The Commander-in-Chief Keeps Instructing His National Security Officials Not to Protect the Country

One of the most alarming passages in the Mueller Report describes how, in an effort to get Corey Lewandowski to convince Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal in the Russian investigation, Trump suggested that Mueller could be limited to investigating future election hacks. (h/t to TC who has been emphasizing this passage)

During the June 19 meeting, Lewandowski recalled that, after some small talk, the President brought up Sessions and criticized his recusal from the Russia investigation.605 The President told Lewandowski that Sessions was weak and that if the President had known about the likelihood of recusal in advance, he would not have appointed Sessions.606 The President then asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to Sessions and said “write this down.” 607 This was the first time the President had asked Lewandowski to take dictation, and Lewandowski wrote as fast as possible to make sure he captured the content correctly.608 The President directed that Sessions should give a speech publicly announcing:

I know that I recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas. But our POTUS . .. is being treated very unfairly. He shouldn’t have a Special Prosecutor/Counsel b/c he hasn’t done anything wrong. I was on the campaign w/ him for nine months, there were no Russians involved with him. I know it for a fact b/c I was there. He didn’t do anything wrong except he ran the greatest campaign in American history.609

The dictated message went on to state that Sessions would meet with the Special Counsel to limit his jurisdiction to future election interference:

Now a group of people want to subvert the Constitution of the United States. I am going to meet with the Special Prosecutor to explain this is very unfair and let the Special Prosecutor move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections.610

The President said that if Sessions delivered that statement he would be the “most popular guy in the country.”6 11 Lewandowski told the President he understood what the President wanted Sessions to do.612

In June 2017, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States suggested that the FBI should not investigate a historic cyberattack by an adversary on the United States. The investigation Trump was obstructing was not just of his own conduct, but also that of Russia.

That revelation puts two other events in dramatically different light.

First, recall that when Congress was considering bills to ensure election integrity last year, Trump pre-empted the effort with an Executive Order imposing a two step review, after the fact, to see if foreign adversaries had attempted to interfere in the election. First, ODNI does a report on the election, then he delivers it to other Executive Branch Officials. Then DHS Secretary and the Attorney General deliver a report based on that describing whether the effort to interfere had had a material effect. That report, too, just gets delivered to Executive Branch officials.

Section 1. (a) Not later than 45 days after the conclusion of a United States election, the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the heads of any other appropriate executive departments and agencies (agencies), shall conduct an assessment of any information indicating that a foreign government, or any person acting as an agent of or on behalf of a foreign government, has acted with the intent or purpose of interfering in that election. The assessment shall identify, to the maximum extent ascertainable, the nature of any foreign interference and any methods employed to execute it, the persons involved, and the foreign government or governments that authorized, directed, sponsored, or supported it. The Director of National Intelligence shall deliver this assessment and appropriate supporting information to the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(b) Within 45 days of receiving the assessment and information described in section 1(a) of this order, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the heads of any other appropriate agencies and, as appropriate, State and local officials, shall deliver to the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Defense a report evaluating, with respect to the United States election that is the subject of the assessment described in section 1(a):

(i) the extent to which any foreign interference that targeted election infrastructure materially affected the security or integrity of that infrastructure, the tabulation of votes, or the timely transmission of election results; and

(ii) if any foreign interference involved activities targeting the infrastructure of, or pertaining to, a political organization, campaign, or candidate, the extent to which such activities materially affected the security or integrity of that infrastructure, including by unauthorized access to, disclosure or threatened disclosure of, or alteration or falsification of, information or data.

The report shall identify any material issues of fact with respect to these matters that the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security are unable to evaluate or reach agreement on at the time the report is submitted. The report shall also include updates and recommendations, when appropriate, regarding remedial actions to be taken by the United States Government, other than the sanctions described in sections 2 and 3 of this order.

Predictably, when the deadlines for these reports came due after the mid-term elections last year, the Trump Administration balked at sharing all this reporting with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Then there’s this NYT report revealing that the Mick Mulvaney told DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen not to involve the Commander-in-Chief in any effort to keep this country’s elections safe, which (the report implicitly suggests) made it far more difficult for Nielsen to make protecting elections a priority.

Ms. Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security early this month after a tumultuous 16-month tenure and tensions with the White House. Officials said she had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by hackers, to rerouting internet traffic and infiltrating power grids.

But in a meeting this year, Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, made it clear that Mr. Trump still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. According to one senior administration official, Mr. Mulvaney said it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.”

Even though the Department of Homeland Security has primary responsibility for civilian cyberdefense, Ms. Nielsen eventually gave up on her effort to organize a White House meeting of cabinet secretaries to coordinate a strategy to protect next year’s elections.


Ms. Nielsen grew so frustrated with White House reluctance to convene top-level officials to come up with a governmentwide strategy that she twice pulled together her own meetings of cabinet secretaries and agency heads. They included top Justice Department, F.B.I. and intelligence officials to chart a path forward, many of whom later periodically issued public warnings about indicators that Russia was both looking for new ways to interfere and experimenting with techniques in Ukraine and Europe.


A second senior administration official said Ms. Nielsen began pushing after the November midterms for the governmentwide efforts to protect the 2020 elections, but only after it became increasingly clear that she had fallen out of Mr. Trump’s favor for not taking a harder line against immigration.

That official said Ms. Nielsen wanted to make election security a top priority at meetings of Mr. Trump’s principal national security aides, who resisted making it a focus of the discussions given that the 2020 vote was, at the time, nearly two years away.

Trump’s refusal to protect elections accompanies a de-emphasis — one enforced by John Bolton — on cybersecurity generally.

This is, quite literally, a case where the Commander-in-Chief is refusing to take the action necessary to protect the country from being attacked in the same way were most recently were attacked.

Update: Earlier this week Politico reported on the effects of a reorganization in Office of Management and Budget’s cybersecurity office before Mulvaney left OMB to become Chief of Staff.

Few Americans may have heard of the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer, but the unit inside the Office of Management and Budget coordinates tech improvements across the government, helping agencies boost cybersecurity and manage technology and cybersecurity budgets that totaled $105 billion in the past fiscal year.

But many OFCIO employees are overwhelmed by unclear and changing priorities, while others are simply checked out or feeling increasingly marginalized, according to an internal February staff survey that POLITICO obtained, along with data from an annual governmentwide report and interviews with a current OMB employee, five former OFCIO employees and three former senior federal officials familiar with the office.

The unit is grappling with “high turnover,” “a lot of infighting,” a “crushing workload” and “inaction from leadership,” said the current employee, who — like others interviewed for this story — requested anonymity to discuss sensitive personnel matters.

“Things do slip through the cracks,” the OMB employee said. OFCIO’s guidance “impacts the long-term implementation strategy out in the agencies,” and if that’s lacking, there will be “a debilitating effect on overall cybersecurity in the long run,” the person said, adding that there was “real concern at the staff level that if this continues, something bad will happen and we won’t be ready for it.”


“This organization looks like it’s in free fall,” said a former senior federal IT official who worked closely with the office.


[A] November reorganization appeared to cause significant confusion and discontent among employees. It replaced a structure built around three core units — agency oversight, cybersecurity and policy development — with one centered on “workstreams” for activities such as cybersecurity risk and data strategy.

But the reorganization was “built on the fly” and poorly explained, said a former staffer. More than 80 percent of survey respondents said it was unclear how the reorganization improved office communication.

Adding to these woes is significant frustration with OFCIO’s senior leaders, especially Kent, a former Ernst & Young consultant who took over the office in March 2018 after the team went more than a year without a leader.

Kent, who lacks a cybersecurity or IT background, has fostered “a closed-door culture,” the current OMB employee said.

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. 

235 replies
  1. Rapier says:

    I see no reason to assume that election integrity is under threat by just state actors. In a certain sense the 2016 shenanigans were as much driven by individuals and groups with monetary interests in Trumps election. As even democratic states are more and more controlled by those who enrich themselves via good old fashioned graft and are driven not by national interests but personal the lines get fuzzier.

    As Trump has made explicit that rising (inflating) financial asset prices are a goal of his administration why would the 1% not do everything in their power to help him win. Including of course, and especially, the great social media companies who are the gateway via which votes are more and more determined. Of course that does not include hacking the vote directly.

    In these senses concentrating on Russia can or maybe has diverted attention from the big picture.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Good point.

      As with imperial security and policing techniques that inevitably find their home to the metropolitan state (Alfred McCoy), state and election interference techniques will find their way to anyone with the resources and will to use them.

      The Mercers, Kochs, and Erik Prince, for example, could easily pay for the cost of supercomputers and their operation to disrupt the state and to promote electoral ends they find more compatible with their business interests. No banned foreign interference there.

      • AMG says:

        JFC, you just brought back bad memories of ohio 2004, mike connell, and GovTech/SMARTech…
        Beginning as a political campaign worker and congressional staffer, Connell became a key Republican media consultant who developed Internet strategies for the 2000 and 2004 Bush-Cheney campaigns. He was founder and CEO of Cleveland-based New Media Communications, which built Web sites for President Bush and former presidential nominee John McCain, according to the company’s Web site. He was also chief IT consultant for Karl Rove.
        He was also quoted as saying, when asked to predict the Internet’s role in the upcoming presidential race, “There are things we will be doing on Election Day that haven’t even been dreamt of yet.”
        In 2000, Connell cofounded with his wife Heather GovTech Solutions to pursue government contracts.

        GovTech’s clients for databases, content management systems and other services included the White House, the Energy Department, several Republican-led Congressional committees and a few dozen congressional members’ Web sites.

        The Center for Public Integrity reported that in 2002 and 2004, the General Services Administration allowed federal agencies to purchase services directly from GovTech without a full bidding process.
        In 2004 Connell helped form an online advertising firm called Connell Donatelli, which administered the Web site for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a 527 developed to attack Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

        Connell’s central role in building the IT infrastructure of the White House and his association with Karl Rove has brought him into the controversy surrounding missing White House e-mails relating to the firing of U.S. Attorneys and other topics, and the fate of e-mail communications sent by Rove and other administration staffers which were sent via a Republican Party Web site,, rather than through a address.

        Connell built the site, which shares mail servers with GovTech.
        Connell’s Internet expertise also led him to be subpoenaed earlier this year to testify in an Ohio federal court regarding alleged voter fraud in the 2004 election. Despite exit polls showing a lead by Democratic nominee John Kerry of more than 4 percent, Mr. Bush won the state’s vote by 2.5 percent, along with its crucial electoral votes.

        Much has been written about problems at the polls in Ohio that year, where voters in many (predominantly Democratic) precincts were forced to wait hours because of a shortage of working voting machines. A lawsuit being pursued by attorney Clifford Arneback seeks to answer questions about this and other ballot problems. [For example, in Franklin County Mr. Bush received 4,258 votes in a precinct where only 638 voters cast ballots.]

        Questions have also been raised about how votes from Ohio counties were tabulated. Computer expert Stephen Spoonamore, a Republican who works in detecting fraud in network architecture and protecting computer infrastructures, has testified that the Ohio election returns he saw were indicative of a “KingPin Attack,” in which a computer is inserted into the communications flow of an IT system, with the intent to change data as it passes to its destination.

        It was later learned that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell’s office had routed Internet traffic from county election offices through out-of-state servers based at SMARTech in Chattanooga, Tenn. SMARTech hosts dozens of GOP Web domains.

        Last month, U.S. Judge Soloman Oliver refused Connell’s request to quash a subpoena connected to the lawsuit, King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Blackwell, and demanded his testimony relating to his IT work.

        In his deposition given in November, Connell denied any knowledge of vote rigging.

    • rip says:

      The oligarchs don’t care about national boundaries.

      So many ways to describe these people/organizations. Oligarchs, plutocrats, real-estate and media moguls, tech titans, money managers.

      And none of them really care about the particular people of a particular nation/state.

    • Keith Shisler says:

      Rapier, what you say is completely true. However, I believe the point of the article is that Mr. Trump is at best derelict in his duties, and at worst acting in a treasonous manner. His oath is to protect and defend, this overt attempt to stop our country from protecting itself from foreign hostile activities should be impeachable by itself.

