Nunberg’s Claim that Trump Talked of the June 9 Meeting the Week Before Is Plausible

Sometime ratfucker Sam Nunberg has been running from cable channel to cable channel trying to get them to believe he’s going to blow off a subpoena from Robert Mueller to repeat what he said a week and a half ago in an interview before the grand jury, protected by immunity.

Among his crazy rants, he claimed that Trump knew about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting “the week before.”

You know it’s not true. He talked about it the week before. And I don’t know why he did this. All he had to say was, yeah, we met with the Russians. The Russians offered us something and we thought they had something and that was it. I don’t know why he went around trying to hide. He shouldn’t have.

Nothing has reported on how he would know this. He’s close with Roger Stone (indeed, that’s who he says he’s trying to protect by blowing off the subpoena), and Stone remained in touch with Trump — reportedly still does. So maybe that’s how he knows.

But the claim is plausible.

After all, when Rob Goldstone first emailed Don Jr about the meeting on June 3 (six days before the meeting), he suggested he could go through Trump’s assistant Rhona.

Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting.

The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

I can also send this info to your father via Rhona, but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.

He was instead reaching out to Don Jr because the meeting was “ultra sensitive.” But the implication was, ultimately, that Trump should know about this meeting, but that perhaps this was even too sensitive to run through Rhona (as I’ve said, I don’t think Goldstone is really talking about the crown prosecutor).

So the idea was Goldstone calls Don Jr, and Don Jr tells Pops directly.

Had he done that, then Trump would, indeed, have known about the meeting the previous week (June 9 was a Thursday; the 3rd would have been the previous Friday).

So had Uday gone and told Pops right away it is conceivable that Trump (whom Nunberg elsewhere accused of being incapable of colluding with Russian because he would blab about it) was talking about it “the week before.”

Which would change the stakes of the meeting dramatically.

Update: Nunberg told Zack Beauchamp that he was talking of Trump’s public statement on June 7.

Nunberg was actually talking about public comments Trump made on June 7, 2016 — two days before the Trump Tower meeting. In it, Trump promised that he would soon be offering interesting revelations about Clinton.

“I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week, and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons,” then-candidate Trump said. “I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting.”

Nunberg interpreted Trump’s comments as a veiled reference to the Trump Tower meeting that Donald Trump Jr. had set up. “He said publicly we’ll find something out about Hillary Clinton,” Nunberg told me about Trump. “You can look it up.”

This, he emphasized during our conversation, is only his interpretation of Trump’s comments. He has no special inside knowledge that Trump was informed of the meeting before it happened, as many have taken his CNN comments to imply, or that Trump was referencing it in that speech. Nunberg thinks that’s what Trump meant, but he never heard any proof.

165 replies
  1. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Most of the Nunbergers today have been hearsay and supposition, and though he seems pretty good at reading certain tealeaves related to his old boss, and perhaps not so good at others.

    As for the day’s events, I think John Weaver may be on the mark here: Nunberg already burned somebody, realised it when he looked back at his emails or compared notes with someone who’s already testified, and he’s putting on a performance to deflect the blame.

  2. Avattoir says:

    Which is whackier: having an actual Nixon back tattoo or behaving like you have a virtual Roger Stone neck tattoo?

    • Peterr says:

      Why is this an either/or?

      But as long as we’re talking Nixon, Nunberg in his interviews today sounded like a slightly less violent version of Watergate plumber G. Gordon Liddy. From his autobiography Will, pp 257-258:

      I knew that I would never talk, but [John Dean] and those above him couldn’t be absolutely sure of that. Except one way. It occurred to me that the people who would seriously consider the use of drugs against Ellsberg and the killing of Jack Anderson might well decide to go ahead with an assassination in my case. It would be reasonable; the stakes — the sure loss of the presidency — were immensely higher, and after all, it was my fault.

      That raised another problem. So far as I knew, I was the only one readily available to the White House for a domestic sanctioned killing. They certainly couldn’t turn to the CIA without handing Helms the keys to the kingdom. Hunt was blown. What was left to them?

      What was left would be some well-motivated amateur who didn’t know the rules. I didn’t mind being killed, if that was thought necessary, but I didn’t want some scared-to-death non-professional to try it at my home or anywhere else where my family could be endangered. I had visions of shotgun blasts through the kitchen window on a Sunday morning while we were all at breakfast.

      By now Dean and I were walking slowly back up 17th Street. Dean had his head down, looking at the sidewalk, when I told him: “Look, John, I said I was the captain of the ship when she hit the reef and I’m prepared to go down with it. If someone wants to shoot me” — Dean’s head snapped up and he stared at me — “just tell me what corner to stand on and I’ll be there, OK?”

  3. bmaz says:

    Despite Beauchamp’s update, it is still plausible. But, at this point,  Nunberg has impeached his own credibility and testimony, already, to the point of rendering it almost useless without independent corroboration.

    And maybe that was the point of his wandering minstrel freak show today. Hard to tell.

    • Avattoir says:

      Back at you on that supposition.

      Thou, a fully rational objective brain would figure out that Mueller wouldn’t act on the point Fearless Leader made above without multiple testimonials.

      • Peterr says:

        Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence.

        A person with a “fully rational objective brain” would not be caught within 100 feet of position related to Trump’s campaign, let alone administration.

    • lefty665 says:

      Is his value to Mueller in his emails and other communications? Seems it’s a novel approach, to so discredit yourself your testimony is worthless.

