The Big Dick Toilet Salesman Speaks

Yesterday, Matt Whitaker got asked about the Mueller probe. After saying he wasn’t going to comment about an on-going investigation and mid some hemming and hawing, he suggested his prior comments about the Mueller investigation were wrong and then said the Mueller investigation is “close to being completed.”

You know, I’ve been fully briefed on the investigation. And I look forward to Director Mueller delivering the final report. And I’m really not going to talk about an open and on-going investigation otherwise. But, you know, sort of the statements that I’ve made were as a private citizen, only with publicly available information. Um, I am comfortable that the decisions that were made are going to be reviewed. You know, either, through the various means we have. But right now the investigation is, I think, close to being completed. And I hope that we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as we can–as soon as possible.

Ken Dilanian, who recently had a “scoop” that Mueller may submit his “report” by mid-February, tweeted the comment over and over. Devlin Barrett, who recently suggested the slapdown of the BuzzFeed story reporting that Trump “directed” Michael Cohen to lie to Congress was a complete rebuttal of that story said that, “this has been guessed at, hinted at, and suggested before, but it has not been said by any senior official before. it’s a big deal.”

Mueller is still pursuing information from the Mystery Appellant. He is still pursuing testimony from Roger Stone associate Andrew Miller. Indeed, in the wake of Stone’s indictment, Mueller told Miller’s attorney they still want that testimony to support additional charges.

A defense attorney for Andrew Miller, who’s fighting a subpoena from Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, learned Monday afternoon that the special counsel still wants witness testimony for a federal grand jury.

Paul Kamenar, the defense attorney, says the assertion from Mueller’s team made clear to him that Mueller and the Justice Department are considering an additional indictment of Roger Stone or have plans to charge others.

And, of course, FBI seized a bunch of evidence from Stone on Friday. William Barr will soon be confirmed as Attorney General, alleviating one of the only reasons (because he’s not reporting to a Senate confirmed official) why Mueller’s authority to indict people might not be sound.

I’ve been told by people who have key witnesses as sources that Mueller is close to the end of his investigation. But their reports sound nothing like what the Big Dick Toilet Salesman or reporters relying on him as a source said yesterday.

But even if Mueller is close to being done, reports from a Big Dick Toilet Salesman that this is heading towards a report should be taken as the statements of a man hired to make statements like this. The actual evidence suggests that Mueller is still pursuing damning conspiracy indictments.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

143 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Matt Whitaker spoke as if he were well out over his skis and unsure of how much sky there was between his skis and the slope. His speech was hesitant and disjointed, as if he were delivering a message point, but needed to keep some hold on reality and couldn’t decide between the two.

    He delivered the sound bite, which most people won’t hear, which has been taken up with disappointing credulity by a hungry press corps, which most people will read. Thanks for comparing Mueller’s activity and the wishful thinking of this administration, something the MSM seems unwilling to do.

  2. A. Non says:

    Whitaker’s comments sound like a poorly-executed attempt to pressure Mueller to finish his report.   If so, Mueller’s best counter-move is to ignore the pressure and take his time.  Then the world will see Whitaker has no power and no knowledge either.

  3. DaBrownOne says:

    I generally find both of those reporters to be very well informed, but this bizarre run they are on makes me think they may be relying on BDTS’s word alone. However, I also feel Rod Rosenstein, Chris Wray, other high ranking DOJ officials are sources of theirs as well, and I keep wondering if this is disinformation being inserted into public sphere with the intention of convincing POTUS of the demise of Russia investigation. This is, after all, a counterintelligence investigation

    • mister bunny says:

      This is an angle that I was thinking of as well, though not necessarily coming from Rosenstein / Wray.

      Any misinformation that keeps Trump feeling sure that things are about to wrap up is a feature, not a bug.

  4. Rayne says:

    I have to laugh — that nickname has caught on and now appears in some of my other social media streams.

    Whitaker will never going to live down his sketchy past or his willingness to be Trump’s DOJ minion. He’ll be BDTS forever.

  5. North Jersey John says:

    Another insightful reminder from EW.  I’m a huge fan of all the contributors, but hesitate to offer commentary until this conspiracy investigation moves into the suspected media targeting and coordination specifics that seem likely between IRA, Cambridge, Trump/Parscale (and maybe even NRA/related dark money groups – a boy can hope more ratfuckery gets exposed).  My own expertise is in media advertising and campaigns.   Regarding other Mueller threads of the investigation, what about cooperator George Nader and inaugural cooperator Sam Patten?  Seems like plenty of additional crimes yet to be indicted.  I was also struck by something Sam Nunber said on The Beat – that Stone’s indictment / this investigation still hasn’t touched Trump Tower Moscow, the transition, the inauguration, etc?   Sure seems like many other witches to be named in this criminal coven.

    • Peterr says:

      I’m a huge fan of all the contributors, but hesitate to offer commentary until this conspiracy investigation moves into the suspected media targeting and coordination specifics that seem likely. . .

      Your time will come, NJJ. I look forward to your insights when it arrives.

  6. Jenny says:

    Thanks Marcy.  Great title, LOL.  Rather odd to be delivering statement when Stone was just arrested and Barr not yet confirmed.

