Trump Appears to Have Withheld the KT McFarland Email about the “Thrown Election”

This post explains what appears to be the real reason for the fake outrage about Mueller obtaining information from GSA: by doing so, he appears to have obtained proof that the Transition was withholding emails material to the investigation. Go to this post for a more general summary of what we know about the claim. 

Here’s the letter that Trump For America lawyer sent to Congress to cause a big hullabaloo about how Robert Mueller obtained transition period emails. I unpacked it in this Twitter thread and commented on it in an update to this post.

But this passage deserves a separate post, because it seems to go to the heart of why the Republicans are spewing propaganda like this.

Additionally, certain portions of the PTT materials the Special Counsel’s Office obtained from the GSA, including materials that are susceptible to privilege claims, have been leaked to the press by unknown persons. Moreover, the leaked records have been provided to the press without important context and in a manner that appears calculated to inflict maximum reputational damage on the PTT and its personnel, without the inclusion of records showing that PTT personnel acted properly – which in turn forces TFA to make an impossible choice between (a) protecting its legal privileges by keeping its records confidential and (b) waiving its privileges by publicly releasing records that counteract the selective leaks and misguided news reports. In short, since the GSA improperly provided them to the Special Counsel’s Office, the PTT’s privileged materials have not only been reviewed privately by the Special Counsel’s Office without notification to TFA – they have also been misused publicly.

Kory Langhofer is insinuating — without quite risking the claim — that after GSA shared certain emails with Robert Mueller’s office, “unknown persons” leaked them to the press. The insinuation is that Mueller’s team leaked them.

I can think of just one set of emails that fit this description: emails from KT McFarland that provided proof that Mike Flynn lied to the FBI about his conversations with Sergei Kislyak on December 29, 2016. The NYT quoted extensively from them in a December 2 story.

Among other things, McFarland stated in the emails that Russia “has just thrown the U.S.A. election to” Trump.

On Dec. 29, a transition adviser to Mr. Trump, K. T. McFarland, wrote in an email to a colleague that sanctions announced hours before by the Obama administration in retaliation for Russian election meddling were aimed at discrediting Mr. Trump’s victory. The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times.


Mr. Obama, she wrote, was trying to “box Trump in diplomatically with Russia,” which could limit his options with other countries, including Iran and Syria. “Russia is key that unlocks door,” she wrote.

She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to “lure Trump in trap of saying something” in defense of Russia, and were aimed at “discrediting Trump’s victory by saying it was due to Russian interference.”

“If there is a tit-for-tat escalation Trump will have difficulty improving relations with Russia, which has just thrown U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote.

Contrary to Langhofer’s suggestion, NYT made some effort to mitigate the damage of McFarland’s comment seemingly confirming the Trump team knew the election had been stolen, including speaking to a White House lawyer about it.

It is not clear whether Ms. McFarland was saying she believed that the election had in fact been thrown. A White House lawyer said on Friday that she meant only that the Democrats were portraying it that way.

And while NYT’s explanation that they got the emails “from someone who had access to transition team communications” certainly could include Mueller’s team among the culprits, it could also include GSA officials themselves or — even more likely — a former Trump official with a grudge. At least three were CCed on the email in question: Bannon, Priebus, and Spicer.

Mr. Bossert forwarded Ms. McFarland’s Dec. 29 email exchange about the sanctions to six other Trump advisers, including Mr. Flynn; Reince Priebus, who had been named as chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, the senior strategist; and Sean Spicer, who would become the press secretary.

In other words, Langhofer uses the leak as an excuse to suggest wrong-doing by Mueller, when other possibilities are far more likely.

But consider the other implication of this: Langhofer is suggesting that this email chain (which included no named active lawyers, nor included Trump directly, though they were written in Trump’s presence at Mar a Lago) is “susceptible to privilege claims.” He is further suggesting that GSA is the only way this email could have been released (ignoring, of course, the Bannon/Priebus/Spicer) options.

If that’s right, then he’s suggesting that Trump was involved in this email chain directly. There’s no reason to believe he was CCed. But since the emails were written from Mar-a-Lago, it’s likely he was consulted in the drafting of the emails.

In addition, Langhofer is also admitting that Trump’s team didn’t release these emails directly — at least not to Congress.

Emails which couldn’t be more central to the point of Mueller’s investigation.

