Don Jr Provides Proof Obama Didn’t “Tapp” Trump

As you’ve no doubt heard, the NYT reported out the details of the meeting between Don Jr, Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Natalia Veselnitskaya. It not only makes clear that Veselnitskaya was introduced as an agent of the Russian government, but that Rob Goldstone, who set up the meeting, presented it as part of Russia’s efforts to help Trump. (And yes, for those asking in this thread, I do consider this the kind of evidence that rises to the level of collusion which was not present in the first round of this story.)

The documents “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” read the email, written by a trusted intermediary, who added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If the future president’s elder son was surprised or disturbed by the provenance of the promised material — or the notion that it was part of a continuing effort by the Russian government to aid his father’s campaign — he gave no indication.

He replied within minutes: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Four days later, after a flurry of emails, the intermediary wrote back, proposing a meeting in New York on Thursday with a “Russian government attorney.”

In an attempt to beat the NYT’s reporting (and because he is painfully stupid), Don Jr posted the emails in question. The email metadata makes it clear that the meeting involved Russia and Hillary — and included Jared and Manafort. (I’m stealing Matt Tait’s screencaps, which are here.)

Matt Tait annotated the most damning line, making it clear this was an effort on the part of Russia — which Don Jr presumably already knew about — to help Trump.

This one line, once and for all, proves that the NSA under President Obama did not “tapp” Trump and his associates. That’s because in the the IC report on the Russia hack (and as recently as Admiral Mike Rogers’ most recent appearance before Congress), NSA only had moderate confidence in the conclusion that Putin affirmatively supported Trump.

Had the NSA collected this email, they would have had high confidence Putin was affirmatively helping Trump. (This is a point Tait also made not long after I made it.) But Rogers has said there was something about the source of the prior intelligence supporting this point that led NSA to adopt a more conservative stance than FBI and CIA.

So, yeah, the dumbass son not only incriminated himself, but he did away with one of the few talking points the GOP had left.

83 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    In a rational world I would agree there’s nothing left to stand on, but Hannity’s gonna try anyway.  On the previous thread, I’d noted that Faux and Friends had bent just a little on the Comey red herring, even doing it as a halfhearted retraction of sorts (it is Faux, after all).  So, we will see another full-throated Clinton fest, another Benghazi hearing, etc. so no one notices that McConnell extended the Senate for two weeks to ram through BCRA, or that the “Voter commission” has already caused many D voters to de-register to protect private info which serves Kobach’s purpose.  However, there is no way any prosecution of Obama’s alleged tapping would stand up in court with this objective evidence out there.

    So, as bad as this is (did Jr vet the release through his lawyer?), one wonders what is left to be found.  It must be truly hideous and would likely mean a Constitutional crisis depending upon which elections would be made invalid.  There’s no re-do mechanism and it is very likely that in many of down ballot races in FL and elsewhere the GOP did use the hacked material.

    It also means (as noted on TPM IIRC) that Jr. thinks he’s getting a pardon no matter what, and there are no restrictions formally defined on the POTUS pardon power.

    • Gus says:

      I had a Twitter exchange with a Trump supporter who insisted that this is a setup to retroactively justify Obama’s surveillance on Trump and his campaign.

        • lefty665 says:

          Hi bmaz, are Junior et al also in the soup if they failed to declare the meeting with the Ruskie lawyer/lobbyist/? on their security disclosures?

          • bmaz says:

            Kushner clearly has false statements exposure. Jr. and Manafort may or may not, depending on whether they ever executed an SF-86 and/or were interviewed in relation to other classification investigations. It is unknown if a classification application was started for Jr. (never completed successfully, but may well have been started). Extremely unlikely one was ever attempted for Manafort, but he may have been question in relation to the processing for other people in and about the WH.

            • lefty665 says:

              Be ironic if Kushner’s the one who gets busted, but I’ll take it. It is a simple charge and a black and white answer with witnesses. Kushner has been underwhelming, especially as Netanyahoo’s tunnel to Trump. Unfortunately, that would probably still happen informally.

              • bmaz says:

                We are much more at the start of the Mueller invention, especially on the critical Jr. email communication, than the end. We shall see. They have yet to truly start running a grand jury and issuing discovery demands therefrom, at least by my eye. Trust me, that is coming.

    • maybe ryan says:

      Oh, please. I work for a major voter registration office. No one has de-registered.

      Almost all the information requested is considered public information anyway, and campaigns routinely request it.  Only SSN-last 4 isn’t public, and a) overwhelmingly, states said they wouldn’t provide it; b) last-4 doesn’t get you much anyway; and c) most big organizations could get last 4 through a credit service and attach it to the voter record.  I’m glad people laughed at the commission, but the whole thing is a bit of a hoax.

      But most important, on the factoid you tried to advance, no, it’s not true.  There is no de-registration surge going on.

      • Charles says:

        Oh, please. I work for a major voter registration office. No one has de-registered.

        And because you’re some guy on the Internet, we should believe your assertion over media reports.

        Almost all the information requested is considered public information anyway…Only SSN-last 4 isn’t public

        Yeah, I want every identity thief in the world to know my birthdate.

        Most of what Kovach demanded is not available for free and collected in a single searchable government database for any stalker or criminal to use. 

        It’s just amazing what sorts of … material… random people on the Internet think will be credible to intelligent human beings.

        • maybe ryan says:


          a) Marcey knows who I am, so she knows the credibility of my claim to work in a major metropolitan voter registration office.

          b) the article you point to hyperlinks its graph on withdrawals in Colorado to an article that doesn’t actually document the withdrawals.  So yeah, I think you shouldn’t trust The Hill.

          c) But searching, I do find further reference to withdrawals in Colorado.  It’s a very weird data set being presented.  “180 people July 4-7th vs. 8 June 26-29.”  Why did they pick 6/26-29 as their control?  Clearly, withdrawal is already a thing people do in Colorado.  We get maybe 5 or 6 withdrawal requests a year in a larger jurisdiction.  Why didn’t they tell us withdrawals for the whole month of May, to provide some real context.