    • P J Evans says:

      Jeebus Ghu FSM!
      The WH is full of people who are, if not in the strict sense, effectively traitors – the president, most (if not all) of the cabinet, and most if not all the GOP members of Congress are actively violating their oaths of office, and they clearly aren’t going to change.

      • e.a.f. says:

        There isn’t anything to compel them to change. That’s the problem. The people who vote for them, in most cases will continue to vote for them specially McConnell and Graham. Don’t see much changing in the Senate unless those two go. Doesn’t matter what the House of Rep. does, the
        Senate will simply block everything they try to do. Its game over for American democracy, as we have known it.

      • e.a.f. says:

        if not traitors in the legal sense, they certainly might be considered foreign assets in my opinion. After Kushner’s appearance at the Time 100 event, some one spoke on what might constitute a Russian asset. Then quoted Kushner’s comment regarding the Mueller report vs Russia purchasing a “few” adverts on Face Book. Kushner commented, the Mueller investigation was more harmful to American democracy. So the question was, could Kushner be considered a Russian asset.

        if Kushner actually believed what he said, he needs to leave the W.H. If he doesn’t believe what he said, then he’s promoting the dissemination of incorrect material and we won’t go into discussions of Freedom of Speech.
        In my opinion, Kushner was promoting a theory not consistent with the facts as presented by Mueller and a host of others.

        Sitting just north of the 49th parallel when not sitting on it or a few feet away, what is going on in the U.S.A. is very disconcerting. Its frightening. The question some of us have, is where does it go from here? Will Trump obey the law or simply ignore it and play poker. Who will force Trump to do what he maybe required to do by the courts? If his cabinet secretaries refuse to follow instructions from courts which rule against Trump, what happens. Who goes to arrest Trump if it came to that? Nancy Pelosi and a group of members of the H. of R. I understand how the American government works and who does what. I am apprehensive about a Constitutional crisis in the USA and where that leaves Canada. Yes, its always about me. Some of us have questioned, what if things go side ways in the U.S.A. . Perhaps my take on this is tainted by having parents who lived through the 30s and 40s in Europe,

  2. Willis Warren says:

    At this point, you have to be a complete dipshit to believe he’s innocent. Mueller should be testifying to Congress today. The dumbocrats are moving too slowly

    • P J Evans says:

      I think your comment would be more effective if you’d left off that last sentence, which reflects more on you than on them.

      • massinterest says:

        Why do you think the last sentence is an issue? Other than “dumbocrats.”

        I find it alarming that Pelosi is hedging on implementing the impeachment process.

        • Rayne says:

          Then say exactly that. The pejorative label used appears highly partisan, to the point it appears reflexively biased and not part of well-reasoned argument.

          • Willis Warren says:

            Pelosi is an idiot. She’s moving too slowly and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that impeachment proceedings don’t backfire. I guess I thought that was obvious.

            • Marinela says:

              How do we know that impeachment proceedings, if started immediately are not going to back fire?
              What we do know at the moment is that GOP + republicans are not going to vote to impeach in the senate. So, taking some time to be methodical is ok in my view.

              I like she doesn’t show her cards. No need to.

              Trump will get impeached, eventually, don’t we need to wait for these subpoenas to go thru. Not sure what happens after subpoenas stalemates.

              • orionATL says:


                i agree substantially.

                in my view your judgement is a great deal sounder than those around you sounding off about impeachment.

                as usual, going against the roaring tide, in this case of impeachment hysteria, is tough sledding.

                in my view, it would be nice if those knuckleheads screaming “impeachment now” understood there is a presidential election the first week in November, 2020, but they seem oblivious in their yowl for vindictiveness.

                Nancy Pelosi is a wise and capable leader. but she cannot be her best when vindictive knuckleheads are foolisly screaming about her “uncourageous” leadership. what fools!!

                ye reap what ye sow, knuckleheads. try to keep the consequences of 2016’s democratic vindictiveness in mind. see if for once in your benighted political life, you can avoid being just another lemming among thousands headed over the cliff.

            • Phillip Wynn says:

              Nancy Pelosi is not an idiot.

              She is a coward.

              There is a difference. One of them is worse. Guess which one?

              • Rayne says:

                Dude. I don’t think a woman her age who has put up with as much bullshit as she has including death threats is a coward.

                Welcome to emptywheel.

    • orionATL says:

      com’mon Willis.

      I have admired your commentary over time but this emotionally driven focus on prez’s lack of innocence/guilt is purblind stupid.

      there is a lot to be gained – education of the public in the forefront – by slowly working thru the Nadler and Schiff congressional investigations.

      if you shoot your wad too early on trump misconduct, you will be left with many campaign months filled with “impeachment failed” and “the osc did not accuse the prez of criminal behavior” so what’s the dems big complaint?

      think ahead, please.

      • Willis Warren says:

        Look how impeachment backfired in 2000!

        It’s not about “winning the election”

        It’s about creating a document for history that this president broke the law, tried to destroy the constitution, and that wasn’t ok. There’s no “timing” for that. This isn’t fucking politics.

    • e.a.f. says:

      Don’t consider the Democrats dumb at all. They appear to be a fairly bright group of people and some of them really, really smart. They taking a careful approach. Better slow with all the facts then plundering forward and making mistakes. This has to be taken very carefully. It involves an entire country. all 350M or so people, not to mention a whole lot of others who don’t live in the U.S.A.

  3. hester says:

    The more I read about Mueller the less impressive he seems to me. I am not as enamored of Mueller as many are. He, unlike most of us, had a chance to be a real hero in this national story / calamity. He turned down the opportunity. I have no idea if that’s because he’s a rigid boy scout or because he’s cautious to a fault…. but if Trump gets away with this (I believe now that he will) I will blame Mueller et al. Shame on his / their cowardice.

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      Mueller has offered up a smorgasbord of impeachable activities to Congress, and invited Congress to go find more. And he surely left some items out of the report to protect the CI side.

      Blame Trump and the GOP, not Mueller.

    • Peacerme says:

      isn’t it possible that there is a problem, caused by greed or some other force that has been interfering and creating obstacles, blocking the truth, for a long long time.

      Maybe greed is the answer.

      Vietnam-no indictments
      Iran Contra-indictments
      9/11-no indictments
      Lead up to the Iraq war-no indictments
      The financial crises-indictments

      How can that many investigations come to the same conclusions: “The buck never stops with the leader?”

      Seems too big a coincidence that the highest levels of leadership we’re not held accountable.

      Coincidence? A feature of our justice system? A feature of capitalism? Greed? A conspiracy?

      Something is not working effectively to hold our leaders in check when they have violated the laws.

      The sad thing is, that it could end our democracy. We’ve lost our way.

      • rip says:

        True that. True all of these.

        When we expect those with power to police the ones that also hold power, expect those without power to be victimized. (I’m sure there’s a better way to state this obvious statement.)

  4. 200Toros says:

    Good Lord. Thank you for making this point, it needs to be made clear to everyone that the POTUS is the single greatest threat to national security today. If Speaker Pelosi doesn’t move forward with the Impeachment process immediately, she should just change her party affiliation to REPUBLICAN.

    • Raven Eye says:

      Pelosi reminds me of Mia Hamm as a striker. As Mia drove towards the goal you knew that she probably had several attacks running through her mind. It would have been a mistake to conclude that what you saw at any particular moment was how the goal would actually be made. Mia’s primary focus was to make sure her team got the goal…It didn’t really matter whether she had the last touch on the ball, or she crossed it to team mate who completed.

      The fact that people are second guessing Pelosi while she still has some distance to run shows that they are looking at the ball at Pelosi’s feet, rather than considering how the whole of the offense is configured — which suits Pelosi exactly.

      • bmaz says:

        What a load of crap. Pelosi is literally derelict in her duty too protect the Constitution every second she delays the opening of a formal impeachment investigation. Mia Hamm my ass.

        • J R in WV says:

          I strongly disagree. I think she (Madame Speaker Pelosi) has a complex and evolved strategy to begin investigations beyond the strictly limited range of the Mueller investigation, and then to bring those investigations’ results together to commence a formal investigation into Impeachment.

          I further expect this whole process to proceed to her (Pelosi’s) timetable to provide maximum benefits to the whole Democratic party as the 2020 elections near. I expect the Senate to receive the Impeachment True Bill (or whatever the formal term is) in time for the Republicans in the Senate to be under maximum pressure as the election approaches.

          I think we will see money laundering, illegal hush money payments, international bank fraud, and many other charges not even mentioned by Mueller’s team all come out in the Congressional Investigations, all of which will be combined into the Impeachment hearings. She will see to it that no question is asked to which the answer is not already known, if she follows the advice of prosecutors.

          • dwfreeman says:

            Yeah, i get the strategy to put extreme pressure on, till the White House or the party cracks. Trump doesn’t break when challenged, he resists with greater intensity regardless of how it looks or hurts. The longer you wait to impeach, the harder the job becomes to remove him closer to the next election.
            And if you wait when you had the chance to take him out, you risk losing both party respect and another election to this illegitimate emperor with no clothes, morals, values or interest in our national security outside his border perspective of it. Do the kabuki dance of oversight on the Mueller Report, then announce impeachment. Time is of the essence, and the Democrats are on the fucking clock.

          • bmaz says:

            Hey JR, that is a load of bunk. Pelosi is actively, and cravenly, failing to protect the Constitution, per her oath, and specifically the separation of powers and oversight ability of the Article II branch. If you think that is okay, then I have no idea how to discuss this with you. It is a shallow and craven position you foster.

            • horses says:

              Respectfully, you’re looking at the problem like a lawyer, not as a political operative.

              You’ve been trained to win over an audience of 12. In this game you have to convince a jury of 300,000,000.

              • CitizenCrone says:

                I agree about convincing the people, but at some point (now) Pelosi has to choose to preserve and protect the Constitution, not just her political position. How more egregious can Trump’s actions get before someone says ENOUGH? It’s their job. It’s their duty. They need to do it.

                P.S. This is not a game (I know you know that)

              • Rayne says:

                No. Only have to persuade critical mass of electoral college — key states — in very near term and the approval rating suggests it’s not a far walk. The rest can be dragged along by the weight of discovery.

                I’d worry as well about the 20 states with a GOP senator up for reelection since they’d have to vote for indictment+removal and take that into the election season.

          • Tech Support says:

            I’m not convinced.

            I had floated a suggestion recently that the Pelosi/Hoyer impeachment-aversion could be a clever ruse but I don’t really believe that. I’d LIKE to believe it but it’s too storybook clever to likely be true.

            I think the more likely rationale here is that her purpose is wholly one of political calculations. Even before you evaluate D’s 2020 prospects based on a Trump/post-Trump GOP, there is the more immediate question of how the impeachment process itself would influence the electoral dynamics. Pelosi is likely afraid of galvanizing support for the Rs, especially in the Senate, if the hearings backfire politically like the Clinton impeachment hearings did for the GOP.

            I think there is a political argument to be made for forcing a vote where the GOP senate goes on record protecting a fascist criminal prior to the November ballot, but regardless we are still wholly within the realm of political gamesmanship.

            The actual preservation of the rule of law and the republic itself appears to be 2nd on Nancy’s priority list. Even if she honestly believes that favoring politics over principle is the best strategy to defend the nation, you still end up with Nancy valuing politics over principle.

            Unless, of course, it turns out it really is a head fake of historical proportion.

            • P J Evans says:

              The difference is that in the 1990s, the country wasn’t split so much, and that Clinton’s impeachment was fairly obviously all politics, with nothing solid to make it worth all that screaming.

              • Willis Warren says:

                Counterpoint: Clinton was an asshole and should have resigned.

                Also, the country was just as divided. I remember Rush Limbaugh’s tv program. The only difference now is Facebook and the general laziness that it requires to produce successful propaganda

                • e.a.f. says:

                  You may have “considered” Clinton an asshole, but millions didn’t. His behaviour, well not socially acceptable at the time in some quarters, still didn’t make him an “asshole”.

                  previously senior politicians simply weren’t caught or the media didn’t publicise it.