    Bill Barr (AG nominee) said: “Whitaker and I have had preliminary discussions to explore possible positions both inside & outside of the Dept where he may best be able to continue to serve his country. No decisions have been made.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In other words, the revolving door will hit BDTS on his way out as it swings shut from Bill Barr’s having entered.  Otherwise, Barr would not have needed to talk about possible jobs outside the DoJ.  Wingnut welfare is likely to find a comfy place for Matt, as it did before, but probably not as a federal judge.  His inadequacies have become too public.

  7. Savage Librarian says:

    OT – I found a useful list of many of the players at the site below, in case anyone is storyboarding this. Sorry that I am unable to provide the link.

    The Trump-Russia Web – Part 3: Who’s Who
    theweekintrump in Steele Dossier, Trump Tower Meeting February 4, 2018

    • Rayne says:

      The author of the blog to which you refer isn’t someone I’m familiar with, also haven’t vetted their site.

      This is a decent overview of the persons involved in the Trump-Russia story via Politico.

      Center for American Progress’ initiative The Moscow Project also has an overview of the players.

      Most regular readers here won’t need these resources, though. Let’s not clutter with more resources.

  8. Michael says:

    The Whitaker statement at top is a nothing-burger; it simply doesn’t hang together nor say much of import. I think the point it makes most clearly is only that Whitaker is not a good extemporaneous speaker.

    With the exception of the first three sentences, every sentence he uttered could be picked apart and shown to be nothing-burger constituents. For example, the last sentence: “…I hope that we can get the report from Director Mueller as soon as we can…”. Mr Whitaker, whenever “we” actually do get the report – be it today or as late as …eh…May – is, by definition, “as soon as we can – as soon as possible.”

    The instant I completed reading “I look forward to Director Mueller delivering the final report” I said aloud, “Ya hear that, Mueller?” (as @A.Non wrote, “attempt to pressure Mueller to finish his report” )

  9. oldoilfieldhand says:

    The burning question, as yet unasked, and therefore open to investigative speculation, is whether the Big Dick Toilet Salesman has removed his predecessor’s step stool and installed one of the aforementioned BDT fixtures in the Attorney General’s private bathroom. So, I’ll ask…Is Matt Whiitaker honestly a personal proponent of the requisite plumbing advances for the truly well endowed male, or just another small minded and proportionally statured ex-All American Scholastic jock?


  10. MattyG says:

    There’s always someone that thinks (actually hopes) the show’s over at the first scenery change. The fat lady is still putting makeup on – Agent Orange has a memorable closing number from what I hear.

    More seriously though, what struck me in Whit’s grand speech was his dropping “…comments made as a private citizen…”. Looks to me like he’s trying to put a little bit of daylight between himself and the unfolding tragicomedy. Also “…and I look forward to the…”  is more lap dog than junkyard dog. I like to think he’s smelled the coffee.

  11. DWoolly says:

    @rayne 9:24am
    I have even seen it come up in a slightly more PG version on WaPo’s comment pages. It’s really taken off!

  12. Leila512 says:

    Replying to North Jersey John (as Reply didn’t work)
    I, too, am a marketing and advertising professional. Concur on the potential conspiracy RE marketing campaigns as being an important thread yet to be illuminated (which I recently emphasized in another thread). In addition to the cast of characters he mentioned, I’d add Erik Prince–wonder what he was up to??

    • North Jersey John says:

      Leila512 —  I anticipate our expertise will be called when the “exchange of private polling data” gets more meat on those bones.  I am also intrigued by the very incomplete outside experts examinations for the SSCI.  Campaigns never, ever have enough time or resources.  Knowing that a dark group (like IRA) was aggressively targeting voter discouragement efforts would free up scarce Trump/Cambridge resources to micro target infrequent conservative-leaners in WI, PA, MI, FL, etc.   I hope some of these expert groups are given a fuller peek into FB/IG/TW/YT and the rest of the social graf, since the social media giants have been less than fully forthcoming.  Someone needs to run a voter file analysis against these social media target profiles.  (or maybe someone already did — looking at you Parscale).

      • Leila512 says:

        Yes, Parscale has evaded a pointed investigation, and in a counter-intelligence operation, he, and his minions, deserve close scrutiny. And I MEAN THIS IS A REAL PART of the conspiracy–why aren’t the rest of you not focusing on this–I don’t understand why there’s such an underestimation of campaign cyber ops on this board??

        • North Jersey John says:

          ^^^ THIS ^^^  In a complex, multi-variable campaign, it’s hard to determine which campaign elements made the difference.   However, FB’s market cap isn’t $414B by accident.  Digital micro-targeting and social persuasion work really, really well.  In my own little corner of the 2018 activist election world, we enlisted a team of a few dozen part-time social media volunteers to search/find the likely social handles of several thousand voters with unreturned Absentee ballots. Just by sending friendly nudges (hey don’t forget to fill out and mail), we boosted Absentee return rates by +15 points.  (btw, this is perfectly legal since requesting an Absentee ballot is a public record).  So – that fact, plus access to the live Voter file (for updated ballot status + registration data) =  super targeted likely voter lead.  Now, scale up that targeting by x1,000 (IRA has tons of minions).  There are all kinds of ways  that well directed cyber campaign ops made a huge difference in these targeted states.  I suspect that SSCI and others are afraid to truly look under all those rocks, because the result will reveal just how many voters (x000,000) were actively manipulated.  This manipulation doesn’t just invalidate Trump’s electoral college results.  Ron Johnson won re-election by 99k, Pat Toomey won by 86k, etc.  Those are close enough margins that successful voter manipulation could decisively affect the outcomes.