Did the GOP just admit that Trump withheld this email? Because if so, it suggests the “thrown election” comment is far more damning than the NYT laid out.

Update: It’s not clear whether Mueller ever tried to obtain these records via GSA (though it’s possible FBI obtained emails before the inauguration). But this, from the letter, makes it clear at least Congress had made requests, which led TFA to try to take GSA out of the loop even though SCO had a document preservation request.

In order to comply with congressional document production requests, TFA ordered from the GSA electronic copies of all PTT emails and other data. Career GSA staff initially expressed concern that providing copies of PTT emails to TFA might violate a document preservation request that the GSA had received from the Special Counsel’s Office.

Withholding this email from Congress would be particularly problematic, as McFarland testified in conjunction with her now-frozen nomination to be Ambassador to Singapore that she knew nothing about Flynn’s communications with Kislyak. h/t SS

Update: Ah, this explains how Mueller was getting emails: via voluntary production, along with everything the Transition was giving Congress. Which means the email was withheld, and this October subpoena was an attempt to see whether they’d cough it up on their own.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in mid-October issued a subpoena to President Donald Trump’s campaign requesting Russia-related documents from more than a dozen top officials, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The subpoena, which requested documents and emails from the listed campaign officials that reference a set of Russia-related keywords, marked Mr. Mueller’s first official order for information from the campaign, according to the person. The subpoena didn’t compel any officials to testify before Mr. Mueller’s grand jury, the person said.

The subpoena caught the campaign by surprise, the person said. The campaign had previously been voluntarily complying with the special counsel’s requests for information, and had been sharing with Mr. Mueller’s team the documents it provided to congressional committees as part of their probes of Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.


Mueller’s team had previously issued subpoenas individually to several top campaign officials, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

[Correction: I’ve been corrected on this passage, which makes it clear this is about campaign emails, not transition ones. But I assume he made parallel requests for all three phases of Trump organization.]

Update: Mueller’s spox, Peter Carr, issued a statement saying, “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.” Given what I’ve laid out here, I actually think “C” may have been the case:

  • Subpoena to Flynn, obtain voluntary compliance for specific things as well as evidence shared with Congress prior to August
  • In August (perhaps after being alerted to withheld documents by Priebus/Spicer/Bannon/Papadopoulos?) obtain emails from GSA, technically the device owners
  • In October, subpoena for Russian-related emails from the same ~13 people
80 replies
  1. Joe F says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but to whom exactly are you referring when you say “Trump withheld this email?” Has any information demand gone to Trump directly; if not, then to whom? Thanks

  2. greengiant says:

    Sometime in October, a subpoena,

    Note Langhoffer’s timeline that they asked GSA to wipe the computers in January and then when preserve data order came through the GSA got the message in time. As if the emails were not available through other means.
    Per EW’s twitterverse politico link and her updated previous post copy of Reuters etc. Langhoffer claims FBI requested by letter August 23 and 30th 2017, while Trump’s GSA IG was dying.
    So conjecture that Mueller had the FBI requested emails by end of August?

  3. Rugger9 says:

    Also, the GSA never had any confidentiality agreement with the TFA crew and specifically told them they would release everything to law enforcement if asked.

    So, just like Jr did in Congress, they’re claiming a privilege that doesn’t exist in order to stonewall Mueller and provide a pretext to fire him for getting too close.

    There also may have been a FOIA request as well.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Bear in mind that among the intended recipients of Langhofer’s communications is the public, to muddy the perception of what’s happening here, and the base, to push them farther in their belief that the beltway swamp thing wants to swallow their average guy hero Donny, so be prepared to run out into the streets to defend him. It’s probably a shout out, too, to the GOP Congress to defend the Don: pre-emption always being better than clean-up.

      I would proceed on the basis that Langhofer’s current legal arguments are necessary, but secondary to his political posturing.

      • bmaz says:

        Far too much credit given, and far too much coverage awarded, to this manure. Langhofer is a glorified PR person. This was intended directly for Fox News. The extent to which it has been picked up by others is truly insane.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Two Guns from Phoenix.  Sounds like a movie starring Glenn Ford and Brad Dexter.  I’m happy Glenn writes for EW.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Did I say Glenn Ford?  Maybe that was Yul Brynner.  At least I didn’t suggest you were the one who saved Frank Sinatra from drowning in Hawaii.