                • P J Evans says:

                  I don’t think the country was just as divided then. That may have been how some of the media outlets were presenting it, but generally there wasn’t any push for impeachment or even censure.

        • dude says:

          I concur with bmaz. Last night some former employee of the Clinton campaign was promoting the idea that Nancy Pelosi was actually a genius and deliberately baiting Trump into more outrageous behavior and wild claims by constantly saying impeachment is off the table. I nearly threw-up.

          • Rayne says:

            Although the tactic did work with the government shutdown – he constantly made an ass of himself and lost support along the way. Is it the best or only tactic? No. At some point his intransigence will become so burdensome the House will have to formally move to impeachment to protect their process from him and invoke related powers.

            • Eureka says:

              My gut says (or had said) that they are waiting on things like Barr to fail to deliver the MR May 1st (and on the CI to the intel committees rather than gang of eight) and fallouts, etc., including re recent other subpoenas, such that they’d move to formal impeachment investigation within weeks. They way they’re talking, they are clearly looking for hearings (or, unsaid, admin dicking around) to move polls.

              But/Meanwhile I just saw there’s a push poll of the wrong question: should congress continue Mueller Trump-RU investigation (think it said 54% No). Sounds like someone should be pushing the broader context.

              Adding: interview with Rep Scanlon aired just now on MSNBC MTP. Caught some– asked re impeachment, said ‘we’re not there yet’ and something about not even having the full MR and materials yet. No clip available that I can find.

        • Bruce Olsen says:

          Whether or not she has some master plan (!) Pelosi is certainly smart enough to help Trump keep throwing coals on the fire until there’s a public outcry for action (which will add legitimacy).

          She can still launch an impeachment next spring if the public hasn’t forced action by then. That’s about the time it would do the maximum damage. She especially wants to keep the GOP as close to Trump for as long as she can.

          Will it be too late to help the republic? Maybe, but that’s about all we have.

              • P J Evans says:

                There’s a big, big gap between “Pelosi needs to push the committees into impeachment” and “Pelosi sucks” The latter is up to her constituents in SF.

                • Willis Warren says:

                  No, the latter is up to the House who votes on speaker. I don’t care whether or not she’s in the house. I care about looking at this black and white issue in terms of how many seats can we win next time. There’s a difference

                  There’s absolutely no compelling evidence that impeachment will backfire. Anyone who is going to vote for this asshole is already going to vote for him.

            • Marinela says:

              The congress didn’t see the full report. And they would have to subpoena probably more delays.
              Can she start impeachment without seeing the full report?

              Would be more efficient to start impeachment just to get the full report.
              But not sure.

          • dwfreeman says:

            See that’s just bullshit. Your advice: do what’s politically expedient next year when the time is right or risk losing the republic by failing to act sooner? Jesus, man, I mean WTF? People stupidly voted for this guy by not paying attention to him and what he has represented his entire life, because they wanted an alternative choice to the status quo. So they helped put in office a man who admires most a strongman who runs a kleptocratic criminal syndicate as the basis of his nation-state enterprise with an economy the size of the state of the state of New York.

            Don’t you get it, Trump thought he could thrwart the Mueller probe, because it was run by partisans in his party. After all is said and done, he actually did a better job of hamstringing the findings, then some other guy under the microscope in the same situation. He just doesn’t play by the rules. He makes them up as he goes or pretends there aren’t any or don’t apply to him, and says, arrest me, convict me and put me away. He demands loyalty but offers none in return. He respects those who feel emboldened to take whatever they want, and deal with the consequences by ignoring them. This is who we are dealing with. You have to charge him with a high crime or misdemeanor and then vote to impeach.

            Don’t care what the Republicans in the Senate do. They will have nothing to defend or offer as an office accomplishment under Trump unless they see the light. This can only end badly for them because the news won’t get better for their boy.

        • Raven Eye says:

          Maybe. Time will tell. After all, we did lose to Germany in the Portland semi-final…Though I don’t see a Silke Rottenberg on Trump’s team.

      • rip says:

        An interesting analogy, even if bmaz doesn’t agree.

        Pragmatism and the ability to adjust are critical in the changing political and interpersonal world.

        Still, having a goal in mind is of importance. As is not losing control of the ball, or being over-extended and unprotected.

          • safari says:

            While I wouldn’t use the “dumbocrats” reference, I agree with the idea that the Dems are being far too complacent in enacting oversight and airing Trump’s dirty laundry to the public. After Cohen’s fireworks, we’ve had nothing. That said, the impeachment of Bill Clinton lasted 2 months. Why start today when we already know the outcome? Trump’s not going anywhere, as long as McConnell stands in the way. He needs Trump for reelection and care only of himself and enriching his perceived allies, the Constitution be damned. So what would your plan be after the impeachment hearings end with Trump crowing about victory from the Rose Garden? The Dems would have already spent their impeachment card, and Trump and the GOP would whine and wail about “harassment” for every additional oversight hearing held until election day (which they’ll do regardless). So what’s the problem with holding endless hearings, extracting every possible document and hauling every tainted individual before the House, exposing a maximum of Trump’s swamp and lawlessness to the nation, narrated in the words of the cronies themselves, all while gaming out the magic “Impeachment” word? Then once enough comes out, pull the trigger.

            • cat herder says:

              We have to be realistic here. The best we can hope for is that the politicians will play political games and obsess over polling data they think will save themselves while leaving the rest of us out in the cold. I mean, that’s not nothing. At least somebody will survive, we should be grateful for that and stop whining so much.

      • orionATL says:

        raven eye ‘

        I think you are on the right path.

        you might as well ignore what bmaz has to say. he can actually be articulate and insightful, but mostly he likes to Sally forth with brief comments prominently featuring “bullshit”, “crap”, and other scatslogicals. he has a long history of this inarticulateness.

        in his comments bmaz will almost always assure you that you do not know what you are talking about, but that, by implication, he really, really knows what he is talking about. don’t buy his line. he uses the same line as the doj/FBI uses when implicitly assuring us they know something about malware tech we do not.

        in fact, it is often clear bmaz is obtuse and does not understand, how shall I put it, schiess.

        • Rayne says:

          Look, orion, I love you, man, but simply say you agree to disagree and avoid going ad hominem on moderators/editors. Set an example for the new kids, hmm?

          • orionATL says:

            rayne –

            I actually agree with you.

            on the other hand bmaz has GOT to quit slapping people around. that is not kind. that is not right. that is not, as I have pointed out, articulate or educational. and it is probably hurtful to this website. it is certainly hurtful to bmaz’s targets. it is one thing to have a good sense of trolls, it is another to shoot indiscriminately at harmless targets with the conviction that that’s ok because whoever gets hit probably deserved it. and in my view a lot of bmaz’s targets are making relatively harmless comments.

            • Rayne says:

              Think of bmaz as the site’s resident junkyard pit bull. Snarling comes with the guard duty. Will those who are easily frightened by dogs flee? Sure — but the real troublemakers are revealed in their response if they don’t run.

              He’s all bark, really. I’m the one you should fear. ;-)

            • Ruthie says:

              Putting myself on the line here…

              I’ve observed bmaz being quite welcoming to newcomers, maybe especially those who articulate some hesitation about joining in. On the other hand, I do agree that his arguments sometimes come across as unnecessarily aggressive. As a newbie myself, and one who largely avoids online forums for fear of such treatment, I found it quite intimidating. It took me an extra long time to engage here.

              I make allowances for his role as moderator, which means he’s subject to abuses/annoyances that might try anyone’s patience. Still, I’ve been lurking here long enough to suspect, at least, that there’s more to it than that.

              • Rayne says:

                Think of visible moderation here as good cop/bad cop and the cops often trade hats.

                Consider also this site and the kind of trouble it attracts because many news outlets and elected officials visit here. Where commenters can get lost in the crowd at sites like WaPo, it’s too easy for a provocateur to mingle with our much smaller community. Under shakedown they expose themselves and they’re dealt with. Will there be some casualties among the well-meaning fainthearted? Possibly. Probably. But the determined find a way and they’ll find folks like themselves here, people who they may disagree with from time to time but with whom they can have a thoughtful conversation.

                We don’t tolerate fools lightly because the content’s and community’s caliber demand otherwise. That said, thoughtful comments with solid sourcing/citations as necessary are welcome.

                • Savage Librarian says:

                  Speaking from experience, it is well worth making the effort to weather the storm. It can get rocky sometimes but clear skies eventually prevail. Marcy, EW, bmaz, Rayne, and Ed have definitely ensured my sanity (despite all that marshmallow fluff that has replaced some of my gray matter these days :-)

    • Hops says:

      I understand Pelosi is part of the Gang of Eight that gets to see all the classified stuff, including the CI stuff. Maybe she’s waiting to see that, or for parts of it to leak.

  5. harpie says:

    Very important! Thanks, Marcy.
    Greg Sargent is also writing about this:
    3:49 AM – 24 Apr 2019

    […] Crucial additional context in light of this NYT report: Remember that Trump’s obstruction was partly aimed at impeding a full accounting of that Russian interference effort:
    [link to a 4/23 thread, which says:] Dems are not making one of their best arguments […] Here’s scholar Philip Bobbit on why this might be impeachable:
    “[…] The exposure of the country to very damaging political intelligence techniques, for the venal reason of not diminishing the status of your victory – – would that be a high crime and misdemeanor? It certainly would.”

    [Philip Bobbitt, the constitutional scholar at Columbia University, is among those who have wrestled most deeply with the complex questions raised by impeachment. […]]

  6. Ruthie says:

    Who doubts that the administration’s failure to remedy the threat, beyond providing a fig leaf, is no accident? They welcomed Russia’s help in 2016, and it’s an open question as to whether they’ll face serious consequences for doing so. In fact, accepting additional help in 2020 may well be their best hope of getting away with it entirely.

  7. viget says:

    Dear Attorney General Barr,

    If the above is not enough evidence for you that the current administration has NO plans to enforce the rule of law, safeguard our most sacred privileges, namely the right of the franchise and to determine who shall govern the people of these United States, and that as Special Counsel Mueller reported, that but for the refusal of many key WH aides to not carry out blatantly illegal orders, that the president has and had OPENLY VIOLATED his Oath of Office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” and FLAGRANTLY AND DISDAINFULLY IGNORED Art. II, section 2 of the Constitution of the United states (“to take care that the laws be faithfully executed”), THEN we are not really sure what your purpose as Chief Law Enforcement Officer is right now.

    Therefore, either actually do YOUR CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED DUTY to uphold the Rule of Law, or resign. If you refuse to resign, know that the House Judiciary Committee can and will investigate your dereliction of duty, and recommend Articles of Impeachment to the United States Congress.


    The American People

    • viget says:

      Also I should mention the most damaging aspect of this whole affair: the erosion of the social compact.

      If the president can so willfully and flagrantly flaunt the rule of law and capriciously decide what laws to enforce, and which to ignore, while at the same time abdicating his responsibility as Commander-in-Chief by casting public doubt on the information his Intelligence officers are offering regarding grave threats to the National Defense, THEN what sort of an example does that set for the people of the United States? Why should they bother to follow the laws? Why should criminals, they’re going to get away with it anyway? Why should foreign nations bother to hide their espionage, when our president refuses to believe his intelligence agencies anyway?

      Why not just have lawlessness run amok? It doesn’t matter, the president does it, why can’t we?

      • Doug R says:

        It’s the same grifter that ran amok in New York, yet the NYFBI office was all in on supporting him. It’s the same grifter that ran amok on a TV show for countless seasons with Dominionist Mark Burnett all in on supporting him. 60,000,000 idiots fell for his crap, but 63,000,000 DIDN’T.

      • josap says:

        Laws are for the common people. The wealthy and powerful use their money and power to negate the law or place themselves above the law. It is the way of the world.

  8. Brendan says:

    Honest question, now that you have had the report for roughly a week. What’s your take on the level of redactions? Are they legit, is Barr going beyond the law.? Or did Mueller force him to play it straight?? Thanks, long time listener, first time caller.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Isn’t Mick Mulvaney still acting head of OMB and acting COS?