      • bmaz says:

        Welp, we shall see. But my guess is the SCO already has that material, they are just buttoning it up.

  4. Domye West says:

    What a crazy day. I hope he is okay, I don’t want anyone to have a public meltdown, and people keep bringing up alcohol and cocaine use.


    I have no clue what was the point of his performance today, but he seems to have walked back his claims that he won’t cooperate. Facing the reality of an extended jail time can change a fellow I guess.

      • Mark says:

        Why do people keep feeling worry over this douche?  He broke the laws and was a participant in the greatest crime in American history, a crime that deprived you of your rights and poses a threat of the end of the USA on several levels?

        • Bob Conyers says:

          I think it’s important to guard against the impulse to let people off the hook for some variant on “they’ve suffered enough.” I fully expect to see that not only from the right but from the dumber parts of the left like NPR and a lot of NY Times writers.

          Having said that, I also think it’s possible to feel sorry for someone and still want to see justice done to the full extent of the law.

          There definitely seems to be a pattern of the Trump camp bringing onboard people with serious problems — Manafort evidently had a major breakdown prior to signing on, Page is a mess, and now Nunberg. I’ve seen the argument that the Trump Campaign had no choice but to take whoever was willing to work for them, but I suspect there is a longstanding calculated, cynical strategy going all the way to the top that looks to hire troubled people in order to exploit them.

        • jharp says:

          Because he is a sick man.

          He still needs to come clean with Mueller and very likely needs to go to jail. I am not letting him off the hook by any means.

          My hope is he does the right thing and cooperates with Mueller and then gets sober.

  5. Kelli Hammack says:

    I believe he was referring to Trump’s public comments (at a rally)regarding Hillary and new info that would be coming out in the next week.

    Thanks for the great info here.

  6. david_l says:

    The idea that Don Jr. wouldn’t tell his father about the meeting in which they were going to get information to put “Crooked Hillary” away does not even pass the laugh test.

    Nor does the idea that “senior campaign officials” communicating with Papadopoulos (as per the Papadopoulos Statement of Offense esp. #14 and #15) didn’t tell Donald Sr. about the “Crooked Hillary” material the instant they learned from Papadopoulos about its existence and the possibility of obtaining it.

    Trump was foaming-at-the-mouth obsessed with “Crooked Hillary” – still is. Everyone knew it and also knew what the consequences would be if they didn’t a) tell him about the offer of the material the instant they found out about it and b) do everything possible to get it.

    Hence, obviously, the meeting – with Donald Sr. likely sitting high above in his aery with the intercom on, if he wasn’t actually there which seems a distinct possibility.

    I suspect that Robert Mueller has documental evidence that proves all this and it would not surprise me if he has roving-bug recordings of the meeting itself. Three Russians who were/are quite possibly FISA all-source warrant subjects were there as was Paul Manafort, who could also well have been the subject of one owing to his clearly questionable work with clearly questionable Russians, some of whom were almost certainly spies known to and surveilled by US intelligence.

    Does Nunberg know all this? Stone and Trump talked a lot – still do apparently – and Nunberg, according to him, spoke with Stone many times a day and both are obviously “Guess what I just did” gossip types of guys.

    I think Nunberg is starting to realize the implications of having what for a long time he mentally coded as cool stuff to know about Trump, Stone, shenanigans, Russia funny business, etc.

    Now it’s way more than cool stuff to know, Nunberg wishes he didn’t know it but he does, and he realizes Mueller knows it too and wants him as a witness to present it to the jury, explain context, and confirm some of the documental evidence and maybe, if Roger Stone’s phones were tapped, some voice data as well.

    That’s nervous breakdown food for thought.

  7. Dcom says:

    I think it’s all an act. Nunberg leaked the info. last week and made the rounds today on 7, that’s 7 interviews. He wasn’t drunk the entire weekend. Seems more planned.

    Impeach himself because his emails reveal something incriminating. It was his only option since he knows Mueller already probably knows. I predict he’ll testify, but try to sound like a crazy person. If he does, we’ll know it was an act.

  8. Tony Moore says:

    We know you’re highly suspicious of the Steele Dossier, but what do you make of Jane Mayer and the 2nd Steele Dossier?

    • maybe ryan says:

      There’s a post about what EW makes of Mayer immediately below this one on the home page.

      I’m finally reading the Mayer piece.

      This sentence, in relation to the Litvinov murder, is so sloppy and weird that I can’t believe it was written, nor that it wasn’t edited, and it makes me think less of Mayer.:

      >Authorities initially planned to indict one suspect in the murder, but Steele’s investigative work persuaded them to indict a second suspect as well. 

      I mean, WTF.  “Authorities made a decision on how many people they would indict prior to the investigation.  They were so happy with the investigation they decided to double that number.”  That just makes no sense.  It describes no murder investigation ever.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    Speaking of food for thought?

    Disgusted Robert Mueller Eats 2 20-Piece Chicken McNugget Meals In One Sitting In Attempt To Get Into Trump’s Mind — Onion

  10. SteveB says:

    Nunbergs display begs the question as to whether there is any method to his madness.