          That may be related to Colorado’s unusual election system, where every voter is sent a mail ballot.  In many states, some voter registrations can languish for years on the roles.  People may feel little compunction in notifying the election office of their move, because the likelihood of someone impersonating them in precinct is rather low.  Concern about having a ballot in your name actually mailed to someone now living in your old apartment is probably a much more significant concern.  That may be why if you google “voter registration withdrawal”, Colorado’s withdrawal form immediately pops up.  There is no such form in my state.

          As a result, I truly don’t know what to make of those numbers.  How many of those withdrawing are simply people who genuinely moved, and had a little free time over the 4th to take care of the withdrawal.  I have worked as a consultant with Arapahoe Co., and may call tomorrow to ask about it.

          d) I spoke glibly in saying “public information.”  In my state, full DOB is not public, but it’s available to registered campaigns who request it. In other words, the state is refusing to give to a governmental commission information it would sell to the Trump campaign for a few hundred dollars.

          I’m happy to see the commission flouted.  But there’s a huge degree of ridiculousness to it.  And if there are places where Democrats are de-registering over the fear that Kobach has requested information that any campaign could get (which was a stipulation of his letter, after all), then maybe you should be asking for a change in the law allowing campaigns to get that information.

          Earl of Huntingdon, whether the GOP is targeting rural counties or not, the information requested is already available to the GOP, so your objection isn’t particularly relevant to the Kobach commission.

          • bmaz says:

            Hi there. If you are going to cite Marcy as your foundation for credibility, at least please spell her name correctly.

            Secondly, you now seem to admit that there are, indeed, withdrawals in Colorado, but now wish to dance around your initial dubious statement that none of that was occurring.

            Thirdly, I note that you did not bother to address my avowal that there had been at least some of that in Maricopa County in Arizona. No, not in overall statistically significant numbers, but ANY is ridiculous, and too much.

            Why are you determined to buck up this bullshit?

            • maybe ryan says:

              Sorry about misspelling Marcy’s name.  I’m not trying to claim any closeness, let alone any endorsement from her. I should have said that above.  I emailed her directly once about an issue, so she knows my real name and I suspect was able to verify my connection to elections.  That’s all.  I was just trying to dispel the charge from Charles that I’m “some guy on the internet” who could just make things up.  BMaz, I think you have access to the email I enter into this form, so you could verify that I’ve been here for a decade, going all the way back to the Next Hurrah days, telling the same story about who I am.

              The issue went around my office again this morning, and we literally have not received one such request.  We did receive a request in the last two weeks from a non-citizen who had been inadvertently registered through a motor-voter misunderstanding, but that seems different.  The 6 or 8 I mentioned up-thread are typically such situations, almost always without any vote ever having occurred.

              However, yes, I do “now seem to admit” that there are withdrawals in Colorado.  Another way of saying that would be that I admitted I was wrong.  Lots of people don’t come back and admit that they’ve learned new things.

              I also tried to put the Colorado numbers in context.  Perhaps that’s “dancing around.”  But it would be more useful to me to see someone dispute the context.  You also “now seem to admit” that in Maricopa it is not happening in overall statistically significant numbers.  That was what suggesting with the context I was providing for the Colorado numbers.

              Not electorally significant would be my conclusion about the whole thing.  Several Colorado articles quite explicitly talk about people intending to re-register next week, after the data transfer.  The number of withdrawals in Colorado is out of scale for a week, but not out of scale for a year.  In the jurisdictions where a couple hundred people have withdrawn their registration, mostly as a political act to snub the Kobach commission, almost all via an online form that required them to give their DL or SSN (meaning these are people who can use the online registration form, so re-registration will take them about a minute), a couple hundred thousand people will move between now and the next partisan election.

              What I was reacting to was Rugger’s statement that the commission “has already caused many D voters to de-register to protect private info which serves Kobach’s purpose.”  His implication seemed to be that Kobach-inspired de-registration would have an actual impact on elections.

              I would respectfully submit that my “none” (which I admit was wrong), your “not statistically significant” and the few hundred in Colorado, many of whom are either people who have actually moved, or who avow that they will re-register a week later, are clustered together.  That Rugger’s implication that de-registration will have an actual impact on an election is the outlier.  In other words, that your position is closer to mine than to Rugger’s.

              If I had right from the start said “this may be happening in other jurisdictions, but not in statistically significant numbers, and overwhelmingly among politically aware voters who fully intend to vote,” would you still say I was trying to buck up the commission?

              One of the reasons I’ve mocked the idea of defying a governmental request for data that the Trump campaign itself can get, no questions asked, is this:


              The article suggests that Kobach knew states would defy the request, and that he will use it as evidence that they have something to hide.  I am still concerned that will happen.  “The Clinton campaign bought voter information from the state of California that they won’t share with us. What is California hiding?”  I don’t believe they’re hiding anything.  But I think the cheap thrill of snubbing Kobach may have consequences.

              Though perhaps I’m too pessimistic.  California will have cover.  Kobach underestimated the GOP current of “we don’t want the feds involved in our elections,” which turned out to be nearly as strong as the Dem “we don’t want Kobach involved in our elections” sentiment.

              • greengiant says:

                There seems to be a bunch of claims that the Dems in Brooklyn and then the GOP in several states using Korbach’s crosscheck have taken a lot of voters off the rolls,  because you know they use faulty software to do exactly that.   Do you have any more insight into that?

                In case others are not up to speed,  the 3 or 5 million illegal voters from California is allegedly based on the the DMV voter registration questions concerning citizenship which if not answered allegedly result in an enrolled voter, nevermind PEW research estimates only 2.3 million illegal aliens of all ages in Ca.

                • maybe ryan says:

                  Our state uses the crosscheck.  But only with a 3-point match (name, b/d and SSN-last 4.)   There are precious few mismatches at 3-point match level.  Even then, you’re not actually cancelled till we send a letter and then wait 2 federal election cycles.

                  The list that comes to us is prepared by Kobach’s office, then re-prepped by our state board.  And yes, it includes 2-point matches, even after our state board passes it along.  And yes, Kobach gave instructions to counties in Kansas to use 2-point matches, or go through the much more laborious process of matching signatures.  I suspect most counties in Kansas didn’t follow that directive.  I don’t know how many counties or states actually purge 2-point matches.  I find Kobach incredibly cynical and distasteful, and his directives on the use of crosscheck destructive and dishonest.

