Trumpnami: Good Luck Staying Ahead of That

That‘ — I can’t even come up with a family-friendly term for the tsunami of crap Trump set in motion this week.

The New York Times’ three-reporter interview with Trump had already generated heavy surf Wednesday and Thursday. The amount of insanity packed in one summary article and published excerpts, combined with problematic journalistic methodology, agitated a massive undertow.

Last evening, the Washington Post reported that Trump has asked his attorneys about the limits of presidential pardons while they look for ways to undermine the legitimacy of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

We also learned Mark Corallo left Team Trump.

Ditto attorney Marc Kasowitz, though depending on who you read, he’s either ‘left’ or taken a ‘lesser role’.

That’s just last night.

Sandwiched between NYT’s one-two punch and last night’s WaPo piece are pieces sure to increase pressure.

Like Bloomberg’s report that Mueller is looking into Trump’s business transactions.

(Side note: I have a problem with Bloomberg’s piece in particular as it claims the stock market responded negatively to the reporting about Trump. Really? There’s nothing else going on, like news about Apple, Netflix, Musk’s Boring, skittishness ahead of GE’s earnings, Carrier’s layoffs, so on, which might concern the market? Oh, Exxon‘s little hand slap…right. Nah.)

I don’t know how we stay ahead of this wave. But after learning

— Trump wouldn’t have nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions to attorney general if he’d known in advance Sessions would recuse himself;

— Trump thinks Mueller investigating his family’s finances is too far;

— Less than 179 days in office, Trump was already considering the use of presidential pardons for family;

it’s time to ask Congress to revisit the independence of special counsel under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to assure Mueller’s investigation is completely out of reach of the White House and its compromised attorney general. As the law addressing the special counsel currently exists, the role remains under the purview of the attorney general. This is increasingly problematic, given Trump’s statements about Sessions’ recusal, which may be construed as a form of intimidation.

Yeah, yeah, Scalia thought the independent counsel was an overreaching breach between the legislative and executive branches. But Scalia likely never foresaw this level of insanity, stupidity, and criminality in the White House, combined with an utterly flaccid majority party, either complicit or unwilling to perform oversight within its powers and purpose. In his dissent of Morrison v. Olson, Scalia wrote,

It is the proud boast of our democracy that we have “a government of laws and not of men.” …

What happens when the executive office ignores or violates laws, and Congress turns a blind eye? What backstop is there to assure the ‘government of laws’ continues to execute the law in spite of the failure of men charged with creating and upholding the laws?

Commenting on a tweet by former Eric Holder, former Justice Department spokesperson Matthew Miller tweeted last night,

“Yep. These leaks are partially intended to test the boundaries of what he can get away with. Like w/ Comey firing, silence is acquiescence.” [bold mine]

It’s not on Congress alone, though, to hold fast the boundaries on executive power. It’s on citizens to demand Congress demonstrate limits as representatives of the people.

By the way, to reach Congress call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121

As mentioned in the blurb, this is an open thread.

32 replies
  1. greengiant says:

    Fierce rip tide. Sean Spicer resigns, GS alumnus and hedge funder Scaramucci, “the SEC should stop demonizing WS” is offered the job.

    • Rayne says:

      Yuck. They hugged. Gross.

      Priebus called a private meeting of the White House communications staff, and made clear that Spicer, who is expected to help Scaramucci transition into the role, is leaving to give the new communications director “a clean slate,” according to someone briefed on the meeting. 

      Priebus also tried to play down any tensions with Scaramucci, saying the two have known each other for a long time, and Scaramucci told his new team that he is not a “top down” manager, this person said.

      Scaramucci and Spicer also hugged

      Fake team spirit is revolting. Just shake hands and go, Spicey.

      Though I can’t wait to see what Saturday Night Live writers do with Scaramucci. ~buys popcorn futures~

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A hug.  Isn’t that special.  More theater of the absurd.

    The chaos in the White House comms function would be important if Trump himself were not the principal cause of the chaos.  No amount of wordsmithing and attempted intimidation by the WH spokespeople can alter that.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Scaramucci’s first appearance as WH comms director suggests that he has the talent to be a a very skilled liar.  Either that or he does not mean what I think he means when he says that Donald Trump has “very good karma”. His claim that Donald is “a very effective communicator” falls into the same bucket.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    Or, it could all be the “distraction du jour” for whatever is going on behind the scenes, like a Mueller firing or slew of preemptive pardons.

