't appear at a Friday hearing related to his alleged breach of his plea agreement", because of the time involved in being transported to court. This maybe the lamest (literally) sympathy ploy we've seen since Julian Assange's weight loss.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:33 PM on November 28 [24 favorites]


a boat trip that Mr. Manafort took with Tom Barrack

Tom Barrack always seemed like one of the few of Klownwig's Kronies who knew how wrong things were, and that they'd likely be discovered. Too bad he took all that dirty money.
posted by petebest at 5:35 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


B. Obama, speaking at Rice University’s Baker Institute yesterday (via The Independent):
The former president said Americans can no longer “agree on a common set of facts” due to the current media environment, describing how the news cycle was previously “governed by the stories that were going to be filed by the AP, Washington Post, maybe New York Times, and the three broadcast stations”.

“Whether people got their news from Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley, they tended to agree on a common set of facts. That set a baseline around which both parties had to adapt and respond to,” he continued. “What you increasingly have is a media environment in which, if you are a Fox News viewer, you have an entirely different reality than if you are a New York Times reader.”
Also:
“Not only did I not get indicted, nobody in my administration got indicted — which, by the way, was the only administration in modern history that can be said about... In fact nobody came close to being indicted. Partly because the people who joined us were there for the right reasons.”
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:38 PM on November 28 [56 favorites]


Dear Beto and Julián, please don't run for president.

I can't say I disagree. I'd much rather have Beto resting or picking up his old momentum for a run at Cornyn, and maybe Julián getting up off his ass and tackling an actual run at a lesser office for a change. There are an awful lot of Texan progressives pissed at him for being so quiet since 2016; he is not going to get a warm send-off if he launches himself at a Presidential run now.

Poor Beto I think is more likely to a) be exhausted and b) is definitely smart enough to know the whole "man, Texas needs you" thing cold. His political star will honestly rise a lot farther, with more love, if he sticks around in the state for a while longer. Texas is a big state, and Beto is the biggest star in Texas since Ann Richards. If he can cement himself as a candidate with Texas' unwavering support among Democrats, given the excellent campaign he just ran--well, hell, that seems to me like... like being easily the biggest progressive beacon in a state whose economy and population are eclipsed only by California, and a state who is growing in population as Cali shrinks besides.

Beto's a resource we need badly. I hope he conserves it. We can ill afford to lose him.
posted by sciatrix at 5:41 PM on November 28 [27 favorites]


I mean, yeah, I get it. But if he’s the guy who can get it done, the rest of us need him, too.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:45 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


Between pissing me off with what I consider to be mealy-mouthed centrist views on various issues, the guys on Pod Save America made the point that 2020 may be the only time that Beto has a chance of becoming president. Much of what is being said about Beto waiting to run now was said about Obama before he ran. Make of that what you will.
posted by runcibleshaw at 5:49 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


I should maybe also mention that the past three years or so have utterly drained whatever buffer I had against cynicism and I would vote for a markov chain and a hologram on the Dem ticket if people seemed excited about it.

Unless it had run in 2016. Then I might have to be sedated first.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:49 PM on November 28 [34 favorites]


> I should maybe also mention that the past three years or so have utterly drained whatever buffer I had against cynicism and I would vote for a markov chain and a hologram on the Dem ticket if people seemed excited about it.

oh god though the arguments between supporters of hatsune miku and supporters of tupac would be brutal, though. it'd tear this site apart.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:52 PM on November 28 [18 favorites]


Gene Kelly/Vacuum 2020
posted by schadenfrau at 5:54 PM on November 28 [15 favorites]


Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe
The calls almost always came deep into the night.

Caller ID labeled them “unknown,” but Roger Stone said he knew to pick up quickly during those harried months of the 2016 presidential campaign. There would be a good chance that the voice on the other end of the line would belong to his decades-long friend — the restless, insomniac candidate Donald Trump — dialing from a blocked phone number.

Those nocturnal chats and other contacts between the man who now occupies the Oval Office and an infamous political trickster have come under intensifying scrutiny as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation bores into whether Stone served as a bridge between Trump and WikiLeaks as the group was publishing hacked Democratic emails.

Mueller’s keen interest in their relationship was laid out in a draft court document revealed this week in which prosecutors drew a direct line between the two men — referring to Stone as someone understood be in regular contact with senior Trump campaign officials, “including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump.”
Jerome Corsi: I lied and I'm ready to die in jail [video]
In a blockbuster interview, key Mueller witness and Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi admits to MSNBC’s Ari Melber that he lied to Congress, that he tried to get stolen Clinton emails back to the Trump campaign in 2016, that he “absolutely” intended to help the Trump campaign by doing so, that he told Roger Stone about John Podesta’s emails and that his lawyers are still communicating with Trump’s legal team “as if” there is a joint legal defense. Ari Melber also presses Corsi on being a leader of the “birther movement” which Ari describes as a “total and complete lie” and asks him whether he is auditioning for a Trump pardon by bringing the subject of pardons up during the interview.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:05 PM on November 28 [28 favorites]


Pew Research Center: U.S. Unauthorized Immigrant Total Dips to Lowest Level in a Decade

- The number of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. fell to its lowest level in more than a decade, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on 2016 government data.

- There were 10.7 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2016, down from a peak of 12.2 million in 2007, according to the new estimates.

- Overall, between 2007 and 2016, the unauthorized immigrant population shrank by 13%. By contrast, the lawful immigrant population grew 22% during the same period, an increase of more than 6 million people. In 2016, the U.S. was home to a total of 34.4 million lawful immigrants, both naturalized citizens and noncitizens on permanent and temporary visas.

- The new Pew Research Center estimates indicate that not only is the total number of unauthorized immigrants shrinking, but that population includes markedly fewer people who arrived in the previous five years. Only 20% of all unauthorized immigrants (including both adults and children) in 2016 had arrived in the previous five years, compared with 32% in 2007.

- All estimates in this report supersede previously published estimates.

The Independent: The population of illegal immigrants in the United States has fallen to its lowest level since 2004, new research has found. The figures have declined steadily since peaking at 12.2 million in 2007 and the number is now sitting at 10.7 million, according to the Pew Research Centre.

The findings contradict the regular statements made by US president Donald Trump who has made immigration enforcement a focus for his administration.


On preview -
Gene Kelly/Vacuum 2020

What did Lamppost ever do to you?
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:06 PM on November 28 [9 favorites]



Dear Beto and Julián, please don't run for president.


I'll add them to the list (with Clinton, Biden, and Warren) of "Democrats who we're begging not to run."

Personally I hope all of them run. Then we can have some votes and some polls, and decide which one has the most people behind them, and then whoever that is -- regardless of how much I thought they shouldn't run -- they have my vote.
posted by mmoncur at 6:08 PM on November 28 [18 favorites]


Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe

The timeline here is particularly important:
New details about Stone’s interest in WikiLeaks’ plans emerged this week after one of his associates, conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, announced that he had rejected a plea deal offered by Mueller’s team. He provided The Post and other news organizations with a draft filing by prosecutors describing his interactions with Stone — including an Aug. 2, 2016, email in which the right-wing author alerted Stone that he heard WikiLeaks was planning a major release of “very damaging” material.

The next day, Stone had one of his private talks with Trump, Stone said on a 2016 Infowars broadcast first reported by CNN.

In an interview, Stone insisted that the topic of hacked emails was never broached in the Aug. 3 phone call — or in any other communication with Trump.

“It just didn’t come up,” Stone said. “I am able to say we never discussed WikiLeaks. I’m not sure what I would have said to him anyway because it’s all speculation . . . I just didn’t know if it’s true or not.” Stone, however, sounded much more certain in his public pronouncements at the time, stating confidently that Assange would reveal material that would hurt Clinton’s campaign.
Corsi told Stone that WikiLeaks was dropping documents, Stone wouldn't shut up about WikiLeaks publicly, and Stone then spoke to Trump the next day, but he insists they never discussed it. That strikes me as suspicious.
posted by zachlipton at 6:16 PM on November 28 [8 favorites]


mmoncur, I respectfully disagree -- you could win the Democratic primary (especially with a lot of competitors) and have no chance at winning over the country. For example, I think that people who love Elizabeth Warren (and I love her too) maybe don't quite understand how other people see her (I personally think she might have trouble in a general election, but I'm only offering her as an example). So (without weighing in on Beto or Biden or Bernie in particular), I think it's fair to strategize.
posted by uosuaq at 6:16 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]




NBC, Veterans Affairs Dept. tells congressional staffers it won't repay underpaid GI Bill benefits recipients, sources say
For weeks, student veterans across the country have raised an alarm about delayed or incorrect GI Bill benefit payments, which the Department of Veterans Affairs has blamed on computer issues.

But on Wednesday, the department told congressional staffers that it would not reimburse those veterans who were paid less than they were owed, two committee aides told NBC News.

The news conflicts with a promise VA officials made to a House committee earlier this month that it would reimburse those veterans who received less than the full amount they were due.

According to the aides, however, the VA said it could not make retroactive payments without auditing its previous education claims, which it said would delay future claims. The aides asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
They say apparently say there's no way to fix it without auditing 2 million past claims, so damn the law and they'll just screw over vets.
posted by zachlipton at 6:19 PM on November 28 [36 favorites]


I'll add them to the list (with Clinton, Biden, and Warren) of "Democrats who we're begging not to run."

Make room for John Kerry.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:23 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


Cory Booker condemned the tear gas used on migrants in Tijuana as "ugly, cruel & cowardly."

Cory Booker condemned using the tear gas on children as "ugly, cruel & cowardly behavior".
posted by Etrigan at 6:23 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


We have another off-year election in ~12 months and primaries/caucuses start roughly three months later. Can we wait on the "who should/who shouldn't run"? It is not news that op-ed writers are saying "x [won/lost] race and now is [r/d] best chance of winning [y] race."

We can actually spend our energy on tangible, in our eyes stuff, is what I think I am getting at.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 6:27 PM on November 28 [11 favorites]


"Key Mueller witness" Jerome Corsi. Heh. That's adorable. We'll let Rick Gates and Felix Sater know.

Seriously, why is the media bestowing all this attention on Corsi? He's even less reliable than Sam Nunberg, even if his all-in/flame-out PR strategy looks familiar.

Just Security editor Julian Sanchez is baffled, both by Corsi and his interviewers:
I cannot fathom what Corsi thinks he’s doing.

I mean, yes, hoping a public profile ups his chances of a pardon. But you don’t do Ari Melber’s show to win Trump’s favor, and there are a whole bunch of self-inflicted wounds in there as well.

Things I would ask Corsi if I had him in a chair for a 20 minute interview, in case any cable hosts feel like taking suggestions:

1. Why did you write “word is...” in your correspondence with Stone if you were merely offering your own speculation?
2. Walk me through, in detail, how you “figured out” that Podesta, as opposed to any number of other Clinton associates, would be the subject of the next hacked email dump?
3. Walk me through, in detail, your reasoning behind the prediction that a subsequent dump would contain material that could be used to cast doubt on the state of Hillary’s health.
4. Did you ask Roger Stone why he wanted you to help him fabricate an explanation for his Podesta comments? Why did you agree to help him by lying to Congress, instead of testfying that it had been your own theory?
Because you can bet Mueller asked him, then tripped him up when he lied.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:27 PM on November 28 [19 favorites]





Cory Booker condemned the tear gas used on migrants in Tijuana as "ugly, cruel & cowardly."
What Booker didn't mention is that he's accepted thousands in contributions from the tear gas manufacturer's owner, who also hosted a private fundraiser for him


Circular firing squad, take your positions...
posted by ocschwar at 6:32 PM on November 28 [36 favorites]


NBC, Veterans Affairs Dept. tells congressional staffers it won't repay underpaid GI Bill benefits recipients, sources say

There are so many vets out there who are months behind on rent and bills and who can't register for classes. So many who are losing out on other stuff because of that inability to register. And that money can mean an awful lot to (legitimate) schools out there, too, not to mention how many landlords and whatever were taking those promises that the money would be paid up given time.

They're not gonna catch up on those late payments because it's too much work? It's not the worst thing this administration has pulled, not by a longshot when they're literally caging kids and letting Puerto Ricans die in thousands, but this still has my jaw on the floor. This is going to fucking bankrupt so many vets.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 6:39 PM on November 28 [47 favorites]


> NBC, Veterans Affairs Dept. tells congressional staffers it won't repay underpaid GI Bill benefits recipients, sources say

Under different circumstances, this travesty would lead to a political opportunity for Democrats to run hard on restoring these benefits (with interest), but with vets (even IAVA types) generally holding "a pox on both their houses" attitudes after being routinely fucked over by both Democratic and Republican administrations/Congresses and with voters clinging to outdated notions of the GOP being the party of "supporting the troops", this is sadly going to be one of those things that they'll just have to settle for doing it because it's the right thing to do.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:58 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]


Circular firing squad, take your positions...

As long as we're here ...

David Sirota
Reminder: the guy running against progressive champion @RepBarbaraLee for House Democratic Caucus Chair is @RepJeffries — who has spent much of the last two years publicly demonizing progressives, while he rakes in corporate PAC money.
more on that in Democrats Knife the Left Yet Again (Paul Blest, Splinter)
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:02 PM on November 28 [10 favorites]


Taking money from corporations is bad precisely because it leads to politicians not saying or doing anything against corporate interests. So I'm glad if Cory Booker is a big ol' hypocrite about this. Yes, ideally he wouldn't take the money. (Well, ideally ideally, he'd take a bunch of their money and betray them maximally by supporting laws against the sale of tear gas to police and military or whatever. Is there a good example from history of any politician doing that? Someone who "betrayed" lobbyists, ripped them off?)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:02 PM on November 28 [23 favorites]


Much though we might not like it, it seems pretty reasonable to be discussing who should run for 2020 given that the candidates themselves (such as Beto or Julian Castro) are actually deciding at this very moment. And much though some folks hate it, talking about the policy positions and past behaviors of the proto-candidates is in fact the only substantive aspect of those discussions. We can defer discussion of any candidate X until after they have formally declared, but that ignores the fact that there is a clear and active political process going on right now -- although it certainly makes sense to only raise the topic when something new develops.

Such as the Booker thing. I myself don't care about the hypocrisy (I'd rather he denounce tear gas than not), but I didn't know about the donations from the CEO of Safariland, which supplied some of the tear gas and other crowd control devices to ICE, the Ferguson police, and the Standing Rock police -- including the TranZport Hood. He maxed out his donations to Booker in 2013-14, co-hosted a Booker fundraiser, exclusively donated to Republicans prior to that, and it seems was sufficiently toxic that when he donated $2,700 to Clinton in 2015 it was quietly returned. So it's not just any old corporate donation. Overall it's still fairly minor and certainly wouldn't change any vote intention of mine, but it's still relevant and new information in a currently active (god help us) pre-primary season.
posted by chortly at 7:05 PM on November 28 [13 favorites]


(Well, ideally ideally, he'd take a bunch of their money and betray them maximally by supporting laws against the sale of tear gas to police and military or whatever.)

There are legitimate uses for tear gas. This wasn't one of them. Booker is not being a hypocrite. He'd be more effective if after condemning the CBP he turned around and demanded an "amen" from the company that makes the stuff.
posted by ocschwar at 7:08 PM on November 28 [19 favorites]


And much though some folks hate it, talking about the policy positions and past behaviors of the proto-candidates is in fact the only substantive aspect of those discussions

@chortly, I do not disagree with you. I believe it is outside the scope of this thread, though. (And, I deleted Beto's name at least 6 times in my last comment to keep in the scope of the thread, because I see a derail coming and our mods have earned a happy quonsar.)
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 7:17 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


There are legitimate uses for tear gas.

Please elaborate...
posted by runcibleshaw at 7:18 PM on November 28 [12 favorites]


Booker taking a stance on tear gas even as he got contributions from the industry is not an example of corruption, in fact probably just the opposite.
posted by M-x shell at 7:18 PM on November 28 [15 favorites]


Also, in 2020, I don't think we need charisma to win. We will still have the blue wave and it will be even stronger. Trump is our wedge issue against the other side. For once we have one and we will be splitting rock.
posted by M-x shell at 7:22 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


Going back to the post from BungaDunga:

Trump’s night-owl calls to Roger Stone in 2016 draw scrutiny in Mueller probe

Jerome Corsi: I lied and I'm ready to die in jail [video]


These are both links to the WaPo article about calls to Stone. I think the second was meant to link here, to MSNBC.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:22 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]



There are legitimate uses for tear gas.

Please elaborate...


Coercing angry mobs to move away from a public place. Same as always.
posted by ocschwar at 7:31 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]




Booker taking a stance on tear gas even as he got contributions from the industry is not an example of corruption, in fact probably just the opposite.

He should still give back the money. And demand the manufacturer both denounce what happened and restrict/halt future sales until a thorough investigation is made and steps are taken to prevent it from happening again.
posted by downtohisturtles at 7:32 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


> Fox News Isn't A Normal Media Company. We Have To Stop Treating It Like One.

This is long overdue.
posted by homunculus at 7:34 PM on November 28 [6 favorites]


Having just watched a good bit of that Corsi interview on MSNBC, I'm again struck by the hubris of these old white asshole men. He's not at all remorseful, he did this interview because he STILL wants to tell "his side" of the story as if this whole thing is just a big misunderstanding and he's a fucking martyr, going to jail for His Principles, his steadfast refusal to "lie" to a judge (in reality: to plead guilty to the actual crimes he committed). It's fucking disgusting how much airtime these men get.
posted by odinsdream at 7:41 PM on November 28 [27 favorites]


New Proud Boy Rules: Less Fighting, Less Wanking

so wait, is /r/nofap part of the neo-fascist nexus on reddit now?
posted by murphy slaw at 7:41 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]




Coercing angry mobs to move away from a public place. Same as always.
posted by ocschwar at 10:31 PM on November 28 [1 favorite +] [!]


I won't say that's never happened, but I'm struggling to remember a time when I saw it being used in that manner rather than to suppress legitimate peaceful protest.
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:00 PM on November 28 [8 favorites]


the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights.

omg fuuuuck offffff

There is a lack of self-awareness goddamn crisis in this country.

so wait, is /r/nofap part of the neo-fascist nexus on reddit now?

Wasn't it kind of always? I am no expert but my impression was that it's been a fertile (ahem) recruitment zone for radicalizing sad and angry young men.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:06 PM on November 28 [12 favorites]


sciatrix: "and maybe Julián getting up off his ass and tackling an actual run at a lesser office for a change. "

He *really* should have run for TX AG this year.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:09 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


sciatrix: "and a state who is growing in population as Cali shrinks besides. "

Do you mean shrinks relatively? Because California grew an estimated 5.4% from 2010 to 2016, and is projected to continue to grow.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:11 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]


InTheYear2017: "Also, what happens if nobody secures a majority of the chamber -- do they just keep holding elections until someone manages it?"

Yes. In 1855 this took two months and 133 ballots.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:16 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]


Also, in 2020, I don't think we need charisma to win.

That's what I thought in 2016.

It's nice to be reminded of how optimism felt, though, so thanks for that.
posted by mmoncur at 8:19 PM on November 28 [17 favorites]


Do you mean shrinks relatively? Because California grew an estimated 5.4% from 2010 to 2016, and is projected to continue to grow.

The "California is losing people!!!!1" stories always leave out immigration since that part doesn't fit the narrative of "CaLIFORniA's LibERAL poLICies ArE DriVing People TO the CONSeRVAtIVE UTopIA ofTExAS!". Seriously, the point is to attempt to show that we're actually fucking everything up. That seems to working great since we have a whole 7 GOP Congress Reps and no Republicans in state wide office and Dem supermajorities in both state chambers, yet people from all over the US and the world are still pouring in.
posted by sideshow at 8:23 PM on November 28 [14 favorites]


Also an economy a tad over a trillion dollars larger than Texas. Which puts us just behind one struggling hellhole and just ahead of another; those being Germany and the UK.
posted by Justinian at 8:28 PM on November 28 [18 favorites]


Along with the "legitimate" uses of tear gas I guess I also don't understand what anyone (Democrats, the country, me personally) lose if a popular candidate runs for President right now? What is the thinking there? Beto, for instance (since so much of this ire seems focused on his possible presidential ambitions), lost his senate race but seem pretty popular. How would him running hurt more local races? I understand that he's not everyone's preferred candidate, but what is it about him or Julian running that upsets or worries people?
posted by runcibleshaw at 8:42 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


I think the thought is that a highly fractured primary can produce subpar nominees in a first-past-the-post system.