        • bmaz says:

          I am just spitballing here, but think you mean 3:10 to Yuma. Which was Glen Ford (and one hell of a good movie). Brenner in Magnificent Seven.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          As for spitballing, you can stand there in your white uniform and ask me nicely whether that was Glenn Ford in the original 3:10, and Cimarron, and a host of other westerns.  Or I could just say that I think you’re right, it was Brynner in the Magnificent Seven, Westworld, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Lots of people who are technically lawyers are dressing up in lawyer suits for teevee, or writing letters that are lawyer-ish but are not actually lawyering. See Sekulow, J.

          As Josh Marshall rightly noted, while Crown Prince Jared has Abbe, everybody else has Ds and Fs.

        • Avattoir says:

          So the ‘plan’ was to leave to FNC the task of re-dressing these 3 patently inapplicable claims into something that seems legal? I feel like I’d have really enjoyed being in on that task: something like writing for a late night talk show, turning out claims that sort of sound like real ones that don’t apply and that Trump fans might fall for. Thus:

          1. “attorney-client” doesn’t apply without both an attorney-client relationship and an attorney, so: ‘nottorny-client‘.

          2. “deliberative process” doesn’t apply to work product of a body constitutionally unable to engage in the process of determining & executing on presidential will, so ‘pre-deliberative spit-balling‘.

          3. “presidential communication” does’t apply as it would seem to require that the electronic communications under discussion at least had been sent to or from a currently sitting president, rather than a president-elect, so:  ‘premature p-e missive‘.

    • Peterr says:

      It’s confirmed – Booker and Cardin:

      WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Friday [Dec 8], informing them of their hold on the nomination of K.T. McFarland to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.

      “Ms. McFarland may have provided information to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that conflicts with recent media reports regarding her knowledge and involvement in matters pertaining to contacts during the Trump Presidential Transition between former National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn and Russia’s Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak, among other matters,” the Senators wrote. “Therefore, we are placing a hold on her nomination and we urge you not to seek cloture on her nomination until Ms. McFarland publicly clarifies these matters.”

      Full text of their letter at the link.

  4. greengiant says:

    As shown by the recent CNN date #Fakenews it pays to be cautious regarding slight falsifications by operatives. Players modify the very worst ones to be worse and then let it be walked back in the big dust cloud.

    • justice center says:

      #fakenews is saying #TrumpRussia is a witch hunt,  we already have 4 witches caught…more to come…buckle up.

  5. GKJames says:

    What’s odd is the “has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him” (my emphasis). What American, writing to another American, would  say U.S.A. rather than U.S.? Assuming that the reference was necessary at all; surely the reader wouldn’t be at a loss to know which country’s election the writer was referring to if the reference had been omitted. For whom, exactly, was this message intended?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It tends to be a European observation that there are many “united states of …”, and that the country in North America is the United States of America.

      • maybe ryan says:

        I’m with GK that the use of USA as an adjective is basically non-existent in American English.  I’ve never heard it spoken by a native speaker in my life.  The one place it was used, weirdly, was in the old USA Today, which apparently thought that underlining its brand by constant reiteration would be useful.  But it sounded weird there and it sounds weird in the KT McFarland email.  I don’t think it implies some Russian or other foreign audience. But it is weird, and those implying it’s not aren’t keen observers of language.  Some of them seem to misunderstand the difference between nouns and adjectives.

        But it’s also hard to understand that clause as a straight reference in an email to anyone on that list.  That just isn’t how you’d write that idea – neither to people who were in on the conspiracy, for whom the reference is oddly stilted, nor to people who didn’t know, for whom the reference would be underexplained and outre.

        I tend to look at it as a mis-correction during an edit.  Maybe she’d written “thrown the USA into chaos,” and thought it didn’t express her sarcasm well, so she tried to re-write it to “has just thrown the US elections” but forgot to erase the A.

        By contrast, it’s interesting that she doesn’t use the leading indicator of the post-9/11 neocon – the noun “America.”  Prior to 9/11, I had lived in the US for all my then 30+ years.  I remember meeting a young woman from Hamburg in a Chicago bar, whose English accent was pretty good.  She was trying to convince me she was American, but I pointed out that she had said something about America, where any actual American would have said the United States or the US.   That was pre-9/11.  Suddenly, after 9/11 and for a decade our country was almost always referred to by a unitary noun, as in “Attacks on America.”

    • Ronbo says:

      Most people call it USA. unless now the olympics are Russian election spys who chant “team US, team US”. 