  13. Phil says:

    I can’t help thinking that Whitaker isn’t actually doing much, if anything, in the way of supervising the investigation and so doesn’t really know what’s going on. A sort of phantom recusal that preserves the fiction, for Trump’s sake, that he is somehow limiting the investigation. I mean, if has more than a couple of brain cells to scrape together, he’s not going to interfere in Trump’s favor, especially when he’s on his way out. He grifted his way into DOJ and the mark is Trump.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I wonder who’s paying for the “Free Stone, Fire Mueller” signs outside the Prettyman Courthouse. Those holding them look like they were groupies when the Stones first became popular.

  15. Avattoir says:

    Got this earwig for Stone’s arraignment:

    Saw Roger Stone prance to Prettyman courthouse
    To face charges that to him might as well be in Chinese
    That sap Randy Credico got mutilated late last night
    Hannity and the rat fuckers ride again
    Ah OOO rat fuckers of the Beltway … Ah OOO
    Saw Junior & Eric down mai tais in their lobby bar
    And their hair was — perfect …

  16. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    I wonder whether there will be any AUSAs who have appointment certificates signed “Big Dick Toilet Salesman”?  They might become collector’s items. One of my bosses when I worked for the government had  one signed by Bobby Kennedy. I had to settle for one signed by Meese, which is worth less than the paper on which  it’s  printed.

    I concur with the notion that BDTS is now aware that a giant locomotive is about to slam into people very near and dear to Donald Trump (including The Donald himself) and that, perhaps as a result of this news, he has lost whatever ability he had to make a coherent comment on this subject.

  17. Ken Greenhouse says:

    @Avattoir says:
    January 29, 2019 at 11:21 am


    He’ll rip your lungs out, Jim
    I’d like to meet his tailor


    I went home with a waitress the way I always do
    How was I to know she was with the russians, too?

  18. Avattoir says:

    “Note: it’s somewhat telling that Stone’s slam-dunk obstruction case was deemed complex.”

    If fearless served at a port of entry, nothing would ever get past. This isn’t even even merely “telling”, but with Stone involved and the subject being Trump, it’s can’t ‘just’ be operatic, it must be the most grandiose conceived really bad opera cycle ever. And it’s set for a long run.

    • BobCon says:

      it can’t ‘just’ be operatic, it must be the most grandiose conceived really bad opera cycle ever.

      So you’re saying before long we’ll see Whitaker as Elmer Fudd in a horned helmet singing “Kill de Woger! Kill de Woger!”

  19. Peterr says:

    I am less bothered by BDTS and his obvious flailing to answer the question in a way that won’t irritate Trump than I am as the credulous acceptance by too many in the media of the assertion that Mueller’s report is coming soon.

    From the post:

    I’ve been told by people who have key witnesses as sources that Mueller is close to the end of his investigation. But their reports sound nothing like what the Big Dick Toilet Salesman or reporters relying on him as a source said yesterday.

    For most folks, the noun “investigation” tends to be used as a catch-all term for the entire work of the Mueller team. The same term can also be used more narrowly, to indicate the process of looking under all the rocks, checking under the rugs, and poking into the backs of all the closets. The latter use of “investigation” separates these actions of discovering what happened from the analysis of what is uncovered, assessment of responsibility for any wrongdoing, the filing of any charges, carrying any cases to trial, and following through until all the appeals are over.

    On the counter-intelligence side, “investigation” is what leads not necessarily to indictments but to assessments of US vulnerabilities that were exploited in the past that need to be addressed to prevent future attacks, and also second-order assessments of what the attack by the Russians says about their own vulnerabilities that might be exploited by the West. Mueller’s indictment of various GRU officers by name, with all the details provided in non-redacted speaking indictments filed in open court proceedings, is a clear shot at the Russian intelligence apparatus. “We know who you are, by name and title, rank, and job description. We know your boss, your colleagues, and your subordinates. We know where you work, right down to which cube you sit at in the office. We know how you work. You are not anonymous folks sitting at your keyboards — not to us. Be afraid, tovaritch . . .”

    Mueller may very well think he is coming close to having turned over all the rocks to see who/what crawls out of the dark mud. But he’s still got way more than a month’s work ahead in making sense of all that and taking the legal and CI steps that logically proceed from all that he’s found.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Indeed.  Mueller might be near the end of his investigatory phase, but the DoJ seems nowhere near the end of its prosecution phase, including defending the inevitable appeals.

      • bmaz says:

        Exactly. But, then, I have pointed that out to journalists since the first Thanksgiving it was supposed to be done by. That was not the most recent Thanksgiving.