I don't know why such an idea would be on everyone's mind.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:46 PM on November 28 [48 favorites]


Reminder: the guy running against progressive champion @RepBarbaraLee for House Democratic Caucus Chair is @RepJeffries — who has spent much of the last two years publicly demonizing progressives, while he rakes in corporate PAC money.

Jeffries is my congressman. I follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and I haven't noticed any progressive bashing. I'm genuinely curious what this is about, although it seems like it might be a Sanders/Clinton thing.
posted by maggiemaggie at 8:48 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]


I just wanna this out here right now: I will fight the Proud Boys at any moment they decide to mobilize. They’ve come to my city so many times, and harmed so many people. Find me there fighting back.
posted by gucci mane at 8:52 PM on November 28 [34 favorites]


I think the thought is that a highly fractured primary can produce subpar nominees in a first-past-the-post system.

I don't know why such an idea would be on everyone's mind.


About this: is it within the DNC's power to determine the voting methods used in Democratic presidential primaries, or is that state-by-state? And if it were within their power, have they already settled on rules for 2020, or could they be persuaded to adopt something like Approval (or IRV, I guess) to avoid the coordination problems inherent in FPTP?
posted by Jpfed at 8:59 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


I think the thought is that a highly fractured primary can produce subpar nominees in a first-past-the-post system.

I don't know why such an idea would be on everyone's mind.


Subpar he may be, but he was without a doubt the most preferred candidate among Republicans and beat out a number of challengers in 1-on-1 pairings as various other contenders rose and fell during the primary season. We may not like it, but that primary was actually a pretty effective way of sequentially testing out a bunch of candidates in an otherwise ill-suited FPTP system -- effective in the sense that it discovered that Republicans actually like and prefer Trump.
posted by chortly at 9:01 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]




The idea that Trump came in and "stole" the nomination somehow is a complete myth. He was the frontrunner from the moment he entered the race. He was leading some polls in 2011 before deciding not to run. He had played with running before as far back as the 80s and built a (racist) political platform since 2010. He had unique advantages that no one candidate on either side can replicate, 100% name ID and limitless self-funding through the primary stage, and a national media who knew him personally and was invested in (they thought) exploiting him for their own benefit. And took advantage of a strong anti-incumbent environment.

There's no "Democratic Trump". There's no clamoring for Oprah or Kanye or Sean Penn like there was for Trump. No leftist celebrity is spending their time fomenting a self-funded media insurgency, as if such a thing would even be allowed to exist on cable TV. There's precious few Democratic billionaires and none of them except Bloomberg (not a Democrat) are buying up air time for themselves. Democrats are not primed to respond to naked authoritarianism like the right is and has cultivated for 40 years.

The way we decide who is the best candidate to represent our ideals is a primary. Trump was unquestionably the candidate who best represented the Republican Party, from the moment he stepped in the race.

We shouldn't be afraid of the process of democracy, because we're not them.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:55 PM on November 28 [67 favorites]


About this: is it within the DNC's power to determine the voting methods used in Democratic presidential primaries, or is that state-by-state?

Both. The state parties determine the voting methods, but the national party can refuse to count a state's delegates when determining the nominee. So the national party could theoretically lay down the law at the risk of fomenting an internecine struggle.
posted by Justinian at 10:26 PM on November 28 [4 favorites]


Having just watched a good bit of that Corsi interview on MSNBC, I'm again struck by the hubris of these old white asshole men. He's not at all remorseful, he did this interview because he STILL wants to tell "his side" of the story as if this whole thing is just a big misunderstanding and he's a fucking martyr, going to jail for His Principles, his steadfast refusal to "lie" to a judge (in reality: to plead guilty to the actual crimes he committed).

Oh, he is John the Baptist preparing the way for the Lord 45. "in my heart, I did not lie" and "others may call it a lie, I call it politics". If you are sincere in your falsehood, you'll bring in people who want to believe in the same falsehoods.

One of those people has the power of pardon, so hey.
posted by Devonian at 10:31 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]




Yeah, here's the Rick Hasen piece on the Abrams litigation.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:51 PM on November 28 [12 favorites]


Politico: Trump may finally be undermining Obamacare
Administration policies may be contributing to a decline in sign-ups.

Apparently new signups are down 9.2% and "Just 1 in 4 Americans who buy their own health insurance or are uninsured are aware that the deadline for enrolling in coverage is Dec. 15, according to the latest polling data from the Kaiser Family Foundation."
posted by saysthis at 10:54 PM on November 28 [7 favorites]


To Get Back at G.M., Trump Threatens to Punish Any American Who Buys an Electric Car
[...]Which is why, instead of saying that he was disappointed about the news but understood that G.M. was in a tough position and, hey, maybe in retrospect it was silly to promise auto-manufacturing jobs were “coming back,” or to pass a tax bill that incentivized companies to send jobs and factories abroad, Trump told a reporter that G.M. “better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” that the company is “playing around with the wrong person,” and that Barra will have “a problem” if she doesn’t immediately open a new facility. And then on Tuesday, still foaming at the mouth, he came out with this:
Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including....

...for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) - don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!
Obviously, the president of the United States threatening to punish a private company for making a decision based on market realities that are partially his fault is . . . really something! But the whole thing takes on some extra hilarity when you realize, for the 927th time this year, what this not-at-all-smart guy is unintentionally proposing. As Dan Primack points out, subsidies for G.M.-specific electric vehicles do not exist. Rather, there are industry-wide federal tax credits of up to $7,500 available for purchasers of U.S. electric cars, with “aggregate caps of 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer.” In other words, getting rid of the subsidy in its current form would hurt both American consumers and other auto manufacturers.
He has really no idea how anything works, does he?
posted by PontifexPrimus at 2:39 AM on November 29 [38 favorites]


Not to threadsit OR double-post, but there seem to be a chunk of stories on Politico right now that may be relevant to future discussion here. All of them would, in a less cramped news cycle, be worthy of their own posts.

Pro-Bernie group hacked in quarter-million dollar email scam
The political nonprofit launched by Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2016 lost nearly a quarter-million dollars to an email scam that year, according to new tax documents obtained by POLITICO.

Our Revolution “was the victim of a Business E-Mail Compromise scam that took place in December 2016 but was not discovered until January 2017, resulting in the loss of approximately $242,000 via an electronic transfer of funds to an overseas account,” the group disclosed in its tax forms covering the year 2017, which were filed earlier this month.
Pelosi shuts down critics in tense meeting
Pelosi and her three biggest critics are talking past each other — and it appears unlikely that they can bridge that divide.

The rebels, led by Democratic Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Tim Ryan of Ohio, want her to go, or at the very least commit to passing the gavel by a certain deadline. But Pelosi doesn’t feel like she needs to and isn’t even considering such a concession.
U.N. ambassador hunt drags on as top candidate fades
The hunt for a new United Nations ambassador — a job for which State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was once considered a lock but is now out of contention — has faced repeated delays and is running up against Nikki Haley’s end-of-year departure date.

Meanwhile, a raft of new candidates has emerged, but no one has grabbed the front-runner mantel, raising the possibility that President Donald Trump could tap someone at the 11th hour who has already been passed over. The White House Counsel’s office has not yet been asked to vet anyone for the role, further indicating the president may not have settled on a finalist.
How U.S. and Chinese firms are outmaneuvering Trump in trade war
President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports are having the desired effect of driving production out of China — but not to America.
No personal comment on any except the last, which...good. I don't agree with much Trump does, and I don't agree with the trade war at all, but the more manufacturing goes global and decentralized, the more invested the world becomes in a functioning global community, and the more China becomes dependent on other countries doing its grunt work for its economic well-being. Vietnam is a smart customer that will happily take extra investment but won't get shoved around by global powers, unlike certain Cambodias and Koreas I can think of. May the Vietnamese chew up and spit out both the American and Chinese overtures of stupidity both will inevitably make as Vietnam grows in supply chain importance. Especially the bit about recliners now being manufactured in Vietnam's soon-to-be largest furniture factory. Fuck yeah for tariff-free recliners, he types from a Lay-Z-Boy.
posted by saysthis at 2:51 AM on November 29 [12 favorites]


But Pelosi doesn’t feel like she needs to and isn’t even considering such a concession.

Why in heck would she make a concession like that, in exchange for nothing?

She should offer Moulton exactly that: Nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which she should insist Moulton put up personally.
posted by Justinian at 2:56 AM on November 29 [27 favorites]


I think legal twitter needs more defense attorneys who've advised people who can expect presidential pardons if they protect the President, bc Corsi's batshit crazy and Klayman may be worse but the ploy may well work. writes Marcy Wheeler, outlining a pessimistic case:
For starters, because of protections all journalists enjoy, with Corsi, Matt Whitaker will get two bites at the obstructive apple, as Mueller supervisor and as the guy who has to approve stuff w/"journalists."

And if Corsi can give Whitaker some bogus excuse to exercise more oversight of Mueller? All the better for Trump (and no, I don't agree with Comey that Whitaker gives a flying shit about history -- he believes in time travel remember, Corsi's perfect champion).

Now consider the possibility that with his antics Corsi could have fucked up 9 months of work towards indicting Stone and proving foreknowledge of GRU/Wikileaks releases, foreknowledge shared with Trump? That's a key part of the story Mueller would like to lay out.

Most importantly, not only could Trump give Corsi a meaningful pardon (unlike, as far as we know, Manafort), but it would be a lot easier to pardon a batshit 72 year old loved by GOPers than to pardon a sleazy crook like Manafort.

I hope the Riches and add Corsi to their suits, and I hope HJC spends a lot of time looking into whether he knew, on November 2 when he blew up his cooperation, that Whitaker would be appointed 5 days later.
None of this would work at a functioning DoJ, but that's not a luxury we enjoy any longer. Asking a follow-up question about Whitaker's two-week-old promise he'd consult with DoJ ethics officials about recusing from the Mueller investigation, NBC's Ken Dilanian reports: DoJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec replies: "Decline to comment, thanks"
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:20 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Randy Credico wants in on the Corsi-Stone media frenzy, per MoJo's Daniel Schulman: Randy Credico tells us that he “bullshitted” Roger Stone about his knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans. That means everyone involved in this saga now claims he was lying—Credico (to Stone), Jerome Corsi (also to Stone), Stone (to the world)

Full article: Roger Stone and Randy Credico Claimed Access to WikiLeaks. Both Now Say They Were Bluffing.—They’ve called BS on themselves. Now it’s Mueller’s problem.

@Credico2016 also went on a now-deleted Twitter-reply rampage to @realDonaldTrump that's trolling on so many levels it's impossible to trust anything any of these clowns say (yet impossible to dismiss them outright).
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:34 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


mmoncur, I respectfully disagree -- you could win the Democratic primary (especially with a lot of competitors) and have no chance at winning over the country. For example, I think that people who love Elizabeth Warren (and I love her too) maybe don't quite understand how other people see her (I personally think she might have trouble in a general election, but I'm only offering her as an example). So (without weighing in on Beto or Biden or Bernie in particular), I think it's fair to strategize.

Personally, I am opposed to letting Fox News, scandal manufacturers, propagandists, independents who are actually Republicans or the New York Times pick the next Democratic candidate. One of the greatest problems of triangulating democratic candidates is that one of the triangle's corners is a lie.
posted by srboisvert at 4:07 AM on November 29 [31 favorites]


So, let me get this straight, Pelosi is unopposed to be the Dem nom because they have nobody to run against her but they're threatening to vote against her when the speakership vote is held? What, are they threatening to install a GOP Speaker?
posted by fullerine at 4:08 AM on November 29 [5 favorites]


Lobbyists have paid five of the Senators who shot down Yemen bill (AJ)

At least five of the 37 Republican Senators who voted against advancing a resolution limiting the United States' involvement in the war in Yemen have received campaign contributions from pro-Saudi lobbying groups.

Roy Blunt, John Boozman, Richard Burr, Mike Crapo and Tim Scott all received financial contributions from firms representing Saudi interests between 2016 and 2017, according to a recent investigation by the Centre for International Policy (CIP).

All five Republicans voted on Wednesday against advancing the resolution, which, if passed, would force the US to limit its support for the Saudi-UAE war in Yemen.

The Trump administration has threatened to veto the resolution if it passes.

posted by stonepharisee at 4:31 AM on November 29 [12 favorites]


What, are they threatening to install a GOP Speaker?

Basically. They're afraid of not having a voice (because Pelosi, unlike Ryan, knows how to treat small factions that are puffed up on their importance), and they've bought into GOP bullshit about her.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:33 AM on November 29 [15 favorites]


Stephen Colbert to sue Donald Trump for stealing his bit, proving we're in hell - Dennis Perkins, AV Club

[fake lawsuit, real comedy bit]
posted by ZeusHumms at 4:45 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


From the Abrams lawsuit:
The lawsuit attacks the strict voter purges, which the complaint says were timed with former Secretary of State and now Gov.-elect Brian Kemp’s own elections; its strict “exact match” policy which has kept thousands of voters off the registration rolls for discrepancies on voting forms and driving records as minor as a missing hyphen; its outdated voter registration database and voting machinery, which are insecure, vulnerable to hacking, and lacking in backup paper records; its closing and moving of polling places; its inaccurate voter registration rolls; its inadequate oversight over the casting of provisional ballots; and its problems with the dissemination, processing, and counting of absentee ballots—including the state’s failure to notify voters of problems with their ballots which could have been cured in time for the vote to be counted.

Because Pissing Matches With Nancy are not the main issue Democrats should be discussing. This is an example of the real, proven, democracy-defeating campaign by the GOP, and we won't get anywhere until these Jim Crow tactics are once again buried (thanks Cheef Justice Roberts)!

Although, I'm not sure if Florida rises to the level of Jim Crow. What's a colorful expression for "smash and grab"? Oh. Ibid.
posted by petebest at 4:56 AM on November 29 [34 favorites]


I'm again struck by the hubris of these old white asshole men

One of the few bright spots in this massive, unending shitticane which otherwise blocks out the fucking sun is that finally, finally, the true incompetence and idiocy of so many white men is laid bare. In public. It’s no longer something we have to argue abstractly; there is very visible evidence that everything is rigged in their favor, that standards are different for them, and that most of them, as a result, are total candyasses.

Good luck getting anyone to believe this society is a meritocracy anymore, assholes. We’ve seen your merit, and we are not impressed.

Capitalism won’t fully recover from this press tour.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:28 AM on November 29 [40 favorites]


Biographer David Cay Johnston:
Trump May Have Just Lied His Way to Prison
posted by growabrain at 5:37 AM on November 29 [24 favorites]


This morning's breaking news is that Deutsche Bank, Trump's favorite lender* and Manafort's money-launderer, has been raided by German authorities in a money-laundering investigation related to the Panama Papers. Their Frankfurt headquarters is being searched right now, and two employees have been named as suspects.

* NYT: Trump Sought to Fire Mueller in December (4/10/18) "In early December, President Trump, furious over news reports about a new round of subpoenas from the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, told advisers in no uncertain terms that Mr. Mueller’s investigation had to be shut down. The president’s anger was fueled by reports that the subpoenas were for obtaining information about his business dealings with Deutsche Bank, according to interviews with eight White House officials, people close to the president and others familiar with the episode." [emphasis added, because I'd forgotten about that little detail among all Deutsche Bank's financial scandals]
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:39 AM on November 29 [70 favorites]


Mmmhmm. And don't forget that Trump's dude @ Deutsche was suddenly retiring justice Anthony Kennedy's son. So much fucking smoke, I hope Mueller's team has ventilators.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:44 AM on November 29 [46 favorites]


More wishful morning perusing, from Digby:
Trump’s band of losers is getting more desperate as Mueller closes in
posted by growabrain at 5:52 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


From the David Cay Johnston link above, maybe the most realistic supposition I've heard yet about what the hell Mueller might be up to:


The idea that Mueller’s extraordinary team was clueless about the sincerity of Manafort’s conduct after he claimed to have flipped to the prosecution’s side seems preposterous.

More likely the prosecutors quickly figured out that Manafort was insincere and exploited the hubris of two con artists, Manafort and Trump, letting them walk down their own primrose path [See Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3].

If Trump and his lawyer relied on what Downing passed on from meetings with Team Mueller, using it to shape the written answers to Mueller’s questions, this double-agent legal game may blow up in Trump’s face.

Police and prosecutors are allowed to lie to suspects. They do it all the time, planting fake facts to draw out criminal conduct and establish conspiracies. If they had indeed figured out that Manafort was not being straight with them they could easily frame questions to mislead, offer fake facts, withhold real facts and imply ignorance to flush out Trump.


posted by From Bklyn at 5:55 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


God, I will be so happy to see Deutsche Bank go down. If Anthony Kennedy’s retirement gets exposed for the corrupt piece of treason it most likely was I might just spontaneously turn into a being of light.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:59 AM on November 29 [85 favorites]


Sigh, about the whole who's running in 2020, but if anybody was thinking about Elizabeth Warren, well, here's a thing:

Elizabeth Warren Illuminates the Left’s Foreign-Policy Divide
Warren is no hawk: She wants to reduce the defense budget, end the war in Afghanistan, and end U.S. support for the war in Yemen. But she’s more comfortable with a foreign policy of us-versus-them, in which America bolsters its allies and contains its foes. Unlike Sanders, she doesn’t mention the United Nations, which Wallace saw as the vehicle for transcending great-power conflict. In a forthcoming Foreign Affairs essay, she instead calls for “strengthening crucial alliances like those with NATO, South Korea and Japan.” And Warren goes easier on America’s allies. In his Johns Hopkins speech, Sanders chastised Saudi Arabia by name 13 times. Warren mentions it only three times. Sanders devoted a paragraph to rising authoritarianism in Israel, something Warren ignores.

Most significantly, Warren acknowledges that “the United States is entering a new period of competition,” with China and Russia, which she calls “would-be rivals” that “hope to shape spheres of influence in their own image,” and “are working flat out to remake the global order to suit their own priorities.”

She’s not Trump. Warren wants to work with Beijing, in particular, against climate change. But she also wants America to maintain the international order that it has dominated, and prevent a rising China from establishing a sphere of influence. In this way, she’s closer to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who tried to contain China and cooperate with it at the same time, than Sanders, who doesn’t describe it as a rival at all. If her vision is less radical, it may also be more realistic; more inclined to see the world as it is, rather than as we might wish it to be.
The article just contrasts Bernie's vision, which is basically just "withdraw", to this. If the US is to have a Dem president in 2020, I propose that the speech by Warren today is likely to be the vision against which foreign policy is measured. The poles by which to measure Dem foreign policy will be how hard they will push democracy among our not-allies, and how hard they will push against Chinese expansionism, although not their government itself or their military development. There will not likely be many other foreign policy contentious poles by 2020, unless Trump starts a war.

Also, just... here's a song. The best way to scare a Tory (Republican) is to read and get rich.
posted by saysthis at 6:02 AM on November 29 [11 favorites]


Too many tweets to link from my phone but Michael Cohen is currently in a surprise court appearance to plead guilty to a count of making false statements about “the Moscow Project”
posted by Brainy at 6:16 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


And while Deutsche Bank was being raided, @realDonaldTrump started the day with further Twitter attacks on "Mueller and the Angry Democrats", "this illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt", "atrocious, and perhaps subversive, crimes that were committed by Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democrats", "NO Collusion with Russia", " A total disgrace!", "So Ridiculous!". Almost comically, he rhetorically asks, "Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?" (Trey Gowdy's Benghazi hearings? Kenneth Starr's Whitewater enquiry?)