      Don’t play stupid, it shows your allegiance to the Repub0dem party of the 1%..

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Overplayed.  One might use team usa or the US Olympic Team or the US delegation or US Representative.  One also frequently hears the US (an arrogation that rankles other states united).  It might even depend on whether it was a possessive noun or an adjective.  But please, show your allegiance to whomever you like.

  6. Willis warren says:

    Who is the guy that Trump appointed to be in charge of the emails? Apparently he died and his successor gave the emails because he wasn’t part of the scam

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    From the first cited quote from Langhofer:

    1. He assumes the communications Mueller’s team obtained were from the GSA.

    2. He assumes some of them are privileged, implying impropriety in their release to or use by Mueller’s team.

    3. As you say, he implies the leak was from Mueller’s team.

    4. He assumes exculpatory context is missing, when it could be the opposite or none.

    5. He assumes motive for the leak to be intentionally damaging to the Don’s team; other reasons might apply, the communications might damage Don’s team simply because they are true.

    6. He assumes that “records” exist to show, in fact, that the transition team acted properly when determining that is an object of the investigation.

    7. He bemoans the supposed Hobson’s choice of maintaining “privilege” or waiving it to defend the honor of the transition team, when the existence of any privilege and who it might cover have not been determined.

    8. He conflates disclosure, purportedly by the GSA, viewing of the materials by Mueller’s team, and “misuse” of the materials, as if they were all facts, all were wrong actions and all could be laid at Mueller’s feet.  Langhofer  could be wrong on all three.

    Mr. Langhofer or his assistants must be moonlighting for Harlequin.

    • Bay State Librul says:

      True, true, true.

      Too bad we are soaked to the bone with Fox News, who will play this lying tune, unconcerned with right or wrong

      There will be no fiddling and diddling when Trump fires Mueller this week. In insurance they call it exposure. Don the Con has the highest exposure rate since Dick Nixon….

      We are heading toward a constitutional crises.

      God save the Commonwealth….





  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I find it curious that the first thing McFarland, and team Trump generally, assumed was that sanctions against Russia for being caught meddling in the US election were indirect sanctions against the Don for winning (because of that interference).

    An objective observer could be aghast at Russian meddling (if unschooled in America’s own long history of meddling in foreign elections).  She might want to know to what extent Russia meddled, through what variety of means, and for what purposes.  The answers could be important for every election in America.  But for McFarland (rather than Trump) to assume it was to place Don on his peacock throne seems a leap too far.  Unless she knew it was true.

    • orionATL says:

      psychological projection of own emotions to others is a universal human characteristic, but i notice it shows up a lot in overt republican propaganda, blatantly attributed to “the foe”/the devil, sometimes referred to as democrats or, more pejoratively still, liberals.

      projection also shows up in what should be an embarrassing way in rightwing explanations of political reality.

      and it’s a troll tell :)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Projection is an explicit Republican tool, to out their own motives but ascribe them nefariously to others and before the opposition can expose them with a more correct characterization.  Talking head, Jeannine Pirro, is an exponent of that sort of propaganda.

        In Ms. McFarland’s case, I would call it a Freudian slip, inadvertently revealing the truth of what she was thinking despite meaning to disguise or misattribute it.

      • orionATL says:

        mcfarland’s specific projections to the nefarious obama admin, made by a woman who has been described by a fellow republican as one of the dirtiest political operators of all time :

        “… The sanctions could also make it much harder for Mr. Trump to ease tensions with Russia, “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him,” she wrote in the emails obtained by The Times.


        Mr. Obama, she wrote, was trying to “box Trump in diplomatically with Russia,” which could limit his options with other countries, including Iran and Syria. “Russia is key that unlocks door,” she wrote.

        She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to “lure Trump in trap of saying something” in defense of Russia, and were aimed at “discrediting Trump’s victory by saying it was due to Russian interference.”

        cited in post above, from nytimes.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          All those characterizations revolve around the feverish desperation to defer to Russia, even before taking office, as if there were some unacknowledged reason to do so on the part of Team Trump.

        • maybe ryan says:

          Well, McFarland quite explicitly gives a reason that many conservatives and at least some quondam liberals (ie, Moon of Alabama from the old Billmon circle) were publicly mentioning back during the campaign, that Russia held the key to Syria, and that the Obama-era CIA had either intentionally, in a fit of desperately ill-informed intrigue or unintentionally, in a act of incredible naivete, put a lot of resources and firepower in the hands of “moderate Islamists” in Syria, creating all our problems there from whole cloth.