  20. orionATL says:

    i suppose it must have been said further upstream but i’m not going to read all comments before adding my own, perhaps superflous one.

    an end to “the mueller investigation”, taken as a unity of several, is not necesssarily the same by any means as the end of the sco’s prosecutorial and educational activities toward lawbreakers and conspirators.

    i doubt mueller’s team will leave the battlefield early. it is not inconceivable that they won’t even be hassled to do so within the doj.

    p.s. didn’t even have to read far – only up one to peterr 😊.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Not when the NYT’s Peter Baker sticks to the “Nothing to see here, move along,” line.  “All the indictments to date,” relate to conduct during the investigation, he claims.  When will Mueller tell us if there is an underlying there there?

    My bad.  I thought investigative reporters for the publication that claims to publish all the news that’s fit to print were supposed to help with that.  Baker talks like a doctor willing to see only the most obvious symptoms. He has no wish to probe into underlying causes or to suggest to his patient that there might be underlying causes worth probing.

    Why, for example, would so many supposedly sophisticated Beltway courtiers choose to lie to federal investigators?  The consequences of doing that have been obvious since Nixon, and so have some of those courtiers.  Yet many have lied and obstructed rather than disclose what they did, for whom, and why.

    That there are underlying causes for so many felonies should cause an investigative reporter worthy of the name to want to find out.  The public will wait in vain for what little a federal prosecutor will be able or willing to release publicly.  But why would an investigative reporter?

  22. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The main impression from BDTS yesterday was “yes, I’ve been briefed; yes, I have been shitting a brick on my Big Dick Toilet ever since.”

    I’m not that interested in parsing, but certain aspects of the investigation are surely bagged up but subject to timing, given that Mueller is working from the outside inwards. Stone’s case has been designated “complex” to relax the deadlines of the Speedy Trial Act; Uday has probably racked up some false statements regardless of whatever else he did. And if there are conspiracy indictments of high-level campaign people — especially family — then I can’t see them being fought out primarily in the court system.

    • MattyG says:

      Yes – that was my strong impression as well. As I tried to express before his manner suggested almost the exact opposite of what he was saying. He was essentially confessing that any previous statements he made in the past about DT and the investigation were not founded on actual evidence, and well, er um…..

    • Greenhouse says:

      “I’ve been shitting a brick on my Big Dick Toilet ever since”

      Seems more like straining to pinch a loaf.

  23. P J Evans says:

    @William Bennett January 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm
    They’re also the same people who are susceptible to MLM pitches – especially when presented to them as “not MLM”. (Friend kept getting suckered by those, and finally, finally realized they’re not a sales person. But will do it again if it’s pitched right. I’m looking at the deals and saying nope nope nope.)

  24. RisingDown says:

    Two questions for smart lawyer types:

    1. Is it accurate that Toilet Saleman cannot cancel any potential indictments by SCO that were approved by Rosenstein?

    2. Could Mueller choose to wait out Whitaker before asking for approval of an indictment, or would Whitaker reasonably be able to see that tactic and thwart it if there were investigatory threads he wanted to shut down?

    Always appreciative. Made my first (small) donation today — I get more value out of EW than any other news source these days.

    • Alan says:

      The answers are probably yes, yes and yes (somewhat contradictory which is how the world works sometimes), but who really knows? A lot of this comes down to power, influence and office-politics type stuff as much as rules, regulations and procedures.  If Whitaker, Rosenstein or anyone else did overrule Mueller, Mueller could let Congress know about it in his final report, or he could let it pass (if maybe he decides the controversy would not be worthwhile, for example). This is a world of people, not robots, operating with incomplete and faulty information, and rules that are subject to interpretation, negotiation, persuasion, dissuasion, intimidation, threats, rewards, likes and dislikes, personal loyalty, etc. Being on the inside gives you advantages but it is not always determinative. No one has all the answers or can be certain about what would or will happen.

      • Avattoir says:

        Biggus Dickus Commodus could as easily be referring to decisions HE made being under “review” in this passage:

        “Um, I am comfortable that the decisions that were made are going to be reviewed. You know, either, through the various means we have.”

        including (examples only; I’m not even trying for an exhaustive list here):

        1. “the [his] decision” to reject the advice of senior ethics DoJos that he ought to recuse from any and all involvement with the regulatory oversight of the work of this Special Counsel;

        2. “the [his] decision” to pass on information to the White House concerning the status of work done, past, present and planned, by the OSC; and

        3. “the [his] decision” to urge or direct the S.C. that any reference to directions from the topmost authority of the Trump campaign should be described in the Stone indictment in the passive voice, rather than in a manner that clearly identified the order as Trump’s.

        IOW, BDTS guy’s mind, being pretty much as roomy as it appears, may well have been substantially occupied by thoughts concerning work of the DoJ Inspector General.

  25. Fran of the North says:

    Whittaker’s quoted comment above is a word hash worse than dog vomit on a plate.

    As others have postulated, perhaps he is trying to change horses mid-stream. But my impression of him is that he’s more testosterone than nuance, so I think that might be overly charitable.

    He makes Individual-1 seem articulate. But that’s what you get when you hire the best people. It is a rare meathead that can string 3 sentences to together coherently on a complex topic.