                  Yet, our use of the crosscheck yields a much cleaner list, without disenfranchisement.  We have found double voters via the cross-check.  I know of 3 found in that way from 2012.  They probably didn’t decide the outcome.  Party primary voting suggests all 3 were committed Republicans.  Perfect signature match.  Mail ballot sent to the out of state address at which they also voted.  We advanced them to our prosecutor, who did nothing.  I know they did nothing because one of them applied for another ballot two years later, but demurred when I emailed him back suggesting I was aware he had cast a ballot in another state.  He wasn’t old and addled. He was the “social director” at a Sun City retirement center.  I wanted to make damn sure he wasn’t regaling his fellow bon vivants with the story of how he’d outwitted the corrupt big city election office.

                  A vote fraud prosecution didn’t suit the desired narrative, though.  So it went nowhere.

                  It’s hard for me to know how the crosscheck list has been used in Brooklyn, Virginia, North Carolina, etc..  Though I have a distaste for the Kobachs of the world, I also harbor a bit of skepticism for the Palasts.  My sense is that people have used purge numbers dishonestly on our side as well.  16% of people move every year, and there is a real need to get the outdated registrations off the list.  The numbers I’ve often seen in critiques are doubled (they count the newer and older registration, but only the state with the older registration could possibly purge); and they seem to believe that no further investigation is done prior to purge.  Massachusetts town clerks routinely request our record for signature match.  At least some other states require a 3-point match.  Most states forward to the clerks to implement.  Everywhere, you’re required to send a notice to the registration address at least 90 days out.

                  Without giving too much away about my jurisdiction, we offer somewhat more opportunity to resurrect a purged registration than other states do.  The infrequency with which it happens suggests that our 3-point match use of the crosscheck is a responsible approach.

                  A clean list may not seem tremendously important for a presidential election, where I can see the argument for “heck, let them vote where they used to live,” rather than disenfranchising.

                  But it makes a tremendous difference in the local elections of small, poor, often minority suburbs, where a corrupt mayoral regime or school board can often muster 30 municipal employees who don’t live in town, 50 or 60 friends and relatives who keep their registrations at mom’s house, in a setting where those are decisive numbers.  Something like the way the robber barons of the Gilded Age deployed their ‘reserve army of the unemployed,’ it’s a reserve army of the un-updated registrations.

                  I am investigating several active cases involving voter impersonation.  So I am aware that the Dem talking points about fraud and accurate lists aren’t precisely true either.  One of the difficulties with investigating impersonation is that what you typically have is a forged signature and the name of the person who didn’t vote. Not a lot to help you develop a case.  We have a bit more evidence through some happy luck, and seem likely to get convictions or pleas. This is largely because we were pretty sure it had happened 2 years before, so we brought a heightened scrutiny to things.  My experience makes me dubious of the frequent claim “there are almost no successful prosecutions of voter impersonation.”  Yeah, cause it’s hella difficult to bring to a conviction.

                  All the cases I’m aware of were from a local election, and that fits my sense of when significant vote fraud happens.  People don’t take great risks to elect Barack or Hillary.  They take risks in settings where the margins are predictably small (not 10,000, but 10), and where the difference means a job or no job for the person committing the fraud or a close relative.

                  Trump has not alleged 3 to 5 million illegal voters in California to my knowledge, but rather nationwide.  His figure is still ludicrous.  But it does happen.  Most of the records I’m aware of are registration-only.  The non-citizen knew not to vote.  ICE treats these more or less as no harm, no foul, as long as the applicant de-registers.  Then again, we typically become aware when an immigration lawyer gets in touch to ask us to get rid of a record.  If someone has voted, they are unlikely to pursue citizenship, since bringing that vote to the attention of ICE is (and was under the previous administration) likely to lead to deportation.  Better to take one’s chances without status.  So we would be less likely to hear of the cases where someone voted.

                  But most of our records are backed by SSN-last 4 (we validate against the SSA database, based on name and birthdate), making it very unlikely there are any significant numbers of non-citizens.  You have to have status to get an SSN, and permanent residents who are on the path to citizenship are really unlikely to take that risk.  Yes, there are some undocumented people who have someone else’s SSN and use that name, often in the context of employment.  But the real holder of the SSN is likely to be registered, and so the duplicate would be caught.  The idea that this happens at scale is not realistic.

                  (I would note that records that don’t validate against SSN aren’t purged.  They’re just flagged for more attention.  No one is disenfranchised, at least in our jurisdiction, based on an SSN typo or a mistaken birthdate.)

                  Probably more than you wanted to know.

          • Charles says:

            Mayberyan, it’s good to see you climb down a bit from making one assertion with nothing to substantiate it and one statement that you then have to substantially qualify. En emendo veritas.


            I do wish you could manage to do so in fewer words.  Brevity really is a virtue.


            As for your statement that “In my state, full DOB is not public, but it’s available to registered campaigns who request it. In other words, the state is refusing to give to a governmental commission information it would sell to the Trump campaign for a few hundred dollars.”

            But (a) in other states, only the birth year is accessible, and that makes it a step harder for identity thieves, (b) making prospective data abusers pay for data limits the potential for identity theft to a better class of thieves, and (c) creating a centralized database protected by a federal government which can’t even prevent the theft of its own hacking tools is a like buying hours on national television to announce that data is available to every criminal in the universe.


            Therefore, even if Kobach’s demand weren’t malicious, it would still be incredibly stupid. I would certainly be tempted to withdraw my registration and re-register once I knew that the state had submitted its files (without my information) to Kobach.

            • maybe ryan says:

              Fair enough.

              I don’t mean to defend Kobach as a person, nor his objectives as an officeholder nor as head or co-chair of this commission.  But the request said as available under state law, which somewhat mitigates your concern.

              All of the information including DOB and SSN, for 26-28 states, is already in a centralized database owned by the interstate crosscheck.  Meaning Colorado has been giving this data to Kobach for years.

              ERIC, the less controversial alternative, which uses a more thorough analysis of identity, more sources of data, and a more sophisticated algorithm for rating matches, maintains a centralized databases with 19 states and DC.  There is some overlap, and a few states belong to neither.