          There’s a lot in that analysis I disagree with.  But it’s a serious argument.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          EW on Ms. McFarland:

          “She also wrote that the sanctions over Russian election meddling were intended to “lure Trump in trap of saying something” in defense of Russia.”

          In other words, Mr. Trump was saying, “Please don’t fling me in dat brier-patch.”

  9. wayoutwest says:

    The snowflake’s mental deterioration is accelerating to ludicrous speed with reality just a smear on the viewport. Their mob of inquisitors poured over thousands of illicitly obtained transition emails and found one with almost the right words to fit their fractured fairytale.

    The snowflakes in high dudgeon mode missed that McFarland was mocking them and their witch-hunt or they hope this will deflect attenton from the reality based exposure of high level partisan anti-Trump corruption at the FBI.

    • Emma Dee says:

      The poor flakies are going to be so thunderstruck when things turn 180 against their narrative (again!) that they are going to have to come up with a new nickname for The Great Trumpening.

      Here, I’ll help.     Mr. President, I dub thee, “Teflon Don”.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Since we don’t know how the communications were obtained, or who, if anyone “illicitly” released them or for what purposes, “way out” seems an appropriate moniker.

  11. orionATL says:


    bmaz,you were bemoaning the appearances of trolls in your column.

    i had this great idea for dealing with trolls early this a. m.

    no need to ban their call number/isp address.

    trolls belong under bridges with their 4-legged goat cousins.

    create a permanent (or weekly/monthly) post called “under the bridge”.

    monitor takes all troll comments from where they appear in a specific post, copies them, and drops that comment into the “under the bridge” post with its time and date. a small note is left where the troll first posted “moved to under the bridge”.

    this serves the purpose of destroying the immediacy and continuity and annoyance of troll comment which is usually intended to taunt, disrupt, or demean.

    all troll contributions to emptywheel website are preserved (not that i personally would be so generous were it my website).

    there is no excuse for trolls making, or moderators, allowing extensive troll disruption of a legitimate argument.

    under the bridge with the goat fuckers!

    • SC says:

      Realclimate, one of the better blogs about climate change, gets hit by waves of climate trolls and does exactly that. Troll (and/or troll-like) comments land in the Bore Hole, a separate topic consisting of a chronological list of troll comments.


      Moving, presumably while reviewing them, troll comments to the Bore Hole keeps threads readable, avoids censoring, and provides a useful context for viewing trolls. From what I can tell, it works well for Real Climate and I’m surprised I don’t see that approach elsewhere.

      • orionATL says:

        thank you so much for this information.

        i had no idea that it was doable (at least technically). in my view cite operators have not only an incentive but a duty to deal with deliberately destructive behavior. having read and written on line for years i know very well there is a clear difference between a person who disgrees with or is offended by an argument i make and a troll who is taunting or perversely provocative.

        i’m perfectly happy to let the rightwing or leftwing crackpots whine about THEIR freedom of speech from under the bridge or in the bore hole :)

        of course what gives this troll behavior perpetual life is the threat of retaliation against the site – the same kind of cyber terrorism trump’s troops and right wing brownshirts threaten his critics with.

    • Silence Hand says:

      Oh, dang it.  Does this mean I would get thrown under the bridge with the trolls for feeding/baiting them?  It is, alas, a weakness I’ve had since USENET days.

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Which means the email was withheld, and this October subpoena was an attempt to see whether they’d cough it up on their own.

    Oh, to be a fly on Mueller’s wall…!

    • John Forde says:

      “Oh to be a fly on Mueller’s wall….”

      Does anyone know or know how to find out when Mueller meets with Trump’s lawyers this week?

      • maybe ryan says:

        Post your email and I’ll send you the schedule in a PM.

        Let me know what else you need.  Transcripts?  Cell phone records? Emails?  I have Trump’s and Hillary’s.

  13. bell says:

    funniest line so far… “Projection is an explicit Republican tool”….but emptywheel doesn’t do partisan politics…

    • Repack Rider (Charlie Kelly) says:

      The GOP has weaponized projection.

      You know exactly what nefarious stuff they are up to based solely on what they accuse “liberals” of doing.  If the GOP is accusing you, history shows that it is a lie used to get out in front of a developing story.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In my opinion, this blog is proudly biased – in favor of facts.