    • Avattoir says:

      Lord Nosh stood upon the hearthrug of the library. Trained diplomat and statesman as he was, his stern aristocratic face was upside down with fury.
      “Boy,” he said, “you shall marry this girl or I disinherit you. You are no son of mine.”
      Young Lord Ronald, erect before him, flung back a glance as defiant as his own.
      “I defy you,” he said. “Henceforth you are no father of mine. I will get another. I will marry none but a woman I can love. This girl that we have never seen—-“
      “Fool,” said the Earl, “would you throw aside our estate and name of a thousand years? The girl, I am told, is beautiful; her aunt is willing; they are French; pah! they understand such things in France.”
      “But your reason—-“
      “I give no reason,” said the Earl. “Listen, Ronald, I give one month. For that time you remain here. If at the end of it you refuse me, I cut you off with a shilling.”
      Lord Ronald said nothing; he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions. 

      from “Gertrude the Governess; or, Simple Seventeen“, by S. Leacock, Nonsense Novels (1911)

      • Rick Ryan says:

        Probably, but it’s worth noting that he was noncommital about it when asked about it earlier today.

        I actually tend to think that if the report 1) exists and 2) is as damning as we believe it will be, McConnell and most of the Senate GOP would love to make it public and thereby make it politically desirable to kick Trump and his 39% approval rating out the door, knowing they will rake in a bunch of “Republicans Stand Up For Country And Do Right Thing” headlines from newsrags across the country when they do. Steal the election, milk the traitor for all the tax cuts, deregulation, and general grift they can, and score a bunch of political points when it’s time to cut bait: Republican politics at its finest.

  26. Cathy says:

    At the risk of gross oversimplification:

    Trump watchers and minions quickly learned how much of his reality is absorbed from the small screen…

    Early months of his presidency saw that understanding translated into a humiliating amount of realtime auditioning by minions and minion wannabes.

    Can’t help but feel that Trump-centered messaging by his dependents has recently morphed to soothing…

    “Everything’s going GREAT, Donald!”
    “Of course they love you!”
    “What? That light? There at the end of that tunnel? Why that’s all the shiny from the treasure room down there…Go have a look…That’s right…Go into the Light, Donald…” [smiles and claps encouragingly]

  27. Taxidermist says:

    I’ve been wondering about RisingDown’s #2 Q as well, but Burr’s written answers don’t offer much hope. (Thanks for posting the link Rayne)

    from above, BDTS said: Um, I am comfortable that the decisions that were made are going to be reviewed. You know, either, through the various means we have.

    Does he mean decisions regarding Mueller indictments?

    • Alan says:

      I took it to probably mean “investigative or prosecutorial steps”, as in 28 CFR 600.7(b).  Could mean review by the person acting in the capacity of the Attorney General with respect to the Special Counsel, and/or review by Congress under 28 CFR 600.9(a)(3).

      From C-SPAN transcript:

      Q: before you came into your current role, you were critical of the investigation. now that you have seen briefings, is there anything that concerns you about special counsel robert mueller?

      Acting atty general whitaker: i have been fully briefed, and i look forward to director mueller delivering the final report. i am not going to talk about it or an open ongoing investigation, but statements i made were as private citizen only with publicly available information. i am comfortable that the decisions that were made are going to be reviewed, either through the means we have now, but right now the investigation is close to being completed, and i hope we can get the report from director mueller as soon as possible.

  28. Rapier says:

    Whitaker’s weaknesses are ones of class and connections. Along with an inability to smoothly spout BS. He may or may not be very smart but ‘smart’ in this arena is largely determined by class, and the confidence that confers.

    It’s the hallmark of the Trump administration to go outside the normal class of Beltway insiders and younger wannbes. People who know who is who. Who has clout and who doesn’t. On one level this can be appreciated but its guaranteed to be a political disaster. It explains some of Carter’s woes. It explains some of Clinton’s early woes with Broder talking about how Clinton trashed the village. Clinton however brought in a newer generation who were linked and linkedin in a true neoliberal way.

      • Rapier says:

        Well BDTS was an unforced error and so it was fixed by bringing in an insiders insider.
        I admit it was a dumb post and I should shut up around here.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Not to be rude, but does Roger Stone have the bad toupee of bad toupees, or hair plugs from the worst MD this side of the black market eye doc in Minority Report?

      • bmaz says:

        Hey, I thought it too! Look at the old pictures, not just with Manafort and Atwater, but even before. Follically challenged is an understatement.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        How much fun has the global commentariat had at the expense of Trump’s orange combover and his glow-in-the-dark raccoon tan?  For his part, Stoner looks too odd to be real.  I suppose that’s the point he strives for with his suits, his outlandishness, his curious coiffure.  Physical evidence that he is a grotesque fake should be put to good use.

    • BobCon says:

      I think Stephen Miller still wins the worst hair coverup in Trump world, and that’s against some world class competition.

      I guess that’s one point in Whitaker’s favor — he does what any sensible man in his position should do, and goes the Dean Norris route.

  30. Leila512 says:

    Posted this earlier, but am distressed that the drift of this conversation hasn’t approached it. So to repeat, “Parscale et al have evaded any investigation, and in a counter-intelligence operation, dont’t we think he, and his minions, deserve close scrutiny? I BELIEVE THIS IS A REAL PART of the conspiracy–why aren’t the rest of you not focusing on these marketing campaign efforts–I don’t understand why there’s such an underestimation of the effect of their digital marketing campaign efforts?? HELLO?? (Remember, UKRAINE???)