    He could not have made himself any more visible: back to back tv interviews for a whole day, that is an enormous commitment of energy
    He tantalisingly prefigured it with the release of his subpeona, to pumpprime the antics
    He could not have done more to get himself into jail
    Perhaps he wants to be in custody for his own reasons
    And/or is he trying to protect himself from harm by hiding in plain sight
    Further he could not have advertised more widely that his testimony covers the time from 1 Nov 15. Is that because he wants someone to know that any evidence the OSC has as to his (and Stones ) activities and contacts prior to that date did not come from him.
    Dismissive of Carter Page, but the 1st (attempted, hmm) recruitment of Page resulted in operatives going to jail – is Nunberg signalling that no friends from abroad need fear him?

    • maybe ryan says:

      >He could not have done more to get himself into jail

      How so?  Nothing he did yesterday is criminal.  Nothing he admitted to doing himself is criminal.

      • SteveB says:

        Actually already committed criminal contempt: subpoena was to produce the documents by 3:00pm with a view to testifying on Friday.

        Failure to obey subpoena renders him liable to civil contempt ie coercive process of incarceration until the order is complied with up to 18 months ; and criminal contempt as punishment for disobedience.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          3:00pm today? 2018-03-06?

          Interesting. Never saw that. Maybe he should have started on his homework last week.

  11. Willis Warren says:

    Yeah, I figured it would be spinned as the  “major speech” but still, bringing that into the light would be enough if the news media wasn’t completely off their game right now

  12. Trip says:

    Also, as an aside, this Nunberg nonsense has driven the discussion of GUNS off of the front page.

    Speaking of guns, junior is a major douche nozzle, killing magnificent sentient captive creatures, in order to compensate for lack of accomplishment, personality and manhood. I’m a pacifist, but seeing any of these big game photos and the douche dumpfs, makes me want to take a cast iron frying pan to their faces.

  13. harpie says:

    McKay Coppins@mckaycoppins Spoke with Nunberg last night and wrote about it at The Atlantic. 
    “I Pulled a Roger Stone!” My story on Sam Nunberg (who I have a long, strange history with) and what he was doing yesterday… ‘I Pulled a Roger Stone!’ 3/6/18; 9:04 AM ET 

    “If Mueller sends me to jail, I will laugh and I’ll be out within two days.”
    How would you pull that off? I asked.

    “Because I’ll give him my fucking emails!”
    “They don’t know what to do,” he said, proudly. “Nobody’s done a spectacle like this before.” 

    • harpie says:

      And here’s Hunter Walker of Yahoo News:

      I have known Sam Nunberg for about five years now. I actually wrote the story that got him ousted from the Trump campaign. Here’s a few points about today’s news. / Nunberg was absolutely pivotal to the Trump campaign. He helped come up with a ton of the core concepts. Any White House staffer or Trump supporter trashing him today should recognize Trump wouldn’t be here without Sam.

    • Avattoir says:

      Reading Coppins on Nunberg has me seeing yesterday’s All Cable Nunberg as gorilla theater, a fused homage to two well-known movies. Rather than becoming a sensitivity trainer for Encounter Groups of Cleveland, Inc., Flounder is hired by Jay Sekulow to work for the ACLJ, meets paleocon rat fucker Roger Stone, adopts him as his men Tor, then re-writes the scene where the patron saint to their kind, Donald Segretti, invites two (now) famous reporters in for coffee and tells them he expects to be disbarred as an attorney and to do prison time, by cramming the opening news cycle day of the week full of him flitting among the cable TV news celeb talking heads, gaining for himself a measure of the public notoriety enjoyed for decades by each of his heroic ideal and his former (possibly, also possibly future) client.

  14. orionATL says:

    the day of the babbling, drugged out or the mentally ill (severe anxiety) former trump campaign associate.

    when things come undone.

    the entire retinue is trembling now.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Speaking of being drugged, former UK spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia Skripal, remain in critical condition in a Salisbury, Wiltshire, England hospital.  One member of the paramedic team that went to the park bench where they were found also remains in hospital under observation for possible exposure to the mystery substance that attacked both Skripals.  Radiation and toxicology experts were called immediately.

    As of just over an hour ago, anti-terrorist police from the Met have taken over the investigation, but have not labeled it a “terrorist incident.”  The Russians claim to have no information about the incident, but have offered their help and cooperation.

    Boris Johnson, Foreign Minister, said in the Commons that the UK’s response to whomever caused this incident would be “robust”. That could include England boycotting the World Cup in Russia, a suggest Johnson later walked back, to much derision on social media.

    Surprisingly, the Skripals resettled in England under their own names, following Sergei’s release from a Russian prison for spying on Russia for the UK.  Sergei Skripal’s wife died of “endometrial cancer” in 2012, following their 2011 relocation.  His son died later while on holiday.  Sergei and his daughter, Yulia, are now seriously ill from exposure to an as yet unknown substance.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Steele’s not likely to be the one at risk, or to know more than the Met at this point.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In a routine “muddy the waters” response to the attack yesterday on Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the UK, former FSB official and pro-Kremlin parliamentarian, Andrei Lugovoi, characterized the Skripals’ apparent poisoning as a false flag operation by British intelligence.

      A dozen years ago, Lugovoi was named as a prime suspect in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.  Litvinenko was murdered in 2006 by exposure to highly radioactive polonium in his tea pot, allegedly by Russian agents.  The Guardian reported in 2016 that the inquiry into Litvinenko’s murder – led by Christopher Steele – concluded that he was probably murdered on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin.

      Kremlinologists would probably call Lugovoi’s claim an admission of Russian guilt. Apart from getting even with a former UK spy who revealed Russian secrets to the British and the West, the attack on the Skripals could be seen as a timely reminder to Americans with Russian links of the kind of hardball the Russians play. The rules it plays by do not stop with harsh language, temper tantrums or binging on Big Macs.