    Let’s also not forget our GOP Senators are not fully finished with the BCRA ram-through, so I’m sure this is something that will help cloak what McConnell’s up to.  I was amused that Cornyn said that knowing what was in the bill was a luxury we couldn’t have (so to speak).

    Melissa McCarthy will need something else to do on Saturday night, however.

  5. harpie says:

    Ok, so about a week ago I decided to keep track of the things that make me laugh out loud when I’m trying to keep ahead of the tsunami [h/t Rayne]. It might be a real belly laugh, or a sarcastic laugh, or a nervous laugh… Looking back at the week-that-was, some of the LOL’s strike me somewhat differently.


    Anyway, this is what I laughed at today…for some reason…
    Sarah Mimms‏Verified account @SarahMMimms  

    Scaramucci says he’s seen Trump throw a spiral through a tire… for some reason.

      • Rayne says:

        LOL Thanks! Imagine what I could have done if I’d had the right tools and proper training. Sadly, I modded one of my favorite paintings for that; I’ve always loved the Great Wave at Kanagawa by Hokusai. But there’s really no other substitute for the shape of that wave.

        Wish the front page gallery showed the entire pic but it is what it is.

        Full image with all its flaws:

  6. Cold N. Holefield says:

    In all Fairness, White House Press Briefings should be a thing of The Past. It’s Propaganda recorded by what is tantamount to Glorified Stenographers. There is nothing valuable to be gleaned from that. The more notable & effective Press Secretaries make it appear as though they’ve said something of substance when actually they’ve said, and revealed, nothing at all.

    Remember, this is FUN for Donald Trump. He was Positively Giddy when he did The NYT interview. I know The Three Musketeers at The NYT thought they were manipulating him but it was Trump who was manipulating them. More than Six Months In and a Mountain of Insanity and Trump is still Walking Tall. The Establishment’s Apoplexy is Wearing Thin. Trump is wearing The Establishment out. Look at Mika and Erin. They have what can only be described as PTSDPost Trump Stress Disorder and yet we’re not Post Trump yet, if ever at this rate.

    • Rugger9 says:

      For manipulation to be effective it has to have a purpose and it needs to be a necessary element to achieve that goal.  The ongoing sap opera (intended) may distract, but I do not see how it benefits POTUS personally to  do what he did here.  All of this interview is basically tweet-bait and tweeting would be just as effective in distracting from what McConnell’s doing.

      • Cold N. Holefield says:

        His purpose and goal is LOOK AT ME EVERYONE. He likes to be The Center of Attention even if that Attention is considered by The Establishment to be negative. For him, Attention is Attention either way. Why else do you think he would have done The NYT interview when he knows full well The NYT hates his guts and wants to make Mince Meat out of him? Because he wants the Attention, good or bad. Remember, he believes he’s Teflon, and at this rate, he may be right. He’s been Teflon his entire life so far so why should he stop believing it now? Bloomberg even said he believes Donald Trump will win reelection in 2020.

        Maybe The Mainstream Media could try giving him no Attention whatsoever and only focus on the other two branches of Government. If The MSM was principled and strategic and serious, that’s what it would do, but of course, it has Owners & Sponsors and The Donald Trump Show is great for Media Revenue & Profits, so they’ll continue to Twist Themselves in Knots over him and play right into His Tiny Hands.

        • bmaz says:

          Trump actually has long had a extremely good relationship with the lead reporter Maggie Haberman. Not sure why, but it is the case. That he talked to her yet again, is not surprising in the lest.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Scaramucci said he loves the president. He said it several times. He said that Donaldo has done “an incredible job” for the American people.

    Perhaps the script sounded more credible in the original Russian. I think the CNN commentator had it right in explaining this choice as all about optics: the well-suited and coiffed Harvard Law School trained, ex-Goldman Sachs and now former investment banker Scaramucci is the guy Trump imagines he sees when he looks in the mirror (when it doesn’t crack). More mud wrestling ahead.

    • bmaz says:

      by the way, Scaramouche is trying to sell hi company, Skybridge, to the Chinese. One of Priebus’ objections to him was that the optics looked absolutely horrible because the Chinese are now buying influence into the White House as well. Give Priebus a pinch of credit here, he is right.

      • Rugger9 says:

        For all of his ineffectiveness as CoS, Priebus does understand political optics very well.  That’s why no one is listening to him.

  8. Cold N. Holefield says:

    What a Perfect Pick.