              I know that this doesn’t completely allay concerns.  But they’re perhaps useful information.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I work for a major voter registration office.

        The most targeted districts are not in large, well-funded areas.  They are in the poorest, most poorly staffed and funded areas in the country, especially in the West, deep South and SW Texas. The game plan is a variation on Karl Rove’s campaign for the GOP to dominate the state and ultimately the federal judiciary in Alabama.

        Privately funded right wing foundations are campaigning to purge electoral polls in the poorest few thousand districts, overwhelmingly affecting people of color.  Carpetbagging democracy, one rural district at a time.  As with Rove’s Alabama campaign, the effort remains mostly under the radar, but will have state and national effects.

    • Peterr says:

      It also means (as noted on TPM IIRC) that Jr. thinks he’s getting a pardon no matter what, and there are no restrictions formally defined on the POTUS pardon power.

      The Donald’s lawyer would probably laugh at this assumption on the part of Donald Jr.

      Yes, there are no formal restrictions on the POTUS pardon power, but a pardon removes the ability of the one who is pardoned to plead the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify. “You’ve been pardoned and face no legal jeopardy, so you no longer can use the Fifth Amendment to refuse to tell us what you know.”

      Pardoning Donald Jr, Manafort, and Jared (plus Flynn and others) would potentially put The Donald in terrible legal trouble, and his lawyer would scream bloody murder if he gets a whiff that this is under serious consideration.

      At best, the minions could hope for or even expect the Libby Option, in which they would have to go through a trial but could count on their sentences being commuted to nothing. That lets them continue to assert their Fifth Amendment privilege, but avoids any consequences other than having their names and reputations dragged through the mud throughout the course of their trials.


      • Charles says:

        Brilliant analysis, Peterr.  I have been thinking along the same lines, but I hadn’t considered the Libby option. That would solve Trump’s problems at everyone else’s expense, to which I imagine he’d say, I love it!

        However, since this is the Donald, I wonder whether he’ll try the constitutionally-novel approach of giving blanket pre-trial commutations, and let the case go to his Supreme Court. I know it sounds whacky. But we really are not in Kansas anymore.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Good point, however, it does involve a public trial with discovery, which would make it very hard to prevent further leaks.  I think the Libby option would make the best of bad options for POTUS.

        As far as Kobach goes, I understand that the national GOP was under a consent decree for (not doing any more) voter caging which was a hot topic in 2008 and 2012.  It basically worked like the process Kobach wanted to use: a non-forwarded letter went out and anyone that didn’t respond was stricken from the rolls.  This time we as citizens have over a year to get the registrations done, right and formally recorded (note that GA-6 had thousands of new D registrations “lost”, which contributed to Handel’s win) to make it harder to steal elections.  That is one lesson from 2008 that needs to be heeded, when the Ds show up in large enough numbers and stick with it, the GOP can’t tweak the vote enough to pilfer seats.

  2. Peacerme (katie Jensen) says:

    Gorka interview with Stephanie. Minimize, deny and blame is powerfully invalidating to truth, and justice. This will be their defense. And it will be pretty effective in splitting the nation. In my view we are in big trouble, because we have already thrown our principles, values and morals, out the window. This is, in my humble opinion going to get very very ugly. No one as of yet has stood up to the Donald. In the world of law, Trump is spiraling. In the world of power, he will use Putin to put his house in order. He is not going to back down. (Speaking as a therapist with years of experience working with violent people.) Gorka was powerful in his use of minimize, deny and blame. As long as people support Donald, people are being persuaded successfully and they are questioning and doubting the rule of law. As Trump is cornered and his family in danger, he will fight using any tactic necessary. This is not a judgment, we already have the facts about this. He will use Putin, and Putin will use him. Watch this and tell me, he wasn’t effective in making Stephanie look weak. We are in big trouble.

    • harpie says:

      As long as people support Donald, people are being persuaded successfully and they are questioning and doubting the rule of law. 

      Yes, Matthew Miller just wrote about that.

      As Trump is cornered and his family in danger, he will fight using any tactic necessary. […] We are in big trouble.

      Exactly. I would only add: exclamation point.




    • Avattoir says:

      So…give up? This is kinda nutz; there are in fact folks who’ve taken on T and beaten him: Trump U, & travel bans, for starters. R U saying this is what “Winning!” looks like?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Trump is eminently beatable.   He won a birth lottery and, like George W. Bush, mistakenly thinks he earned it.  What he knows about winning came as an unearned freebie, along with the multimillion-dollar inheritance.

        The political battle is really over the GOP’s support.  As long as their stomachs hold, they’ll keep Trump as the price of holding the White House – and to avoid the fire and brimstone that a petulant Trump would fling like monkey do at anything that moves should he face imminent foreclosure.

        Trump may be clueless about being president, but he knows how to spoil everyone else’s party.

  3. SpaceLifeForm says:


    If RW agrees, which I can see no reason she would not.

    Winner’s legal defense is led by John C. Bell and Titus Nichols of the Augusta-based firm Bell & Brigham. First Look’s Press Freedom Defense Fund, whose mission is to pursue legal fights where key principles of press freedom are at stake, will provide funding for the engagement of an additional law firm to support Bell & Brigham. Belief that it is wrong for journalistic sources to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act is the key principle that moved the Press Freedom Defense Fund to provide support for Winner’s legal defense. With Winner’s consent, First Look’s counsel Baruch Weiss of the firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer may support the defense efforts while continuing to represent First Look’s interests.

    As a separate grant, based on the same principle, the Press Freedom Defense Fund is providing $50,000 in matching funds to Stand with Reality, a grassroots crowd-funding campaign to support public awareness and legal work around Winner’s case.

  4. harpie says:

    Marcy, I see you’re asking about Goldstone on twitter. One thing I’m interested in is which “tabloids” he worked for, and when, and the genesis of his “publicist” work for a Russian oligarch’s Azerbaijani [sp?] offspring.

  5. scribe says:

    Still LMFAO and ROFL.  Haven’t stopped since about half-past-midnight the second Wednesday last November.