      • orionATL says:

        jeez. a severed head on a pike. that is a chilling thought.

        skripal as a warning to those with knowledge of russian collaboration with trump makes more sense than any other explanation i’ve read.

        contemporary russophiles might take heed. with putin, it’s back to the rule of the czars and the behavior of of ivan the terrible.

  16. cfost says:









    • cfost says:

      Call it The Nunberg Imperative. Always useful to trace the provenance of the ratfuckers and their ratfucking.
      But I have question: why was it so important for Stone (apart from the normal Party tribalism) and Assange (apart from the normal “wiki” false front) to get this guy Trump elected? Why take the risks they took (are taking)? For whose benefit?

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        “Why take the risks they took (are taking)? For whose benefit?

        Stone is a neo-Nazi from the old Cold War Nixon days but I’ve wondered about Assange my OWN self.  And I wonder why we haven’t seen any new background stuff about Assange or leaks from any other county’s intelligence services.

        • Trip says:

          At least partially contributing: no father, an abusive stepfather in a nutsy religious cult, moving constantly, home-schooled.

      • cfost says:

        LOL. So there’s MSNBC, right on cue.
        It would appear that some of the actors like Nunberg, Stone, Assange, Trump and the rest seek the photons so that the spotlight will shine on them for 15 minutes. But the real powers view the photons as food, just like any black hole would. Photons reflect off one, get eaten by the other.
        We see Nigel Farage and Stone trotting up the steps of the Ecuadorean Embassy for the cameras like accommodating character actors, but how do we know there isn’t a tunnel underneath the building? Assange excuses himself from tea at the estate in Oxford so that he can get to the photo op at the window of the Embassy….
        Spectacle spectacle spectacle
        Speculation speculation speculation
        Disinformation at its finest….

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Others agree.

      Candidate Trump had promised to cut the carried-interest loophole that allows hedge fund and private equity managers pay a lower tax rate on the millions they pay themselves each year. These managers have long been taxed at the capital gains tax rate, which is far lower than the ordinary income tax rate people in their tax bracket pay. But that was before Mnuchin (himself a hedge fund manager after leaving Goldman in 2002) and “Gary ‘Carried Interest’ Cohn” (former Trump aide Sam Nunberg’s moniker for him) weighed in.

  17. cfost says:

    More questions:
    To whom did Nunberg (and today, Stone) grant interviews? What does that tell us about his (their) intended audience? Unless I’m reading this all wrong, there was a leaked subpoena which was used as an entree into an “I’m more than willing to talk to ALL of you liberal news outlets” barrage.
    What is the message? Confusion? Anything at all?
    Why now? Why the ramped up theatre?
    Will Nunberg (Stone, Manafort, Gates, Black, whomever) consider the day a success if the liberal-leaning part of our society is left not knowing WHAT to think or HOW to feel?
    What’s the point? For whose benefit?

  18. SpaceLifeForm says:

    So the Nunesburger memo was just a pretext to attempt to force Sessions to derail SCO.

    Must conclude that Sessions recused for solid reasons.
    (not just trump pressure)

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy sent a letter Tuesday to Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, urging them to name a special counsel to review Republicans’ allegations that the FBI misled a federal judge to obtain a warrant to conduct surveillance of Page, whose contacts with Kremlin-connected Russians had drawn agents’ scrutiny.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, Sessions was absolutely required to recuse both under DOJ policy and ethical standards of the bar. It was mandatory.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Ok, I think I recall you saying that before. Just forgot.

        Can he ignore this presure from HJC?

        Can ignore their pressure for another investigation (reverse Witch hunt)?

  19. Trent says:

    Uday’s hair line is looking a little thin in that manly pic.  Wonder if he plugged his scalp with some of that elephant tail hair.  Might be why he killed it.

    • maybe ryan says:

      I always trust reports that read this guy I saw on the street “swore me to secrecy and said ‘you can say this on tv.'”

    • greengiant says:

      False documents,  false witnesses, especially something to sue for libel for, sending fake people to the media,  all in all the playbooks.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    George Nader’s cooperation with the FBI moves the white queen closer to the black king.  Not George Nader the 1950s Hollywood beefcake, the George Nader who fronted for the UAE and at one time Blackwater, who had that non-meeting in the Seychelles with Erik Prince (former owner of Blackwater), a representative of Putin and others.

    Prince blew off Congress over that one: just met a friend and talked over a drink, he said – in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  He may have a visit from Mueller’s boys in the offing, next time he re-enters his homeland.

    I imagine Mike Pence is practicing his Schadenfreude in front of a mirror, in the manner of Paul Trochard.  Unless he’s squeaky clean, he shouldn’t get too comfortable or print up the new stationery with the Pennsylvania Avenue address on it.

    • harpie says:

      Kyle Cheney@kyledcheney

      The NYT version of the Seychelles meeting adds new significance to this exchange during Erik Prince‘s congressional testimony. He had insisted news accounts of the meeting were “fabricated” — until he seemed to slip and acknowledge the existence of a transcript. [SEE SCREENSHOT] [paraphrasing Schiff: You never had these conversations, right? Then there wouldn’t be transcripts…]

      Rick Petree@RickPetree   [Replying to @lrozen]: Rep. Swalwell said tonight that, in light of today’s news, he has a big problem with Prince’s testimony to HPSCI.