The account then switched over to complaining about China and tariffs on the eve of the G20 meeting, but the borderline-incoherent tweet was noticeably low energy. (Trump or Not Bot rates the Mueller attacks as 92%/98% chance of Trump authorship, but only 9% for the China one.)

But what's really the point of Trump's Twitter account, which he's used from Day 1 to attack his (perceived) enemies and rail at the world?

The answer, according to the Washington Post, won't surprise you: How Donald Trump Appeals to Men Secretly Insecure About Their Manhood
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:17 AM on November 29 [22 favorites]


The answer, according to the Washington Post, won't surprise you: How Donald Trump Appeals to Men Secretly Insecure About Their Manhood

See also: The Lowest White Man.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:21 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


Via TPM: Michael Cohen To Plead Guilty To Lying To Congress As Part Of Mueller Deal
Michael Cohen on Thursday made an unscheduled appearance at a Manhattan courtroom to plead guilty to making false statements to Congress as part of a new plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, ABC News reported.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:30 AM on November 29 [31 favorites]


ABC's scoop: Michael Cohen expected to plead guilty to lying to Congress in collusion probe; gave 70 hours of interviews to special counsel: Sources

"Sources familiar with the special counsel’s proposed agreement with Cohen told ABC News that the 52-year-old New Yorker will admit to making multiple misstatements to two congressional intelligence committees investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. It was not immediately clear what Cohen told the congressional committees in the fall of 2017 that he will now say was false. [...] He has been determined to tell Mueller’s team, other federal prosecutors and the New York State Attorney General’s Office all that he knows -- and his testimony poses a potentially serious threat to the president, sources told ABC News. They also say Cohen’s voluntary cooperation has been crucial to the special counsel’s case."

In less than an hour, Trump will be flying off to the G20 meeting for the weekend. There's a precedent for Mueller timing an indictment bombshell for when Trump's traveling overseas...
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:36 AM on November 29 [36 favorites]


Trump Sought to Fire Mueller in December

can you even imagine Watergate, except that the Washington Post and the NYT ran bi-monthly stories titled "Nixon Seeks To Fire Cox" for 18 months before the Saturday Night Massacre?

in a sane timeline, trump having these discussions with his lawyers would be impeachable. madness.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:39 AM on November 29 [52 favorites]


Michael Cohen expected to plead guilty to lying to Congress in collusion probe; gave 70 hours of interviews to special counsel

Wow, looks like he was serious when he said he was putting country and family first. I guess this makes Michael Cohen the John Dean of Stupid Watergate.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:09 AM on November 29 [21 favorites]


NBC: Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty to Lying About Trump Tower Project In Moscow "Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former longtime attorney and fixer, pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday to making false statements to Congress about the project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Appearing in a navy suit and white shirt, Cohen told the court that he lied when he told the Senate that work on a Moscow Trump Tower deal stopped in early 2016. In fact, discussion for the Trump Moscow project continued until 2017, he said, and named the president in open court."

Natasha Bertrand: "From the court docs, per CNN: The Trump Tower Moscow negotiations went on through June 2016. The deal was discussed more than 3 times with Trump. Cohen briefed Trump’s family members within the org & took steps in contemplation of Trump’s possible travel to Russia in 2016."

Court filing: United States of America vs. Michael Cohen (PDF)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:10 AM on November 29 [22 favorites]




Trump Sought to Fire Mueller in December

can you even imagine Watergate, except that the Washington Post and the NYT ran bi-monthly stories titled "Nixon Seeks To Fire Cox" for 18 months before the Saturday Night Massacre?

in a sane timeline, trump having these discussions with his lawyers would be impeachable. madness.
posted by murphy slaw at 10:39 PM on November 29 [13 favorites +] [!]


Yes. People elected Nixon. How tf did you not know it would get there if you were a Nixon voter? It was pretty obvious you were getting...Nixon.
posted by saysthis at 7:12 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Haha. Because this is Michael Cohen, there are probably “tapes” of his Moscow Project status meetings with Trump et al. The denials later today should be fun!
posted by notyou at 7:16 AM on November 29 [10 favorites]




Also came to quote the David Cay Johnson article linked above. The crux of which is:

That Mueller’s team knew enough to say it can prove Manafort lied repeatedly and committed new crimes in doing so had to vex Trump.

Now jump forward to the days after this fall’s congressional elections, when the White House revealed that Trump was working with his own lawyers to answer written questions submitted by Mueller’s team.

The day after the election, Trump forced the resignation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general and installed Matt Whitaker, an Iowa lawyer deeply involved in an investment scam who had repeatedly said he favored shutting down the Russia investigation and disbanding the Mueller team. Two days after Sessions’ removal, multiple news reports appeared about “Manafort’s apparent lack of cooperation” resulting in “increasingly tense” talks with Mueller’s team.


So prosecutors know Manafort lied, what he lied about, that he communicated with Trump, and that Trump then repeated that/those lie(s) on his written answers, as a stable genius would.
posted by petebest at 7:18 AM on November 29 [14 favorites]


Expanding upon my earlier comment on Another Net Neutrality Day of Action Draws Fewer Big Names (Klint Finley for Wired, Nov. 28, 2018) -- Congress has refused to restore net neutrality as Dec. 10 deadline nears -- There's almost no Republican support for forcing vote to restore net neutrality. (Jon Brodkin for Ars Technica, Nov. 29, 2018)
In the House, 218 members (a majority) would have to sign a discharge petition to force a floor vote, but only 177 have signed it (176 of them are Democrats). The discharge petition must be filed by December 10.

Technically, the House could vote on reversing the repeal until its session ends on January 3. But the House's Republican leadership almost certainly would not bring the measure to a vote voluntarily. Advocates are thus centering their efforts around the December 10 discharge petition deadline.

While Republicans are almost universally opposed to the effort, there are also 18 Democrats in the House that haven't signed the petition. Motherboard reviewed campaign finance filings and found that "each of the [Democratic] representatives has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from one or more major telecom companies, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), an ISP trade group." (Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-N.Y.), who was sworn in this month after a special election, intends to sign the petition, according to Motherboard.)

Lawmakers who haven't supported the petition are listed here. Advocates are urging Americans to call, write to, or tweet at those lawmakers.
Even if voted through, it would still require Trump's support, which is uncertain.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:24 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


saysthis: Politico: Trump may finally be undermining Obamacare
Administration policies may be contributing to a decline in sign-ups.


Related? Number Of U.S. Kids Who Don't Have Health Insurance Is On The Rise (NPR, November 29, 2018)
After years of steady decline, the number of U.S. children without health insurance rose by 276,000 in 2017, according to a Georgetown University report released Thursday.

While not a big jump statistically — the share of uninsured kids rose to 5 percent in 2017 from 4.7 percent a year earlier — it is still striking. The uninsured rate typically remains stable or drops during times of economic growth. In September, the U.S. unemployment rate hit its lowest level since 1969.
Can we summarize this as "Donald Trump and Republicans want more dead American children"?

And for a tagline: "this rising tide hasn't lifted all boats equally."
posted by filthy light thief at 7:28 AM on November 29 [19 favorites]


it would please me to a degree much more than it deserves if Metafilter adopted the term 'Individual 1' to refer to trump.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:39 AM on November 29 [31 favorites]


Trump on Cohen’s new guilty plea: “Just because I’m running for President doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to do business.” This is, for all intents and purposes, an admission that when he told the American people that he had no business dealings with Russia, he was lying, and he was concealing the fact that he was working on a Trump Tower Moscow deal, and had sought and received aid from Vladimir Putin.

Maybe Republicans should do something to protect the Mueller investigation idk
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:44 AM on November 29 [57 favorites]


The saga of Michael Cohen, Donald "Individual 1" Trump, and the Trump Tower Moscow (the "Moscow Project"), with special appearance by the Steele Dossier:

January 2017:

@realDonaldTrump (1/7/17) "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only "stupid" people, or fools, would think that it is bad!"

@realDonaldTrump (1/11/17): "Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is "A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE." Very unfair!"

@realDonaldTrump (1/11/17): "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"

August 2017:

Michael Cohen to SSCI and HPSCI, August 28, 2017: "Based on my business determinations, the [Company] abandoned the [Moscow Project] proposal. . . . To the best of my knowledge, [Individual 1] was never in contact with anyone about this proposal other than me on three occasions. . . . I did not ask or brief [Individual 1], or any of his family, before I made the decision to terminate further work on the proposal.” (c.f. Daily Beast: Read the Letter Trump’s Attorney Michael Cohen Sent Investigators About the ‘Golden Showers’ DossierPDF)

Today:

United States of America v. Michael Cohen (PDF):
In truth and in fact, and as COHEN well knew, COHEN’s representations about the Moscow Project he made to SSCI and HPSCI were false and misleading. COHEN made the false statement s to (1) minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1 and (2) give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before “the Iowa caucus and . . . the very first primary,” in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations. COHEN attempted to conceal or minimize through his false statements the following facts:
a) The Moscow Project was discussed multiple times within the Company and did not end in January 2016.[…]
b) COHEN agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project and took steps in contemplation of Individual 1’s possible travel to Russia.[…]
c) COHEN did recall that in or around January 2016, COHEN received a response from the office of Russian Official 1, the Press Secretary for the President of Russia, and spoke to a member of that office about the Moscow Project.[…]
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:54 AM on November 29 [26 favorites]




Cohen's plea includes a cooperation agreement with Mueller, which Twitter thinks means he's given (or will give) Mueller useful stuff.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:58 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Trump repeatedly says Cohen is lying, but then adds: "Even if he was right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign."

Was allowed, past tense. Honestly, if he had lost, it wouldn't have been such a controversy, because his machinations with the Russians would have failed.

But they didn't, so he's a compromised, treasonous and illegitimate presidents. We're in the present, where it matters very much what he did during his campaign that lead him to his current position of power.

(And he wasn't so much allowed, as he was not caught -- despite the whole "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing").
posted by filthy light thief at 8:01 AM on November 29 [11 favorites]




We might not be looking into it as much, but even if he'd lost those actions would still be criminal.
posted by odinsdream at 8:04 AM on November 29 [10 favorites]


Trump repeatedly says Cohen is lying, but then adds: "Even if he was right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign."

We're like this far *holds fingers together* from the "You're goddammed right I ordered a code red!!" moment.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:07 AM on November 29 [30 favorites]


Trump repeatedly says Cohen is lying, but then adds: "Even if he was right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign."

Shades of "and when you're a [candidate], they let you do it. You can do anything."

He really does not seem to ever see a difference between 'I am sure I can get away with this somehow' and 'this is an ethically and legally permissible thing to do.'
posted by cjelli at 8:07 AM on November 29 [43 favorites]


“ But it is a certainty there will be another financial crisis at some point — indeed, the recent deregulation package increases the likelihood in the near term. So far I see no evidence (the economy page on his campaign website is laughably thin) he has reckoned with the lessons of the Obama administration's disastrous failures on the previous crisis, and hence no reason he wouldn't repeat the same bad decisions. He better start cracking some books, or perhaps just run for Senate again. America can't afford a repeat of the 2008-10 bungling.“ The Beto 2020 Problem
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


zombieflanders: Trump repeatedly says Cohen is lying, but then adds: "Even if he was right, it doesn’t matter because I was allowed to do whatever I wanted during the campaign."

I'm inclined to think that's not just his usual id-speak, but in fact another instance of his tendency to spill the internal talking points outward. Either he or someone in his circle raised a "Wait, are we actually allowed to do this stuff?" question, and someone else responded with something like "Look, it's a campaign. All's fair in presidential campaigns."

octobersurprise: We're like this far *holds fingers together* from the "You're goddammed right I ordered a code red!!" moment.

That already happened in the May 2017 interview with Lester Holt. What might, might move the needle is "Yes, I colluded." I really think it would because that specific word has spilled out his mouth a ludicrous number of times.

Consider how it's apparent to almost everyone that he wants "the wall" to be part of the federal budget. This is an implicit admission that Mexico won't pay for it. But being implicit, it has only a bit of political punch. What would really lose some supporters is him saying "Mexico will not pay for the wall" or "We will never build one, ever". Likewise, him tweeting "SOME COLLUSION!!" would look like an admission of guilt (and/or knuckling under the terrible Mueller witch hunt) even to low-info voters, where "Hey, it's just business" doesn't.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:15 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


I will say, my full faith in the Special Counsel and Justice is slowly being restored. Even though the wheels grind exceedingly slow, they are grinding. They said on MSNBC before that Mueller was slowly connecting his bridge from Russia (with the indictments earlier this year) to people in the campaign. I still hate it's taking this long with the unprecedented threat we face every day, but it seems like they're doing it right. My hope is that regardless of the speed of justice, enough of this shit is thrown at him that he's forced from power suddenly instead of a long legal process. But that's pretty stupid to expect at this point.
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:16 AM on November 29 [13 favorites]


But it is a certainty there will be another financial crisis at some point

So, every year I get a little booklet from my CPA about the changes to tax law that includes common advice, calculation tables for various scenarios, all that stuff. Very boring and normal stuff, usually. The one I just got is just.... it's trying so hard to be sane, but it's such a mess. It's really maddening.
posted by odinsdream at 8:18 AM on November 29 [10 favorites]


He really does not seem to ever see a difference between 'I am sure I can get away with this somehow' and 'this is an ethically and legally permissible thing to do.'

He's always been oblivious to the law; that's how he wound up with six bankruptcies - because the concept of, "you have to pay the people you hire" is alien to him. He really doesn't think there's a difference between "what I can get away with" and "what's legal." And he's always been able to buy his way out of legal problems.

...the more corporate bailouts I see, the more I want corporate debt to act like student loans: You can get a deferment, but that debt gets assigned to people - maybe anyone who had "how to spend money" authority in the company, including the board - and it follows you forever. (Not the individuals who were assigned a budget, but the upper managers who decided how corporate income got allocated.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 8:20 AM on November 29 [38 favorites]


John Santucci @Santucci, ABC News "NEW - President Trump was asked about the Trump Tower Moscow project among a list of written questions by special counsel Robert Mueller, sources familiar with the president’s responses tell @ABC News. No details about his response."

I still hate it's taking this long

I'm no particular expert on this but every commentator that I've heard who is an expert on the DoJ say that, comparatively speaking, Mueller is going at a very quick march. Getting everything lined up so it can stand up in court takes a lot of time. A misstep that allows a skeptical judge to rule against him on anything substantive could doom the whole thing.

the concept of, "you have to pay the people you hire" is alien to him

I think it's more "you only have to pay if you lose in court, which you won't, because you're buying stuff from subcontractors who can't afford not to settle for a fraction"
posted by BungaDunga at 8:22 AM on November 29 [19 favorites]




He really doesn't think there's a difference between "what I can get away with" and "what's legal."

I'm starting to think we need to put this in the megathread disclaimer:
Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protectes [sic] but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect. -- Frank Wilhoit
posted by Etrigan at 8:26 AM on November 29 [55 favorites]


the more corporate bailouts I see, the more I want corporate debt to act like student loans

If you just don't bail corporations out with public money, the people holding the bag are always going to be the creditors, which is as it should be. Creditors take on the risk of default- that's why they get to charge interest. If the loans are owed by the board and management, creditors might be able to bankrupt a few rich guys but eventually that well will run dry before creditors are made whole.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:27 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


Hoo boy. All this time Trump was avoiding having to answer obstruction questions because, one assumes, he’s pinned there, and agreed to answer Russia related stuff because he felt he had some room to maneuver, and now it appears maybe not so much.

Wonder what German authorities are finding at Deutsche Bank. I bet Trump is wondering, too. (Maybe he can ask Merkel herself in a couple of hours.)

The G20 is going to be a gong show.
posted by notyou at 8:31 AM on November 29 [17 favorites]


Consider how it's apparent to almost everyone that he wants "the wall" to be part of the federal budget. This is an implicit admission that Mexico won't pay for it.

This has been driving me crazy; the question needed is "Mexico has said all along they won't pay for the wall (before or after) it's built. Now you want to build the wall and make us pay them back later. If they won't pay before we build the wall, why would they pay after?"

Again, it's BS because of course he knows they'll never pay...but it's the stupidest negotiating position ever. I want a fence between me and my neighbor because I don't trust him; the rest of the neighborhood doesn't really see them as a threat but doesn't have the power to stop me. But I tell everyone "Neighbor's paying for the fence! They'll pay" and demand they do so, but they refuse. So I build the fence anyway, thinking all along they'll pay me back.

This is the type of logic we're supposed to accept. Idiots all the way down.
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:31 AM on November 29 [17 favorites]


John Santucci @Santucci, ABC News "NEW - President Trump was asked about the Trump Tower Moscow project among a list of written questions by special counsel Robert Mueller, sources familiar with the president’s responses tell @ABC News. No details about his response."

Somebody needs to keep track of how many times any host or guest on Fox News says "perjury trap" today.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:34 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


(Also, note to self: if Robert Mueller is sitting on the other side of the negotiation table, leave.)
posted by notyou at 8:36 AM on November 29 [6 favorites]


The Hill: Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results
The California election system “just defies logic to me,” Ryan said during a Washington Post Live event. “We were only down 26 seats the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every California race. This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is.”
...
The Golden State allows absentee ballots to be counted if they are mailed by Election Day and arrive at the registrar by the Friday after the election. That’s why results in a handful of close California House races were not called until days, or weeks, after Nov. 6.

In many cases, the GOP candidates had been leading on Election Night, but Democrats ultimately prevailed as additional absentee and provisional ballots were tallied in the days after.

“In Wisconsin, we knew the next day. Scott Walker, my friend, I was sad to see him lose, but we accepted the results on Wednesday” after the election, Ryan said. In California, “their system is bizarre; I still don’t completely understand it. There are a lot of races there we should have won.”

When pressed about his California comments, Ryan said it seemed “bizarre” and “strange” that Democrats would win all seven competitive House races in California...“The way the absentee-ballot program used to work, and the way it works now, it seems pretty loosey goose,” Ryan said. “When you have candidates who win the absentee ballot vote and then lose three weeks later because of provisionals, that’s really bizarre. I just think that’s a very very strange outcome.”
Shorter, paraphrased Paul Ryan: 'I don't understand why California bothers to count every vote, and Republicans should have won despite not getting enough votes to win.'

I dearly hope Ryan's political career ends with his speakership, but I don't want to monkey's-paw anything.
posted by cjelli at 8:37 AM on November 29 [81 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!
posted by scalefree at 8:37 AM on November 29 [10 favorites]


I'm hoping that the Deutsche Bank investigation re Panama Papers incidentally turns up evidence related to Trump/Kennedy, or is even a feint to get at the Russia receipts.
posted by M-x shell at 8:37 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


I called my Republican US Senator Joni Ernst's DC Office to ask whether she had yet followed through on her repeated and televised promise, back in April, that she would read the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act and say whether she supported it. I was informed that she had not.I suggested that the reason she had not was that she was a craven coward, so terrified of a criminal President that she is willing to enable a criminal conspiracy to obstruct an investigation which, notwithstanding the Senator's false claim that it has accomplished absolutely nothing, is convicting more and more of All the President's Henchmen, and is snapping at the President's heels. I asked the Senator to stop undermining the Constitution, the Rule of Law, and betraying the country, and to turn to the path of good and away from the path of evil, and I asked the staffer to think about her life choices. I was thanked and my message will be passed along
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:39 AM on November 29 [103 favorites]


There's been a lot of discussion about how the media should treat Trump. I think it would be interesting if they just assumed they're not going to get anything useful and treated it as a way of pointing out how inane his comments often are by being ridiculous (in a pointed way) on their own. Examples:

A few days ago you claimed that your gut was better than any intelligence. Do you think the FBI should be renamed the Federal Bureau of Intestines?

The other day, you retweeted a photo that included Rod Rosenstein in jail. Are there any other members of your staff that you also believe belong in jail?


Then, if he calls them out for asking stupid questions, they could respond by saying that since he believes they're fake news, why does he care if the questions are stupid.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:41 AM on November 29 [25 favorites]


@realDonaldTrump Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!