    And Don, Jr. is at the Jon Corzine level of don’t-worry-a-bit-about-it.  You’ll recall, after returning to Wall Street from being Governor of Noo Joysey, Corzine’s firm had something like $1.5 billion disappear, a lot of it client money from client accounts.  When coming to Capitol Hill to testify about it, he not only didn’t invoke the Fifth, but he gave the simple “I dunno” in response to the inevitable “where did the money go?”

    Anyone else would have gone to prison like Madoff – for well more than any possible natural lifespan – but he just went home. (In case you’d forgotten, he’d raised a lot of money for Democrats in addition to being one in charge of a state.)

    I guarantee you, at some point all of this current kerfluffle will be defended as politically-protected speech, and the First Amendment will wind up protecting it.

    • Avattoir says:

      I was going to respond here, something along the lines of equating apples to orange fake tan lotion, but think now Imma wait ’til the entire flock of skyfallingites has gathered.

        • bmaz says:

          You two have known each other, and very often agreed with each other, over many, many, years here, albeit it under a different handle for Avatoir. Methinks you guys just had a disconnect here, and better slack called for on both ends.

          • John Casper says:

            I humbly want to back bmaz.

            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from both of you.

            Both Corzine and Madoff are dwarfed by the $14 trillion–estimates vary–that the elites got after the 2008 GFC.

            Another difference imho is that Corzine knew a lot. He lost out to Hank Paulson to take over Government Sachs. A lot of people probably didn’t want Jon getting chatty.

            Don’t think Don Jr. has that.

            Smart folks like you make this place better. Obviously, there will be disagreements. Lots of competition within wolf packs, but the successful packs exhibit a level of cooperation that makes them stronger.

            • Sofla says:

              That $14 trillion was a total of what was infused in loans, but also what was newly guaranteed.

              The FDIC guarantee went from $200k per depositor to infinity, and the money market accounts were also brought under the guarantees (as was not the case for any part of them before then). That situation lasted a year or two, and then went back to the status quo ante.

              That was to head off panic liquidations. Nobody actually received any of that ‘guarantee’ money. Forgetting the exact wording (‘loans and guarantees’) yields a very misleading take on what happened.

                • John Casper says:

                  bmaz, I’m indebted to you–more than is normally the case.

                  Doubt I would have seen this, except for your comment.

              • John Casper says:

                Sofia, what do you mean by “infused in loans” and “what was newly guaranteed?”

                The FDIC guarantee went to “infinity” only on derivatives.

                If you have a link that deposits are guaranteed for more than $250,000, please provide.

                I’d never heard the deposit cap was $200,000. Do you have a link for that?

                If the purpose had been to “head off panic liquidations,” why not buy the actual assets, the mortgages?

                That would have cost a lot less than bailing out the elites’ leverage.

                This site doesn’t like a lot of links. I’ll try leaving them in further comments below addressed to you.

                • Sofla says:

                  The FDIC took the insured amounts up from $100k per depositor to $250k per depositor, and then took that higher cap off to cover all deposit amounts.

                  I was handling multi-million dollar accounts for my father as his guardian, is how I learned this from my banking advisers.

                  At the same time, money market deposits newly came under the same unlimited protection, iirc.

                  There was some considerable chance of a panic run on banks that were thought to be shaky, and on the money market funds as panic liquidations threatened to ‘break the buck.’

                  So large loans went to banks, AND their depositors were backstopped in this way. Many trillions of dollars of assets became guaranteed in these two ways. But not to the benefit of large banks (except they avoided the liquidity pressures of the runs).

                  • John Casper says:


                    At 4:03 you said it was $200,000.

                    Now you’re saying it was $100,000, but now it’s $250,000. You didn’t provide a link to any of the three claims.

                    If you want to attract unwanted attention, put out on the internet–connected to an email address–that you were handling multi-million dollar accounts.

                    I don’t think you were. I think the banking advisors were.

                    Hope you’re Dad’s better.

                    If the gov’t would have bailed out the underlying assets, the mortgages, the elites leverage would have been fine and it would have cost a lot less. Call the bank advisers. They’ll explain it to you.

              • John Casper says:


                Welfare doesn’t work. The $14 trillion we gave the elites only made them want more.

                From the Comptroller of the Currency:
                “The notional amount of derivative contracts held by insured U.S. commercial banks and savings associations in the first quarter increased by $12.0 trillion (6.6 percent) to $192.9 trillion from the previous quarter (see table 10).” 
                For perspective on $193 trillion in welfare, annual U.S. GDP—Gross Domestic Product—is
                around $18 trillion. 
                “Congressional appropriations to the Pentagon from 2001-2016 have totaled more than $8.5
                Social Security’s Trust fund is around $2.3 trillion. 

              • John Casper says:

                Not everyone agrees with you that free derivative insurance falls under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s mandate. In 2011 the Journal of Finance published “Should Derivatives Be Privileged in Bankruptcy?”
                “Under OLA, all Qualified Financial Contracts (QFCs), which include swaps, repos, and other derivatives, are transferred into a solvent bridge bank, such that counterparties are fully protected and therefore “prohibited from terminating their contracts and liquidating and netting out their positions” (see p. 9 in FDIC (2011)).”  (p.38) 

              • John Casper says:


                Beginning no later than 2011, the federal taxpayers went into the business of insuring derivatives.

                “FDIC To Cover Losses On $75 Trillion Bank of America Derivative Bets”


                Why isn’t the private sector insurance industry complaining about government spending “crowding” them “out” of that market?

                Where were the “pay-as-you-go” tax increases or spending cuts to pay for this?

                This welfare inflated the value of financial instruments. The more exposure you have to FIRE–finance, insurance, and real estate–the more you benefited. The less exposure, the more expensive it became to buy any or more exposure.

                The real economy, the part that makes stuff is the part that matters. We’ve got it backwards, finance, while very important, is supposed to serve the real economy.

                • Evangelista says:


                  Sophia did not write about derivatives.  Her information, which is correct,  is about bank deposit deposits and insurance per FDIC (backstopped by Congressional guarantee), specifically and particularly (please Read Sophia’s explanations to comprehend) for Very Large Account Deposits.