    It’s the current Republican administration, for example, that wants to ban “evidence-based” and “science-based” from the vocabulary of its premier public health organization.  Partisan anti-intellectualism on par with global warming denial.  They seem to feel so vulnerable to facts that they feel entitled to curl up in the foetal position and scream, “Hillary!”

    That Republicans use projection is elementary.  A ten minute review of any week’s news would establish that they routinely use it to ascribe to their opponents their own worst behavior.  Shrub was especially good at it.  For Kellyanne and Sebastian, it’s their forte.  McFarland is good at it, and Don’s not too shabby at it, either.

  15. bell says:

    now now.. don’t respond to trolls earl…. you are disobeying your own rules, lol – in favour of offering facts no doubt!! nothing partisan to see at emptywheel.. it is all on the up and up and very factual… facts from such esteemed publications as as the nyt, wapo, or wsj – the same ones that lied the usa into a war in iraq… yes – please do stick with the facts, as opposed to adding partisan conjecture up the yin yang, which is something on full display here for anyone to see..

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT, but Alabama’s junior not yet Senator is uninspiring in his comment that Dems [and women] should move on from allegations that Donald Trump committed inappropriate sexual behavior because there was an intervening election.  How Obamaesque to immediately adopt a page from one’s opponent’s playbook and make it your own.

    There are frequently intervening elections or other events between commission of sexual improprieties and their public outing: the tools to delay or avoid publicity are many and well-worn.  An election is not a get out of jail free card.  It does not resolve or decide the issue of sexual impropriety or sexual crimes, regardless of whether the allegations are no longer needed as a tool in an election contest.

    Jones’s apparent change of heart suggests a Damonesque inability to understand the problem and the Republican Party he and we are up against.  If Jones is attempting to bind the election wounds of his fellow Alabamans, he’s picked the wrong approach.  Given that Jones hasn’t yet been seated in the august Senate, it does not bode well.

    • SC says:

      I share your disappoint in Jone’s comments about Trump’s sexual harassment but I didn’t find it surprising. Jones seems honest, sincere, and articulate at times about the political situation in Alabama but he’s no Warren/Franken/Gillibrand/Booker. He’s new to national politics and sadly his political brand in Alabama is “conservative Democrat”. Maybe he’ll change. Maybe he’ll quickly realize that no long term good will come from Obamatization. Maybe he’ll figure out that the GOP will never be his friend. Maybe. It may take a while.

      Accepting Trump’s call after winning his senate seat was probably the right thing to do but beyond that, there’s no upside to appeasing Trump or the GOP. However, based on his words and actions throughout the Senate race, I think Jones is, at least for a while, going to make a good faith effort to “work with” Trump and the GOP. He’ll be the best Senator from Alabama and he’ll no doubt vote the party line but he’s not going to immediately be a significant Dem asset for the 2018 or 2020 elections.

      • maybe ryan says:

        Ah, right.  Once he realizes that the GOP will never be his friend, he’ll see clear to lose the honesty and sincerity, and then he’ll be “a significant Dem asset.”

        And we’re hearing similar criticisms of Northam.  “Why don’t they understand that their victories depend on never letting daylight appear between them and every party line?”

        Some Dems would really prefer to have lost both of the races whose outcomes give us any hope at all.

    • orionATL says:

      it’s doug jones’ stste. he knows his people; i don’t.

      his first job is to mollify and dilute bitterness. his second is to start using the many poweres of his office to help every constituent possible. his third, alas, is to listen to all the corporate power peddlers.

      policy and position statements are tissue paper.

  17. lucly says:

    How did Russia “throw” the election to Trump? Did they access our voting machines and change the vote? Thats the only way I can think of to throw an election. When I and thousands of other voted for Trump rest assured Russia was the last thing on our minds. Seems Russia would have preferred Hillary, shes been bought and paid for for years.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    You’ll need to do a bit of work if you think the only way to influence an election in your favor is to baldly access a vote tallying machine and change votes. 

    Domestically, it’s easier to disenfranchise felons, impose onerous “ID” laws, close polling stations in districts that vote for the wrong girl, gerrymander, or just line the final quarter mile to the polling station with state police cars and have the local canine squad guard them. 