Because they know another Helsinki suckup pander to Putin after this new Cohen info will be damaging. And they know if they let him meet him, it'll definitely be a suckup pander shitshow.
posted by chris24 at 8:41 AM on November 29 [11 favorites]


Mmmhmm. And don't forget that Trump's dude @ Deutsche was suddenly retiring justice Anthony Kennedy's son. So much fucking smoke, I hope Mueller's team has ventilators.

In our worst nightmares about how deep this rot goes, and all the outrageous things, no, all the 'sounds like a crackpot conspiracy theory' things we've been inured to in the past century, or 2+ years, or just plain subjective hell, are coming to be proven true.

Imagine how Mueller feels. He spends his whole life being a Marine, and a Cop, and a Prosecutor, and he gets handed this -- worst case scenario -- hitherto undreamed of, and until now, so outrageous a story you couldn't sell it to a publisher.

And every week, he needs a new bulletin board, and a new ball of yarn.

And every week, he gets more and more furious about the rot and how far it's gone.

I know it's foolish to count on the establishment, but if any establishment isn't full of shit, I just can't believe it wouldn't be Mueller and his team.
posted by mikelieman at 8:42 AM on November 29 [19 favorites]


Forty-five minutes ago, Trump was waxing lyrical about what he might discuss with Putin. Now he says the meeting is off, due to Russia not allowing the Ukrainian ships and their crews to return home. What has changed this morning, regarding these ships and their crews? Nothing. What has changed is that Trump's lawyers have told him that it is very, very important that he takes a break from publicly meeting with the Russian President, the man whom the American President repeatedly and falsely denied to be his business partner, and have politely suggested a convenient excuse.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:42 AM on November 29 [60 favorites]


Wonder what German authorities are finding at Deutsche Bank. I bet Trump is wondering, too. (Maybe he can ask Merkel herself in a couple of hours.)

But Putin most of all. Panama Papers may not name him directly, but they're practically his rolodex of kleptocratic cronies.

What has changed is that Trump's lawyers have told him that it is very, very important that he takes a break from publicly meeting with the Russian President

But what about privately during the summit, say, at a closed event such as an official dinner… like last time?
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:52 AM on November 29 [16 favorites]


Does anyone NOT expect the oncoming tax season to be a complete shitshow?

And it will be conveniently blamed on the Democrats that took the House. It's not in the DNC's blood to explain otherwise. But one can hope, and make it a driving issue into 2020.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:53 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Trump on Cohen’s new guilty plea: “Just because I’m running for President doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to do business.” This is, for all intents and purposes, an admission that when he told the American people that he had no business dealings with Russia, he was lying, and he was concealing the fact that he was working on a Trump Tower Moscow deal, and had sought and received aid from Vladimir Putin.

What's more, it shows -- as if it weren't obvious -- that he had no intention of avoiding even the appearance of conflict of interest, because conflict of interest was more lucrative for him.
posted by Gelatin at 8:55 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


Chuck Schumer Is Greatly Overestimating Trump’s Popularity - Jamelle Bouie, Slate
The midterms were a stunning referendum. Democratic leaders should act accordingly.

The Democrats’ record-breaking victory [in the 2018 midterms] and the public’s clear exhaustion with Donald Trump should prompt a full re-evaluation of this political moment. Instead, when faced with Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for his border wall with Mexico, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer offered the $1.6 billion that Democrats had previously agreed on. This may not constitute support for “the wall” itself, but it does miss how the landscape has changed. … Schumer had political space to make a lower bid, or no bid at all. But he doesn’t seem to grasp the extent of his party’s political advantage or understand the value of opposition. He seems stuck in a past where voters rewarded compromise and bipartisanship, unable to see how this doesn’t apply to the Democrats’ relationship with Donald Trump.
I wonder if Schumer is counting on Trump to support some Democratic initiatives down the road.
In the news media, likewise, there’s still a preoccupation with Trump’s most dedicated supporters, as if they constitute a barometer for public opinion or say anything meaningful about the larger state of American politics. More illuminating—and more interesting, for that matter—would be an examination of the groups who drove the midterm results: black women, young people, and suburban white women. Those Americans and their communities are still under-covered, even as they shape and change the direction of national politics. That under-coverage is likely the result of many complicated factors, but it’s certainly tied to our continued faulty impression of the president’s standing.
...
With that in mind, let’s make the present political situation as clear as possible. Donald Trump and his party suffered substantial losses in the midterm elections, including significant erosion in traditionally Republican areas of the country. Indeed, if one took the Democrats’ popular vote performance and mapped it onto the Electoral College, you would have a solid Democratic win, underscoring the president’s electoral vulnerability.
...
Perhaps now is the time to start treating Trump like what he is—a failing president, unable and unwilling to change course. Put simply, the public doesn’t need (or want) Democrats to be conciliatory and bipartisan, it wants them to be an opposition.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:58 AM on November 29 [60 favorites]


From Doktor Zed's link, an important reminder of why it is so important for the American President to be able to meet in person with the man he has repeatedly denied being his business partner, the Russian President, instead of merely making a phone call:
Bremmer said Trump got up from his seat halfway through dinner and spent about an hour talking “privately and animatedly” with Putin, “joined only by Putin’s own translator.”

The lack of a U.S. translator raised eyebrows among other leaders at the dinner, said Bremmer, who called it a “breach of national security protocol.”
Donald Trump knows that there is only one circumstance in which he can converse with Vladimir Putin without another United States citizen, a citizen who might be subject to a Congressional or Special Counsel subpoena, being aware of what is discussed. He requires an in-person meeting in which he is joined only by Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Putin's translator, and, presumably, Vladimir Putin's tape recorder.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:58 AM on November 29 [30 favorites]


I'm now imagining an airport-bookstore techno-thriller in which a rebel CIA agent has to covertly bug the clothing of the US President. I'm now wondering whether this story might be the story of our reality.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:07 AM on November 29 [12 favorites]




Imagine how *furious* Trump must be at all these ongoing and by now longstanding efforts to hold him accountable for his actions. He’s probably also still in denial about it to some extent because it’s never been like this for him before and as such he has no frame of reference for what’s happening.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:09 AM on November 29 [18 favorites]


“Maybe we don’t need Oprah.” Early-state Dems sound off on 2020 - Katie Glueck, McClatchy DC
...
[A] debate is raging over what kind of messenger they need.

In New Hampshire earlier this month, veteran Democratic strategist Judy Reardon took stock of the midterm results and concluded that the party needs someone whose style is more calm and conciliatory than combative counter-puncher.

“Before this election, I had been of the mind that the Democratic nominee to beat Trump had to be somebody with a big personality,” she said. “...I now think that very well might not be the case. Maybe somebody like Steve Bullock, actually, has the best chance of beating Donald Trump. Somebody who’s less flashy.

“Maybe we don’t need Oprah,” she continued.

Indeed, the Democratic Party is poised for pitched battles over both personality and ideology in their quest for someone who can defeat Trump in the general election. Does the party need a nominee with a big persona to match Trump’s brashness, or a lower-key figure who exudes stability? A progressive firebrand who thrills party activists or a centrist from the business world who can appeal to Republicans?

Some argue that the 2018 candidates who energized the base most came from the unapologetically progressive wing of the party—and reflected its diversity. Contenders such as Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and O’Rourke in Texas didn’t win, the argument goes, but the competitiveness of their campaigns in challenging states demonstrates where the party is moving.

“Sometimes the theory among Democrats, particularly in the Southeast, is to go for a centrist who won’t create much of a ripple, see if you can pull over some Republicans,” said Brady Quirk-Garvan, the chair of the Charleston County Democratic Party in South Carolina. “I think the base of the Democratic Party, even here in South Carolina, is not really feeling that at the moment. They want someone who’s going to meet them at their excitement level, engage them, who in their eyes is going to lead them into battle.”
And here I thought that triangulation was only a Clinton thing. Also, namechecking Oprah like this is not a good idea.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:14 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


Schumer has generously volunteered the $1.6 billion of our money to pay for Trump's reelection campaign.
posted by LarsC at 9:15 AM on November 29 [27 favorites]


He requires an in-person meeting in which he is joined only by Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Putin's translator, and, presumably, Vladimir Putin's tape recorder.

If there are not lots of others present with concealed directional microphones then everything I have ever read about international spycraft has been a complete lie.

Also if Bad Lip Reading did a video of Donald Trump talking would it then make sense?
posted by srboisvert at 9:16 AM on November 29 [8 favorites]


Imagine how *furious* Trump must be at all these ongoing and by now longstanding efforts to hold him accountable for his actions. He’s probably also still in denial about it to some extent because it’s never been like this for him before and as such he has no frame of reference for what’s happening.

Trump's consciousness sees the truth of our reality as merely one of over fifty shades of grey, shades which can be painted by his words and his imagination. He has an idiot non-savant's preternatural ability to translate Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle from the world of the quantum to the classically mechanical world of the human experience. Today, his problem is that the fact of his crimes, the coming revelations of his crimes, and his being very much out of his depth, are all facts which are, every single day, being rendered a darker shade of grey.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:17 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]




This photo from above brings joy to my heart
posted by growabrain at 9:18 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Am I tin-foil hat crazy, or does all this breaking news feel coordinated?

- Cohen court appearance
- Deutsche Bank office raid
- Ald. Burke office raid
- Meeting w/ Putin canceled after Kremlin confirms location and duration
- Trump heads out of the country to the G20
posted by gladly at 9:19 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


The first three could have been coordinated with the 5th, but the 4th feels more like a surprised response to the first three events.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:21 AM on November 29 [14 favorites]


What has changed is that Trump's lawyers have told him that it is very, very important that he takes a break from publicly meeting with the Russian President, and have politely suggested a convenient excuse.

Which is, in its own way, damning of Trump's presidency: should we not have a President who could meet with foreign leaders to conduct diplomacy and work to resolve tensions amidst an escalating conflict?

I have no illusions that Trump would ever be a leader capable of deëscalating anything (which is its own problem), but that the President is stepping back from diplomacy because of legal entanglements and PR reasons suggests an entirely new axis along which Trump is incapable of doing his job. In this specific case it's probably preferable to the alternative (another chance at collusion), but only when measured against the constantly-derailing-and-running-people-over-and-yet-never-quite-crashing train that is Trump.
posted by cjelli at 9:21 AM on November 29 [14 favorites]


to be honest I doubt he will be able to go through the whole thing without meeting with Putin, no matter what he says today.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:24 AM on November 29 [11 favorites]


Am I tin-foil hat crazy, or does all this breaking news feel coordinated?

There are two possibilities. Either Mueller is beginning to show his hand because he is soon going to release his report. Or, as I suspect, he is beginning to show his hand because he is already being obstructed from having the ability to show his hand, by Purported Daycare Manager, Purported Gigantic Cock Toilet Patent Promoter and Purportedly Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker. He wants to show that the steamroller of truth is coming down the road, and anyone choosing to obstruct it is in danger of going squish.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:25 AM on November 29 [33 favorites]


@normative puts these events into context with a timeline that hints at where we're going:
Some dates. Early May 2016: Cohen discusses business travel to Russia with Trump, Sater, and a “senior campaign official”. He agrees to make a trip himself the following month, and says Trump might do so after being formally nominated.

June 3: Trump Tower meeting arranged.
June 9: Trump Tower meeting occurs.
June 14: First public report that suspected Russian hackers broke into the DNC network. The same day, two days before he is scheduled to leave for Moscow, Cohen bails on the trip.
July 22: Wikileaks releases hacked DNC e-mails.

Obvious question: what changed between May, when Cohen agreed to make a trip to Moscow, seemingly with Trump’s approval, and June 14, when Cohen bailed on that trip at the last minute? Did Trump or the campaign decide that obvious links to Russia were suddenly undesirable? Because for some reason or other, it’s clearly OK with everyone for Cohen to schmooze at the “Russian Davos” in May, but by June 14 is sufficiently unacceptable that Cohen has to back out of a business trip related to an important deal, long in the works, on two days notice.

The long-sought Trump Tower Moscow deal is seemingly abandoned following the last-minute June 14 cancellation of Cohen’s trip. On face, it looks like Trump is quite abruptly keen to avoid overt ties to Russia that had not been considered a problem just weeks earlier. Conceivably this is an almost immediate response to the public attribution of the DNC hack to Russians—an attribution Trump will publicly continue to doubt for many months. But if so, it would be an awfully drastic and rapid response to a single news story. But it also sounds like Cohen was dodging Sater’s efforts to nail down the trip for a couple weeks prior to the 14th. So there’s potentially a period of waffling, and then something puts the nail in the coffin.
posted by zachlipton at 9:26 AM on November 29 [22 favorites]



Meanwhile, the Chicago Sun-Times reports: Federal Agents Show Up At Ald. Ed Burke’s City Hall Office, Paper Over Windows (pic)

Fun fact flashback: A law firm headed by Ald. Edward M. Burke, one of Chicago’s most powerful Democrats, has helped Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and investors in his luxury downtown hotel cut their property taxes by 39 percent over seven years, saving them $11.7 million, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis has found. (May 2016)


It would be a lovely two-fer if this was Trump connected but I think Burke is plenty dirty enough to dig his own deep holes. He is definitely part of a pretty regressive group of Chicago democratic party members who actively hurt everyone in the city who isn't wealthy or clouted up. He also led the openly racist and disgusting 'council wars' revolt against Harold Washington, Chicago's first black mayor and last genuinely progressive one. He is also party to some incredibly ridiculous and even vindictive ward level gerrymandering.
posted by srboisvert at 9:26 AM on November 29 [12 favorites]


My husband just took one for the team and looked at Fox’s website. Surprise! No mention on front page and very little about it on the politics page. They really should not be able to use the word “news” anywhere ever.
posted by Bacon Bit at 9:32 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


I doubt he will be able to go through the whole thing without meeting with Putin, no matter what he says today.

When he says something it's a safe bet the opposite is true, so of course he'll have a private sit down with his boo and we will probably find out about it a week after the fact.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:33 AM on November 29


The speculative poop I've read says that Mueller is pinning Trump, in this case dropping the Manafort plea deal and Cohen's admission right in the time between Trump turning in his "only about Russia" answers and (being scheduled for) meeting Putin, and that is why he cancelled. Perhaps Putin demanded it now that the lines are tapped, but that's a distinction without a difference. The less Trump can do, the more that Twitter is his only activity, the better. Of course his henchmen are still razing everything, but...baby steps.
posted by rhizome at 9:33 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


My husband just took one for the team and looked at Fox’s website. Surprise! No mention on front page and very little about it on the politics page.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, my Google News page suddenly shows no links to Fox News updates.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:35 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


...our worst nightmares about how deep this rot goes...

I find comfort in the fact that Trump is so disruptively stupid that he's unintentionally shining a light on all the filth that was there to begin with. He did not somehow corrupt pure public servants. These were corrupt, immoral individuals who were getting away with it all this time, only they put their eggs in the wrong basket with Trump, and now they will be dragged with him, their names forever tainted.
posted by Tarumba at 9:41 AM on November 29 [53 favorites]


In New Hampshire earlier this month, veteran Democratic strategist Judy Reardon took stock of the midterm results and concluded that the party needs someone whose style is more calm and conciliatory than combative counter-puncher.>

I suggest that veteran Democratic strategists be ignored.
posted by jetsetsc at 9:44 AM on November 29 [70 favorites]


If Trump does go down, Fox will probably play Wagner's "Twilight of the Gods" for three days.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:47 AM on November 29 [11 favorites]


Imagine how *furious* Trump must be at all these ongoing and by now longstanding efforts to hold him accountable for his actions. He’s probably also still in denial about it to some extent because it’s never been like this for him before and as such he has no frame of reference for what’s happening.
I've been meaning to post this: I think it's a reasonable summation of what we can expect to see over the next few weeks. (Full thread from @HoarseWhisperer, edited for typos and formatting):
Super quick one on what we're seeing from Trump and what's likely to come next.

He's entering a different phase on the narcissistic cycle that tends to be extra unhinged, so [we] might as well talk about it and prepare for it. It's perhaps the most bonkers part of the cycle.

As I've written countless times, severe narcissists like Trump are utterly controlled by only two primary, driving impulses:
  1. Avoid shame
  2. Seek admiration and esteem
That's it. Everything else is derivative of those two. Those two drive the bus.

People naturally say "Shame?! The guy has no conscience and is incapable of shame!"

Yes and no. Trump has no moral compass. He has no sense of right or wrong. His entire existence focuses on how OTHER PEOPLE feel about him. He has no internal life. No insight.

So, yes, it is true that Trump doesn't independently feel shame about his behavior and has no internal conscience.

However, he is entirely controlled by what others think of him. He can't handle being looked down on.

To a narcissist, the knowledge that others are poised to see them in a very negative light - to see them as unworthy of admiration, or worse, worthy of contempt - is absolutely excruciating.

It's utterly excruciating to them to see that train coming and not be able to stop it.

It is literally the worst possible thing that could happen to them. Trump is right there in that spot now. He absolutely knows that the walls are closing in on the worst public shaming of his life. And he can't escape it.

This is worse than a boiling death to a narcissist.

When put in that position, narcissists absolutely lose it. They flail wildly. They entirely lose the little emotional regulation they had and just swing wildly trying to beat away what's coming. They say utterly insane things. They accuse, attack, lie. It's a freaking spectacle.

Trump is right there.

He is right at that moment where the narcissist goes entirely off the rails and blurts out endless craziness. Unhinged lunacy. Utterly devoid of reasoning or thought or logic. It's like a drunken man swinging wildly in the dark.

At the end of the day, it changes nothing. It doesn't stop the Shame Train from coming. It only makes them look utterly unhinged.

It creates a major scene but you needn't do more than step back and watch. There's no point engaging. Just observe with detachment.

In this state, the narcissist is extra-bad at forethought. They can't think ahead. They're just mega-tantruming.

So, Trump couldn't hatch a cogent scheme of any kind right now if he wanted to. He's on tilt. Right now - at this moment - just sit back and watch.

We're in for a barn burner of a meltdown.
  1. He'll flail like a loco lawn sprinkler
  2. He'll lash out at an endless array of targets
  3. None of it will make any sense
  4. He'll contradict even himself
...and then...

He'll go dark when he has punched himself out.

For today, and until there's reason to do otherwise, sit back and watch the unhinged scene we're about to see in full technicolor…

…and remember as you're watching it:

This is what a narcissist does when they know they're caught and know that's about to come out.

To me, this phase is actually oddly comfortable and comforting. It signals that narcissist knows he is entirely busted and can't escape it. If there was any even potential escape, he'd be trying to manipulate his way out.

When they're melting down, they know they've lost.

It's easy to be freaked out by how volatile and out of control this all seems. It's like the collapse of an old stadium they're tearing down. It's an implosion. It falls in on itself.

We're OK. Just watch the show. The full nuttiness will be wild.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 9:49 AM on November 29 [87 favorites]


We're OK. Just watch the show. The full nuttiness will be wild.

This sentiment may more easily apply to narcissists who lack the ability to immediately launch a massive nuclear arsenal on a whim
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:55 AM on November 29 [77 favorites]


If Trump does go down, Fox will probably play Wagner's "Twilight of the Gods" for three days.

Just not on Twitter, where they are in their 3rd week of not posting. Presumably in protest but they never told anyone so it's more just plan odd than effective.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:55 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


When they're melting down, they know they've lost.

I'd hope so, but that sure feels a bit overstated. Trump may flail, but he'll still get support from his base and if that base is loud enough and seems big enough to matter to those Republicans that also pander to them and to Fox news, there doesn't seem like much of a guarantee that Mueller alone will turn the tide on the Trump era as there still needs to be some action taken by the other branches of government to turn fact into action. I"m just not convinced the Republicans will see that as the right answer and will instead cling to the Trump legacy and continue to tear down the constitution. I'm concerned the conclusion of the Mueller investigation could as much signal we've entered freefall as provide grounds for the end of the Trump era.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:59 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


There has not been one moment during this Presidency when Putin didn't have complete leverage over Trump. We should regard the foreign policy of the United States for the last two years to have been entirely directed by Putin.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:00 AM on November 29 [21 favorites]


@John_Hudson: AP: ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — White House: Formal meetings with Turkey, S Korea canceled; Trump will instead speak informally with leaders at G-20.