                  Why the special extension and government guarantee?  Because large numbers of Large Amount Deposits withdrawals from U.S. banks in the wake of the U.S. banking system initiated financial meltdown (product of illegal derivatives [CDO = Collateralized Debt Obligations], derivatives insurance [CDS = Credit Default Swaps] ‘manufacturing’ [Synthesization, also ‘Ponzification’] and cross-collating [make synthetic CDOs, which have synthetic, not real collaterals, then insure them with CDS insuring, then sell the bound-to-fail CDS ‘policies’ = debt obligations, to e.g. pension funds as Goldman Sachs et al recommended ‘solid investments’]), made the U.S. economy more dependent on Very Large Deposits of Very Large Depositors, losses of which could produce national insolvency.  For this an especial danger was ‘run’ withdrawals by large depositors for those large depositors losing faith in the ability of the U.S. economic system to weather the corruption-storm, that the magnitude of the corruption could kick the foundation out from under the whole ‘bailout and save the banks’ and bankers effort the banks and bankers and “regulators” and Wall  Street shills in the U.S. government (congress and bureaucracy) were working frantically to keep  in the air and spinning, from crashing just for fiscal reality and gravity.

                  John and bmaz,

                  Use Google and do some research, yourselves if information is outside your knowledge or you suspect the information.  Informants are informants;  they are not necessarily investigators;  because an informant is not an investigator and does not provide a full investigative report, with confirmation references for your convenience, does not mean the informant’s information is false information or invention.  In ‘net-life’, just as in real life, you have to sometimes do your own follow-up.

                    • Evangelista says:


                      Is this format cool, or is this format Cool?!  It’s like column-inches! It’s like real Journalism!

                      It’s like I’m a Columnist, like Friedman and Saurkraut and all the rest of them!

                      You gotta take me seriously now!!!

                      I’ll byline as “Fried Kraut of the No Work Times”…

                  • John Casper says:


                    At 4:03 p.m. Sophia wrote, “The FDIC guarantee went from $200k per depositor to infinity….”

                    I had no idea.

                    I anxiously await your explanation and the FDIC links that confirm it.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The 1st Amendment idea is a bit of a stretch given that there is a specific law on it (bmaz cited  the relevant Code of Federal Regulation section in the previous thread) and the First Amendment protection is not absolute.  This isn’t a Speech and Debate clause issue, it involves criminal violations of settled law.

      However, given what has been tossed about already to cover POTUS’ arse I would agree that the GOP is going to try anyway and will probably find a Bushie judge or two to put the veneer of respectability on bad decisions.  I’m not sure Weathervane Kennedy will go for it, but SCOTUS did go in for Citizens United (and Plessy v. Ferguson and Dred Scott), so it might be worth the gamble for the GOP.

  6. edge says:

    “Had the NSA collected this email, they would have had high confidence Putin was affirmatively helping Trump”

    Did the NSA have high confidence that the email writer works for or accurately represents the Russian government?

  7. CTuttle says:

    One must question Goldstone’s over-hyping of what Veselnitskaya had to offer…

    “I never had any damaging or sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. It was never my intention to have that,” Natalia Veselnitskaya said.

    Her account appeared to contradict that of Trump Jr., who said on Sunday that the premise of the meeting was to discuss damaging information on Clinton that the lawyer was offering. When asked how Trump Jr. seemed to have the impression that she had information about the Democratic National Committee, she responded:

    “It is quite possible that maybe they were longing for such an information. They wanted it so badly that they could only hear the thought that they wanted.”

    About that purported ‘Kremlin’ connection… The lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. was no Kremlin power broker.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I’m not sure I would take any explanation from the Russians at face value.  TPM has the full run-down, which included court records of the linkages and their level of importance.

  8. jg says:

    a) The law of attempt covers stupidly trying..Don jr. I am not an American lawyer though.  There is always the I am stupid defense, which gets stronger as you avoid hiring and avoid staffing and avoid listening to advisors.  I think that will be the go to line. All but Manafort could use it.

    b) Regarding sources – three advisors in oval office gave NYT the info on the purported purpose of the meeting (the sunday story); so why in the hell would anyone be the source and allow themselves to be named as an oval office worker (remember there are not that many, in trump land) unless you had already spoke with Mueller and knew a lot more was coming and you want to be the one that said, “look I told Donald/Nixon etc to not do it, but stayed in my job for the sake of the nation”. Or you want to get fired? or what other reason – the special investigator is the source and they want to create a plea happy environment.

    I don’t know how to read the oval office sourcing.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT, but mindful of Ed Walker’s critique of GOP, neoliberal, and economists’ irrational, self-serving insistence that people are rational actors who only maximize their self-interest:

    It’s a demonstration that establishment thinking is a lie, and that we can and should overcome it to make government work for us and not just for the one percent. Like, oh, having a publicly funded lifeguard and lifeboat service to fill in gaps in the serendipity.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The punch line from the cited story.  After an hour’s wait for a rescue boat, 80 people formed a human chain in strong currents to reach out to and retrieve a stranded family of six – children to grandmother.  So said one of the rescuers:

      “I come from a place where you help out your neighbour. My only thing is I would hope if I was in that position someone would do the same for me.”

      Trump and the leaders of the GOP, pushing their un-health care law, seem more likely to adopt Swift or Dickens, without the irony, and applaud a decrease in the surplus population as an unalterable law of nature.  It’s not.  It’s a purposeful choice and they should be forcefully challenged on it.


  10. SpaceLifeForm says:

    OT: It is not just yellow dots that can provide ‘hidden’ METADATA. The more modern approach is via the FONT. Note, in this particlar case at hand, it is the FONT itself and date of availability that are at issue.

    But, a FONT can be subtlely manipulated via dithering to provide hiiden METADATA that may not be obviously visible to the naked eye.
    Which means that a true black printout on white paper can provide hidden METADATA.

  11. TomA says:

    I think I’m missing something here. Ron Goldstone makes the statement regarding Russian involvement in his email. He could be telling the truth based upon actual direct knowledge (e.g. he secretly works for the Kremlin), or he could be passing along information fed to him by others (motive unknown), or he could have been making it up in order to entice the meeting with Don Jr. (deceptive ploy). How does one ascertain which of the above possibilities is accurate?