    Sorry for all the All-Caps, but I’m pissed…

    • Rayne says:

      First, I’m sure a good part of this is still under scrutiny by Special Counsel’s Office. The indictment of Russian Internet Research Agency personnel is related.

      Second, we don’t know if Parscale et al have evaded any SCO investigation, criminal or counterintelligence. If the latter, we may not get a complete public report soon.

      Third, there are people who are chasing illegal forms of digital messaging and personal information abuse — they are also looking at many of the same players’ role in the illegitimate Brexit referendum.

      I suggest you follow and watch Prof. David Carroll of The New School (@profcarroll), Carole Cadwalladr with the Guardian and Observer in UK (@carolecadwalla), Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie (@chrisinsilico) and BeLeave whistleblower Shahmir Sanni (@shahmirUK)

      There’s also the annoying problem that much of the Trump campaign’s digital marketing was legal.

      The root problem: marketing is free speech. At what point is it not marketing and/or not free speech?

  31. bmaz says:

    No, they have not “evaded any investigation”, and they may, or may not, be included in the CI side of it.

  32. Hops says:

    Ambiguous how to parse BDTS without punctuation.
    Perhaps … big dick, toilet salesman, Matthew Whitaker … meaning, he’s a big dick and a toilet salesman.

    Or … big, dick toilet salesman, Matthew Whitaker … meaning he’s big and a dick-toilet salesman.

    Or … big, dick toilet, salesman, Matthew Whitaker .. meaning, he’s big, a dick toilet, and a salesman

    Or … big-dick-toilet-salesman Matthew Whitaker … the presumed intent.

    Apologies to Strunk and White.

  33. Tech Support says:

    Not everyone in the MSM is biting on the idea that Mueller will wrap up soon. From

    “Who knows what will be found on the electronic devices taken from Roger Stone?” says Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor now at Arent Fox. “There could be leads from those search warrants. In short, I would not put much stock on Whitaker’s statement.”

    On Jan. 24, Corsi’s lawyer said Corsi is being investigated by a grand jury, CNN reports, but so far, Mueller hasn’t indicted Corsi.

    “The special counsel has advised me the grand jury is still interested in Andrew Miller, and they consider the case still a live case,”

    Radio personality Randy Credico … has not been indicted. He could be in legal jeopardy if he was, in fact, a link between Stone and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

    Andrew Napolitano said in December that the president’s son Donald Trump, Jr., “has told friends he expects to be indicted” by Mueller, The Hill reports.

    After an inventory of the aforementioned loose ends, it then goes on to speculate about what sort of drawn out process might emerge if Barr & the administration tried to bury the official report to the AG.

    None of this should come as a surprise to the community here, but it’s nice to see that not all major news outlets are queuing up the default narrative.

    • TooLoose Le Truck says:

      And Trump… make sure you get Trump in that game…

      I’ve rarely seen anyone do a more spectacular fold than he did over the shut down…

      And proving he didn’t learn a single thing from that experience, he’s threatening to go back and do it again… amazing…

  34. TooLoose Le Truck says:

    Well, I will admit my first reaction to BDTS’s statement about the investigation ending soon was something along the lines of “Oh good lord… are they’re really just going to declare it over, turn off the lights, shut the door, and then sit on the report, hoping no one notices what an utter and complete crock all of that is?”…

    Now, before anyone bombs me for saying that, I’d like to point how it comes across as dangerously close to magical thinking on Trump’s part to try something like that…

    “Maybe if we just close our eyes and pretend it’s not there…”

    What’s that called in small children… object permanence?

    And it’s not like Trump and his band of merry nitwits haven’t tried tactics like this before…

    I don’t think it will work… if they do do something this idiotic, I sure hope it doesn’t work…

    And honestly, I wouldn’t put it past them at all… as far as I see it, they’re reaching that degree of desperation at this point…

  35. e.a.f. says:

    Whittaker “thinks”, well that is a news flash.  Then he thinks the inquiry might be close to the finish line, ah I “think” I might win a lottery because I bought a ticket.  The MSM sure likes to run with “guesses”.   If they keep spinning it, perhaps they will win gold, they “think”.   perhaps Whittaker is trying to send a message to Mueller, who will undoubtedly ignore it.

    Whittaker  looks like such a bozo and then he opens his mouth and confirms my “thoughts”.   Looks like he could qualify to be one of Trump’s off spring.

  36. Ewan says:

    What does he mean with “will be reviewed by the means that we have” ? Is that an indication of disapproval and therefore subsequent condemnation, after review?

  37. Jim_46 says:

    The Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America, on January 26, 2019:

    “The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people … In the face of 37 indictments, the President’s continued actions to undermine the Special Counsel investigation raise the questions: what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially? Why has the Trump Administration continued to discuss pulling the U.S. out of NATO, which would be a massive victory for Putin?”

    So, “deliberate, coordinated attempt.” Isn’t the wording telling? Isn’t Pelosi giving us the word “conspiracy” without actually using the word?

    Again, my query: does the LEGAL framework that some Americans have consciously or unconsciously adopted to judge the actions of Donald Trump and his family, which stems at least in part from the appointment of our widely respected special counsel, pose a risk to the defense and fulfillment of justice in this unprecedented situation?