      • maybe ryan says:

        When Erik Prince goes to jail awaiting trial, I’m a bit worried.  As the former leader of a paramilitary force, it would seem to put the community where he’s jailed in some danger.

        I would suggest that he be held in Gitmo.

  21. harpie says:

    Kyle Griffin@kylegriffin1

    Elliott Broidy, a major Republican fundraiser and head of a security firm with hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts with the United Arab Emirates, recently learned that his email has been hacked and messages leaked to the press, Bloomberg reports. [Broidy learned of hack last week from reporter, lawyer says Emails show his moves in GOP finance, foreign affairs circles]
    […] Elliott Broidy, a deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, became aware of the problem when a reporter asked about some of his private messages, said his attorney, Christopher Clark. Broidy then alerted law-enforcement officials, who are now investigating the breach of his private and business emails. […]


    • maybe ryan says:

      This would seem to have implications for some of the corruption charges that have recently been voided or downgraded, like Blagojevic and McDonnell.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Interesting comment about how a Britain, overwhelmed by Brexit and with a fractious, incompetent government, would be a prime target for Russia, were it to want to revenge itself against a former GRU Colonel and spy for the Brits.  That Britain, with the bumptious Boris Johnson as Foreign Minister, would have precious little ability to respond in a meaningful way without hurting itself more than it hurts Russia.

    Trump is leading the US in the same direction.  Its easily overwhelmed president, a bear of very little brain, is obsessed with Rocket Man, trade wars, and a DOJ investigation into Russian influence in his election.  His departments have no formal plans to respond to the widely acknowledged Russian interference in that election.  His absolutely best and brightest hires are leaving before the shit hits the fan. Trump and his government already seem to be in Vlad’s pocket.

    Putin doesn’t have to be responsible for any particular event or intend any particular outcome.  For him, chaos is as good as a win.

    • maybe ryan says:


      But how do we piece things together?  What grounds can we meet Republican voters on to start to moderate things here?
      I would argue that immigration is a key piece.  That the mainstream media chorus of “almost everyone supports the dreamers, so how can it be possible that we don’t have a solution?” was half right.  Almost everyone supports the dreamers, and majorities of about the same size support secure borders.  That latter part was left out of virtually every mainstream media presentation of the issue.

      The “common sense” proposal was right in line with the partial point of view presented by the media, another of the “fuck the will of the voters” backroom ploys that poison the debate, by inserting a “low priority of enforcement” clause that applied to everyone here by this coming June.  Of course that would encourage more people to cross illegally, which is part of what the majority of the country does hate.  Not the people, but the idea that the system is set up to encourage them to break the law.

      If that date had been set 2 years back, encompassing everyone who has a solid claim to have arrived illegally, but then to have begun to sink real roots here, it would have passed, with provisions for the Dreamers AND their families, but also for a much more secure border/arrival/departure system.

      Note also how the public sentiment on the Dreamers destroys the idea that Republicans are primarily a party of haters and racists.  But again, because that runs counter to the needs of the Democratic party, it’s not a line of analysis that anyone pursues.

      This will sound strange (or make me sound like I’m just a lying troll), but I write this as someone who would prefer more legal immigration, and I care not whether it’s from Mexico or India or China or Nigeria.

      But I think that the country does have a right to enforce its borders, that the level of immigration is something we can arrive at through democratic processes; even if that means we’re not as generous as I might prefer us to be; that it’s preposterous to call a country that has let in 50 million immigrants in my lifetime xenophobic; and that ultimately, the country would better serve everyone, immigrant and native, if immigration flowed overwhelmingly through legal channels.  I don’t necessarily agree with Republican voters who would limit immigration, but I think there are legitimate grounds for compromise, and resent those on my side who vilify the other side rather than debating with them.

      But maybe I’m on the wrong track.  If so, what would you compromise? How would you try to calm the waters?

      Obviously, this isn’t aimed at you, Earl of Hunting Don?  It’s more a cri de coeur from someone who is worried about our democracy, aimed at whoever might read.

      • greengiant says:

        There has been bipartisan guilt on this with the 50,000 or so limit per year on immigration from Mexico, Philippines, India to where “follow the law” is a 20 year wait. The racists are still winning. My two cents is that we have to call out the last 30 or 50 congresses as racist before proceeding.

    • RZ says:

      Regarding what seems to have been an assassination attempt on Skripal and his daughter , I’m thinking one of the purposes might be to make sure that Bannon knows that his kids aren’t off limits.

      • Fran of the North says:

        Message targets are also Manafort, Gates, Page and Steele. Worldwide reach and absolutely no holds barred. Very bad spot to be.

  23. harpie says:

    Marcy: “Trump’s got just 14 more characters of firings and departures before @jack’s going to have to give Kyle more characters.”

    How about Jared Kushner=13 

  24. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Re the Stormy Daniels suit, it is an elegant thumb in the eye to Donald J.  Defend and admit, or walk away and listen to her speak.  As to whether there is a contract, it seems probable there is.  The question is who is a party to it.

    Assuming the documents are as the plaintiff contends, and collapsing aliases, Daniels signed it, EC signed, but Trump did not.  That gives us a signed writing and partial performance – payment to Daniels’ lawyer of $130K for starters.  That would ordinarily create a contract between Daniels and EC.  But what its terms are is unclear, since most of Daniels’ obligations flow to Donald J, not EC.