The man simply can't do the job. Is this so cancelling the Putin meeting doesn't look as bad or is he just incapable of having these meetings?
posted by zachlipton at 10:00 AM on November 29 [56 favorites]


Is this so cancelling the Putin meeting doesn't look as bad or is he just incapable of having these meetings?

At this stage I wouldn't be surprised if Putin had picked up the red telephone and suggested that Trump cancel the other meetings.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:08 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


Shorter, paraphrased Paul Ryan: 'I don't understand why California bothers to count every vote, and Republicans should have won despite not getting enough votes to win.'

Also strangely weak on the notion of State rights in the way Republicans always are when states don't do Republican things.
posted by srboisvert at 10:08 AM on November 29 [13 favorites]


We should regard the foreign policy of the United States for the last two years to have been entirely directed by Putin.

This is largely true, but Putin's primary target, the battery of sanctions against his oligarchic criminal network, remains in place. Putin has learned that having control of an incapable and deeply unpopular US President does not lead to unlimited control over US foreign policy. It appears that even a Congress run by the most craven sycophants is as yet unwilling to proactively introduce and vote for absolute surrender to Putin.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:16 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


Yes, much, much more of this please:
Dave Weigel: It begins... I just talked to a Democratic activist who's putting together a challenge to a safe-seat Democrat who's opposing Pelosi. One of many to come.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:26 AM on November 29 [54 favorites]


There are two possibilities. Either Mueller is beginning to show his hand because he is soon going to release his report. Or, as I suspect, he is beginning to show his hand because he is already being obstructed from having the ability to show his hand, by Purported Daycare Manager, Purported Gigantic Cock Toilet Patent Promoter and Purportedly Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

Third option (or, if you like, a modified second option): Marcy Wheeler was right that Mueller was never planning to write a Ken Starr-style report because the White House has shown it will gladly bury/burn such things, and the idea was always to release whatever facts he wants the public at large to know via court filings.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:30 AM on November 29 [12 favorites]


@John_Hudson: AP: ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE — White House: Formal meetings with Turkey, S Korea canceled; Trump will instead speak informally with leaders at G-20.

Just yesterday the WaPo, working from White House and diplomatic sources, published a this time it will be different article noting how much Trump hates informal gatherings and that his staff has worked to make sure "every minute of the president’s schedule" would be filled with bilateral meetings.
posted by peeedro at 10:30 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


In retrospect, Trump's behavior on Wednesday night really was weird… Crooks and Liars: Trump Ran Away From Tree Lighting Ceremony Without Warning—Trump ditched the Press Pool and fled from the White House tree lighting ceremony without warning. Did he get news of Cohen on his phone?

Incidentally, it won't be wheels down on AF1 until 8:50PM EST when Trump arrives in Buenos Aires.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:30 AM on November 29 [23 favorites]




Last night at the tree lighting Zinke introduced Trump as "The man who brought Christmas back to America." Seriously. Since it's continuing the Christmas theme from his rally for Cindy Hyde-Smith in Biloxi, I guess we have another month of Trump-infused holiday cheer to look forward to.
posted by peeedro at 10:50 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


@mattzap: We are told that, as per special counsel/Justice Department policies, Acting AG Matt Whitaker was notified in advance of Cohen's plea. Remember, he doesn't have to approve, but he can veto.

This is interesting to me because Whitaker was supposed to be getting an ethics opinion on whether he needed to recuse himself. That doesn't seem to have happened. Yesterday, a reporter called up DOJ to ask what was going on with that: "Decline to comment, thanks". If Whitaker was notified, it would mean that he hasn't recused himself.

But Whitaker's promise was sneaky:

@MLevineReports: They never said that. They basically said he would consult with ethics officials when “appropriate,” and didn’t mention Mueller. I asked repeatedly if he would consult on Mueller specifically, and DOJ wouldn’t answer.

If you don't think interfering with the investigation would be "inappropriate," there's never a need to consult ethics officials, huh?
posted by zachlipton at 10:53 AM on November 29 [29 favorites]


The man who brought Christmas back to America

OK, that's it. I can't take this War on Christmas bullshit anymore. If I know someone celebrates Christmas, I say "Merry Christmas." If someone says "Merry Christmas" to me, I say it back. If I don't know someone's religion or preferred term for the holidays, I say "Happy holidays." I say it to be polite and inclusive, not because I'm required to. Seasons Grrrrrrrrreeetings!
posted by kirkaracha at 11:01 AM on November 29 [21 favorites]


Julian Sanchez (@normative) offers some commentary about Cohen's testimony to HPSCI and the Nunes-athorized final report:
Here’s the section on Trump Tower Moscow from the HPSCI report on Russian interference. Cohen has just admitted that many of the critical claims the report accepts as fact here were lies. [pic]

Note the report references “documents produced to the committee”, suggesting Cohen not only lied, but deliberately hid e-mails he now acknowledges receiving from Russian government officials from HPSCI.

Cohen’s admissions today strongly imply that Sater’s testimony to HPSCI was also false. Cohen acknowledges a Russian government official had, via Sater, invited Cohen to meet in Moscow in June 2016 in connection with the project, suggesting he might introduce Cohen to Putin.

Cohen bailed on this meeting in Moscow just days before it was supposed to occur in June 2016. That would seem to make Sater’s denial that any Russian officials were involved in the project false, and his claim to be unaware of any meetings at best highly misleading.
What we next is a cross-reference of Cohen's testimony and Donald Jr's to see where the lies match up.

@realDonaldTrump Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin's playing coy about this. The FT's Max Seddon reports: “Looks like Trump canceled his meeting with Putin without telling the Kremlin. Peskov: "We've only seen the tweet and reports. We don't have any official information. If that's the case, the president will have a couple extra hours in his schedule for useful meetings."”
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:02 AM on November 29 [8 favorites]


> [Fomer FBI Special Agent/Yale senior lecturer Asha Rangappa] made an important point just now on @CNNnewsroom: Yes, Mr. Trump was allowed to do business with Russia while a candidate. But he lied about it, which gave the Kremlin leverage over him, since Putin could have exposed Trump’s lie during the campaign. (via Paul Begala)

Former FBI Agent: Trump ‘Dangling a Pardon’ to Influence Manafort Could be ‘Evidence of Obstruction’

Former FBI agent tells CNN Trump’s lies show Russia has kompromat over president: ‘This is a national security issue’
posted by homunculus at 11:04 AM on November 29 [22 favorites]


WSJ, Stephanie Armour, Trump Administration Details Health-Law Waivers for States
The Trump administration on Thursday outlined ways states will be allowed to waive parts of the Affordable Care Act, a move that has been welcomed by conservatives, spurred rebukes from Democrats and risks legal action.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which implements the health law, released four templates detailing how states may use waivers. States will get significantly more leeway to change the way they distribute and structure ACA premium subsidies that now go to almost nine million people.
...
Under the new approach, states can let consumers use their premium subsidies under the ACA to buy cheaper health plans that don’t comply with the law or offer some benefits such as maternity care. They can funnel public subsidies into defined-benefit accounts that consumers can draw from for their own health-care costs.

CMS in October announced new guidance on waivers, replacing guidelines from the Obama administration. The specific templates released Thursday show the administration is pushing ahead with actions that will allow and even encourage states to go in their own direction on health care. The waiver concepts are to be used as a springboard for innovation, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Thursday. She said waivers that allow states to initiate defined contributions for health costs would restrain premium growth.

That approach will likely increase the divide between states that retain the health law and those looking to roll it back. And it sets up a clash with Democrats, who plan to use their midterm-election wins to protect the ACA from the administration’s moves to weaken it.
posted by zachlipton at 11:10 AM on November 29 [5 favorites]


"Evidence of obstruction"? It is the obstruction. The logic of "the President would never be dumb enough to commit crimes in broad daylight, therefore the things he is doing in broad daylight are not crimes" is going to kill us all.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:12 AM on November 29 [72 favorites]


Sorry if this has been addressed here during the many previous threads, but can anyone say or direct me to a decent article on what concretely we can expect to happen once Mueller issues his final report? That is, assume the maximal outcome and that Whitaker doesn't just suppress 99% of the report -- that the report shows collusion, obstruction, and lying, plus various actions that violate campaign and other laws, including maybe tax and financial lawbreaking. What happens next? I don't mean for Trump's sanity (which is already gone), Republican Senators (who will never vote to impeach) or public opinion (which is already entirely polarized). Independent of those things, on the institutional or legal fronts, what concretely happens after Mueller in terms of direct effects on the White House?

[Btw, this isn't meant to belittle the importance of finding the truth independent of its political effects, nor to belittle the importance of prosecuting everyone else who richly deserves it. I fully support every aspect of the investigation, I just realized I don't know enough of the institutional or legal landscape to know what to expect afterwards.]
posted by chortly at 11:18 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


@ZoeTillman: DAG Rod Rosenstein's prepared remarks at a cybercrime conference today begin with a parable about a parrot and include a line that feels remarkably on-point for today: "And the moral of the story is, if you don’t talk when you get the chance, don’t complain later!"

@dnvolz: Rosenstein just now during a speech at Georgetown: "Just because people are quick to criticize you does not mean that you are doing the wrong thing. Take it from me." Chuckles from the audience.

@ZoeTillman: "Take it from me" was not in the prepared version, fwiw

The speech is at the "35th International Conference on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," which does seem fitting.

@emptywheel: I do hope someone is tracking the Easter Eggs in Rosenstein's prepared speeches of late bc he has been the goddamned Easter Bunny.
posted by zachlipton at 11:20 AM on November 29 [29 favorites]


an anyone say or direct me to a decent article on what concretely we can expect to happen once Mueller issues his final report?

What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Mueller Report covers the immediate series of actions related to the release of the report and the ways in which information could be made public.
posted by zachlipton at 11:23 AM on November 29 [19 favorites]


By the way, WaPo stresses an important detail about today's plea deal: But this matter is only what Cohen is admitting to in exchange for his cooperation with Mueller. It tells us nothing about what else he has told Mueller, and on what subjects.

The same goes for Jerome Corsi, even though we've seen only a leaked draft of a plea deal (and who knows if he modified his limited hangout).
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:25 AM on November 29 [5 favorites]


What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Mueller Report covers the immediate series of actions related to the release of the report and the ways in which information could be made public.

Thanks -- but that article really only covers the release of information contained in the various reports, and furthermore at least half of it is related to either a separate "Rosenstein Report" (which I don't think we can expect much of now) or a separate "Impeachment Report," of which they say "Mueller won’t prepare an Impeachment Report without Rosenstein’s authorization" -- so I doubt we can expect much from that either.

But regardless of all that, my question was about what happens after all the reports are issued. That is, even if we get a strong, unredacted Mueller report, and maybe somehow an AG and Impeachment Report -- what really happens next, apart from Congress holding various hearings it is planning to hold anyway? What legally or institutionally happens that will directly impact the White House in ways that aren't already happening?
posted by chortly at 11:35 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Based on the actions Mueller's taken thus far, it seems like they might issue criminal indictments for everyone they think they have a case against in court, which is likely everyone except the President, by virtue of there being this weird-ass obsession with whether or not the sitting president can be indicted or not.

I'm hopeful that they issue a report *as well* of course, but the real effect is issuing the indictments and letting the court system put people in jail and seize their assets.
posted by odinsdream at 11:38 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


(If you can put them in the mail by Friday postcards from voters/Tony The Democrat is doing GOTV cards for the LA sec of State runoff which could have big implications for voter rights and access in the south.)
posted by The Whelk at 11:43 AM on November 29 [9 favorites]


I have wanted to do postcards for voters for a while now, since I have some artistic skill and have been practicing my calligraphy. But, I don't understand exactly what I'm supposed to write and the whole thing kind of intimidates me.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:48 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Bear in mind, the emphasis on the Special Counsel's final report lately comes from mostly from Rudy Giuliani and Trump's lawyers*. From public interviews to unattributed leaks, they've been trying to build up anticipation for it as a pretext to complaining that Mueller's been taking too long with the investigation and needs to wrap it up (so Team Trump can bury it).

In contrast, Mueller, as odinsdream points out, has been communicating everything about the investigation through indictments and court filings. His team doesn't leak, and his spokesperson refuses to comment on almost every inquiry from the press. He hasn't been treating this assignment as a political task in any way, shape, or form. Instead, he's been going after Trump & Co. like an FBI task force taking down an organized crime syndicate.

* Hilariously, they're now telling the NYT's Haberman and Schmidt that Trump’s Recall of Moscow Deal Matches Cohen’s (Suffice to say, it's all about Giuliani's version of events.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:50 AM on November 29 [19 favorites]


an anyone say or direct me to a decent article on what concretely we can expect to happen once Mueller issues his final report?

According to emptywheel, "the indictments are the report, effectively."

The Purpose of a Mueller Report: for Referral to Congress If He Gets Fired
I said some weeks ago that I had finally figured out the point of the report that the Mueller investigation is doing. I lay that out in this TNR piece on what would happen if Democrats win the House but he is fired. While a report would not be necessary if Mueller continues to speak, as he has done, in indictments, it would serve as a vehicle to transfer grand jury information to the House Judiciary Committee rooted in the Watergate precedent.
Mueller Just Guaranteed He Can Issue a Public Report
...Mueller’s team appears to have no doubt that Manafort was lying to them. That means they didn’t really need his testimony, at all. It also means they had no need to keep secrets — they could keep giving Manafort the impression that he was pulling a fast one over the prosecutors, all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open book test. Which increases the likelihood that Trump just submitted sworn answers to those questions full of lies.

And that “detailed sentencing submission … sett[ing] forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies” that Mueller mentions in the report?

There’s your Mueller report, which will be provided in a form that Matt Whitaker won’t be able to suppress. (Reminder: Mueller included 38 pages of evidence along with Manafort’s plea agreement, which I argued showed how what Manafort and Trump did to Hillary was the same thing that Manafort had done to Yulia Tymoshenko.)
posted by kirkaracha at 11:53 AM on November 29 [20 favorites]


Other than indictments, there's not much else Mueller is meant to do. Indictments are his job. An indictment of Trump Jr. naming the President as an unindicted co-conspirator is probably the strongest possible thing.

Institutionally, Mueller might give a press conference. Like the Comey press conferences, this would be a barn-burner of an event. There might be information in a report (or indictments) that state prosecutors would be able to go after people with. The content of the hearings that the Dems hold after January might look different, as they would be able to question people in public about the information contained in the report and/or indictments, information nobody other than Mueller's team currently has.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:53 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


It creates a major scene but you needn't do more than step back and watch. There's no point engaging. Just observe with detachment.

...And collect details, because his flailing will include a lot of name-dropping and insistence that "X activity was totally not a crime!"

(I am so looking forward to the Garbage Pail Kids card of Trump called "Colludin' Cofveve.")
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:54 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


What Is a Speaking Indictment? Mueller Deploys Key Tool in Russia Investigation
Special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be deploying an uncommon legal tool to shine a light on information around Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

As The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant has pointed out, Mueller appears to have used "speaking indictments," or indictments that provide more details on a case than are required by law, in his handling of the investigation.
...
However, Mueller's indictments appear to go far beyond the requirements, with the special counsel providing detailed accounts that paint a fuller picture of the stories surrounding accusations.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:55 AM on November 29 [13 favorites]


Thanks -- but that article really only covers the release of information contained in the various reports
...
What legally or institutionally happens that will directly impact the White House in ways that aren't already happening?


The boring answer is that it's really all contingent on what is in the reports themselves, and on what is released and not released, and when that happens, so speculation beyond the reporting stage is necessarily speculative and therefore not really an answer to the question of "what will happen" -- at the point where we could accurately predict "what would happen based on the reports," we're effectively asking "what is in the reports." We don't know what is in the reports; therefore we cannot say what will happen, legally or institutionally, that's not already happening. So -- to your specific question of 'what concretely we can expect to happen once Mueller issues his final report?' -- the answer can't really go past 'here's how the reporting might play out.' Nothing past that point is going to be concrete.

This isn't to say we should avoid speculating, or that some outcomes aren't more or less likely given what we do know and what legal options are available, &c., just that the scope of the question you're asking is actually quite narrow.

There's also the possibility that (on preview, this is what Doctor Zed is talking about) that asking about 'when the report drops' is accepting the framing that the investigation is intended to produce a report that will find crimes or absolve people of them; but plenty of people have already plead guilty! There have already been convictions! In that sense, we're already seeing some of the fruit of the investigation, with concrete, real legal consequences for the criminals involved -- they're not a consequence of the report, but a consequence of the investigation. 'What will Mueller's investigation accomplish?' is a separate -- and as Manafort, Corsi, Stone, & co. are finding, damaging -- question.
posted by cjelli at 11:56 AM on November 29 [8 favorites]


What legally or institutionally happens that will directly impact the White House in ways that aren't already happening?

(I agree with the people who say there won't be a report as such, just a lot more "speaking indictments.")

If the evidence is clear (Manafort, Stone, Cohen, and a stack of documents point the finger at Trump, who can't be indicted. But maybe Jr or Kushner is)...

The Democratic House passes articles of impeachment, and a trial begins in the Senate, at which point we see whether there are 19 Republicans in the Senate who will put country before party when confronted with clear evidence of criminal conduct. He either gets impeached (and we have president Pence) or he doesn't (and the US government has effectively no legitimacy in the eyes of half the population or the rest of the world.) We limp along for two years with effectively no government, and probably experience economic and foreign policy consequences for that. Tensions and political violence in the US escalate.

The chances of there being 19 senate Republicans willing to vote for impeachment probably go up if Trump reacts to being accused by firing Mueller and pardoning everyone, thus precipitating a constitutional crisis. On the other hand, the consequences in terms of crippling the US government get a lot worse if that happens and Republicans choose NOT to remove him from office anyway, so I'm not sure what to hope for in that regard.

It's also possible that Trump just resigns, flees, or has a heart attack. All of those become more likely if he can be convinced that jail is waiting in 2020 even if he is not impeached right now. A resignation would probably only happen with polls showing his popularity dropping to less than 50% AMONG REPUBLICANS.

There's also the possibility that he just tries to order the marshals or the military to arrest all of his enemies, including Robert Mueller. He either succeeds, in which case he serves as dictator for life, or fails, in which case we've had a military or law enforcement coup. Either way we are talking about re-establishing the institutions of democracy in the US from scratch.

The stakes are fricking high, here.
posted by OnceUponATime at 11:56 AM on November 29 [58 favorites]


odinsdream: Based on the actions Mueller's taken thus far, it seems like they might issue criminal indictments for everyone they think they have a case against in court, which is likely everyone except the President, by virtue of there being this weird-ass obsession with whether or not the sitting president can be indicted or not.

Yes. Of course it's hard not to hope that he and his team will break through the nonsense and just file charges against Individual 1. But that's just the sort of "not done" thing that I would expect them to not do.

(Part of my frustration is that the sole actual "precedent" is the opinion of Leon Jaworski when he investigated Watergate, which overruled the pro-indictment view of all 19 members of that particular grand jury. I don't think any judge has made an opinion or ruling on the subject at all, and what would be the harm in a special counsel at least trying? But again, it's simply... not done.)
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:58 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


a stack of documents point the finger at Trump, who can't be indicted

...before January 20, 2021.

The crimes don't go away when he leaves office. It would be worth prosecuting to the full extent of the law just to let future grifters know that "get away with it if you can dodge long enough" is not one of the long-term options, and besides, we're supposed to prosecute people who commit crimes.