    Lovely work, as usual.

    Trump continues to create chaos, especially in the areas that most expose the United States to Russian interference: lowering the standards, funding and leadership for cyber and election security, promoting physical and social media campaigns that provoke further distrust in elected leaders and government itself, dismantling the United States’ foreign affairs competence, generally, and its foreign alliances, in particular. It’s as if he were implementing plans that originated at The Institute, unwittingly, of course.

    • BobCon says:

      This piece in Sunday’s NY Times about Mulvaney’s time at CFPB is very good:

      Mulvaney’s blocking of Nielsen mirrors some of the bureaucractic tactics he pulled at CFPB.

      And of course, the author of that piece, Nicholas Confessore, is not a part of the Times DC/election beat.

      There is no way reporting like this would ever come out of those places. There is no way they would ever let this piece inform their reporting, any more than they would acknowledge the reporting on Trump’s tax fraud or the Murdoch family, which were also reported outside the DC/elections beats.

      The Times has not fixed its broken reporting and editing from 2016. We will see it again.

      • horses says:

        I’ve interacted with Nick, and share your opinion. He’s legit.

        I also share your opinion of the Times. We’re boned.

  10. Noni Mausa says:

    This administration is the governmental equivalent of AIDS — an infection of the system created to prevent and defeat infections. With that in mind, are there actions equivalent to AIDS medications that could be deployed against this threat?

    • Rayne says:

      Get active in state and local politics — make sure nothing happens which isn’t fully auditable, doesn’t have failover, lacks accountability. How does your county clerk know whether precinct operations are normal, for example? How are absentee ballots handled? How are provisional and extra ballots printed and accounted for?

      Basic stuff, but most people don’t know anything about the nuts and bolts of their elections let alone how to protect it.

    • viget says:

      Not per se, but there is the concept that led to successful AIDS treatment: Simultaneous Multi-drug treatment with different mechanisms of action. That way, one or a few viral mutations cannot breed viral resistance.

      Same thing applies here: hit the administration on multiple fronts. I think the House should immediately open an impeachment investigation into Barr, and use that as a reason for why Barr should immediately recuse from any Mueller-referred investigations. In the mean time, keep on the Congressional pressure with the investigations, and hope that the other judicial proceedings bear some fruit soon.

      • bmaz says:

        Impeaching Barr is a feckless and useless move tag this point. Trump is denying fundamental oversight and destroying the separation of powers among branches. Anything short of immediately opening an impeachment investigation into him is just silly. It is necessary to consolidate and strengthen the House posers, including subpoena power. It is absolutely mandatory that it happen now. Barr is a worthless diversion.

        • PeteT says:

          i may be wrong, but I assume the Admin wants to slow-walk each subpoena to the SCOUTUS.

          Does launching an impeachment inquiry mitigate that or just establish even more solid grounds for said subpoenas? Would they still be slow walked?

          I suppose what I wonder is if the House leadership could not only start an impeachment inquiry but file a more general suit regarding the denial of Congressional Oversight. But, if I (mis)understand the Constitution, Congressional Oversight of the Executive in an implied power and not an enumerated one.


        • pjb says:

          Given what is laid out in the obstruction section (particularly the McGahn, Corey and Manafort stories), I agree that impeachment investigation cannot be justifiably avoided, even if politically fraught. How do you think the investigation should be staffed? Should it be separate from the HJC’s permanent staff? I think that’s how Rodino handled it during Watergate.

  11. Jockobadger says:

    There’s a good piece on Lawfare – Cybersecurity and the Mueller Report by Paul Rosenzweig.

    He selects a couple of examples of the intentional failure of the maladmin to emphasize cybersecurity because tr*mp sees it as an attack on the validity of his (non)election. This mother*cker is going to sink us all bc of his overweening ego. To wit:

    “the Russia portion of this criminal investigation is a cybercrime extravaganza and an indictment of the (lack of) cybersecurity in a wide range of institutions.

    As Marcy makes clear above, this is happening ONLY because of this fucking scoundrel’s directives to his minions.

    Dog help us all. JHFC

  12. AitchD says:

    Hmm. In 1974 the House Judiciary Committee voted out a bill of impeachment as Nixon had tried to cover up a break-in of an office suite in the Watergate Hotel. In 2017, Trump tried to cover up a break-in of the Electoral College of the United States of America.

    • rip says:

      No snark tag needed.

      Foreign money is what keeps the opposition to democracy alive. Witness the NRA, the russian real-estate and casino investment to enrich one paid-for group – the repuglicons.

      The hacking of the voting machines and the fuckface platform by KGB/FSB/putin.

  13. jaango says:

    Marcy, another of your excellent examples of the many tangents readily available within our political arena.

    I, obviously espouse the “Latino Perspective” and I have yet to find where the election interference of Russia, China and Iran to have had a significant or detrimental impact on Latino voters, writ large.

    However, my yard stick of measurement where the marriage of “intentional ignorance and criminal stupidity” has had a far greater impact on the Latino vote and as represented by the unwillingness or inability to establish into public law, “mandatory voting.” Thusly, both major political parties are enamored with their stultifying “voter suppression” given that today’s Anglo “majority” is determined to protect their access and control of the process that is the annualized federal spending behavior. And as such, “winning at all cost” is just that–the Green Back as is signified by the Federal Reserve.

    • P J Evans says:

      How have you not noticed that the voter suppression is all one party’s work? And that’s the part that’s also full of white supremacists, the one that currently controls the Senate and the WH (and, in practice, the courts).

    • Rayne says:

      “I have yet to find where the election interference of Russia, China and Iran to have had a significant or detrimental impact on Latino voters, writ large.”

      Don’t be so naive. There are experts with more than a decade of expertise in Spanish-language voter manipulation; Trump is already using Spanish-language media in Florida to condition attitudes about Venezuela.

      Re-read this piece from April 2016 – it was a warning the US didn’t understand or take seriously. It still warns us how easily outsiders can mess with us, especially Spanish-language speakers given the body of experience.

      Should point out that Facebook makes this even easier in its drive to supplant the crappy text messaging patchwork across Central America with its single interface.

      • jaango says:


        You’re on the wrong railroad line. I was speaking of Russia, China and Iran, and in keeping with this thread.

        And yet, when it comes to the Latin America Region, I am reminded of Chomsky from years ago and when he espoused that our nation had two major political parties, the extremist Right and the Right of Center and both owned by the CIA. Thus, our national behavior of usurping nations where Democracy is still abuzz, continues apace.

        • Rayne says:

          I think you’re in denial if you don’t think one of those three countries is working on Latinx Americans via information warfare, just as they have several other minority groups. And that’s a national security threat Trump’s ignored.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On the Mueller report generally, the NYT’s Michiko Kakutani provides a superb summary in the CJR. The heart and soul of it, which supports bmaz’s refrain that Ms. Pelosi needs to rethink her position on whether and when the House launches an impeachment inquiry, is this:

    [I]t forms a damning portrait of Trump, his administration and his campaign as corrupt, mendacious, and contemptuous of democratic norms and the rule of law.

    Trump emerges…as a shameless, narcissistic, and impetuous megalomaniac—someone who puts himself before the country, before any principles, before policies or people. His default settings seem to be anger and self-pity. He berates and bullies his staff, and rages against perceived enemies. He is willfully ignorant about governance and national security concerns, scornful of experts, the policy-making process, and the checks and balances written into our Constitution.

    Her observation echoes the views of many here:

    Over the past several years, the sheer volume and velocity of Trump scandals and lies (analogous to what Russian analysts have called the Kremlin’s “firehose of falsehood”) have numbed many of us—causing us to turn away out of disgust or weariness, or to normalize the abnormal with the cynical shrug that authoritarian leaders like Vladimir Putin count on to reduce public engagement in politics.

    Trump relies on the open and notorious aspect of his wrongful conduct to immunize him, if not legally, then in the public eye. It’s all he cares about as he constantly jockeys from one conflicting opportunistic position to another. Kakutani:

    But in its clarity and coherence, the Mueller Report slices through outrage fatigue. It provides a compelling roadmap for further [necessarily congressional] inquiries and investigations, and reminds us of what is at stake.


    • Geoff says:

      Seriously…at this point, what do they really think they are going to uncover in investigations that MEANINGFULLY and significantly changes the calculus of the extent of corruption, anti-demorcratic behavior and general mendacity on display here. It’s absurd, really. It’s as if Pelosi has forgotten just how much dirt came out the last two years, and how none of it meant jack. Theywill go through investigations, and not come up with a single thing that really moves the needle with public opinion. And meanwhile, the entire MSM it seems keeps saying how we should move on and just vote the guy out. Sorry, this cannot be considered acceptable behavior and it must be deemed so right this very moment. I can’t believe they are going to screw this up, but it really looks like they are trying. UGH.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The unredacted Mueller report will disclose a mountain of evidence against Trump that Mueller was institutionally prohibited from pursuing. And that was with a narrowly drawn remit and an extraordinarily high standard of proof.

        Congress’ remit need not be limited to relations with Russia or to the commission of recent federal crimes. Because its sanction is civil – removal from office – its burden of proof is far below the criminal law’s beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

        Congress could investigate, for example, abuses of power, including the serial misuse of lawful powers, such as the pardon power; gross mismanagement and ineptitude, such as apparent abuses in the issuance of security clearances; lack of action regarding important matters, such as adequately staffing an entire range of departments; an inability or unwillingness to enforce the law; prioritizing personal business and money-making above fulfilling the demands of his office, and so on. It should also review any such failings in the aggregate and as a pattern when making its determination whether to remove the president from office.

        • Geoff says:

          I pray you are correct sir(?) but I am getting far too used to having my optimism squashed once I let it rise up.

          First, they have to SEE the redacted Mueller report. Not clear that is going to happen any time soon if at all. But if they can get their hands on it, yes, it might make the case even more clear cut. But heck, isnt it clear cut enough already?

          • P J Evans says:

            You wrote:

            First, they have to SEE the redacted Mueller report.

            Do you mean the one without the redactions? That would make more sense, and the redacted version is the one that’s public.

        • orionATL says:

          earl of h –

          and all of this could, and in fact thru Nadler and Schiff will, proceed at a deliberate pace and will in time lead to an expanded awareness among millions of voters of trump’s depravity – personal and as a leader.

          there is no useful long-range political goal served at the moment by naming and conducting an impeachment inquiry. rather, having the impeachable evidence be revealed over time should yield strong political benefits for november 2020. finishing a formal (named) impeachment inquiry in the next say 6 months would leave a whole year for forgetfulness, reconsiderations, and relentless pro-trump propaganda to set in.

          winning the presidency, not the visceral satisfaction of impeachment, should be the goal of every Democrat from this moment until the polls close in Nov 2020. to fail to pursue the presidency with industry and wisdom would be as great an act of political folly and irresponsibility as any trump has pulled off.

    • Eureka says:

      On a related note, Kakutani’s tweet-out of the article was populated with the top-dollar “authority-reason” hybrid trolls, assuring their dialectical socks that MR/investigation is BS, impeachment unnecessary, etc. (but in fuller language, because top-dollar trolls). As evinced elsewhere (including here, at times), the campaign to Barr the door seems well-funded and hard at work. The digital operatives are living off Barr letter and Hannity fumes. We need public hearings ASAP.

    • orionATL says:

      as for kakatani, I will take your word for it because you are an acute and highly informative observer, but generally in my view kakatani is another of the nytimes seriously lightweight intellectuals :)

      it seems she has said nothing more than what everyone who has studied trump with a critical eye has known to be the case about the man since he was a candidate.

  15. Thomasa says:

    Impeaching or even a lengthy investigation of Barr may well be an unwise diversion. There is much already in the public record of his strategies and tactics in protecting presidents.

    That said, there are compelling reasons for not only keeping a sharp eye on his actions but making some educated predictions on his likely future actions— several moves ahead. Maybe his goal is not to protect the king but to ensure that the knights, rooks and bishops remain on the board when the king is taken.