    The potential machinations available to a state actor with unlimited funds, supercomputers, and hundreds of hackers are even more varied. And that’s assuming you want a specific candidate to win rather than to just cause chaos and bring into question the voting process or democracy itself.

  19. bell says:

    lucly – as earl notes above – there are a number of ways to influence an election… one only has to follow the masters in the usa who have done it to other countries on a regular basis, to see how they have flipped elections, or tried to flip them with colour revolutions, ngo’s,  straight out regime change agendas and etc. etc… of course using financial sanctions with us$ as world currency can help too!

    it’s always possible russia has used some of the many tricks that the usa uses regularly..  it is kind of funny how the tricks that the usa has used on others to enforce it’s neo liberal agenda around the planet appear to be coming back to bite itself in the ass… oh well – must be russias fault.. kremlin trolls did it… 2008 financial meltdown – kremlin trolls no doubt… this is the kind of rhetoric that substitutes for objective thinking on the part of many ordinary americans who seem to believe everything they read in the western msm.. such is life..

  20. SpaceLifeForm says:

    If the email in question was written *and* sent from Mar-A-Lago, then anyone could have it.

    I wrote about the bad IT security there before. Specfically, bad WIFI security. But, once in, and you have the good APT tools…

    But, I am sure that Mueller obtained via legit channels, otherwise that would be just another excuse to attack the investigation.

    Marcy: I think Kushner has already flipped, and there will be no charges this week. Nor do I believe Mueller will be fired. (noting former DHS person question. Someone spinning him and others)

  21. Charles says:

    Let’s hope that Mueller is ready to bring this to its conclusion, and that that conclusion will damage Trump seriously enough that fightback by Congress will end. Otherwise, we are really in danger of slipping into a genuine Constitutional crisis, where the real power in this country–the American people–know that the country is being run by criminals and the institutions are incapable of dealing with it.

  22. matt says:

    couldn’t reply in thread above…

    If conservatives have weaponized projection, then liberals have weaponized comedy.

    Also, I wouldn’t call disillusioned progressives that have broken from ClintBama “trolls.” I think what they smell here is a whiff of moral superiority.

  23. KM says:

    EW:  “They were being asked abt emails, so they clearly knew he had them. They just didn’t know where he got them.”

    “Trump officials discovered Mueller had the emails when his prosecutors used them as the basis for questions to witnesses, the sources said.”

    Maybe I’m missing something.  Why exactly should we believe Mike Allen’s “transition team sources”?

  24. pseudonymous in nc says:

    So, when do we think the penny dropped? It would require either someone who knew which emails had been withheld being asked about those emails, or (perhaps more likely) that person debriefing a lawyer who was involved in selecting which emails to be withheld and that lawyer being all oh-shit about it.

    I assume that the decision-making process on which emails to withhold would itself be privileged, but if an actual subpoena kicked in after voluntary requests went begging, hey, crime-fraud exception? We know that Mueller’s team is willing to go there.

  25. Bjorn Jensen says:

    I neglected to mention that unrelated to the investigation, what follows the Dean interview is Jeremy Scahill’s excellent interview with Daniel Ellsberg regarding his new book, The Doomsday Machine, outlining the dangers of the use of nuclear weapons ( and the threat to use them amplified considerably under Trump) including the US nuclear war plan. Listening to him talk and warn again about the devastation that would follow such a launch is eye watering.

    Of Pentagon Papers fame, as everyone posting here knows, Ellsberg reveals how he hid highly classified documents concerning the US nuclear war machine, which he gave to his brother in law to hide- and Ellsberg intended to release at some point. But for a hurricane and flood in upstate NY, the hiding place was lost to history. Stuff of a great script. Ellsberg knows a thing or two about nuclear weapons as a scholar on the subject.
    It’s worth listening to this Interview especially as some sort of face off with North Korea remains intense by accident or design – through this administration’s bellicose rhetoric.

  26. wayoutwest says:


    Any internet site that uses ‘Real’ in its title should be approached with skepticism. If you are a true believer it probably looks like the ‘Real’ thing but you are already conditioned to believe the Warmer propaganda, political manipulation and almost religious zealotry . You can escape this cult like agenda but it requires you to educate yourself and open your mind to the scientific process which is not blind consensus.

  27. Bjorn Jensen says:

    At some point – intelligent people can distnguish Fake from Fake-
    Please watch the excellent Orson Wells’s film
    “F for Fake”
    Available everywhere
    on line

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