I want him found guilty of collusion and stealing the election, and open up a unique legal situation where he can be personally sued for damages for every bit of harm he caused during his administration. (I know, it can't happen that way. I'm going to enjoy my fantasies; it's going to be a long couple of years.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:02 PM on November 29 [11 favorites]


I should add that the reason I'm hopeful for a report is that this is an unprecedented criminal enterprise operating at the highest levels of our government, the span of which is enormous. 9/11 got a full book-length report treatment because of how serious it was for the country. This is way, way worse, and an official report that's published BY the government would be, in my opinion, a good step towards a kind of truth-and-reconciliation level project that we MUST undertake as a country. We are so, so broken, and the whole 2016 election is just one symptom of what's going on. I don't actually think Mueller's scope is broad enough to do this all justice; what we actually deserve is for the next congress to work almost entirely on this issue.
posted by odinsdream at 12:02 PM on November 29 [14 favorites]


Mueller is required by law to "provide the Attorney General with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel." Then it'd be up to the attorney general to release it publicly, deliver it to Congress, or sit on it.

This is a good overview, although acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has since replaced Rosenstein:
American public might never see final Mueller report on Russian election interference
Under the current regulations, which were written to shift power to the Justice Department, giving the agency more oversight of future special counsels, in the wake of Kenneth Starr’s years-long investigation of President Bill Clinton, Mueller would be required to provide his final report to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, the acting attorney general for this matter.

Rosenstein is required by regulation to notify the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Judiciary Committee at the end of the investigation and provide them with an explanation of any instance where he blocked a proposed action by Mueller’s team.

He could also release Mueller’s report to the public if he determines that the release “would be in the public interest,” according to the regulation, but considering Trump’s tumultuous relationship with the Justice Department and its leaders, Rosenstein might not be in a position to make those decisions when Mueller finishes his work.
So Mueller has to give a report to Whitaker, and pretty much everyone thinks Whitaker will try to sit on it.

Ceterum autem censeo Trumpem esse delendam
posted by kirkaracha at 12:02 PM on November 29 [7 favorites]


I don't think any judge has made an opinion or ruling on the subject at all, and what would be the harm in a special counsel at least trying? But again, it's simply... not done

Mueller is probably bound by the DoJ's Office of Legal Opinion's memo that says that, in their opinion, a sitting President can't be indicted. Usually the DoJ follows its own lawyers' advice on what is legal, even if it's debatable. The Attorney General is not bound by that rule, and could set it aside, but that AG is currently either Whittacker or Rosenstein (depending on whether the former's appointment is even valid), neither of which seem, ah, keen to do that.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:04 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]


But, I don't understand exactly what I'm supposed to write and the whole thing kind of intimidates me. They give you sample scripts and options.
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 PM on November 29 [6 favorites]


The chances of there being 19 senate Republicans willing to vote for impeachment probably go up if Trump reacts to being accused by firing Mueller and pardoning everyone, thus precipitating a constitutional crisis.

He's not pardoning anyone who has dirt on him; pardoned people can't take the 5th to dodge out of testifying. Also, he doesn't extend himself for people who aren't useful to him; he won't pardon anyone he thinks is a "loser."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:06 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Charles Pierce: Robert Mueller Needs to Draw a Straight, Bright Line. Otherwise, Republicans can wiggle out of another scandal on the basis it's too complicated.
Mueller has the capacity to excise a good deal of the damage done by the prion disease carried into the body politic by this small universe of crackpots without whom modern conservatism—and the Republican Party—would have very little life force at all. But I'd like him to do it in as clear and direct a way as possible. As interesting as side-trips down the multifarious tributaries of the conservative River Styx might be, the initial response to every major political scandal of my lifetime, at least from the Republican side, has been that the scandal was too complicated for us ordinary unfrozen caveman citizens to understand. This generally prefaced the argument that some entity called The American People is too tender and delicate a flower to be troubled by how demonstrably crooked their leaders are.

The Republicans tried this on Watergate, and the only reasons they didn't succeed were John Dean's memory and the White House tapes. They had much better luck with Iran-Contra, arguably a more serious set of crimes, because of all the foreigners involved in the scandal, and all the money and weapons laundering involved in the scandal, and because their stonewalling tactics had improved over the intervening years. They also had a future president—Poppy Bush—to protect, so they were not inclined to toss the rapidly failing Ronald Reagan overboard.

So, inevitably, This Is All Too Complicated led to This Has Gone On Too Long, which led to The American People Need Closure. The Watergate cover-up, thank God, failed between steps two and three. Iran-Contra succeeded because people were not inclined to learn who the Sultan of Brunei was, nor did they care to learn the difference between Manucher Ghorbanifar and a hole in the ground.
Trump Can't Control the Process Anymore. It's Unraveling on Him. Michael Cohen's latest plea is a sign Robert Mueller is turning the screw.
See? This is what I'm talking about. A nice, straight, bright line, beginning in one place and ending in another, easily seen through the foul murk of the president*'s public career.
posted by homunculus at 12:09 PM on November 29 [35 favorites]


It would be worth prosecuting to the full extent of the law just to let future grifters know that "get away with it if you can dodge long enough" is not one of the long-term options, and besides, we're supposed to prosecute people who commit crimes.

Depends what kind of President we elect in 2020. Obama chose not to prosecute anyone over his predecessor's torture program in the interest of, well, not being accused of prosecuting his political enemies. If President Warren wins and immediately is seen to be prosecuting DJT (even if it's coming out of Mueller or elsewhere in the DoJ) it will be a political reckoning that could distract from her policy goals.

That said we should still do it.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:11 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]


New President needs to announce, "I'm appointing an Attorney General who's smart, skilled, and dedicated to justice. I don't tell them who or what to investigate or prosecute; that's not my job. I tell them, go enforce the law as best serves the American people."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:15 PM on November 29 [12 favorites]


Special counsel Robert Mueller appears to be deploying an uncommon legal tool to shine a light on information around Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

As The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant has pointed out, Mueller appears to have used "speaking indictments," or indictments that provide more details on a case than are required by law, in his handling of the investigation.


Mueller is a ninja warrior.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:16 PM on November 29 [10 favorites]


I'd like to see a double whammy: Trump gets impeached and removed from office, then prosecuted and jailed for his crimes. It wouldn't be double jeopardy because according to Article 1, Section 3, "...the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment."

Which is what should have happened to Nixon. Ford pardoned him instead and every Republican president since has been a criminal and/or traitor.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:16 PM on November 29 [38 favorites]


pardoned people can't take the 5th to dodge out of testifying

No, but they could just refuse to answer questions, get held in contempt, and then be pardoned for that. It's quite possible (though I'm not sure entirely certain) that the President can just pardon criminal or civil contempt.

However it turns out that Congress can hold someone in contempt and have them arrested and held in the Capitol cells, which is not a criminal procedure at all. Literally, the House can send its sergeant at arms to arrest someone and haul them into a cell in the Capitol, and has done so before. It would be an incredible showdown, but they could do it, and clap Trump Jr in irons- I don't think he could be pardoned out of that, but who knows.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:16 PM on November 29 [14 favorites]


Mueller is a ninja warrior.

Close: he's a Marine.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:17 PM on November 29 [28 favorites]


If President Warren wins and immediately is seen to be prosecuting DJT (even if it's coming out of Mueller or elsewhere in the DoJ) it will be a political reckoning that could distract from her policy goals.

That said we should still do it.


Counterpoint: Burning the Republican Party to the ground is the most important policy goal anyone on this side of the line can have. Without that, all other victories are built on a foundation of sand, as you can see by looking at the Obama administration's climate-change policies.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:18 PM on November 29 [46 favorites]


Counterpoint: Burning the Republican Party to the ground is the most important policy goal anyone on this side of the line can have. Without that, all other victories are built on a foundation of sand, as you can see by looking at the Obama administration's climate-change policies.

so much this. I don't want to see a president pence. I wanna see Donald trump twist agonizingly in the wind for two more years along with all of his cronies while the republican party crashes and burns.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:23 PM on November 29 [21 favorites]


it will be a political reckoning that could distract from her policy goals.

Not if her policy goals include excising systemic corruption. Going after bribery, self-enrichment, and fraud agnostically would likely cripple the Republicans and most of their backers (and hit a few Dems/backers that need to be in jail too).
posted by benzenedream at 12:25 PM on November 29 [25 favorites]


@NihadAwad Breaking news
DC commission just passed resolution 6:0 to designate the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi way.

I testified before the commission and urged them to adopt it.
Thank you for good words @mdedora

#JusticeForJamal
#JamalKhashoggi
@KarenAttiah
posted by scalefree at 12:30 PM on November 29 [120 favorites]


@PressSec To be clear - the meetings with S. Korea and Turkey are still on the schedule and have not been canceled.
posted by scalefree at 12:33 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


But regardless of all that, my question was about what happens after all the reports are issued.

My somewhat cynical baseline is: nothing. Maybe some more subordinates get indicted and/or convicted, probably Don Jr. gets a pardon, massive protests follow but ultimately the problem is solved at the ballot box in 2020 (this assumes that that election continues the blue wave trend beyond the ability of the GOP to cheat it's way out of it).

But that depends on how far the rot has spread.

I think that the publically available evidence suggests that the NRA, most of the GOP (both it's officials and it's politicians), along with the Trump org and nearly everyone in it have been laundering money for Russian oligarchs for years. Some of it is getting funnelled into campaigns and PACs in addition to everyone's cut at what goes back to those oligarchs. If so then I think Mueller might end up indicting a bunch of senators and congresspersons along with everyone else. If that fantasy scenario comes to pass then I don't really know what happens but I think it's the best outcome with can hope for. I know that there is some thought that a sitting president cannot be indicted but nothing like that applies to Senators right? If Mueller has the evidence to indict a sitting Senator, can he just do it? Or if Mueller needs approval from Whitaker can NYS arrest a sitting Senator?

Maybe all those vacant seats and the few GOP pols that somehow kept their hands clean change the political landscape enough that they impeach Trump, maybe we have to wait for a bunch of special elections to see how things shake out.

Another possible scenario is that Trumps crimes are so obvious and egregious and the evidence so clear that even if no GOP Senators are involved enough of them find their spines (or their donors force them to find it) that they turn on Trump and support impeachment or reach an agreement where Trump resigns Nixon style. I don't see that as likely given what they've ignore thus far but my feeling has been that at the least they've been using the ongoing Mueller investigation as a fig leaf for why they haven't done anything. That's probably because they'll just find the next fig leaf regardless of what Mueller's investigation uncovers but maybe they've just been using the investigation as an excuse to delay what they feel is an inevitable vote to impeach.

In any case, I think it pretty much hangs on what happens in the Senate.
posted by VTX at 12:38 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]




Nutty Waffle Cohen, please
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:52 PM on November 29 [28 favorites]


runcibleshaw: I have wanted to do postcards for voters for a while now, since I have some artistic skill and have been practicing my calligraphy. But, I don't understand exactly what I'm supposed to write and the whole thing kind of intimidates me.

They really make it quite easy. They give you VERY explicit instructions (seriously, they're some of the clearest directions I've ever seen). There are a few things you MUST include on every postcard ("The election is on x date." "This candidate is your Democratic Dream Date." or whatever) plus optional talking points you can add in if you want.

They have a pretty great FAQ that probably answers other questions you may have.

(Just as a note, lots of us use pre-printed postcards, so your artistic skill and calligraphy are wonderful, but not required for less-artistic folks.)

Once you get started, it's easy to jump in again when there's a new campaign you want to help with. The folks there are very friendly and helpful (and probably less overwhelmed than they were a month ago). Give it a try and see how easy it is!
posted by kristi at 12:53 PM on November 29 [9 favorites]


@NihadAwad Breaking news
DC commission just passed resolution 6:0 to designate the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi way.


Every Trump property should be on Jamal Kashoggi Square.
posted by ocschwar at 12:54 PM on November 29 [18 favorites]


I was a youth during the Nixon presidency. I recall the taint of the label "Unindicted Co-conspirator", as it was applied to him. At the time, his part in the criminal enterprise that was his presidency was insufficient to get him charges. The label, however, was a blight on his presidency, and he lost influence and prestige.

I look forward to His Trumpness getting painted with the same sort of brush. It will just drive him mad, won't it?
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:54 PM on November 29 [6 favorites]


Harry Litman / WaPo: Agreement between Manafort and Trump attorneys to share info may have doomed president: Next in the hot seat - Manafort counsel Kevin Downing
posted by growabrain at 12:59 PM on November 29 [11 favorites]


Harry Litman / WaPo: Agreement between Manafort and Trump attorneys to share info may have doomed president

A humble request to include the actual headlines of articles to avoid confusion (here, 'The stunning implications of the Manafort-Trump pipeline') -- and, aside from that, Litman's conclusion is the exact opposite of 'doomed.' He suggests that the joint defense agreement was improper and 'may' have been criminal - 'On Manafort and Downing’s end, there is a circumstantial case for obstruction of justice.' Litman argues that it was a risky, high-stakes play, yes; and a possibly illegal one; but
Proving those charges would require a fight. The lawyers would be expected to assert privilege, and cries of overreach would sound from the White House and pro-Trump journalists. Whitaker could impede or countermand the effort.
That's not 'doomed,' that's 'there's the possibility that this could lead to charges and might eventually lead to convictions but it would be a long and drawn-out fight at best.' Or, to use Litman's own words, "It is intolerable to consider that the truth of these consequential matters [might] be smothered and kept from the American people indefinitely."

It's still a good op-ed! The core is really this:
Defendants are entitled to enter into privileged conversations with their own lawyers, and the government cannot force the attorney to reveal them. This is entirely proper and part of the constitutional guarantee of effective assistance of counsel. A corollary to this principle permits co-defendants and potential defendants to share certain information — essentially the same information that would be shielded by the attorney-client privilege for either of them — on the grounds that they have a “common interest.” This interest is generally set out in a joint defense agreement, or JDA, which confirms the umbrella of covered discussions.

Crucially, however, the JDA can operate only among parties who , in fact, have a common interest. A defendant cannot simply pick and choose people he wants to talk to and thereafter claim that a conversation is privileged. And when Manafort entered into the cooperation agreement with the government, he ceased to have a common interest with other defendants, including the president, as a matter of law.
I'm not trying to downplay the implications of that argument; but we shouldn't play them up, either.
posted by cjelli at 1:11 PM on November 29 [17 favorites]


Boy, that Epstein article shot by quick, eh?
posted by petebest at 1:12 PM on November 29 [34 favorites]


Mueller has the capacity to excise a good deal of the damage done by the prion disease carried into the body politic by this small universe of crackpots without whom modern conservatism—and the Republican Party—would have very little life force at all.

I have mixed feelings about the prion disease metaphor. When I think about prion disease, the first thing I think of is UNIFORMLY AND RAPIDLY FATAL. I wish that this disease was going to be uniformly and rapidly fatal for the above-mentioned body politic but I'm not that optimistic.

Also when I think of prions I think of thorough, harsh, no-holds-barred decontamination. Again, one can dream, but I think that's a bit optimistic to hope for.

Counterpoint: Burning the Republican Party to the ground . . .

counterpoint PUT THEM IN THE FUCKING AUTOCLAVE
posted by robotdevil at 1:15 PM on November 29 [12 favorites]


@johnnyers: BREAKING: California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman has resigned in the wake of serious allegations of misconduct.

Good.
posted by zachlipton at 1:17 PM on November 29 [41 favorites]


What we next is a cross-reference of Cohen's testimony and Donald Jr's to see where the lies match up.

Senate Committees Scouring Testimony For Misleading Statements In Russia Probe—"This is a reason people shouldn't lie when they're in front of a congressional investigation," said GOP senator Richard Burr.

"Senate committees investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 election are combing through witness testimony for possible misleading or untruthful statements, according to three people familiar with the effort. [...] The special counsel does have access to a select number of transcripts from witness interviews conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee, though [Sen. John] Warner would not specify which ones or how many. Mueller's office reviewed the transcript of Cohen's testimony with the consent of Cohen's lawyer, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee official familiar with the process."

On the GOP side, Republican senators are trying to shrug off today's news, CNN's Manu Raju reports: "Asked Lindsey Graham about Cohen news, and he called it a “process crime.” Most Republicans downplaying the news, saying they haven’t followed it or saying it’s all about Cohen lying to Congress, while dismissing Trump’s knowledge of Trump Tower Moscow project"

Marcy Wheeler suggests there's more at work than Mueller simply filing a "process crime" at this stage:
As @Popehat has laid out, today's plea deal was legally superfluous (bc Mueller could have just laid out his cooperation in next week's sentencing), but critical for public story telling.

BUT

But it may serve another purpose: Whitaker did not veto a plea that names Trump & Putin as co-conspirators in close proximity in the criminal information.

That is, he has ALREADY signed off on a more inflammatory charge than Rosenstein has yet done. The first real collusion one. {Pic}

From a regulation stand point, there was NO WAY Whitaker could have vetoed this. Cohen has already pled, it's just a "process crime" (says Lindsey). Cohen still faces a longer sentence on his money laundering crimes than the perjury charge would ever amount to.
We've reached a turning point when "Individual 1" and "the President of Russia" now appear in the same legal filing. We've already learned how Jay Sekulow complained on behalf of his boss to the DoJ about Mueller even mentioning Trump by name in the Corsi plea draft, so imagine how he'll take it when he's officially linked to Putin in the paperwork.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:18 PM on November 29 [19 favorites]


Hilariously, they're now telling the NYT's Haberman and Schmidt that Trump’s Recall of Moscow Deal Matches Cohen’s

BBC reporter just now had an excellent point. The White House is saying that Trump's testimony matches Cohen's. But they also say that Cohen is lying.


What are the things both of them are lying about under oath, then?
posted by msalt at 1:19 PM on November 29 [47 favorites]


Knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting, I thought.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 1:43 PM on November 29


Bloomberg, Billy House (America's best named Congressional reporter), ‘Investigations – My Plan to Counter’: A Trump Ally's Secret Plan to Fight House Democrats
"Investigations -- My Plan to Counter" is one of the featured topics contained in a 28-page document prepared by Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, each page bearing a "confidential" watermark.
...
The document lists three areas Meadows plans to attack Democrats’ moves on subpoenas and investigations:

Describe the Democrats’ subpoenas as unreasonable, overly broad, onerous and designed to embarrass Trump. The document calls for “encouraging less-severe means of conducting investigations, like briefings, bipartisan letters, etc.”
Argue that Democrats’ investigations raise concern over separation of powers. He wrote that he’d assert that “the Democrats are interfering too much with presidential duties and have encroached too far on the fundamental powers of the executive branch.”
Create a GOP task force. Meadows said the expected overlap of Oversight, Judiciary and Intelligence Committee investigations by Democrats calls out for an informal Republican task force made up of members of those panels and party leaders, "for purposes of information sharing and strategy."
...
The document lists "anticipated Democratic activity," derived from what it says is a list kept by Meadows’s office of the 64 subpoena requests denied to Democrats during GOP control. The list includes: Democratic efforts to obtain administration documents the separation of migrant children from their undocumented parents at the Mexican border; the White House withholding documents on personal email used by top aides; and alleged conflicts of interest by Trump family members.

The Meadows document also argues that the committee’s minority staff structure needs to be changed to better engage in battle. It emphasizes the need to add more lawyers -- to go beyond one minority general counsel -- and instead "create a General Counsel’s office to ensure we are best suited to take on the volume and nature of the challenges Democrats will present."
I feel like there should be something more substantive to say about this, but I can't get over how much "Investigations -- My Plan to Counter" sounds like the title of a 4th grader's school project.
posted by zachlipton at 1:47 PM on November 29 [48 favorites]


I can't get over how much "Investigations -- My Plan to Counter" sounds like the title of a 4th grader's school project.

To me it reads more like an automatically translated movie or novel title. Maybe in the original Conservative it made a bit of sense.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:49 PM on November 29 [20 favorites]


Or the original Russian, perhaps.