  12. Peterr says:

    Noted legal scholar and international political advisor Julian Assange is not happy with Donald Jr:

    Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, has claimed that he contacted Donald Trump Jr and tried to persuade him to publish emails showing he was eager to accept sensitive information about Hillary Clinton via the anti-secrecy website.

    Instead, the US president’s eldest son did so via Twitter, igniting a firestorm of criticism around his apparent willingness to work with the Russian government against his father’s Democratic rival.

    “Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us),” tweeted Assange, who is based at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. “Two hours later, does it himself.”

    Asked by another Twitter user to explain, Assange elaborated: “I argued that his enemies have it – so why not the public? His enemies will just milk isolated phrases for weeks or months … with their own context, spin and according to their own strategic timetable. Better to be transparent and have the full context … but would have been safer for us to publish it anonymously sourced. By publishing it himself it is easier to submit as evidence.”

    Shorter Julian: “If he had just listened to my advice, he would be as free as me.”

    Or something like that.

    [ducking the glass that bmaz will no doubt throw in my direction]

      • Peterr says:

        Jesus christ, ir Jr. dumb enough to email with this asshole? Probably so I guess.

        You assume that Jr emailed Assange, which assumes facts not in evidence. I read this story and thought that it was Julian wanting to it to be all about Julian, not that Jr was looking for help or advice.

          • Rugger9 says:

            It puzzles me about why Assange might check in, since I don’t think he was mentioned in all of this particular kerfuffle.  This is one of those situations to lay low, even Caribou Barbie hasn’t jumped in, so that should say something about getting attention by using this fracas.

              • Rugger9 says:

                Sudoku, reading Marmaduke, whatever, but since this did not look to me as a boot-licking defense of Team Trump why would Julian risk being turfed out of the Ecuadorian embassy where he currently resides?

                I always prefer to figure out what is in it for someone as smart as Assange is when they expose themselves to trouble.  Junior, on the other hand, never grew up from being a frat boy (like Armstrong and Getty on the AM dial here)

            • greengiant says:

              Difficult to track all the narratives much less verify them,  but an enormous one is that the Stone-Assange-Peter W. Smith-Putin-Oligarchs-Trump oligarchs operatives-Trump oligarchs fake news generators-Farage-Le Pen and now Trump family and campaign are hand in glove.  Assange would check in now because the Clinton dirt was washed through wiki leaks just after these emails instead of or in addition to going direct to Trump players.

              As for TLAs and such.  If the TLAs were about justice and not just low level trough feeders and persecutors of whistleblowers and 19 year old Somali Americans,   Trump would have been in jail long ago.  Anyone thinking Comey, Brennan or their ilk are the cavalry coming to the rescue has not seen Heaven’s Gate.

  13. Evangelista says:

    The line:  “Had the NSA collected this email,” begs the question be asked:  (Naively) “Why didn’t it?”, or (Credulously) “Didnt it?”, or (Cynically) “But it did, of course, didn’t it?  So what did it do?  Or not do?”

    Meanwhile, for those who wonder what is going on here, the answer, for the Sunday-School set, is “A tempest in a teapot.”  For the rest of us it is “the USA at its finest, in a nutshell.”

    The nutshell explains the USA.  Especially when it has a well-cooked “scandal” to hyper-ventilate (sort of like smelling-salts, an essential part of ‘the Vapours’, which are an antidote for boredom.

    Here is another:

    Back in the old days, before internet digitalis with its smoke of ‘metadata’, ṕacket-tags’, ‘sequencing-bits’, ‘routing markers’ and so on, and its satellite-reflector mirrors introduced tech-tech-tech (technology-technicality-techtonics) to fascinate the masses, when hustlers hustled hustles they had to really hustle, to hustle their hustles along and hustle their marks along, too, to hustle them, which did not mean getting off the mark; but staying on the mark;  not letting off, which could let him (the mark) off (for giving him time to think).

    In those days, in a case like the smoking-red-herring proof of nothing, or fake nothing, or a good hustle actually fairly nicely played… a fake document, called “bait” would be prepped, with appropriate tagging, like, being typed on an Underwood with a crooked letter-face key, then folded and creased and maybe slightly ‘naranged” (instead of ‘rouged’) to suggest deposit in (or from) maybe a pumpkin made a letter-drop ( the “Cinderella-Transfer”).  Then it would be sent to the ‘pigeon’ it had been tailored to.  With it would go a note noting the ‘bait’ assumed to be of interest to the pigeon, but, if not, sure to be of interest to __ known as ‘the decoy’ (who could be a shill, but could also not be).  The decoy would be a near, but not parallel competitor, or rival, to whom the bait would be of interest, but not a tailored fit.  The object would be to ‘goose’ the ‘pigeon’, to sow the seed of scoop by competition, without suggesting it.  The bait and note saying, ‘this is perfect for you, run with it, quick, or chance being scooped.’  The object was to hustle the pigeon into action, to hurry him to shortcut, to foreshorten authentication procedures to stay ahead, or slide in ahead, before the competition.

    In the Intercept-Maddow business you can see evidences of this kind of game.  The Intercept did not follow through either authentication or source-protection procedures, it sort of waved at both (or waived) and jammed the ‘exposure’ through…  And then found out it had been hustled.

    The note, proof it had short-cut to protect a ‘scoop’ would be among the first things “lost” upon the discovery, to avoid making the embarrassment worse.  The ‘art’ of the hustle is, after all, to make the pigeon swallow his ‘loss’, to not expose the hustler, to not expose himself, that he had fallen for the hustle…

    I suggest the NSA hustled The Intercept, to ‘produce’, without itself producing, some “proof” to jack up the “Russian Hack” narrative as it was flatulating into serious deflation.  Whether Ms. Winner was an ingénue seduced to participation, or a shill (who, if so, may be still on payroll, her current employment task being to sit in jail and enjoy the publicity) we will have to wait to learn, in reel nine or ten if it’s a regular length movie.

    Who do I predict will be denoue’d the Arch-Villain in the end?  The FBI:  They’re the ones who started this government-in matinee-serial form.  The FBI with its “Terrorist-Threat Vignettes”;  coaching confused kids to audition to be the next James Dean.  And now the NSA wants to do “The Sting”.  B-movies from a B-government.