    One thing I find curious about his present job as AG is the assumption that his job is to protect this president. Maybe I should get out more but EW posts and comments are the only place I have seen discussed that his role is to protect the GOP. I believe his history supports this notion. Consider that his first job (per Wikipedia) was with the CIA fro ‘73 to ‘77. That and his involvement in Iran/Contra tells me that he’s well acquainted with the intelligence community. It may also be a comment on where his loyalties lie.

    • viget says:

      While I was of that opinion until recently (protect the GOP, not the president), I cannot explain all the other stuff he seems to have done. He didn’t “want” to oppose the ACA, but he let DOJ do it anyway. He is now trying to interfere in the EDNY investigation of 1MDB and Eliot Broidy, which probably has nothing to do with “helping” the GOP, but rather to obstruct the investigation into Trump campaign finance crimes and/or graft related to the inauguration. And most of all, he lied through his teeth about Vol. II of the Mueller report, and stormed off stage when the press started calling him on it. That’s not helping the GOP, that’s helping Trump.

      • PieIsDamnGood says:

        Perhaps the help for Trump is just enough to stay in the job? His goal may be to save the GOP, but to do that he has to keep Trump happy and convinced of his loyalty. I don’t want to give Barr (any) credit, but he is likely turning down even more crazy shit Trump asks for!

        Wouldn’t be surprised in 1MDB and Broidy have other powerful interests on their sides as well.

      • Rayne says:

        It’s ultimately all about the malignant-narcissist-in-chief but Russia wasn’t the only entity demanding its cut in return for aid. What entity/ies wanted to end both ACA, discriminate against a certain group of Muslims, end asylum seeking? It’s payback to it/them.

  16. MattyG says:

    Other than stating on a number of occasions that he sees “no reason” why he can’t have a “great relationship with Putin” (which we have no reason to doubt; $$$), DT has *never* publicly articulated a policy explaining either his vision or justification for a US-Russian rapprochement – other than to confess his attraction to Putin. And he’s certainly never made one in context of Russian political interference and election tampering.

    Failure to articulate an actual coherent policy makes his kindly statements and defenses of Russia – serious balking at sanctions implementation, roundly dismissing the important of election integrity measures, contradicting US national security in deference to Russia proclamations and all the other dubious actions – opens these actions to a ligitimate constitutional challenge by congress on the grounds they constitute reckless high crimes and misdemeanors.

    • Rayne says:

      If he had legitimate policy, why did he not let Tillerson do his job and set up a fully fleshed-out (if corporate sized) state department with emphasis on a new detente with Russia? Why the sloppy haste like a rickety skunkworks instead of some big crown jewel of statecraft? He put more effort into fucking around with North Korea than he invested into Russia.

      • MattyG says:

        Presidential prerogative. Fine. Until it’s not. Congress has the power to defend the country if it feels the president won’t. An un-articulated policy that has the effect of articulating a policy furthering the interest of a large powerful foreign adversary could easily be framed in terms much less endearing than “misguided” or “ineffective”. Congress has as much ground to challenge DT for literally working for RU as it does he conspired with them and obstructed to cover for them. Give it a month or three…

  17. mospeck says:

    depressingly great stuff, Marcy,
    fingers crossed and hope rule of law wins, but right now the lawyers seem way too slow and overtaken by present events. Russians are clever and think out of the box-a lot like the Jeopardy guy. Expect Russia in 20 to bring the kitchen sink against their principal adversary. But give no forward tells, and especially hit the vote count server chains in order to try to generate a legitimate delegitimization of the 2020 election. Present admin can then plausibly, legally decertify said results.

  18. Jockobadger says:

    Great work Marcy – as usual – Scary stuff right here. Mospeck hit the nail right on the head:

    “….especially hit the vote count server chains in order to try to generate a legitimate delegitimization of the 2020 election. Present admin can then plausibly, legally decertify said results.”


    Wtf can we do? My Senators and Reps are all Blue. I write and call once a week at least. Staffers soothe me with honeyed words. Bmaz and the others are right about rolling out impeachment to combine and concentrate legal and administrative effort. I didn’t believe it until yesterday. JHFC

  19. viget says:

    Let’s add more obstruction to the fire, shall we?

    WSJ and others reporting Michael Cohen was secretly recorded by Tom Arnold complaining about his plea deal. He denies having evaded Federal Taxes due to not reporting income from some of his taxi medallion businesses, and he also denies having made false statements to banks about his financial position with regards to loan applications. He said he only did so to protect his wife’s (and probably his father-in-law’s) interests.

    It’s pretty clear from this that he’s not getting a Rule 35(b) sentence reduction, which means he’s not cooperating with SDNY on the graft investigation. Good for the Dems that they didn’t fall for his last minute sentence reduction scheme.

    Wonder if Trump does have a secret plan for a pardon for him.

  20. rattlemullet says:

    Bmaz is right anything but formal public impeachment hearings is abdication of duty. It is long past for there to be accountability with our elected officials. Congress has been abdicating their responsibility as required by the constitution since 9/11 and before, The first acts of not declaring war with Korea may have been the start. Congress has been craving for a unitary executive and now they have one with no regard for norms. The problem may be that congress has no enforcement authority to turn to when they need to have someone placed under arrest if the subpoenas are ignored.

    • rattlemullet says:

      PJ Evans, thank you for the link. I posted the following at Speaker Pelosi’s link.

      Madame Speaker,

      It is long past for there to be accountability with our elected officials. Congress has been abdicating their responsibility as required by the constitution since 9/11 and before, The first acts of not declaring war with Korea may have been the start. Congress has been craving for a unitary executive and now they have one with no regard for norms or laws. The problem may be that congress has no enforcement authority to turn to when they need to have someone placed under arrest if the subpoenas are ignored. Your place in history will be judged by your act to remove clearly the most lawless president in my life time. To test the waters of public opinion on this is being cowardly. Stand up for America please.

  21. Eureka says:

    He is compromised, so we are compromised. Trump’s ego bruise over the mere thought of Russian assistance _is_ the stupid fecking ‘pee tape.’

  22. harpie says:

    Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post:
    Hillary Clinton: Mueller documented a serious crime against all Americans. Here’s how to respond.
    Hillary Clinton April 24 at 4:44 PM

    […] Third, Congress can’t forget that the issue today is not just the president’s possible obstruction of justice — it’s our national security. After 9/11, Congress established an independent, bipartisan commission to recommend steps that would help guard against future attacks. We need a similar commission today to help protect our elections. This is necessary because the president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger. It was just reported that Trump’s recently departed secretary of homeland security tried to prioritize election security because of concerns about continued interference in 2020 and was told by the acting White House chief of staff not to bring it up in front of the president. This is the latest example of an administration that refuses to take even the most minimal, common-sense steps to prevent future attacks and counter ongoing threats to our nation. […]

    • Tech Support says:

      I thought the most interesting part of the op-ed actually came before your quoted section. I felt like the overarching theme of her piece was telling pro-impeachment voices to “slow their roll” and be patient in the execution of the current investigative timetable, but also reassuring people that the pace shouldn’t be interpreted to mean that impeachment won’t happen.

      • harpie says:

        Yes. The whole op-ed is worth a read…I was hoping people would click the link. I quoted what I did because of Marcy’s post, here.

        • harpie says:

          Virginia Heffernan expresses how I feel better than I could:

          2:11 PM – 24 Apr 2019

          HRC: This is personal for me but I was also SecState during Putin’s ascent; I know how he’s weakening the US. By a strange twist, I was staff atty on the 74 impeachment, FLOTUS during the 98 impeachment & NY senator during 9/11, when we were attacked.
          The reminder of what experience, intellect, dynamism, principle, leadership and plain public service look like is almost jarring.
          “House Dems shd also stay focused on the agenda midterm voters demanded. During Watergate, Congress passed the War Powers Act, the Endangered Species Act & the Federal-Aid Highway Act. For today’s Dems, it’s essential to move forward on multiple fronts at the same time.”

        • Eureka says:

          I read it, harpie. HRC is dealing some highly grounded, expert ‘calmth.’ She wrote like a leader, road-mapping things at a gross scale.

          (Or what you bolded from Virginia Heffernan…)

    • harpie says:

      Mark Warner at USA Today:
      Sen. Warner: Trump and Russia threatened our democracy. What are we going to do about it?
      3:15 a.m. ET April 25, 2019

      […] Republicans and Democrats alike should acknowledge that our laws must be updated to address the new threats we face. To do this, we must confront the fact that the president and his campaign engaged in behavior that — repeated by Trump or any future candidate — poses an ongoing threat to our national security. […]

    • harpie says:

      Rep. Tom Malinowski [D-NJ]:
      6:10 AM – 25 Apr 2019

      The Mueller Report is not just a story about what happened in 2016. It’s a warning about what could happen again, and thus a call to action to protect our democracy. (1) The report tells us Trump wasn’t working for Russia (thankfully), but also that he wasn’t, and isn’t, working for America. He’s interested only in protecting himself, as DHS Secretary Nielsen found out when she urged action to secure the 2020 election. (2) This means it’s up to Congress to act. Here are some ideas. (3) […]

      • harpie says:


        Second, it’s illegal for political candidates to share things like polling data and campaign strategy with independent political action groups (IEs) in the US.
        Yet apparently it’s perfectly legal to share that info with Russian spies to help them target our voters. (5)
        The rules that prohibit coordination between political candidates and IEs should also apply to coordination with a foreign government or agent of a foreign government.
        At the very least! (6)

      • harpie says:


        Third, political candidates should have an affirmative legal duty to report to law enforcement any offer of help coming from a foreign government or that might be illegal, like offers of hacked emails. Just as banks are required to report suspicious transactions. (7)
        We should consider how to define more clearly that actions by presidents to influence or shut down investigations in which they have a personal interest — as Trump repeatedly and blatantly tried to do – are illegal and prosecutable. (9)

  23. Hops says:

    Ever wonder what the Supreme Court people think of all this? Can they not be talking about it? Does it keep them up at night?

    • Scott says:

      To the extent that the GOP majority even thinks of it I’m sure it’s limited to updating their pre-judgements to fit with Trumps whims.

  24. AitchD says:

    Someone’s running computer models, I mean I would do that if I knew how, branching all the Ifs/Thens. If formal preliminary hearings are announced, then what? And so on. At some branch/fork (see? I don’t know what I’m talking about), the model includes the governors of the several states and territories, includes the National Guard and State Militias, and so on.

    So I wonder about the governors of Maryland and Virginia, as should Trump and especially the armed maniacs he thinks can scare anyone.

    • Hops says:

      Yeah, it worries me that police type forces may be largely Trump supporters. Will it come down to whether the military supports the Constitution?

      • RWood says:

        Trumpeters who automatically assume that the majority of liberals are not well-armed are in for a rude awakening.

        I personally know many ex and current soldiers, police, Federal Marshall’s, DEA and FBI agents that will say the same.

        That bright red MAGA hat makes for one hell of a target indicator.

        • Jockobadger says:

          RWood – so true. I know lots of LE folks around here and all of them despise tr*mp. Further, we are well-armed and are not hopelessly over-weight unlike the militia members we all saw in the photos from the border this week. Lol. I can outshoot any of those fat f*cks and have just the rifle to do it.

          – Libtard w/a rifle.

            • RWood says:

              Not picking on you Orion when I say this!

              I worded my remark that way for a reason. Your response is the way I would expect a none-trumpeter to respond. You saw it as a possible veiled threat and were brave enough to say so. Thank you for that.

              A prepper/trumpster will view it differently. To them its someone calling their bluff, and it knocks them down a notch. Most of these types are like that kid in school who runs his mouth because he has an older brother who will back him up. They need to be reminded that Trump is not there to protect them, despite what he says on Faux News.

          • P J Evans says:

            I have friends who vote D and have handguns. He has one, she has two.
            (They both passed the test to be armed guards, though neither does that. The clients for armed guards are mostly people you don’t want to know.)