    The contract refers to Daniels, on the one hand, and EC and/or Donald J, on the other.  That’s an odd construction.  The parties usually want to be crystal clear about who is a party and who is not.  The usual rule of interpretation is that ambiguity in the document is construed against the party that wrote it – Michael Cohen.  If Trump failed to sign and the contract explicitly says EC and/or Donald J, then it seems clear Trump is not a party to it.  He might benefit from some of its terms, but as a non-party, he could not enforce them.  Only EC or Daniels could do that.

    This obscures the obligations between Trump and Daniels.  If Trump is not a party to the contract, he has no obligations to Daniels.  Only EC has.  So what obligations would Daniels have to non-party Trump and to party EC?  Room for argument.  To be kind, Cohen’s drafting leaves something to be desired.

    The bigger liability is to Cohen.  He is on record as saying he did this on his own.  But the document creates the strong impression that he and Trump were both informed about and worked together on it.  It becomes happenstance that, in the end, Trump failed to sign it.

    The context would make Cohen’s payment to Daniels’s attorney, in effect, a campaign contribution – an illegal campaign contribution.  A felony punishable by up to five years in prison and, for Cohen, likely disbarment.   That’s probably a good thing for anyone who might have asked him to draft a contract.  A lot of loyalty that guy has to a client that never returns it and only occasionally pays his legal bills.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      An alternative and reasonable conclusion is that by its intended terms, and despite the “and/or” language, Trump is so fundamental to the contract that his failure to sign means the contract never entered into existence.  There would be residual obligations between Daniels and EC, because there is a signed writing and payment passed between them.  But it would not be the intended deal.

      Absent a settlement, there’s enough for this suit to proceed.  One more headache for our bear of very little brain and his lawyer.  Mr. Cohen would be wise not to attempt to defend this action without local counsel.  For starters, he’s a witness, EC appears to be his creation, and he would appear to have conflicts with his client.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The MSM’s legal analysis of this purported contract is all over the map.  In some cases, it favors Trump by ignoring the plain language of the documents.  A few points.

      Assuming the documents are as presented by Clifford’s lawyer, the NDA and accompanying side letter make clear, notwithstanding the use of stage names for Clifford and Trump, that the intended arrangement was between Clifford, EC and Trump.

      Cohen drafted the contract.  Oddly, Cohen indicated that Clifford, EC and/or Trump (using pseudonyms, made clear in the side letter) were to be signatories.  He provided signature lines for all three.  He organized EC shortly before the deal was to be signed, apparently as a cut-out to make the payment to Clifford.  There’s no other obvious purpose for it.  Most of the obligations are meant to be between Clifford and Trump, and from Clifford in favor of Trump.

      Trump did not sign the documents presented in this suit.  Clifford and her lawyer signed it.  Cohen signed it for himself and on behalf of EC.  The signature lines for Trump are blank.

      Cohen claims that Trump Did Not put up any money.  Trump claims he Did Not put up any money.  Cohen apparently organized EC, funded it, and used EC to make the payment to Clifford’s lawyer, in trust for Clifford.  Trump has apparently not reimbursed Cohen for this payment.

      If there’s a contract, it would be between Clifford and EC, and that’s on Cohen.  So are the curiosities in the document, such as the ambiguity about whether EC or EC and Trump are parties, and what law applies – California, Nevada or Arizona.

      Also on Cohen is the issue of whether his payment to Clifford of $130K through EC constituted an illegal campaign contribution to a candidate for president.  One of many?  Indeed, did the money come from Cohen or through him from someone else (but not Trump)?

      There is evidence on the face of the document that Trump knew about and approved of this arrangement.  He was a planned signatory; it involves claims about his intimate behavior over the course of a year; he benefits significantly from its provisions; his long time lawyer drafted, negotiated and signed the contract; lawyers commonly ask their clients about claims they negotiate and settle on their behalf; lawyers do not commonly pay six figure settlements for a client without expecting to be reimbursed.

      If Trump knew about and approved this arrangement, and he allowed the payment to be made without reimbursement, he accepted a gift. One of many?

      Among its obvious purposes was to hide allegedly embarrassing behavior by a candidate that might have affected his prospects for election to the presidency.  It looks a lot like a campaign contribution.  It appears to be illegal.  And Trump would have conspired in it.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Is this Money-Laundering 101?

        Ok, maybe 102 because NDA is probably 2nd semester.

        Or does use of EC make it 201 course material?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Depends on where the money came from, for this and many other similar deals allegedly done in the run-up to the election.

          Cohen worked for Trump for a long time.  He should have known which end was up.  Trump famously uses other people’s money whenever he can.  Knowing the ultimate source for this money – one of many campaign war chests, slush funds, billionaire supporters, offshore donors, etc. – would answer a lot of questions and probably raise as many.

          • Rayne says:

            It’d be nice to know where Trump 2012 PCA was incorporated and where it has bank accounts, yes?

            Edit — 8:50 pm ET — I should point to the use of “PCA” versus PAC — if one used a standard search tool to look for a Political Action Committee (PAC), this organization wouldn’t come up.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I should be more specific about one point.  If there is a valid contract between Clifford and EC, Trump might well be what’s called a third-party beneficiary of it.  That status gives rights to someone not a party to a contract.  How that works depends on which law governs the contract.  The contract nominates three states – California, Nevada and Arizona – with a choice to be made later.

      The hitch is that the third party – Trump – ordinarily would have to prove knowledge of the arrangement in order to claim benefits under it.  Trump, however, has done a full Sgt Schultz:  He says he knows nussink about any of this, a claim that might imperil his reaping any benefits from it.  (How about the 100 odd other similar deals supposedly made in the run-up to the election?)