    The Little Skirmisher (what Scaramucci means in Italian).

    Finally, a Press Secretary who can do The Fandango.

    Thunderbolt & Lightning — very very Frightening!!

  9. harpie says:

    SIC Chairman Richard Burr today, according to TPM:

    “The unmasking thing was all created by Devin Nunes, and I’ll wait to go through our full evaluation to see if there was anything improper that happene. […] But clearly there were individuals unmasked. Some of that became public which it’s not supposed to, and our business is to understand that, and explain it.”

  10. person1597 says:

    When Spicey claimed he resigned, was that a violation of his loyalty oath?

    ‘A loyal Trumpie must never fail to affirmatively aid The Donald in ways large or small, especially when Terminated. Any act of disloyalty, including any act of self-preservation, such as any claim, public or private, that Termination was an act of personal volition, or against the wishes of The Donald, shall be construed as an egregious breach of contract…’

    Maybe Spicey can slip his NDA into the stack of discovery documents going to the special counsel…


  11. PG says:

    Since this is an open thread, I’d like to use the opportunity to reply to Kathryn in MA’s comment on the post  Akhmetshin’s Involvement and the Trump Dossier:

    Kathryn in MAsays:
    July 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm
    Unless the Russians were setting up Jr. as even more blackmailable leverage on Trump?


    I missed this comment the other day but I agree, IF the emails and meeting were carefully orchestrated by the Kremlin, Kathryn’s point is more believable (imo) than the theory that the meeting was set up to establish mutual cooperation between Trump and the Russian gov.  It all makes more sense as kopromat than collusion…

      • PG says:

        Yes, but I’m speaking to the reason for the meeting in particular.  The emails and meeting itself are enough to create Kompromat and make sense as such.  It does not make as much sense that they would use that format to actually make a deal — if a deal, such as a quid-pro-quo, was ever established.  As far as theories go, though, there are plenty to choose from.  It’s interesting to speculate and read others views on this site.  But, the “intelligence soft pitch designed to gauge receptivity” theory put forth by Mowatt-Larsen doesn’t make sense to me.

  12. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Microsoft slowly dissecting FancyBear

    [This first link is lots of legal docs. Prob skip]

    Last year attorneys for the software maker quietly sued the hacker group known as Fancy Bear in a federal court outside Washington DC, accusing it of computer intrusion, cybersquatting, and infringing on Microsoft’s trademarks. The action, though, is not about dragging the hackers into court. The lawsuit is a tool for Microsoft to target what it calls “the most vulnerable point” in Fancy Bear’s espionage operations: the command-and-control servers the hackers use to covertly direct malware on victim computers.

    Historically, Fancy Bear has mostly targeted Windows with its malware, and has leaned heavily on Microsoft products when choosing domain names—thus giving Microsoft standing in the lawsuit. On Friday, after months of litigation and thousands of pages of filings, a judge in Alexandria, Virginia is scheduled to hear Microsoft’s motion for a final default judgment and permanent injunction against Fancy Bear.

    But Microsoft’s methods hew closely to earlier takedowns masterminded by the company’s Digital Crimes Unit in a string of operations targeting criminal botnets like Rustock , Waledac and Kelihos, with varying degrees of success and occasional controversy. In a 2013 operation, the company used the courts to sinkhole 4,000 command-and-control domains used by the bank-theft malware Citadel, but in the process hijacked hundreds of domains that already belonged to computer security researchers who’d been monitoring Citadel themselves.

    [So it is tricky, and MS sorta messed up taking down other researchers. Note that the person behind Citadel just got a 5 year sentence]

    Suing a shadowy hacker gang isn’t completely straightforward. After Fancy Bear missed its first court date in August, the judge granted Microsoft subpoena power, and the company launched a nine-month investigation into Fancy Bear’s identity that took it to domain registrars, webmail providers, hosting firms and payment processors around the world. After 52 subpoenas in the U.S., and 46 informal inquiries abroad, Microsoft ended up no closer to unmasking a Fancy Bear hacker. Payment records showed the domains were registered using BitCoin or disposable, pre-paid credit cards; server logs only traced the hackers as far as a Tor exit node.