    Thought experiment: if Mueller closed up shop tomorrow, should Trump skate? Finish his term? Or do you think Nancy Pelosi means what she says: “there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people.”

  38. skua says:

    What are Mueller’s higher duties here?

    If he thinks there is significantly increased risk to the nation by supplying the whole truth to a chain of command that he understands to be compromised then he might ask himself how he could best fulfil his obligations.

  39. Rick Ryan says:

    Question: the Special Counsel’s grand jury gets dissolved after 24 months (if not sooner), i.e., some time in July 2019, right? There are no further extensions possible?

    If so, does that have any bearing on the timeframe of the Mueller investigation as a whole?

    • bmaz says:

      Maybe. But GJ’s are somewhat interchangeable. A new one could pick up, if necessary. GJ availability is not a limitation, though I do bet Mueller will be done with need for a GJ by then.

    • bmaz says:

      Trump could try, but the cases are VERY distinguishable. Don’t think Kavanaugh’s opinion helps Trump much, if at all.

  40. Mark Ospeck says:

    Marcy, love your BDTS moniker. Also, learned some from the back and forth on RisingDown’s question (Alan, Avattoir and Taxidermist). I get confused by lawyer speak, but the combination of the sweaty statement by BDTS saying justice will edit Mueller and Barr writing that Mueller will not be made public in order to protect uncharged folks’ reputational interests–scares me. The Law has all these subtle things going on, so, even with huge national security interests at stake, is it actually possible that the country ends up seeing a very attenuated Mueller report?

    Also, legally how long can the GOP keep up their ‘not seating House Intel committee’ trick ?  Rachel M speculated last night that it is being done to protect/delay Trump Jr. from perjury charges.

    • Alan says:

      There’s nothing legally stopping the House Intelligence Cmte from moving forward–they are just being polite.  Whenever Schiff is ready, he can give the Special Counsel all of the transcripts–no court is going to stop him.

  41. Drew says:

    I’ve been told by people who have key witnesses as sources that Mueller is close to the end of his investigation. 

    As others have observed, the part of Mueller’s investigation that may be nearing it’s end is the gathering of information & evidence. I think we’ll really know that it’s close to the end when the inner circle (i.e. family) starts getting indicted.

    It occurs to me that, specifically on that score, Mueller may be waiting to indict Jared until the issues with the Mystery Appellant are resolved. The evidence being sought would likely cinch the case against him (even if the case is otherwise strong, evidence from any of the financial institutions speculated to be the Appellant, would be invaluable in demonstrating the grift).

  42. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Eric Dubelier fucked up this time. “Our discovery materials got hacked by Russians” isn’t going to work when they’re representing the fucking troll factory.

  43. Avattoir says:

    IMO both the two big darling of cable news punditry, the Coffee Room /Water Cooler topics of

    A. Is Mueller close to the end? and

    B. What will happen with Mueller’s Report?

    are categorically lazy, pointless, silly exercises in definitive bull shit.

    A. When Will It End?

    Obviously, when it ends.

    “Drew” seems to think we can take a Ronco Veg-A-Matic to Mueller’s role as Special Counsel, wedging out “investigation” from the prosecutions.

    As a former fed, I just don’t see where that comes from. I can recall lots of cases like this, but I’ll cite just one: this one time I was assigned what started out as a small array of serious crimes either committed, attempted or planned, by what only superficially looked like disconnected but on ‘further review’ started looking awfully like a group of folks all conjoined within a few criminal cells, possibly a single criminal conspiracy but that last looked mostly speculative. Over the course of the next several years, as we worked one set of crimes thru the court system, others with more folks involved kept popping up, and we’d prosecute them, thru several rounds of this same pattern. At some point in there, we felt pretty strongly that a then-unverifiable rumor of a certain was Mister Big being behind all that had got to even past the threshold for indicting for conspiracy, but Mister Big had slipped the loop very early on during investigation into the earliest of the more concrete completed crimes, and after months of effort it turned out the best information was that he’d packed up and away from this area, eventually moving overseas. So we were dubious of ever getting a chance at him, but it’s not like there wasn’t other work. From time to time one of the investigators involved from early on, those being the ones who kind of personal ownership for sustaining interest in him, would be contacted by this or that foreign police force with intel him being suspected of involvement in this or that crime fitting the signature-level of ambition and planning we’d noted almost right from the beginning. Then around six years after the first of these connected cases crossed my desk, we learned he’d been arrested for extradition by a number of jurisdictions, and we came in early and hard with what looked like the most ready case. Another six months for the extradition process, about that again thru trial, and almost every piece of evidence we ended up showing in that trial derived, yes indirectly from the first cases, but directly from investigations, FOLLOWING the verdicts in those cases, that uncovered evidence at between months to half a decade after.

    It’s come up before – I’ve known this for 4 decades so it’s part of my consciousness, but even to the general public it gets made notorious from time to time, such as when then FBI Director Comey alluded to in his merry romp thru Hillary’s emails in the summer of 2016 – but the fact is that the FBI NEVER truly “closes” an investigation. So, Mueller’s not likely to spend eternity as SC on this beat, but his leaving will only remove his face from the currency of the investigation: the investigation itself will continue on, in some form or forms, indefinitely, at least until everyone involved is dead.