      Michael Cohen’s drafting is beginning to look a lot like how Trump sets policy:  Throw shit at the wall; policy is what sticks.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah. I am just catching up, sorry about that. My take, for the little it is worth, has been from first read of the pertinent NDA is that it is a lot better drafted than some commenters think. The problem lies in  that it was for an improper purpose. When you are doing that, it is pretty hard to make such a document bulletproof. And Cohen did not. There are flaws.

        The fact that Trump/DD did not sign is not one that bothers me much. Meh. For one thing, there may be a counterpart signed, although I doubt there is, or if there is, would be acknowledged. The bigger problem is that both sides seem to have breached the confidentiality purpose of the contract.

        So, then, what? Is Trump going to really go after Clifford to recover the $130,000 and atty fees? Had to see that. Would Cohen on behalf of “EC”? Yeah, hard to see that at this point, it would open all to discovery. That is not going to happen either. Avenatti is a bit of a huckster, but he is a pretty aggressive and smart huckster. I don’t see how either Trump or Cohen challenges this without opening themselves up. And, remember, Mueller is watching.

        Give a hat tip to Avenatti. Stormy owes him whatever he bills.

        • Trip says:

          Sanders, in her daily presser, let the cat out of the bag. She said the president won arbitration against Daniels.

          If the contract was merely one made between Cohen and Daniels, with Trump as a disinterested party, the contract not being about him at all, then how is that he had a ‘win’ in regard to it?  At this point, Sanders is the one who validated the entire episode as far as Daniels’ narrative being the truth. I’m sure Trump sent her out there to say it, being a megalomaniac who has to show ‘wins’. But if you have no dog in the race, as was claimed by Trump, this was just something between Cohen and Daniels, how does someone break a contract that they aren’t a party to, and gain a win? Trump screwed the pooch, whether Daniels gets her full story out there or not.  We know he is actively and currently trying to silence her, which is what her lawyer has been saying.



          • bmaz says:

            The hilarious thing has always been that Clifford’s story has been out there from the get go. Trump/Cohen paid her $130,000 just to not talk about it – again – in the last weeks before the election.

            • Trip says:

              And now, the entire story is that he silenced her, to not talk about it during the campaign or election. Where, let’s face it, Trump supporters wouldn’t have given a sh*t about it anyway. Now the story is about Trump Inc laundering the payoff money through an LLC, set up simply to shut her up.  I don’t buy the story that has been run up the flagpole that Cohen was mad that he never got reimbursed. This guy has been with Trump for years and years. Ain’t no way he didn’t get compensated and reimbursed. They are using this story as a plausible way to separate Trump from the NDA, because he has a legitimate history of being a deadbeat on debts.  Funny that they are using one of Trump’s worst attributes as a defense.  Someone has to look into any payments to Cohen through the RNC. Like I said, someone in a dirty business doesn’t walk away without their share, some way, some how. Cohen KNOWS Trump, he’d have his own guarantees for payment.

            • Trip says:

              How long until Melania snaps? Obviously, there is no love lost between her and Trump, but remaining by his side with the constant humiliation, only makes it seem like she too is being paid off to remain.

              At least with the Clintons, neither had been married multiple times, they had a long history together, may have had an ‘understanding’, and Hillary had political ambitions of her own. Further, for whatever reason, they have stood the test of time.  Melania has no such ambition. This situation makes her look weak, and frankly, like an unabashed gold digger. Look at the lessons these two are teaching Barron: no need for respect to mothers or women. He will grow up to be as awful as the other Trump spawn, but that’s another story.

              • bmaz says:

                Wouldn’t you/we like to see the prenup/NDA that Melania signed?

                Now THAT would be some interesting reading.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  It seems likely that Donald would have added serious penalties for leaving him while in office, which would have required upping the ante by a few million if she left at another time.  The not-so-fatherly Donald probably makes threats about custody, too, just to be a prick.

                  • Trip says:

                    You can’t force someone to sign on contractually for penalties after the fact, altho it’s possible he threatened to take custody. Maybe part of the deal was for her parents to get rapid US entry?

                    Melania could become the US hero in all of this, if she chose to. But that is highly unlikely. Maybe she fears the mob poisoning, more than Trump.

                    • earlofhuntingdon says:

                      That’s why in order for Trump to obtain an additional benefit – Melania not leaving him while in office – Trump would have had to add money or something else of value to the payout.

                      It is a partial renegotiation of the deal, to which Melania would have had to agree, an outcome Trump could have informally “forced” in many ways.

                    • Rayne says:

                      You’re assuming Melania doesn’t have a pre-nup which prevents her from having any say over Trump’s other contractual obligations.

                    • Trip says:

                      @Rayne, that’s neither here nor there.

                      There is no contract which legally can force anyone to remain married under any and all circumstances. She may have a catchall NDA. But you can’t hold a gun to someone’s head to stay wedded no matter how much abuse.

                    • Rayne says:

                      LOL What point are you focusing on? The fact her marriage is a harmful sham and she should walk out? Or the fact she may be legally powerless over any other aspect of their relationship?

                      If it’s the first, I don’t think you understand the dynamics of abusive relationships, nor do I think any of us can say what a Slovenian woman with a child by this man might do to protect her child and her future financial welfare. If she’s a traditionalist she may be quite conservative.