    You see?  The USA is a nuthouse…I mean in a nutshell…

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Lots of great points and questions.

      Some more:

      ChaIn of custody. Provenance.

      We really do not know the path the document took before TI received it. We do not know who TI contacted at NSA to ‘verify’ it was legit.

      The doc is not ‘digitally signed’ so there is really no proof it was/is a legit NSA document.

      It may have come out of NSA via a rouge actor, and when TI asked for verifcation, whomever TI contacted at NSA lied about the provenance. We just do not know.

      We do not know when the creases were created. The doc in question could have come from anywhere, delivered to an intermediary,
      then printed, then folded, then snail-mailed.

      We do not know the path, the chain of custody.

      We can not even trust the yellow dot METADATA. Printer firmware can be hacked and hide behind an imposter printer.

      One definite lesson, any ‘leaked’ doc to be reported on should not include all pages, just pieces, even after redacting.

      This will make it more difficult for a rouge actor to create a forgery. But at this point, I believe one can create any fake intel doc that one wants to create because there are plenty of templates out there and they are not digitally signed.

      So, to me, the biggest issues are provenance and chain of custody.

      If more was known about CoC and provenance, then there is a better hope of finding the truth.

      At this point in time, the 5W’s (What, Who, Where, When, and Why) are all allegedly answered according to FBI in the court filings against Reality Winner.

      But, this may be a ‘rush to judgement’ case.

  14. Harold says:

    RE Goldstone and the Kremlin.
    The entertainment industry, particularly record companies, has proven to be a place where a lot of drug money has been cleaned. See Murder Inc, see Death Row Records, see BMF etc. So perhaps, one way to clean your Azerbaijani money in the Russian banking system is to give your deluded son a career as a bootleg Robin Thicke and endlessly promote him until you have millions in fake invoices from Russian PR specialist Goldstone. Record promotion may actually have a lot to do with the kremlin business model.

  15. person1597 says:

    Ill take beer thirty for four hundred…

    A pair of shoes walk into a bar…

    What is… 99 bottles of what you just polished!

  16. MaDarby says:

    Maybe emptywheel can team up with Lindsey Gram cobble together the necessary votes and impeach Trump next week. After all the evidence is in and he is guilty of Russia stooge-son sedition and insufficient warmongering.

    There will be rejoicing from the Midwestern fundamentalist pulpits real and virtual when Mike Prince is sworn in.

  17. Peterr says:

    Politico’s story on the potential problems Junior has put himself in contains an interesting bit of commentary:

    A white-collar Washington lawyer who is representing a client mired in the Russia probe said there’s little doubt Mueller’s team welcomes what Trump Jr. just delivered about his Russia meeting via social media — that is, if they didn’t already have the messages through their own investigation.

    “They’ve been handed a smoking gun,” the attorney said. “What none of us know is what else he’s got. He may have had all these emails already. He may have reams of paper. There’s no way to know what’s under the water line in terms of this investigation.”

    The attorney, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his work for an individual involved in the case, said Trump Jr. may be most at risk of legal repercussions because of his admission that he was willing to meet with the Russian attorney to obtain dirt on Clinton.

    “I think he’s walked himself into a potential criminal offense here,” the lawyer said. But the disclosures could also be trouble for Kushner and Manafort since they are copied on the exchange and Trump Jr. at one point explains he’ll be bringing them along to the meeting at Trump Tower.

    “They’re in the soup too,” the attorney said.

    When you’ve got all these Trump administration and campaign folks under a cloud, and they are all getting their own lawyers, you just knew that sooner or later, comments like these would emerge. My WAG is that this is Pence’s lawyer, and he’s happy to throw anyone other than his client under the bus.

  18. SaltinWound says:

    I think there is a difference between wanting Trump to win and telling Trump you want him to win. You could tell Trump you want him to win as part of an effort to cause chaos in our electoral system. Of course they may have wanted him to win.

  19. Bay State Librul says:

    Why hasn’t the FBI confiscated Junior’s computer?
    Don the Con doesn’t not use e-mail so how can we prove that Daddy was in the loop?

  20. Bay State Librul says:

    Funny but not funny?

    “If Trump is ultimately removed from office, it can’t happen soon enough for Pence, who always looks like he’s humming “Hail to the Chief” to himself whenever he walks into a room…”  Boston Globe

    If you are looking for a terrific, funny, non-boring escape into politics, download the New Al Franken book…………

    There is hope for Dems

  21. b says:

    The NYT had the email, allegedly from 3 White House advisors (When were they WH advisors? In 2016?) and threatened to publish excerpts.  Trump jun then released the emails.

    Who gave the emails to the NYT?

    Marcy’s claim that this excludes the possibility of wiretapping is obviously false.

    The only person who asserts that the meeting had anything to do with official Russia is a tabloid scribe and show promoter Goldstone. Hint: When someone like Goldstone writes of the (non existing)  “crown prosecutor of Russia”,  it is meant as a joke, not as an implication of the Russian government.

    Someone offered to produce dirt of Clinton. The Trump campaign then naturally talked with that person. No dirt was delivered as far as we can tell. – There is no collusion in that at all.

    Meanwhile some Democrats paid a British intel agent to pay Russian intelligence agents and Kremlin sources to deliver dirt on Trump. Fake dirt was delivered and the Clinton campaign used it. If there is any collusion with Russians it is there.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Provide the original source documents, please, on the Clinton claim that has been repeatedly debunked.

    • John Casper says:


      ew wrote, “Had the NSA collected this email, they would have had high confidence Putin was affirmatively helping Trump.”

      You wrote, “Who gave the emails to the NYT?”

      WRT ew’s scoop, what does that matter?

      WRT other stuff, I think the NYT’s source on this is very interesting. Any ideas?

  22. Evangelista says:


    A more or less serious note:  For the “under 500 character” version of what I wrote for John Casper, see “Sophie, July 12, 2017 5:23pm [1723h]”.  All I said is there, succinctly stated, except for the diferentiating explanation of not-in-the-picture financial instruments, added to possibly help John make it back from the derivative tangent confusion he wrote himself into in his machine-gun posting (full-auto tends to get away if not kept under control).

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