I don't want to be all "surely this" but ..... surely this ..... peek into the Mueller strategy is heartening news.
posted by Rumple at 1:57 PM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Greg Sargent, Trump talked up Russia during now-revealed secret Moscow project talks. Sargent compiles some clips of what Trump was saying about Russia during the time he was running for President and simultaneously trying to secretly (to the extent his lawyer committed a crime trying to cover it up) do business in Russia:
In January 2016, Trump tried to absolve Putin of blame after a British inquiry found that Putin had probably ordered the 2006 poisoning of a Russian dissident. “I don’t think they’ve found him guilty,” Trump said, adding that “he hasn’t been convicted of anything,” as well as “he says he didn’t do it” and “who knows who did it.”
In February 2016, Trump said it would be “good if we actually got along” with Russia, adding: “I think I’d have a good relationship with Putin.”
In April 2016, Trump said that Putin had been “very nice to me,” adding that if we can “get along with Russia, that would be a tremendous thing. I would love to try it.”
Also in April 2016, Trump said: “We’re going to have a great relationship with Putin and Russia.”
In May 2016, Trump said that Russia wants “to be friendly with the United States. Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got with somebody?”
Trump also repeatedly praised Putin throughout 2015, during the earlier period of negotiations over the project (which we now know continued deep into 2016).
Trump's defense of Putin about Litvinenko came less than a week after Cohen had his call requesting help from the Russian government.

Because David French—don't say it—fine—*through gritted teeth* makes a good point *turns three times and spits*: "Let's just be clear -- there is now evidence that Trump was pursuing a substantial personal business relationship with our chief geopolitical foe long after he wrapped up the GOP nomination. Regardless of the legality of his actions, this is not acceptable."

I do think Democrats need to figure out how to have that conversation and how to message this now. This is not a "let's figure out who broke the law" situation, because there are things that are unequivocally wrong regardless of their legality, and selling out US foreign policy for cash is surely one of them. We need to figure out how to shout that from the rooftops.

WaPo, ‘We will be in Moscow’: The story of Trump’s 30-year quest to expand his brand to Russia has a good history of Trump's repeated efforts to do business in Russia.

Also, please enjoy this WSJ correction: "Vladimir Putin is president of Russia. An editing mistake erroneously identified him as Vladimir Trump in an earlier version of this article"
posted by zachlipton at 2:02 PM on November 29 [68 favorites]


So now when he executes this....uh, "strategy" is I guess a word that could apply, broadly speaking...Democrats can hold up a copy of the document and point out that he's just reading off a script he wrote before the new Congress even started. That sounds fun.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:02 PM on November 29 [10 favorites]


@bradheath: Former FBI Director James Comey has asked a federal court to quash a House subpoena that would force him to sit for a closed-door deposition. (He has said he would testify publicly.) Comey says he doesn't have a security clearance and was "read out" of the programs the House might want to ask him about. The House Oversight Committee proposed to give him a temporary clearance. Comey says he wants a court to quash the House subpoena to prevent lawmakers "from using the pretext of a closed interview to peddle a distorted, partisan political narrative about the Clinton and Russia investigations through selective leaks."

Here's the brief, which seeks to quash the subpoena entirely, though he's said he wants to testify publicly.
posted by zachlipton at 2:06 PM on November 29 [13 favorites]


how to message this now

I think Evan McMullin did a pretty pithy job: (Facebook link)
Today, we learned that while the Kremlin was in the middle of a major information warfare attack on America in support of Donald Trump’s 2016 candidacy, he was trying to line his pockets in Moscow. This is precisely the type of corruption and betrayal of which the Founders warned and a clear threat to the nation. No matter who we supported in 2016, now is a time for us to come together in the defense of our sovereignty and government that is accountable to us, not foreign tyrants.
posted by OnceUponATime at 2:07 PM on November 29 [56 favorites]


Woah! Scott to oppose Farr nomination to federal bench in NC, ending chances of confirmation
Sen. TIm Scott said Thursday he will oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to the federal bench, assuring the controversial pick will not be confirmed.

The South Carolina Republican was the deciding vote in determining whether Farr, widely accused of efforts to disenfranchise black voters, would be confirmed.
...
“I am ready and willing to support strong candidates for our judicial vacancies that do not have lingering concerns about issues that could affect their decision-making process as a federal judge,” Scott said in his statement. “This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities. This, in turn, created more concerns. Weighing these important factors, this afternoon I concluded that I could not support Mr. Farr’s nomination.”
...
On Wednesday, Scott was signaling an openness to vote for Farr, but told reporters on Capitol Hill he was bothered that his party was “not doing a very good job of avoiding the obvious potholes on race in America and we ought to be more sensitive when it comes to those issues.

“There are a lot of of folks that can be judges, in states including North Carolina, besides Tom Farr,” Scott added.
posted by zachlipton at 2:09 PM on November 29 [67 favorites]


each page bearing a "confidential" watermark.

Oh

Oh I needed this today
posted by schadenfrau at 2:12 PM on November 29 [12 favorites]


It emphasizes the need to add more lawyers -- to go beyond one minority general counsel -- and instead "create a General Counsel’s office to ensure we are best suited to take on the volume and nature of the challenges Democrats will present."

This sounds as though Meadows is tacitly admitting that Trump White House's understaffed Office of Legal Counsel will not be up to the job of dealing with the incoming Democrats' legal requests and/or subpoenas.

Incoming White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, is expected to report to work at the White House sometime next week, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN, i.e. not until December. This means that his two dozen new hires probably won't be starting until sometime January (even if Emmet Flood has been trying to accelerate the process in his absence). Cipollone's delay was due to "a combination of unwinding business from legal clients and a lengthy background check", according to CNN's sources, and one can't imagine his subordinates having a similarly difficult time of it.

Still, one has to credit Meadows for understanding the House GOP needs a wartime consiglieri. It would have been nice if Adam Schiff had realized this himself instead of expressing surprise and disappointment with his HPSCI colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:13 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]


Gee, if Trump is so totally innocent I wonder why Billy House thinks that blocking investigations is important?

More seriously: we need to make broad, sweeping, anti-corruption investigations the new normal including (and perhaps especially) into members of our own Party. Let justice be done lest the heavens fall.

And we need massive new anti-corruption laws passed on the federal level that apply to all elected officials nationwide. The idea that it is possible for a politician to do business while being a politician needs to end. Politics or business, pick one. You can't do both.

Looking at how terrified the Republicans, and how reluctant many of the Democrats, are I'm confident that a **LOT** of politicians are deeply involved in corruption and enriching themselves at taxpayer expense.

We need to completely ban politicians owning businesses, getting involved in real estate speculation, or anything else along those lines. No business dealings, period. If they have money and want to do more with it than stick it in a savings account they can buy US Savings Bonds. I don't think we should even allow theoretically blind investment in mutual funds because I can just bet there's some way for a sufficiently devoted person to game that.

Even candidates should be prohibited from being in business, the instant a person declares they want to run for office they should be forced to liquidate all their business holdings and pick a savings account or Savings Bonds.

The whole situation with business is too complicated, has too many opportunities for cheating, and we'd drive ourselves nuts trying to pass little laws covering every contingency if we took a less sweeping approach, so screw it. Total separation of politicians from business.

As a bonus, it'd keep every Zuckerburg, Trump, and Bezos away from politics because they'd never become a candidate if they had to liquidate to do it.
posted by sotonohito at 2:15 PM on November 29 [26 favorites]


Chicago, for example, has for far too long been a millstone the Republicans hang around the necks of Democrats. "Look, those Democrats are corrupt too, look at Chicago, see, see?"

So solve it in one single, simple, sure to be widely hated, step: ban politicians from being involved in business at all. No politicians, or politicians spouses, in business? No corruption problems.

Make minimum wage for any elected official $100,000 a year, and give any politician making more than that a 30% raise so they can't claim that being denied business will impoverish them.
posted by sotonohito at 2:18 PM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Make minimum wage for any elected official $100,000 a year,

As a recently re-elected (and unpaid) Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor, I approve this message.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:22 PM on November 29 [90 favorites]


Make minimum wage for any elected official $100,000 a year

... I don't think city council is gonna vote for that big a raise, but if they did, I'd quit my day job and help the public works staff with sidewalk maintenance during my down time as planning commissioner. (This year I'll have earned $200.)
posted by asperity at 2:23 PM on November 29 [6 favorites]


the instant a person declares they want to run for office they should be forced to liquidate all their business holdings

Nah, they don't have to liquidate until after the primaries.

More seriously, though - I'm not sure if I want to discourage someone who has a home business from running for school board. Divesting candidates of business holdings seems extreme, especially since a great many small/local political jobs pay basically nothing. "Business holdings" includes copyrights and publishing contracts, for authors, and while I'd look askance at someone like Steven King running for office and getting a huge bump in book sales because of it, I don't want everyone who's got a couple of self-published sci-fi short stories on Amazon to have to lose that in order to get involved in their local elections board.

I'm not sure how to describe a rule that would allow people to have a job to return to, and prevent the grifting that's being done by rich white Republicans.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:23 PM on November 29 [10 favorites]


Craig Unger, author of "House of Trump, House of Putin" just did a AMA.
His takeaway: 'Most of the GOP leadership has been compromised’ by Russian money.
I hope that after Trump is being taken away for treason, the clean up will include his co-conspirators
posted by growabrain at 2:26 PM on November 29 [29 favorites]


There's now an FPP on Jeffrey Epstein's 2007 plea deal, courtesy of Mr. Know-it-some.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:27 PM on November 29 [17 favorites]




And we need massive new anti-corruption laws passed on the federal level that apply to all elected officials nationwide

I think more is needed. I've been thinking that we are (at least) in the midst of an internet-driven global business coup against the people. Multinational companies are shaping the laws and policies, wherever the sun touches them, to provide continuing benefits, financial leeway, and power over those laws and policies. The people who don't control these companies are the enemy, and while income disparity gets larger and larger, the role of business in manufacturing corrupt governments gets stronger and stronger. An empty bag cannot make campaign contributions.

This is being done in concert with leaders of compromised nations, where corruption leaves an open door for deeper integration between the business world and the political one that has capabilities to shape and possibly limit their behavior. Business involvement in the legislative process is designed to remove personal responsibility from the leaders who allow it so that they can say "it's just the way things work."
posted by rhizome at 2:31 PM on November 29 [8 favorites]


Craig Unger, author of "House of Trump, House of Putin" just did a AMA.
His takeaway: 'Most of the GOP leadership has been compromised’ by Russian money.
I hope that after Trump is being taken away for treason, the clean up will include his co-conspirators


That's the assumption I'm going on. Remember that quaint little (probably Russian funded) PAC in Annapolis that got raided? We haven't heard anything about it in a long time, but I suspect it will be back in the news soon. Also, no doubt that PAC or others also gave to Democrats too, to muddy the water. But I agree, sweep them all away to jail.
posted by M-x shell at 2:33 PM on November 29 [8 favorites]


MSNBC reports Rosenstein is still in charge of the Mueller investigation, not Whitaker. Preet Bharara noted earlier that someone had to sign off on today’s plea agreement.
posted by lowest east side at 2:37 PM on November 29 [10 favorites]


From the New Yorker Swamp Chronicles: Michael Cohen raises serious questions about Donald Trump and his business interests.
posted by adamvasco at 2:42 PM on November 29


MSNBC reports Rosenstein is still in charge of the Mueller investigation, not Whitaker.

This doesn't jibe the Washington Post's reporting: "Justice Department policies and special counsel regulations call for the attorney general to be notified of significant events in such investigations, and a person familiar with the case said Whitaker was notified ahead of time about Cohen’s plea."

MSNBC's Ari Melber passes along his colleague's reporting on Whitaker vs. Rosenstein and the Mueller probe:
NEW: @NicolleDWallace reports AG Rod Rosenstein appears to be still overseeing Mueller probe...

"I'm told that Matt Whitaker as of this moment has not involved himself yet in any of the machinations of the Special Counsel Probe"[...]

"The charge brought against Michael Cohen today" has "Special Counsel Mueller's signature on it, that went through the same office that all of the indictments" have gone through, "that's the Deputy AG's office" - @NicolleDWallace
Former Obama DOJ official Eric Columbus suggests an explanation: "The DAG oversees everyone in DOJ except the AG. Rosenstein overseeing Mueller isn’t inconsistent with Whitaker having ultimate oversight."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:53 PM on November 29 [9 favorites]


Note to Trump: The Mueller Probe Costs Roughly $0.00 – Not $40 Million
As of September, the fiscal cost of the Mueller investigation was roughly $0.00. By that point, the probe had spent roughly $26 million. But, by striking a plea agreement with Paul Manafort for his myriad white-collar crimes — an agreement that required Trump’s former campaign manager to forfeit five multi-million-dollar properties, a life-insurance policy, and the contents of multiple bank accounts — Mueller’s investigation had acquired somewhere between $26 million and $42 million worth of revenue for the federal treasury.

The Mueller probe’s (apparent) profitability is indicative of more than just Donald Trump’s mendacity: It also reflects the fact that there are few forms of law enforcement more cost-efficient than cracking down on super-rich tax cheats and money launderers. And yet, for some strange reason, the federal law enforcement has not made punishing the financial malfeasance of the super-rich a top-tier priority.
posted by homunculus at 2:53 PM on November 29 [89 favorites]


No politicians, or politicians spouses, in business? No corruption problems.

I get the impulse, but

1. No, not really. We still have Citizens United to contend with.

and

2. There’s literally no way to enforce this, ever. How long do you plan to ban them from business? Is it forever? No? Ways around it. Forever? Still ways around it. All of which would make the politicians more dependent on the criminal elements helping them do these things. It would backfire.

There isn’t an inherent problem with our current approach that doesn’t also exist for all other explicitly elucidated regulatory approaches; they all depend on consistent, rigorous, and principled enforcement.

That’s what we’re missing. The will to fund and enable a true enforcement apparatus, and the culture to care about that.

I think the culture is coming around. What we need to do is seriously, seriously go back to enforcing the laws we already have. It’s not the law’s fault, in the end. It’s just words on a paper. It’s only got force if we give it one.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:56 PM on November 29 [14 favorites]


"costing more than $40,000,000..." of Trump's money, profits lost from his Griftomancy...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:57 PM on November 29 [6 favorites]


Any chance anybody has a spare even to can't for this story? BuzzFeed, Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold, The Trump Organization Planned To Give Vladimir Putin The $50 Million Penthouse In Trump Tower Moscow
President Donald Trump’s company planned to give a $50 million penthouse at Trump Tower Moscow to Russian President Vladimir Putin as the company negotiated the luxury real estate development during the 2016 campaign, according to four people, one of them the originator of the plan.

Two US law enforcement officials told BuzzFeed News that Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer at the time, discussed the idea with a representative of Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary.
...
The two men worked furiously behind the scenes into the summer of 2016 to get the Moscow deal finished – despite public claims that the development was canned in January, before Trump won the Republican nomination. Sater told BuzzFeed News today that he and Cohen thought giving the Trump Tower’s most luxurious apartment, a $50 million penthouse, to Putin would entice other wealthy buyers to purchase their own. “In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin,” Sater told BuzzFeed News. “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin.” A second source confirmed the plan.
posted by zachlipton at 3:00 PM on November 29 [42 favorites]


1. No, not really. We still have Citizens United to contend with.

Yeah. The issue is "Money is not speech" AND "If you don't have a vote, you should not have a voice in elections."
posted by mikelieman at 3:00 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]


Fox News Isn't A Normal Media Company. We Have To Stop Treating It Like One.

To follow that, from WaPo's media columnist Margaret Sullivan, When Fox News staffers break ethics rules, discipline follows — or does it? [no, it does not]
The Trump administration and Fox News are so deeply intertwined that it’s hard to know where one ends and the other begins. At a Missouri rally early this month, the jubilant high-five between Hannity and his former Fox boss Bill Shine, now White House communications czar, said it all: Go, team!
From Vox, Fox News keeps breaking its own rules:
That kind of explicit political intervention, which Fox News executives have allowed to go on for months without consequences, means Fox isn’t just a right-wing news network anymore. It’s evolving into a massive, highly influential get-out-the-vote operation, one that’s going to play a growing role in Republican politics for years to come.
Also, Data Shows Tucker Carlson Is The Daily Stormer’s Favorite Pundit (BuzzFeed), which is might have something to do with how Fox News' Tucker Carlson echoes white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis (Media Matters).
posted by peeedro at 3:02 PM on November 29 [26 favorites]


That's the assumption I'm going on. Remember that quaint little (probably Russian funded) PAC in Annapolis that got raided?

Never mind quaint little PACs, the NRA is swimming in rubles.
posted by PenDevil at 3:03 PM on November 29 [8 favorites]


“Maybe we don’t need Oprah,” she continued.

Here's what happened in Illinois. We had Rauner for governor. He was, if anything, worse than Trump, stubbornly refusing to sign any budget plan as Illinois slowly accrued over 1 billion dollars in penalties. It's like he burned the money.

When it came time to select a candidate, the Democratic Party chose Pritzker, a candidate with absolutely zero experience, and less charisma than a ham sandwich. His only experience doing anything politically was making a multi-million dollar donation to a breakfast for children's charity. That is the sum total of anything worthwhile he has done ever as a human being.

Why choose Pritzker as your candidate? Why not choose, say, Daniel Biss with six years experience as an Illinois Senator who had a detailed and progressive plan for the state? Because... we had to ensure a win. Only someone as rich as Rauner could ensure a win.

Needing to ensure the win was nonsense. Anyone. Anyone could have beaten Rauner. The ham sandwich would have beaten Rauner. In the meantime, it's come out that Pritzker is a major tax cheat. Voting for him was an easy choice, but it still made me sick to my stomach.

We have a very good chance of beating Trump. No, I don't believe in sure things, but no one should be talking about the need to run some mealy mouthed millionaire celebrity candidate to win. Don't talk yourself into needing to run Pritzker against Rauner. 2020 will probably be our best shot to have the best possible candidate win.
posted by xammerboy at 3:35 PM on November 29 [35 favorites]




TPM: WaPo Explains How Kavanaugh Basketball Coaching Story Was Labeled ‘Public Safety.’ "The Washington Post on Wednesday said an article on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s little league basketball coaching career was inadvertently published in the paper’s 'Public Safety' section."

Wonkette: Brett Kavanaugh Back To Boofing With Little Girls Or Whatever
posted by homunculus at 3:53 PM on November 29 [16 favorites]


zachliption: Any chance anybody has a spare even to can't for this story? BuzzFeed, Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold, The Trump Organization Planned To Give Vladimir Putin The $50 Million Penthouse In Trump Tower Moscow

Reaching into my depth for a reaction and the best I can manage is that of Leela from Futurama: "Oh Lord."

But one question all of this raises is: Exactly how did the Trump Organization and the Russian plutocrats intend to complete and unveil a building whose very development they'd all been publicly claiming had ceased? Like, what could the endgame have been? It's one thing to commit big stupid crimes and assume you won't get caught. But after there's a giant structure named after the man himself, how could they expect to wriggle out from the lies-to-congress and so forth?

Even at the level of appealing to the political base, I can't conceive how they explain themselves: "In the end, we didn't build a border wall... but look, a tall tower with my name on it in a country none of you will ever visit!"
posted by InTheYear2017 at 3:55 PM on November 29 [4 favorites]


@drvox:
There's an extremely important climate-policy story going on in the Senate right now & it's not getting enough attention. Everyone's focused on the House & the Green New Deal, but the Senate is where dreams go to die, especially if this goes the wrong way. Long story short: it looks like Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) may become the ranking member of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee. If that happens, he'd become chair of the cmte when/if Dems take the Senate in 2020. That would be a DISASTER for climate policy.

I can't think of a single thing Senate Dems could do more likely to crush the bright new climate ambition in the House than having Manchin as chair of ENR. ENR is likely where climate legislation will happen in the Senate & the chair is the one who writes legislation. Manchin, you will recall, literally shot the last climate bill that came out of the House -- and that bill was a fraction as ambitious as what climate activists want out of the House today. He is the single worst Senate Dem on this issue.

What's going on? Well, Senate cmte appointments generally run on seniority. The gavel falls to the next most senior member (as long as they don't run another cmte -- can't run two). Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla) lost this year; he was ranking member in Commerce. So ... Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA), who is now ranking on ENR, is expected to move over & become chair of Commerce. Who will take her place? Next ranking member on ENR is Wyden (OR), but he chairs Finance & wants to keep it. After him comes a young fellow named Bernard Sanders.