  25. RWood says:

    Question for the lawyers present:

    How bad do we need Trumps taxes?

    I ask as there are a few states (25!) that are pushing to keep him off the ballot if he refuses to make them public. I realize none have passed anything yet and two have been struck down, but if only a few were to pass such a law those states are enough to ensure he is defeated in 2020.

    Would it be prudent to withdraw the subpoena pending the outcome of those state proposals? Even if it’s nothing more than fighting trumpish fire with fire? I would think not, but I’m asking anyway.

    • Hops says:

      Part of the lead up to the Civil War was Lincoln being elected w/o even being on the ballot on the slave states.

    • Jockobadger says:

      We’re trying to keep him off the ballot here in Washington St. May or may not be a good move. What does bmaz think?

  26. Taxidermist says:

    Is the House doing anything to get the IC annual threat report or the 45 day election report, or did they just shrug and admit defeat? This kinda seems like the most important thing some of them could be focused on.

  27. Scott says:

    Since Trump believes le etat c’est moi and nearly half your electorate and government agree this is hardly surprising.

  28. David Karson says:

    My two cents on the question of impeaching now or waiting. I will take a bit of the middle ground. Yes, Trump should be impeached. But for now, I will give Pelosi the benefit of the doubt. I am hoping that she is waiting for the right moment, within the next two months, and I would like to think that the catalyst might be Don McGahn’s testimony. After all, as Marcy said in her previous post, he might know where a lot of the dead bodies are buried. Could he be Trump’s version of John Dean? I hope so. If he is (yes a big if) then, like Malcom Gladwell’s book, the country could be at a “Tipping Point”. So I would like to think Pelosi is just waiting for enough tinder to set the fuel on fire, and McGahn is the tinder (or Trump’s taxes) P.S. Thank you Marcy for an excellent blog.

  29. orionATL says:

    for the hysterical folks here:

    you might want to keep in mind that Nancy Pelosi is the only competent major political leader in this country.

    does competent governing mean anything to you?

    do you even know what effort, experience, and intellect it takes to govern competently?

    • Raven Eye says:

      Which brings to mind…

      For months and months, while the Trumpistas were screaming about the amount of time it was taking for Mueller and his team, many here counseled patience — let Mueller take his time and do the job right.

      Now, just six days after the release of only the redacted version of the report, some folks are demanding Pelosi and the Democrats’ house leadership immediately open a formal impeachment investigation.

      Ready. Fire. Aim?

      • Rayne says:

        I’m one of the people you’re bitching about. You could have aired this beef about impeachment in the open thread I set up beneath my call for impeachment, but nooo…

        Some of us have been following this goddamn train wreck CLOSELY since 2016. It was apparent almost immediately — like January 27, 2017 when the Muslim travel ban was enacted by executive fiat — this presidency was going to be a gross failure. Trump’s job is to take care the law is faithfully executed and he failed that immediately out of the gate while he was still pissing and moaning about the size of his inaugural crowd. To anybody paying serious attention there has been more than adequate reason to kick Trump’s ass to the curb, from illegal detentions of Muslims to thousands of dead Puerto Rican Americans, to babies ripped from their parents and trafficked to gods know where under the guise of adoption and tens of thousands warehoused children and adults in tents and cages. We’ve had fucking hearings; our representatives have been turned away from physically inspecting concentration camps Trump’s running in our name. We’ve heard about unlawful orders apart from anything related to the scope of SCO’s investigation.

        And then it took the White House mere hours to decide to obstruct the first request for documents after the SCO report was released.

        Fucking start the impeachment process. No legislation will pass as long as McConnell is majority leader anyhow. Put this figurative flaming tire around the turtle’s neck and let’s go.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Rayne, one thought I have about timing for the start of Impeachment proceedings. I wonder if waiting until the un-redacted MR is given to the leadership would make the initiation of Impeachment more powerful.

          It would indicate that there is more to the story than what has been in the public debate up to now. It might help to draw more eyes to the hearings, and public education is a critical goal.

          • cat herder says:

            I am sure that at some unspecified time in the future this mythical ‘perfect moment’ will arrive. Mid-2040s or so? Would that be agreeable to everyone? Can’t rush into things half-cocked, you know…

            When did we become so afraid to do hard stuff? If we can’t figure out a way to fix this we deserve whatever we get. I think we should at least try, and stop with this ‘waiting’ and hand-wringing bullshit. Yes it will be hard. No not everything tried will work. At some point, waiting over and over and over becomes the same as deciding to do nothing. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.

            • orionATL says:

              sarcasm does not substitute well for thoughtfulness.

              no. this not an emergency except in your apparent need for retribution to be exacted against our pathological prez.

              the actual “emergency” is winning the presidency in november 2020 to put an end to the right wing’s destruction of of our system of governing and caring for each other. our nearly 100 year old security network is being attacked and dismantled – social security, food stamps, community improvement, housing for the poor, medical insurance and care (rural hospitals especially), clean water, affordable higher education. the absolutely essential regulatory function of government in a complex society is being undermined by appointing those who require regulation to lead the regulatory agencies. the monster of nuclear weaponry has been loosed from its treaty bonds. the European-American security arrangement is being attacked with hope’s of dismantling. rules on coal and gas and clean air that are critical to climate warming efforts are being abandoned with abandon by the trump administration.

              just to name a few problems a Democrat as president would consider consequential, but another rightwing presidency would not.

              oh, and then there’s Mike pence. but that will never happen, will it?

                • orionATL says:

                  if you understood gaslighting rather than merely parroting a word you’d heard, you would realize how far off base your use of the term is.

                  juvenile sarcasm about “2040” and a facile comment about “doing the hard stuff” – you won’t be doing a bit of that “hard stuff”, will you – indicate how little you understand about what is involved and what is at stake. that is made clear by the “THIS IS AN EMERGENCY”. no, it really is not an emergency. rather, the nadler/Schiff hearings are an opportunity to be taken advantage of if hysteria can be avoided.

                  • cat herder says:

                    What did I do to attract your ire? Was I just a convenient target because you got tired of abusing bmaz?

                    Also, appreciate that no one bothered to speak up. Thanks.

                    • Rayne says:

                      I didn’t see this as an attack on you mostly because I read all comments in a single chronological stream in the backend of the site. Forgive us if we don’t see and interpret heated exchanges between community members especially over days apart when there isn’t a pointed ad hominem in the comments.

                      I am never going to get this next Article finished. ~sigh~

                  • bmaz says:

                    Orion, I love you, but do not pull this shit. You want to tilt at me, have at it. But do not do this to regular commenters. That is not going to work.

          • Rayne says:

            Sure. Stagecraft. But I want you to ponder the Overton Window and how it works.

            The people waiting for a singular trigger to launch their initiative are NOT the ones who set the far reach of the window.

        • orionATL says:


          ” Put this figurative flaming tire around the turtle’s neck and let’s go.”

          that’s anc talk – for traitors.

          • Rayne says:

            And the problem is…? Mitch McConnell literally stole a Supreme Court seat. The only bigger theft in this country is the presidency, and he aided and abetted that, too. McConnell should have to wear the unrelenting burning shame of his betrayal of American democracy every minute of his life.

            • Willis Warren says:

              Even if the Senate doesn’t impeach, McConnell needs to be remembered by history as the asshole Koch sucker that he is. I think it’s imperative that he be held accountable long after his useless life is over.

              I’d bet the only time he ever gets an erection is when someone says “Merrick Garland”

              • Rayne says:

                As I’ve said at least a couple times, we will be lining up to piss on his grave.

                We’ll leave little pink stickers behind to commemorate our visit — they’ll read, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

            • orionATL says:

              rayne –

              no problem at all, quite the contrary. you will have to admit though that it is rare to read someone reference an African national Congress sanction with that figurative power :)

              personally, I’m all for giving mcconnell a thorough serial misconduct-taking money from the russians trial in the 2021 senate.

              did you hear the one about the new Russian factory going up in Mcconnell’s baliwick?

              • Rayne says:

                It’s only rare in this portion of the hemisphere where one is liable to be snowblind.

                Yes, I know about Deripaska’s Rusal. McConnell needs to be thoroughly investigated. At the same time an effort must be made to reach UAW and Teamsters to explain how this is a backdoor to compromise them.

                • orionATL says:

                  damn. I had not thought of the unions at all. that would not have been the case 40 yrs ago. how far the ordinary folk have fallen in power as the corporate money saturated our political system.

                  • Rayne says:

                    Yeah, that. The aluminum is intended for the automotive and aerospace industries. We’re playing chess with people who still treat it like a national sport. What’s the next move(s)?

                    • P J Evans says:

                      limiting the aluminum (or rare-earth) supply would be my guess. Enough so the aerospace companies hurt, not enough to shut them down.

                    • Rayne says:

                      Hmm. I think it’s a different tack. It’s a strain to think like a kleptocrat but how does one make boodles of money from an aluminum plant serving automakers and aerospace?

                    • AndTheSlithyToves says:

                      lolol You can think plenty like a kleptocrat, Rayne! Remember Trump’s International Laundromat, GOLF! Also, it might not be about money–could be a foothold, spy outpost, etc. We’re dealing with a Transnational Crime Syndicate.

        • Peacerme says:

          The border situation is the equivalent of torturing babies. Healthy secure attachment is a requirement for mental health. We need to act with the urgency of the truth. Of course, collect more facts. Interviews. Walk and chew gum. Real innocent humans are being harmed by this presidents policies. I do appreciate that Pelosi I had refrained from entering into pissing contests with trump. Improvement. But there is zero doubt that an impeachment must take place and it needs to be done with confidence. Not hesitation or timidity. Move like babies are being tortured.

  30. Kelly says:

    One thing I think would clear a lot of this up, is that the Dem leadership players are all using “impeachment” with different definitions. I think they should categorize the impeachment word into the process parts, e.g.:

    The up/down impeachment vote comes at the END of the impeachment hearings/discovery process.

    This would eliminate tons of confusion and bring clarity in my opinion. Pelosi should say that the discovery bits are beginning toute suite and that any up/down vote will be scheduled accordingly.

    Then these discovery hearings should take the opportunity to read the report to the nation who isn’t going to read it. That should really help paint the picture as it needs to be painted, and completely damage the R’s attempts to retain the senate.

    It’s really necessary to flip the utility and the script – the trial (of fact) really needs to happen in the House, because the Senate will have zero intelligent hearings – the Turtle will just take the opportunity to grandstand and salvage before the Senate vote.

  31. fpo says:

    Lawrence Tribe, longtime Harvard law professor and someone who knows a bit about Constitutional law, impeachment and the Supreme Court, expressed his views on the subject of Congressional Hearings vs. formal Impeachment hearings on The Last Word last evening (4/24/2019). Speaking about Nadler’s current efforts as an example, he said:

    “…They’re not called impeachment hearings, but the impeachment process, for anyone who understands what’s going on, is underway. It’s underway, but they don’t have the bumpersticker yet.”

    He also comments on tRump’s vow to fight every Congressional inquiry and the idea that somehow the SCOTUS will aid him in his efforts. Spoiler alert – that ain’t gonna happen.

    See “Trump thinks justices he appointed can overturn impeachment” clip here:

    [ ]

    • orionATL says:

      thanks for the citation.

      “the impeachment process is underway”.

      I think that is exactly right. nadler and Schiff and waters and committees are working to collect information. they will get the job done in an orderly manner. the political momentum will build with trump’s persistent efforts to hide documents and refuse to give testimony.

      guaranteed, their findings will inform the public in the next several months.

      the discussion of trump ‘s manifest, multifaceted incompetence as president will sink into the public’s consciousness. this should not omly impact the presidential race but a number of senatorial races and bolster reelections to the house.

      the payoff? a democratic president, Senate, and house for the first time in a decade,

  32. Willis Warren says:

    it seems we’re divided, not really on impeachment, but on when to do it… some think Pelosi is playing some master game plan and others think she’s dawdling. I’m curious why anyone thinks she’s playing some chess game, or why that’s a smart strategy. 538 has been pretty silent on it all, and they’d have real data. Maybe the timing should come closer to the election? the counterpoint to that is “Trump is stalling until after the election, so move now.”