    [Tor does not hide that good. They know who it is. Connect some dots. You may be able to figure out who it is too. It is a matter of evidence]

  13. orionATL says:

    i hope it’s o. k. to post this here. the huffigton post story seems too important to miss:


    July 21, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    this comment does not belong here. it belongs with the much-commented-on post about akmetishin.

    but comment there is closed… so i’ll post it here.

    a fascinating story from huffington post (former nytimes editor polgren now in charge there) :

    the general point is how tangled up all these characters are in this drama – grassley, browder, veselnitskaya, fusion, chiaka the russian prosecutor, the company prevezon, and akmeteshin, steele, katsyv, magnitsky.

    the two special points are –

    – grassley seems to be after fusion for some reason, political is entirely concievable given his slippery, slime coating

    – veselnitsya and akmetshin both worked for prevezon at the ssme time, akmetshin as a lobbyist for a “human rights” organization set up by prevezon owner katsyv.

    – (i think that) the justice departmment just settled the prevezon case under peculiar circumstances highly favorable to prevezon. (p. baraha and all other usa’s having been disposed of by trump).

    – i’m betting russian help to trump in the election came thru this conduit and is quid pro quo disguised either as adoption facilitating or else the work of the katsyv/prevezon “human rights” foundation, but in fact is all about getting rid of u. s. sanctions against russia.

    • bmaz says:

      Absolutely fine. For some technical reasons that are boring, we do close off comments on posts after a set amount of time. So this is a fine place to continue anything from that post thread.

      I will say this, I had some initial questions about the Prevezon settlement, but the more I looked at it and talked to people in and about SDNY, the less I think there was any real problem. The press consistently yammers about $230 million being at issue, but that was the supposed amount of the initial fraud in Russia that Browder harps on. The action in SDNY was a civil forfeiture actual against certain real property and a limited amount of money in bank accounts. At best, the real value was somewhere in the vicinity of $14 million give or take (and much of it was in the form of extremely illiquid real property). Prevezon was extremely well financed and loaded for bear, and actually trying the case was going to be insanely expensive for the DOJ, and Prevezon had legitimate defenses. In short, after really looking into it, I think the settlement was just fine and made sense. And I can find no evidence whatsoever the decision was made by anybody but the line level attorneys and leadership in SDNY. Maybe some other facts come out to change that, but I sure can’t find them at this point. Upon inspection, it looks legit to me.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for sharing here – I designated this an open thread just for this purpose given older posts comments shut down after a period of time.

      I took the liberty of tweaking the HuffPo link you shared as it included an ID number to track you and where it posted.

      WRT to the story itself, you can see why Fusion resisted testifying before the Senate committee. I can’t blame them; they’ll be asked to disclose information about clients, potentially burning all future business opportunities. It’s interesting how hard right-wingers have tried to paint Fusion as a liberal-favoring research firm; if forced to testify, will the truth about who first paid them for anti-Trump information come out, and what would happen if it turned out to be Jeb Bush and family?

  14. person1597 says:

    And now back to our regular programming… David French’s Trump’s anathema…

    “Trump has proven that he can and will blow up any and all news cycles at will.”

    “He and his team have made so many false statements about Russia that an entire cottage industry of YouTube videos exists to chronicle them.”

    Aww…someone is feeling left behind…

  15. orionATL says:

    bmaz and rayne –


    thanks for those details. things always look different when you go from “storyline” level to actual-factual, historical details.

    rayne –

    thanks. i am alarmed at the idea that huff post citation allows me to be tracked. or am i interpreting your comment in a paranoid manner. if the citation does allow tracking, what can i cut off of a cite to protect privacy? do all media cites do this?

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      When posting a URL, truncate (delete) everything from the question mark (?) to the end of the URL. This includes removing the question mark.

    • Rayne says:

      What SLF said about that particular site’s URLs. Not all sites use tracking like that; not all use the same kind of tracking in their URLs. Can’t hurt to watch the links you share more closely, though.

      I also avoid Facebook links altogether; they track you by cookies after you click on any FB link, very sticky.

  16. greengiant says:

    See continuing concern that some new Goebbels is writing Trump’s tweets with the crazy doublespeak and the in your face lies. Not just bots but real life actors still supporting Trump with “but the emails”.  There had to be fake Clinton emails.  What disturbs me is not whether Trump and his minders knew they were spamming fake news, ( cause that’s politics).   What disturbs me is the legs the fake news has in the minds of people I otherwise have respect for.  Putin’s and Bannon’s plans to destroy America are proceeding.  No need to empower them. If not them then someone else.   All is inevitable once the staggering layers of corruption are so much steeper than the angle of repose.

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