Sanders has been making lots of noise about climate change lately, issuing ambitious policy ideas. He's hosting a big televised town hall about it on Monday. Taking top spot on ENR would be a way for him to really get his hands dirty & do the work. But it appears Sanders intends to keep his slot on the Budget Cmte, even if it means Manchin gets ENR. After all, ENR is a lot of work & Sanders has a presidential campaign to run. Next in line after Sanders is Debbie Stabenow (MI), but she is ranking member on Ag, which writes the Farm Bill -- a powerful spot, significant for her state. So she'll stay put. And next after her? Manchin. The guy who shoots climate bills.

It will be an utter betrayal if Senate Dems allow their most important climate-policy committee to fall into the hands of their single most climate-hostile member. I can't figure out why climate activists aren't up in arms about this. It could happen as soon as tomorrow! Cantwell could stay. Bernie could move beyond a life of campaigns & message bills & actually get some work done on climate. Schumer could bypass the seniority system & simply skip over Manchin to the next in line, Martin Heinrich (NM), who would be great. Anyone but Manchin.
...
The Democratic Party is moving left on climate change. So is the American public. Manchin is moving in the opposite direction, as his state clings desperately to coal. If Senate Dems care a shred about climate change: Anyone but Manchin.
posted by zachlipton at 4:01 PM on November 29 [74 favorites]


Hey, that was the Trump Organization, not Trump, and Trump is not organized.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:02 PM on November 29


"Why choose Pritzker as your candidate? Why not choose, say, Daniel Biss with six years experience as an Illinois Senator who had a detailed and progressive plan for the state? Because... we had to ensure a win. Only someone as rich as Rauner could ensure a win. "

Except that Pritzker has a long history of involvement with progressive politics in Illinois -- just not as an officeholder -- and Biss had a piss-poor record on pensions, especially teachers' pensions, and would NEVER be able to get teachers' union endorsements. He spent his years in the GA advocating for Illinois teachers to take big haircuts on their pensions to bail out the state -- pensions that are a contractual obligation for work the teachers ALREADY PERFORMED and that are guaranteed in the state constitution, and (as many people don't know) Illinois teachers give up their Social Security to participate in the Illinois Teachers Retirement System and are never eligible for Social Security again because Illinois guaranteed the federal government that its pension scheme for teachers would be as good as or better than social security. So EVEN IF you could manage to amend the Illinois constitution to reduce those pensions AND avoid the problem of contractual non-performance by the state, you'd be looking at either a huge fucking bill from the feds that would be bigger than the failed pension obligations AND/OR impoverishing hundreds of thousands of women who devoted their lives to teaching children. So progressive of Biss! So feminist! Such an ally of women, children, and families!

I mean, look, we're fucked on pension costs no matter what, but Biss spent his time in the GA pushing a harsh and extremely right wing set of solutions that would hit women extremely hard, and advocating for approaches that the Illinois Supreme Court has OVER AND OVER struck down as illegal or unconstitutional. With pensions as the biggest crisis in Illinois politics, Biss's progressive bona fides on other issues hardly matter when set against his ultra-right pension solutions, and politicians who KEEP PROPOSING THE SAME SHIT that's already been struck down repeatedly piss me the fuck off. It's wasting time and money we can't afford to waste.

I like Daniel Biss, but the pension crap meant he would never get my vote, or the vote of any teacher in Illinois. I wish Pritzker had elected experience, but people who are active in progressive politics in Illinois have known him for years and years. He was snapping up top-notch Democratic staffers the day he declared -- really good people who know their way around the statehouse (like chief of staff for the state treasurer kind of people), and whose willingness to work for his campaign, especially so early on, spoke really well of their belief in Pritzker's ability to learn the job.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:03 PM on November 29 [43 favorites]


Mueller both turns a profit and has great hair. He’s the Antitrump walking and trump seethes with envy at the respect he commands.

All glory to the Mueller!

But seriously, for me it's that he's a Marine. With a hard-on for JUSTICE!

And he's right where he needs to be to do the job G-d gave him. Fighting Crime -- Wherever it is.

I joke, but seriously, the marine thing "Adapt, Improvise, Overcome" makes me all sorts of enthusiastic for "Yeah, there's no actual RULE saying that a dog can't play basketball a president* can't be indicted, and him just superseding the indictments with [Individual-1] replaced with Donald J. Trump.

Indict the motherfucking co-conspirator.
posted by mikelieman at 4:12 PM on November 29 [7 favorites]


WSJ, Cohen Says Trump Stayed Involved in Moscow Tower Project During Campaign. They confirm BuzzFeed's reporting about the penthouse, but this is another useful detail; there are EmAiLs:
The government said Mr. Cohen lied in part to conceal discussions he’d had with Trump family members about the project.

Investigators obtained emails about the project from late 2015 and January 2016, according to people familiar with the matter, in which Mr. Cohen communicated with or copied Mr. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, both of whom were executives at Trump Organization. Ms. Trump recommended an architect, the people said. She left the company after the election to advise her father at the White House.
Speaking of confirming reporting, has anybody anywhere confirmed The Guardian's Manafort/Assange blockbuster? That whole story disappeared pretty quickly, and I, for one, would still like to know what happened there.
posted by zachlipton at 4:13 PM on November 29 [22 favorites]


Speaking of confirming reporting, has anybody anywhere confirmed The Guardian's Manafort/Assange blockbuster? That whole story disappeared pretty quickly, and I, for one, would still like to know what happened there.

Not that I've seen & I think I know why. It looks like the whole thing may have been a false flag operation put together by MI6. British diplomat-turned-activist Craig Murray wrote it up here: Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies. It's reasonably persuasive, though it does delve into less credible waters with an alternate narrative for the DNC hack as a side note.
posted by scalefree at 4:27 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Craig Unger, author of "House of Trump, House of Putin" just did a AMA.
His takeaway: 'Most of the GOP leadership has been compromised’ by Russian money.


Please, Please, PLEASE let McConnell be in that net.
posted by yoga at 4:34 PM on November 29 [28 favorites]


Is Craig Murray credible? Some quotes (all bolding mine):

"Now [Harding and the Guardian] follow this up with more documents aimed to provide fictitious evidence to bolster Mueller’s pathetically failed attempt to substantiate the story that Russia deprived Hillary of the Presidency."

"I knew the US security services were conducting a fake investigation the moment it became clear that the FBI did not even themselves look at the DNC servers, instead accepting a report from the Clinton linked DNC “security consultants” Crowdstrike."

"But I fear that state control of propaganda may be such that this massive “Big Lie” will come to enter public consciousness in the same way as the non-existent Russian hack of the DNC servers."

"Assange is not a whistleblower or a spy – he is the greatest publisher of his age, and has done more to bring the crimes of governments to light than the mainstream media will ever be motivated to achieve. That supposedly great newspaper titles like the Guardian, New York Times and Washington Post are involved in the spreading of lies to damage Assange, and are seeking his imprisonment for publishing state secrets, is clear evidence that the idea of the “liberal media” no longer exists in the new plutocratic age. The press are not on the side of the people, they are an instrument of elite control."
posted by reductiondesign at 4:36 PM on November 29 [11 favorites]


mr murray, this is a wendy's
posted by delfin at 4:45 PM on November 29 [78 favorites]


He is a former Ambassador, familiar with embassy routines & procedures. Manafort's absence in the logs is inexplicable otherwise & the leak is frightfully on the nose. You can discount the rest (& I do too) without calling into question his main assertion that the leak fails to account for the available evidence. Although no direct evidence is offered, MI6 is certainly a plausible candidate.
posted by scalefree at 4:45 PM on November 29


His link for "it is impossible the DNC servers were hacked" says "Freitas lays out several scenarios in which the DNC could have been hacked from the outside"

Murray doesn't seem very credible to me. He seems like he decided he loves Assange and therefore nothing that shows Assange did wrong can be correct.
posted by flaterik at 4:46 PM on November 29 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the DNC server stuff mentioned in that Craig Murray blog post is the exact same nonsense that was debunked last year. I don't know whether or not Assange and Manafort actually met, but anyone who's still trying to peddle that theory has exactly zero credibility.

(For those who don't remember: the entire theory rests on the claim that it's "effectively impossible" for data to have been downloaded from the DNC servers at a rate of ~200 megabits per second, because nobody in the world has an internet connection that fast, and therefore it must have been an inside job. Yes, they seriously claimed this with a straight face.)
posted by teraflop at 4:46 PM on November 29 [11 favorites]


Is Craig Murray credible?

That would be a "no"; he clearly has an axe to grind here. (And his bullshit about "Guardian, NYT, Washington Post going after this great and brave truth-teller, my good friend Julian"? That was after said newspapers coordinated with Wikileaks in releasing diplomatic cables, taking care that they were edited to protect confidential sources and potentially vulnerable informants; Assange didn't care if his actions got people killed and unilaterally released them unredacted.)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 4:49 PM on November 29 [11 favorites]


Some other false flags of which Murray has accused MI6: Forcing him to have sex with young girls in his office in trade for visas to the UK.
posted by sideshow at 4:53 PM on November 29 [10 favorites]


"Although no direct evidence is offered, MI6 is certainly a plausible candidate."

The other theory I've seen floated is that the Guardian story accords suspiciously well with the Ecuadoran government's desires (elected in 2017 and much less friendly to Assange), and that Ecuadoran intelligence agencies are trying to get Assange off Ecuador's plate as peacefully and quietly as possible and be done with the complications he presents to Ecuador's geopolitical goals and alliances. (Everyone's said they're just speculating, tho)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:53 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


What we next is a cross-reference of Cohen's testimony and Donald Jr's to see where the lies match up.

In the context of Cohen's claim about Trump Moscow that he
"briefed family members...within the Company about the project"
Ryan Goodman (Just Security) tweeted a portion of Don Jr's testimony to the Senate Judiciary. Here's the full transcript, with a few excepts:
Q. You mentioned a Moscow project that didn't come into — never came to fruition with Mr. Sater in 2006 I think you said? ... Was there ever another effort by Mr. Sater to bring together a development in Moscow?

A. I believe in 2015 he worked on something to that effect with Mike Cohen.

...

Q. Tell us about that. How did that — do you know anything about that deal?

A. Very little.

...

Q. Do you have any idea who was the potential counterparty on that deal?

A. I don't, no.

Q. But it was somebody connected to Felix Sater?

A. I don't know if they're connected to Felix Sater or if they knew Felix. He was involved as a broker. I don't know if he's a principal. I wasn't involved.

...

Q. It's been reported I believe on CNN that Mr. Cohen had reached out to an e-mail box at the Kremlin that was a generic mailbox for Dmitry Peskov. Were you aware of that before the public reporting?

A. No, I was not.

Q. Did you have any involvement in this potential deal in Moscow?

A. Like I said, I was peripherally aware of it, but most of my knowledge has been gained since as it relates to hearing about it over the last few weeks.

posted by pjenks at 4:53 PM on November 29 [12 favorites]


Craig Murray is still citing William Binney's belief that it's impossible the DNC servers were hacked. The guy behind that claim turned out to be a troll and Binney changed his mind, though he never retracted his actual conclusion.

I have plenty of questions about the Guardian's report, but Murray's not remotely credible. It's entirely possible that Manafort never met Assange without clinging to the idea, one based on fabricated evidence, that the DNC leak was an inside job.
posted by zachlipton at 4:54 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]



Some other false flags of which Murray has accused MI6: Forcing him to have sex with young girls in his office in trade for visas to the UK.


What. The. Fuck. So he's a sex offender who blames his offences on MI6? WOW.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:54 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]


Looking at Murray's activities as listed on Wikipedia, he seems like a Greenwald. Either a useful idiot or a willing accomplice.
posted by doornoise at 4:55 PM on November 29 [4 favorites]


> Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla) lost this year; he was ranking member in Commerce. So ... Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA), who is now ranking on ENR, is expected to move over & become chair of Commerce.

Is it plausible that Cantwell could be persuaded to stay on ENR rather than moving to Commerce? Is this a thing her constituents could be calling her about?

Like, she’s the second-best senator from Washington, but she’s also a good egg.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:56 PM on November 29 [7 favorites]


Is Craig Murray credible?

These days, not even the tiniest bit. Even anything based on what he should know from previous experience is dubious as he is working to an agenda.

He went vociferously full in on denying that Russia was responsible for the attempted Skripal assassination, his arguments becoming ever more detached from even the slightest plausible reality as reality and evidence mounted.

He's almost up to timecube on the H-R diagram of conspiracy crazy and from his actions probably a Putin asset (meaning he got leveraged skelingtons).
posted by Buntix at 4:56 PM on November 29 [10 favorites]


Murray sounds like a shit, but the lack of log entries is troubling. I remember sending up a red flag about that when I first read it lo almost half a Scaramucci ago.
posted by M-x shell at 5:01 PM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Actual headline in Jerusalem Post (via RawStory):

Russia rejects Trump's canceled meeting, Kremlin ready for contact
By REUTERS
November 29, 2018 23:48

MOSCOW - The Kremlin regrets US President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Argentina and said Moscow is ready for contact with Trump, RIA news agency cited spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Friday.

Trump on Thursday said he was canceling a planned meeting with Putin at the G20 summit, citing the crisis in Ukraine.


This is what some people might call a "plot thickener"....
posted by pjsky at 5:11 PM on November 29 [13 favorites]


What the hell??
posted by odinsdream at 5:16 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


Politico, GOP unloads on Flake. A sampler:
Hatch: Senators “irritated”
Cruz (!): “it is not productive”
Tillis: “you can’t not be frustrated”
Ah, Ted Cruz, that famously productive Senator.
posted by zachlipton at 5:16 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


The Trump Organization is now pushing out a cover story for Don Jr and Ivanka through anonymous sources to the Washington Post and Yahoo News:
The source also confirmed that both Ivanka and Don Jr. were aware of Cohen’s attempts to build in Moscow. According to the source, Ivanka’s role was limited to recommending an architect and Don Jr. was only “peripherally” aware of the plan.
I wonder if the "architect" detail is in response to the WSJ story or if the Trump Org sourced them as well. And it's funny that Jr's "peripheral" involvement is exactly how he described it to Congress.
posted by pjenks at 5:20 PM on November 29 [8 favorites]


Trump made a career of not paying his debts if he just didn't feel like it. Just apply that pattern to his dealings with Russia. He never gave Russia the relief from sanctions Putin and Co. wanted. This may be his personal definition of "no collusion".
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:22 PM on November 29 [14 favorites]


NYT, Mike McIntire, Megan Twohey and Mark Mazzetti, How a Trump Lawyer, a Felon and a Russian General Chased a Moscow Deal
To get the project off the ground, Mr. Sater dug into his address book and its more than 100 Russian contacts — including entries for President Vladimir V. Putin and a former general in Russian military intelligence. Mr. Sater tapped the general, Evgeny Shmykov, to help arrange visas for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump to visit Russia, according to emails and interviews with several people knowledgeable about the events.
...
Contacted by The Times, Mr. Shmykov declined to answer questions, but directed a reporter to photos of his time in the military, including one in which he appears with Mr. Sater, saying, “In these photographs are answers to all your questions.” Mr. Sater declined to comment.

Mr. Sater enlisted Mr. Shmykov in late 2015, when, with the United States presidential race well underway, he was making his latest push for a Trump Tower deal in Moscow. Mr. Sater had been exchanging emails and phone calls with Mr. Cohen about resurrecting plans for the tower. The two men were friends, and Mr. Sater seemed almost giddy as he explained to Mr. Cohen how he would use his connections to “get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this.”

“Buddy,” Mr. Sater wrote, “our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it.” Mr. Cohen emailed Mr. Sater in December 2015, linking to a news story about Mr. Putin praising Mr. Trump. In the email, Mr. Cohen said: “Now is the time. Call me.”

A couple of days later, according to copies of emails reviewed by The Times, Mr. Sater emailed Mr. Cohen with an urgent request. He said that he had Mr. Shmykov on the phone, and that he needed passport information for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump so they could receive visas. Mr. Sater explained that the Kremlin could not issue them for diplomatic reasons, and that they would instead come from VTB bank as part of “a business meeting not political.”
So if I have this right, Sater, who had a business card identifying himself as Trump's "senior advisor," was in contact during the campagn with a former general in Russian military intelligence who speaks only in riddles. Nothing suspicious here at all.
posted by zachlipton at 5:24 PM on November 29 [28 favorites]


Russia rejects Trump's canceled meeting, Kremlin ready for contact

Pretty sure this is a typo as the actual text says "regrets."
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:25 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]


Trump on Thursday said he was canceling a planned meeting with Putin at the G20 summit, citing the crisis in Ukraine.

It's still unclear whether Trump's other meetings, with South Korea & Turkey, are on as well. He canceled them from AF1 but Sarah Sanders has uncanceled them.
posted by scalefree at 5:27 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


King Baby has landed in Argentina
posted by fluttering hellfire at 5:28 PM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Um, wouldn't it be in the interest of a variety of intelligence agencies, supported by the Ecuadorean Embassy for reasons mentioned by Eyebrows McGee above, to allow Manafort plus "Russians" to visit Assange so their conversations could be monitored?

Another example of the conspirators thinking they were being oh-so-terribly-clever? Then this deliberately vague leak - to allow the Ecuadoreans plausible public deniability - comes out in the Guardian at this very specific time to let them know that they're even more in the shit than they imagined?
posted by doornoise at 5:28 PM on November 29 [4 favorites]




REJECTS / REGRETS ... it's a pretty great typo! Also -- I bet no one who read the headline as "Russia REJECTS Trump's canceled meeting" had a hard time believing it after all that's happened today!
posted by pjsky at 5:32 PM on November 29 [14 favorites]


Um, wouldn't it be in the interest of a variety of intelligence agencies, supported by the Ecuadorean Embassy for reasons mentioned by Eyebrows McGee above, to allow Manafort plus "Russians" to visit Assange so their conversations could be monitored?

Or, more simply -- the previous Ecuadorean administration supported Assange and let him have visitors unrecorded in log books. However, the staff knew about it, and the new, less friendly administration -- or just one disgrunteled employee -- leaked that information. I imagine the staff there is pretty tired of Assange at this point, given reports about him not cleaning up and generally being a bad roommate.
posted by msalt at 5:51 PM on November 29 [12 favorites]


Speaking of confirming reporting, has anybody anywhere confirmed The Guardian's Manafort/Assange blockbuster?

So far, I'm seeing only journalists covering the controversy without coming down either way, e.g. Vanity Fair (“It Might Be the Biggest Get This Year”: How The Guardian’s Bombshell Set Off Its Own Little Media World War) and Politico (Did Someone Plant a Story Tying Paul Manafort to Julian Assange?). It's weird to see rightwing outlets like the Washington Times and Accuracy in Media team up with Russia Today and Sputnik News, however, in attacking Luke Harding. Harding's covered Putin's Russia extensively and done solid work on the Steele Dossier and Assange/Wikileaks—and it looks like he has reliable contacts in the Ecuadorian embassy. It would be a surprise if he were snookered or slipped up on a major story like this (but it's not like 2018 has been short on unpleasant surprises).

As for Ecuador, its new president started showing signs this summer of wanting to rid his UK embassy of this "inherited problem". (Someone with Ecuadorian connections has been leaking embassy confidential info to the Guardian, too.) Recalling his pro-Assange ambassador last week may be the final straw.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:11 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


Why is it not possible for Ecuador to just literally push him out the door and let him get arrested if they don't want him there? What's the logic?
posted by odinsdream at 6:19 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


He's an Ecuadorian citizen now. They do have some responsibilities towards him.
posted by doornoise at 6:22 PM on November 29 [3 favorites]


All this Cohen / Don Jr. "Moscow Project" stuff reminds me of a conversation I was having with my brother the other day. We were commiserating about how fucked up and confusing all this is, and he said he is looking forward to reading the definitive