    If anyone is in the “impeachment might backfire” camp, I have no idea why you’d think that. I don’t see any evidence that the public is undecided.

    • AitchD says:

      The Speaker of the House must (not shall) wait until the 2018 election results are completed, no? The Ninth Congressional District of North Carolina has begun early voting to seat a representative.

    • orionATL says:

      I suppose you could say Pelosi is playing chess. personally, I think she is (maybe somewhat desperately) juggling competing powerful demands from her party both leaders and followers.

      she must show some concern for the general well-being of the people, that would be Medicare and medical insurance for sure, including rural hospital decline and old-age medically-induced poverty. dealing with the cost of college and with school loans. clean air, clean water at least as an introduction to tackling climate change has to be addressed.

      on the other hand, she surely understands the depth of the president’s personal depravity and his incompetence to perform in the office of president and democractic righteous anger. but should this legislative dead end have priority? i say: careful attention, yes. priority, no.

      • Willis Warren says:

        it’s not a dead end, though. Our country was founded on the concept of documenting our grievances and outlining, for history, our values.

        That’s important to me. That’s a hell of a lot more important than healthcare, which no one has the testes to take head on anyway.

      • P J Evans says:

        She’d be hearing from a lot of constituents (or former constituents) about the cost of housing. (In S.F., housing is so expensive that even the tech “millionaires” have trouble; a small one-room no-cooking-allowed unit can run $2000 or more per month. Long-time businesses are closing down because their rent has doubled in the last couple of years.)

  33. Rugger9 says:

    Add to this what Pence said (or to be more precise, did not say) about using Russian dirt in 2020: he walked away without answering the question so it is clear the GOP is counting on Vlad to keep them in power by any means necessary.

    Forewarned is forearmed. However, I’d like to not have to rely on Anonymous to break up Russian hacks like they allegedly did in 2012 to prevent Rove from stealing Ohio for Mittens. There’s a reason Rove blew a gasket when OH was called, because there was a fix in and it failed. Recall that OH’s SoS Husted (?) had just made “modifications” on the voting systems right before the general election.

    Given how there is still no improvement in many states’ systems we can expect something like another vote-flipping hack run by the FSB.

  34. Dave Noble says:

    Again, peering from the Great White North, with our own collection of political issues, is there any merit in simply Following The Money? Worked on Capone, I believe.

    The challenge I see here in all the many comments is that the politico’s on your Capitol Hill are treading delicately through a labyrinthine forest of political, constitutional and legal factors, complicated by the inclination to get in to debates on how many angels are on the head of a pin.

    From where I sit, impeachment writ large would be a huge blow to US national integrity and prestige and greater, in fact, than the damage being generated daily by the orange one. Not to mention the cost and effort it would demand, and the distraction from the frankly more important matter of running your large and globally critical nation.

    I suspect that Trump’s financial and tax matters are far from clean from any perspective, and certainly when the larger Trumpian circle of family and friends is brought under scrutiny.

    So, Follow the Money – a more pragmatic way out of this?

    • Rugger9 says:

      “Follow the money” is what the NYS AG is doing and Deutsche Bank is allegedly cooperating with her.

      Add to that the inaugural committee investigation. Of course Kaiser Quisling and his Palace minions are stonewalling everything they can to prevent any disclosures. I would not be surprised to find out the Inaugural was used as one of the principal foreign money and support sources along with the NRA.

      As far as the integrity question goes, that ship sailed long ago with KQ and his Palace. One can’t save what no longer exists.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      An investigator needs legal authority “to follow the money.” NY state and others are doing that. But the president’s probable crimes, his malfeasance, his placing self-enrichment above governance and self-protection over national security, his dereliction of duty – and that he might get away with them – have enormous implications for American politics, culture, and the law.

      Trump is unusual only in being a more extreme version of today’s Republican Party and big binessman. He is just more of what one can see on any given day in board rooms and smoke-filled political conference rooms. Business schools and occasionally court rooms are full of Trump wannabes. He needs to be investigated and, if warranted, punished.

      Trump is a poster child for, “If the rich do it, it can’t be a crime. But pound that fifteen-year old African-American student’s head into the concrete – and pepper spray him for good measure – because he stopped to eat at a McDonald’s.”

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        Individual-1 is nothing more than Professor Harold Hill proclaiming, Oh, yes, we’ve got trouble, right here in ‘Merica”, that starts with “M” and that rhymes with “them”.

        But it takes the background chorus chanting trouble, trouble, trouble to be effective.

    • Rayne says:


      …impeachment writ large would be a huge blow to US national integrity and prestige and greater, in fact, than the damage being generated daily by the orange one.

      Does “bullshit” translate into Canadian English? Or should I say, Quel char de marde?

      The border didn’t shut down between Canada and the US when Clinton was impeached and that was a massive farce which should have called US competence into question. Nor did the border shut down when Nixon resigned in lieu of impeachment. No country stopped doing business with South Korea when they impeached their corrupt president even after weeks of marches by torchlight.

      No. It is absolutely critical that a democracy holds a corrupt leader accountable because it is the hallmark of a democracy to do so. Only an autocracy would tolerate continuing under corrupt leadership because the people have forfeit their autonomy and agency.

      Will elected representatives “follow the money”? Yes, they are accountable to the people for investigating the who/how/why of corruption. And we learned to follow the money holding Nixon accountable — why would we do less for someone far more malign and corrupt?

      Perhaps you ought to take notes. You may need this some day if you want to keep your own democracy. You have a nascent Trump in your own backyard as it is.

      • Dave Noble says:

        good lord what an unnecessarily rude and confrontational reply.

        Unfortunately much of what passes for discourse in the US rapidly degrades to polarized and shouted ad hominems. Well done again.

        My point, quite clearly very poorly expressed, is that the US and Americans – for which I have the greatest admiration and friendship – will suffer grievous division over an extended impeachment process. The lines are all pretty much clearly drawn already.

        do you really need another civil war?

        [You’ve made three comments since April 10; your comment went into moderation because you used different login information. Please use the same information each time you comment until you have established credibility with this site. Auto-moderation tools will otherwise pull comments into Pending Status. /~Rayne]

        • Rayne says:

          We have not previously devolved into civil war over previous impeachments and impeachment attempts. I realize Canada doesn’t have as long a history as a democracy, being now a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy while the U.S. has always been a federal presidential constitutional republic. In short, we do not recognize monarchs or autocrats here; the current president has displayed every indication he is willing to vacate his oath of office and rule, not lead, as a corrupt autocrat.

          We’re not going to avoid doing the right thing, allowing corruption to continue unfettered, for the sake of convenience. Again, look to your own backyard: were Trudeau or perhaps Ford to prove every bit as corrupt as Trump, would a majority of Canadians ignore it for the sake of keeping the peace? Ontarians didn’t seem particularly troubled by the Ford brothers, after all. Would Canadians be able to muster an effective majority to check a corrupt leader under their multiparty system while at least one hostile nation attacked it via information warfare?

          I question Canada’s ability to maintain their own unity seeing how easily another Commonwealth member state was nearly broken in half under the same pressures and may yet fragment if lingering pro-Brexit sentiment isn’t completely crushed.

          It’s rather rude to lecture us on our internal politics with so little awareness of the same challenges emerging in your own country.

          ADDER: I can’t believe I am having to justify a swift move to impeachment to a Canadian when the U.S. has growing concentration camps at its borders. By all means, though, let’s not make waves with a minority of Americans who think concentration camps are peachy.

        • bmaz says:

          The problem with that reasoning, Mr. Noble, is that it is the sworn duty (literally it is in their oath) for Congress members to defend the Constitution. That includes the prerogative of oversight and subpoena ability to perform it. Trump is shredding that, and with it the Constitution and Separation of Powers. Just because it is unpleasant does not mean it is not necessary. It is and it is now.

          And, for people that want to “investigate more first”, Trump has made crystal clear that any and all such effort will be refused and fought tooth and nail. That is why opening a formal impeachment investigation is so critical. Having the investigation under that term makes the matter clear and mandatory as to ability to collect evidence. And even Republican judges would be hesitant to invade that power because it is directly a political question matter specified by the Constitution. If you want any investigation at all, this is the way to get it. That does not mean articles of impeachment have to ever be voted on, but use the power. And do it now. Waiting is ludicrous.

          • Dave Noble says:

            (Hope I logged in with the right email this time).

            Yes I watch the BREXIT omnishambles with a mix of bemusement and horror, as the various UK politicians play game with a their own (unwritten) constitutional roles.

            I salute the role of Congress to defend the Constitution – did all the Republican members get the same required reading?

            Trump appalls me, and has repeatedly demonstrated that he will flout any principle, ethic or rule to advance his reputation and personal prosperity.

            His repeated overt calls/suggestions to his base inciting violent measures when he is threatened, and the evident willingness of that base to undertake them is what I am referring to. That, the prevalence of firearms in the US, and the seeming enthusiasm to deploy them, should be a concern to al of us.

            I’m very well versed in our Canadian political situation and have been a political observer for over 50 years now. I suggest what you are hearing from up here pales in comparison to the White House shitshow.

            Concentration camps on the border? Yes I guess that’s one way to describe them.

            But on a related note, where are all the principled people who know better and saw it directly – Mattis, Kelly and many others. Have they no shame?

            • Molly Pitcher says:

              No, no shame. Zilch.

              That is why WE are yelling loudly. Consider the fact that the President of the United States, Obama, wanted to sound the alarm about Russian involvement in the lead up to the election and the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, among his many other crimes, blocked it.

              The Republican Party exists no longer. It is a collection of kleptocrats, rabid ideologues and a smattering of extreme religious zealots.

    • Geoff says:

      Oh oh! Me Me! I’ve seen it ! :

      “Fake notes. 9/11! Cross-examination. 9/11. Fake notes. 9/11! Already litigated that. 9/11. Hopelessly confused. 9/11! Fake notes! 9/11! We’re basically done. 9/11! Any moment now….9/11! …fake notes!

  35. RWood says:

    I’m firmly in the “start the Formal Impeachment Investigations” camp. Like bmaz and others here, I see no upside to the delay.
    I’ve spent some considerable time trying to find a reason for Pelosi’s reluctance to pull the trigger. She doesn’t need more proof, a mountain of it exist already with more arriving every day*. Alienating the trump supporters further is another hypothesis. That makes no sense to me at all. They are the same as the 25% that still supported Nixon after his impeachment. Nothing is going to change their minds in the next 18 months. What are they going to do? Vote twice? Write them off as unreachable. Keep investigating? Okay, I’m all for that. But what progress have they made in that department? Zero. Trump and his consigliere (Hey! Spelled that right the first time!) have not only blocked every move they have made but announced that they plan to do so indefinitely. So she has him on record for more obstruction? This might make sense when paired with the statute of limitations*, but for the voters its no surprise at all. That’s what trump does. There’s no need to show us again, we already know.
    BUT, (there’s always a but) there are, according to polling, trump voters who are now on the fence. IF she is trying to reach them, without it appearing like a “which hunt”, she may feel she has to make a show of not rushing in. To accept this idea, I would have to have a list of requirements. Does she need the unredacted report? Does she need X more examples of Trump obstructing? Is she waiting for the intelligence report and Mueller’s testimony before she feels she can pull the trigger? I don’t know, but I don’t see this as a worthy excuse to wait.
    But I do know that if she wants to reach those “persuadable” she’ll have to do it via television. Hearings on the screen showing them what trump really is. They don’t read. They don’t look for alternative views. Fact checking is not in their tool kit. But they do watch television.
    She needs to pull the trigger on the FII gun, cut through the obstruction, and get these people on the TV where they can do the most damage to trump.
    * From Politico: “Any prosecutors who indict Trump after he’s out of office would be working with a five-year statute of limitations on obstruction of justice cases. That means the president could only be exposed for any behavior during his first term if he doesn’t win re-election next November. But anything Trump does from here on out would keep restarting that five-year clock, meaning a second term wouldn’t make him bullet proof.”
    Is Pelosi waiting until after Jan 20th of next year on the slim chance that trump will win reelection?