    Shifting ground a bit, recall also that Mueller’s mandate has TWO (2) aspects: Trump and Russia, and foreign influence primarily but not exclusively Russian applied to the 2016 election (and even, as a matter of practicality, primarily but not exclusively. Obviously Mueller has been passing out of the OSC into the broader fed system a number of things arising from the OSC’s investigations, and one would be forgiven for rationally expecting that, eventually – certainly by some time in 2021 at the very latest, everything will have been passed on into the larger agency.

    I just don’t see how anyone, Mueller not excluded, could be heard say with any degree of credibility that this OSC’s work “definitely” will be complete at ANY time, except if all handed over to regular DoJ offices, or halted by a president (and not even then).

    B. What Will Happen To Mueller’s Report?

    Report on what, exactly? The state of knowledge about illegal  or at least dubiously legal foreign influence into the federal election system and what all counters have been put in place to combat that? The FBI has this mandate because it’d be unconstitutional for the CIA to have it, and no other federal agencies has the resources necessary to get the first part of this work done – nor, does one expect, it will EVER truly get ‘done’, once and for all (certainly not in any of our lifetimes).

    IAE, it seems to me the product from this work is, in the main, something that, under the Constitution, should and will go to the three branches of the fed, most acutely to Congress. It strikes me as something fairly analogous to what was going on yesterday before the SSCI where the DNI and CIAD and all them testified, all of them having duties to report to and to respond to directions from at least the president and Congress.

    So, maybe Mueller is making or will produce some sort of a report on that front, but I don’t think such is really all that controversial anymore and now with Democratic party control of Congress, there’s lots of ways all that should come out, none of those at all sensitive to Mueller’s particular contribution.

    Nor do I think that’s what is generally meant by the pols, pundits, internet commenters and even some folks commenting here.

    I don’t claim novelty here because I would never have become so annoying as I am here and elsewhere on this subject but for what I see as the correct insight of our fearless leader here, but I do think that by now it should be abundantly clear to any rational serious observer who’s taken the trouble to actually read the DoJ regulations, at least those parts bearing on the duties, imperatives and responsibilities of the Special Counsel, that Mueller is reporting on the fly. Every court filing out of the OSC holds the potential for conveying a piece of the Mueller Report. Taken together, they ARE the Mueller Report.

    Whatever Mueller decides to include in the largely mythic “Final Report” from the SC to the SC’s constitutionally-valid (and validating) overseer – that is, the AG (or DAG if the AG is in some conflict with doing the job). AFAICT, Bill Barr has this 100% correct, AND it’s not an interpretation that derives from partisan perspective (tho of course he undoubtedly brings a partisan perspective to the job), AND as a Rule of Law fan, I’m not at all comfortable with anyone outside the AG (or DAG) reading in what is probably largely colored by salacious speculation and suspicions, Mueller’s basis for employing prosecutorial discretion in charging X versus decline to charge Y.

    I’m WAY more interested in what Mueller thinks he can prove – and he’s already giving us that in the form of court filings.

  44. CD54 says:

    @Avattoir: at 4:49 pm
    Not to mention usage for some future action from the other two branches re: Presidential felonies.

  45. Trip says:

    Avattoir/January 30, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Your point is well taken.

    Unfortunately for me, the answers I’d want are on the elements of the story that likely fall under national security issues, stuff that is abhorrent but might not be illegal (in terms of the other private influence campaigns, or espionage by mercenaries potentially connected to states with supposed “allies”, not Russian) and so on. The big fish at the top of the food chain beyond Trump will likely remain behind the curtain..forever?

  46. Trip says:

    Shimon Prokupecz‏Verified account @ShimonPro

    A key line in this new Mueller filing, “the sensitive discovery identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in operations that interfere with lawful U.S. government functions like those activities charged in the indictment”

  47. Semanticleo says:

    Trip says:
    January 30, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Cue the anti-Semitic narrative and watch the exposed nerves disintegrate.

  48. P J Evans says:

    @Avattoir January 30, 2019 at 4:49 pm
    That reminds me of the case a friend was a victim in – the treasurer/CFO of the company he worked at was reporting withholding on pay stubs, but not sending said money to the feds. When it was discovered, he fled. Years later, the IRS was still after him.
    (Friend was grateful that he’d kept his pay stubs, as it meant he could show that the money had been withheld from his checks, wherever it actually ended up.)

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for the link. Rather nifty demonstration why SCO needed to make a statement about BuzzFeed’s 18-JAN story — some of the SCO’s targets are going to fuzz everything in an attempt to obscure the truth. At least this is one very good reason why specificity and clarity in reporting is essential.

      Might also explain why BDTS was in such a lather when he spoke; he may have had some inkling the IRA case was an active problem. Doesn’t look good for him at all.

  49. timbo says:

    re bmaz@January 29, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    Wouldn’t there be the possibility that Congressional Committee induced testimony might require more GJ work for SCO past July?

    What has been missing in this investigation is public testimony to the Congress that has any teeth in the depositions and committee cross-exams… up until now it’s been more about covering things up and accepting whatever has been said, even if the record does not jibe by what the various committees were told.

    • bmaz says:

      Sure, that is possible. I doubt Mueller needs much from additional Congressional testimony though, they are chasing what he knows, not the other way around.

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