  36. OmAli says:

    This is probably a really dumb question, but….. if Trump keeps ordering current and former admin officials not to testify, and ties up committee chairs in lawsuits, will there even BE any witnesses for impeachment hearings? How far can he take this particular obstruction effort?

  37. fpo says:

    Speaking of Impeachment polls…

    Maybe now that is done asking voters if they’d like Democrats to stop investigating or start legislating – “Poll: 37 Percent of Dems want Congress to move on form Russia-related Trump probes” [ ] the folks at Hill-HarrisX will ask voters if they want Republicans to stop stonewalling or start legislating.

    Thanks in part to a click/headline-hungry media (online and msm), Dems run the risk of quickly being characterized as a one-trick pony on the impeachment issue. And to the extent that they allow that to happen – and don’t remind the public of, for example, legislation that has already passed the House this session – they’ll deserve it. Consider these quotes from the story:

    ”Almost four in 10 Democratic voters want Congress to move on from its investigations into President Trump stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and instead focus on issues like health care and immigration, according to a new poll.”

    “Sixty-one percent of independents in the survey said they wanted Congress to move on from the Russia-related probes, as did 86 percent of Republicans.”

    “Among voters overall, 60 percent said the focus should be on policy matters, while 40 percent said they wanted further inquiries into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

    ” ‘Even though legislators can multitask, the media really doesn’t in terms of their focus and what they report on what Democrats are doing. If Democrats are embroiled in hearing after hearing, what do you think is going to lead the news?’ ”

    Lost in the biased either/or commentary, of course, is an acknowledgment that the Republican-controlled Senate is dead-set on stonewalling and will not participate in the legislative process, except as to serve their own ends.

    Maybe it’s time for a few calls, faxes, etc. to the media to remind them that facts matter – now more than ever.

  38. harpie says:

    Marcy recently retweeted tweet number 4 in the following thread:
    6:12 PM – 24 Apr 2019
    Kirschner: @NBCNews @MSNBC Legal Analyst; Fmr 30-yr fed prosecutor w/ @USAO_DC, DC Chief of Homicide & @USArmy JAG. President of @HomFamAdvocates

    1. The first two options to deal with Trump’s obstructionist conduct of declaring that administration members will refuse to comply with all Congressional subpoenas are ineffectual. Criminal contempt relies on AG Barr to do the right thing by having a US Attorney . . .
    2. pursue criminal contempt in court. Ain’t gonna happen. The second approach, civil enforcement, will involve a protracted court battle that could drag on for months. Here’s a third option: Congress could initiate impeachment hearings & subpoena every single witness with . . .
    3. relevant evidence, every single witness the American people have a right to hear from regarding the crimes/misdeeds of this president & his administration. Then, we start calling witness to testify. If the witnesses comply with the subpoena then they testify . . .
    4. However, if a witness fails to appear because Trump has muzzled them or threatened them or prohibited them from testifying by asserting bogus claims of privilege, here’s what we do: let’s assume Don McGahn refuses to testify. We then take McGahn’s statements to Mueller . . .
    5. we introduce them as his testimony we move on to the next witness and the next and the next. We plow through without delay. No protracted court battles trying to enforce subpoenas. That is fighting the battle on Trump’s terms – endless delays via frivolous litigation . . .
    6. AND, for every witness Trump blocks from testifying, Congress drafts another article of impeachment for obstructing a Congressional proceeding. We plow through, undeterred, unabated, unapologetic. We expose to public view the MANY crimes by Trump & we impeach him . . .
    7. This is how to defend the American people, this is how to support our Constitution, this is how to honor the rule of law. Congress, if you’re listening, #LetsRoll

    …sounds good to me!

    • P J Evans says:

      That sounds good to me, too – and then if the witness wants to fight back, it’s “This is your sworn testimony. What part of it are you telling us was perjury on your part?”

    • Jockobadger says:

      As fpo noted above, Laurence Tribe was on MSNBC last night and he suggested (actually stated) that the impeachment has already begun. Kirschner’s scheme seems like it would work with the subpoenas being ignored right now. Just read their testimony to Mueller and his colleagues into the record if they refuse to come in. Or, will that only be available once true impeachment hearings have begun? bmaz? Any other lawyers?

      I sure hope our House leaders have the will to do as Kirschner suggests above (if necessary.) I’ve been out in the field all day, so not caught up, butt sounds to me like McGahn is getting beat up by his former client – Damn I hope he turns on tr*mp.

    • Rayne says:

      I like it! Neat, tidy, doesn’t piss off the electorate by dragging it out which is what Team Trump wants. Act fast and get inside their OODA loop. Keep them off base.

    • Eureka says:

      That’s the pace and aggressiveness I am looking for, and a proactive– not reactive– stance.

    • harpie says:

      I wonder if Congress would consider a Special Investigatory Committee, as described beginning at page 30 in this document from the Congressional Research Service:

      Congress’s Contempt Power and the Enforcement of Congressional Subpoenas: Law, History, Practice, and Procedure
      Todd Garvey, Legislative Attorney; May 12, 2017

      [p.30] Special Investigatory Committees There have been numerous examples of the House, by resolution, affording special investigatory committees authority not ordinarily available to its standing committees. Such special panels have often been vested with staff deposition authority, and given the particular circumstances, special panels have also been vested with the authority to obtain tax information, as well as the authority to seek international assistance in information gathering efforts abroad. [more]

      • bmaz says:

        Why not just open an impeachment investigation and really maximize the power of the House? Half measures and stringing it out are not going to cut it.

        • harpie says:

          I thought impeachment proceedings would have to take place under the auspices of some committee, Oversight or Judiciary? It seems to me like a Special Committee might have more power to do what is contemplated in the Kirschner thread I linked to above, and could focus on this one issue.

          The article goes on to describe how in 1987 the House authorized the creation of a select committee to investigate Iran-Contra. Part of the resolution is included in the text.

          (3) The select committee is authorized … to require by subpoena or otherwise the attendance and testimony of such witnesses … as it deems necessary, including all intelligence materials however classified, White House materials […]

          I think they would also then appropriate funds for hiring staff with the specific knowledge base necessary.

          • bmaz says:

            No, no protocol has better founded authority and power than an impeachment investigation. The process is, nominally, under the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee. A member must propose an impeachment resolution. If the resolution is passed out of the HJC, then it is voted on by the full house. If that passes, the game is on.

            In this case, a proposed impeachment resolution has been made by Rashida Tliab by my recollection (and AOC signed on), but no vote has been taken in committee, much less the full house. That should be done immediately. But Pelosi and Hoyer are sticks in the mud. Their hands should be forced.

            • harpie says:

              And about Tlaib’s resolution, yes, she supposedly did, but I haven’t been able to find the text of it anywhere. That seems really ridiculous…not at her House website or any news site.
              Just an hour ago, CBS claimed 5 more signers, but no names, no text…just weird.

              • P J Evans says:

                It’s HR257: “Inquiring whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.” Currently in the Rules committee.
                ( is very useful.)

                • harpie says:

                  …and as of today, six co-sponsors:
                  Rep. Green, Al [D-TX-9]* 03/27/2019; Rep. Pressley, Ayanna [D-MA-7] 04/25/2019; Rep. Omar, Ilhan [D-MN-5] 04/25/2019 ; Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria [D-NY-14] 04/25/2019 ; Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2] 04/25/2019; Rep. Vela, Filemon [D-TX-34] 04/25/2019

                  • Jockobadger says:

                    I just sent my Rep., Adam Smith, a forcefully but politely worded email suggesting that he get on board and co-sponsor HR 257. One of his staffers always gets right back to me so I’m on tenterhooks wrt to his weasel-wording on why now might not be the best time blah blah. I hope I’m wrong, but doubt it. I’ll keep punching though. Thanks all.

                    • Rayne says:

                      Excellent, that’s exactly what everyone should be doing, calling their member of congress and ask them to co-sign HR257. And then we need to keep track of responses from those who don’t co-sign when asked.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      If only it was just being asleep at the wheel. Unfortunately they are actively driving the country over the cliff, drunk on their own greed and crookedness.

      Looking at you McTurtle and Lindsey Graham Cracker.

      • P J Evans says:

        McTurtle is the one in the middle of the three sleeping beauties. (I can’t tell who the others are.)

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          I can see that now.
          The only thing missing are the deposit receipts from the NRA…*cough, cough* russian*cough* …

  39. Eureka says:

    Continued from above:

    Frequently Asked Questions – Media Bias/Fact Check

    Who owns and runs Media Bias/Fact Check?

    Media Bias Fact Check, LLC is a Limited Liability Company owned solely by Dave Van Zandt. He also makes all final editing and publishing decisions.

    Who in the heck is Dave Van Zandt?

    Dave Van Zandt obtained a Communications Degree before pursuing a higher degree in the sciences. Dave currently works full time in the health care industry. Dave has spent more than 20 years as an arm chair researcher on media bias and its role in political influence.

    Does Media Bias/Fact Check have any employees?

    Yes and no. At the moment we have five volunteers who perform source research, writing and assist in fact checking. We hope to be able to offer pay for their services in the future as the website grows.

    About – Media Bias/Fact Check

    MBFC was founded by Dave Van Zandt in 2015. Dave studied Communications in college and over the years has focused on personal research in media bias and the role of media in politics. Dave is a registered Non-Affiliated voter who values evidence based reporting.

    • Eureka says:

      From the CJR by misinformation researcher Tamar Wilner (a piece also worth reading more broadly):

      We can probably measure media bias. But do we want to? – Columbia Journalism Review

      The armchair academics

      Amateur attempts at such tools already exist, and have found plenty of fans. Google “media bias,” and you’ll find Media Bias/Fact Check, run by armchair media analyst Dave Van Zandt. The site’s methodology is simple: Van Zandt and his team rate each outlet from 0 to 10 on the categories of biased wording and headlines, factuality and sourcing, story choices (“does the source report news from both sides”), and political affiliation.

      (discusses another effort) (…)

      Both efforts suffer from the very problem they’re trying to address: Their subjective assessments leave room for human biases, or even simple inconsistencies, to creep in. Compared to Gentzkow and Shapiro, the five to 20 stories typically judged on these sites represent but a drop of mainstream news outlets’ production.

      From Poynter:
      Here’s what to expect from fact-checking in 2019

      Media Bias/Fact Check is a widely cited source for news stories and even studies about misinformation, despite the fact that its method is in no way scientific.

      A lot of people want a quick-fix solution for misinformation. There’s a business incentive for figuring out a way to tell people what they should and shouldn’t read, even though online fakery is a dynamic, multidimensional problem. Expect to see more scores in 2019.

      • Eureka says:

        From CJR above: the Gentzkow and Shapiro reference is to a prior study, which showed, roughly, that readers suss bias on their own similarly to the study parameters:

        …economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro analyzed the 2005 Congressional Record to find phrases frequently used by either liberal or conservative members of Congress, and compared these to the news content of over 400 newspapers over the same time period. Their 2010 analysis found that newspapers’ political slant correlated fairly well with the public’s perception of them: The Washington Times slanted right, The Washington Post slanted left, and so on.

        (internal links removed from CJR quotes)

        More generally re even a scientifically-/journalistically-founded bias tool– and in addition to issues of local versus decontextualized journalism– Wilner makes this key point:

        There’s at least one bias baseline this tool wouldn’t address: whether news outlets cover the interests of political and economic elites over the actual concerns of their readers.

  40. Jockobadger says:

    I guess I’m a bit surprised that there isn’t something a bit more data-driven then some poindexters sitting around scoring stories from 1 to 10. I have a fair suspicion that the FB’s and Googles of the world (not to mention the NSA’s) have somewhat more sophisticated ways of evaluating biases in written product, esp for purposes of greed. Surely there is some sort of keyword analysis combined with base site traffic, etc., that could be used. Otoh, as Eureka rightly points out above, most of us already see the biases we want to see and burn at the ones that are forced on us.

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