                      If it’s the second, we don’t know what ugly terms are included in any pre-nup let alone her understanding of those terms and their legality in the U.S. She may have a solid grasp on the monsters he’s taken as supporters and possible enforcers; Skripal’s sudden health problem might be a example of their reach and capabilities.

                    • Trip says:

                      @ Rayne. Yep, I agree, I mentioned the poisoning as a deterrent.  Melania bit off more than she could chew. Now she’s the princess locked in the tower, and ostensibly by her own doing. I have some sympathy, but then again, she married Trump. No way he didn’t come with a glowing neon light warning.

                    • Rayne says:

                      Look at how he’s managed to fool a massive swath of straight white American men and tell me Melania should be held to a higher standard. They don’t have the excuse of a child to keep them in the tower of stupid.

                    • Trip says:

                      The men who support Trump don’t care because they are outright or closet misogynists, or are those whose greed exceeds any concern about human rights.  Trump’s hard right white male supremacist ‘base’ is driven by hatred and fear. The larger GOP constituency was all about the tax breaks and deregulation to the disadvantage of everything else.

                      Writers have commented that Trump can be charming, but it’s not something I’ve witnessed even in small part. Melania came along after Trump unceremoniously dumped his first and second wives, quite publicly.  Was she dazzled by his ‘delightful’ personality or his wealth? It’s not as if Trump only recently and suddenly started considering women pieces of meat. Maybe her risk/reward meter was seriously on the fritz, or maybe there is something kindred underneath it all. Whatever it is, it plays as a cautionary tale, the same way it did with Ivanna and Marla.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Sanders is a bigger liar than Trump.  She wet the appetite of newshounds with the flimsiest of references to an “arbitration”, to distract from the suit that her reference reinforces.

            Even if true, that would have been a no-no per the typical non-disclosure requirements.  She seems to be playing to the Trump base, which only needs simple denials of inconvenient facts, no matter how false.

            • Trip says:

              ‘TV Newz’ now saying Trump is angry that she added more fuel to the fire about the hush money. Who knows?

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Sanders is saying that Trump had no involvement, but that “he” won in an arbitration.  Who was involved, who arbitrated and when, what the arbitration considered, and what Trump “won” she does not disclose.  An odd but typical confection from Ms. Sanders.

              Sanders seems to say that Trump was found not to have been a part of this deal.  That would require an arbitration about this NDA, that it concluded there was a binding contract involving specific parties, that Trump was not one of them, that the parties had validly agreed to the exclusive use of binding arbitration to decide disputes.  Only after that could it have reached a decision about the specific item in dispute.

              That process, if it took place, would not bind the court in California until it independently considers and decides, whether there is a contract, who is a party to it, who it benefits, whether the arbitration clause is valid, whether some prior arbitration decision is relevant and enforceable and against whom, and whether there was a prior fraud or other reason that might permit setting aside the decision.  None of this done in open court helps Trump.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                It gets better.  The “order” was obtained by Cohen from a private arbiter in California, in a private arbitration that only heard Cohen/EC’s side of the argument.  It did not involve Trump or Clifford.  That’s a highly unusual process that makes the so-called “order”, really an arbitral decision, highly suspect.

                In the unlikely event this decision is valid – an issue to be decided in court – arbitral decisions are enforced through that same court system, not directly.

                Cohen seems to be engaging in a media fight, not a legal one.  Presumably he’s hoping to avoid the courts and to avoid their issuing decisions about this – and indirectly – any other other NDA he’s used to protect Trump.  Clifford’s lawyer Avenatti is right to call bullshit on both Cohen and Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

                • Trip says:

                  Cohen isn’t a very good ‘cleaner/fixer’, like Keitel as the Wolf. He leaves a bloody messy trail.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                MSNBC might reconsider its news coverage.  “Michael Cohen” is not a party to this NDA.  If there’s a contract, Cohen signed it as an attorney of record, not as a principal.  EC would be a party.

                Trump might claim that he is honoring the agreement and that his claimed performance makes him a party notwithstanding he didn’t sign it.  Tenuous and inconsistent.  Clifford and EC signed the agreement and apparently performed under it.  There’s no information that Trump “performed” under it or claims to be a party or even a beneficiary.  In fact, he’s claimed he has nothing to do with it.

                To correct my earlier argument, clause 5.1 claims to allow DD to obtain ex parte injunctive relief, without advance notice to Clifford, from one of the named arbitration panels or a court of competent jurisdiction.  The either/or arrangement is inconsistent with the arbitration only language.  EC chose the arbitration order route.

                The mandatory arbitration clause is not relevant, in a court challenge, until the court hearing the challenge finds that there is an enforceable contract and that the binding arbitration language itself is enforceable.

                Clause 8.2 of the NDA states that the choice of law provision is at the “election” of “DD”, David Dennison, acknowledged in the side letter (redacted) to be Trump.  If DD is not a party to the agreement, is there a process to make an election?  That should be moot in that EC chose to use a Californian arbitrator (and law?) and Clifford chose Californian jurisdiction and law for its suit.  But it illustrates the mess.

                DD is also meant to be the party that “releases” claims against Clifford.  If DD is not a party, has he released claims against Clifford and is that enforceable against a non-party beneficiary?  How does that affect Clifford’s mutual release of claims against DD?  In short, it’s a mess.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Covered up thread.  If there was a valid contract to which Trump was Not a party, he could have been a “third-party beneficiary” of it, which means he could have acquired rights under it enforceable against Clifford.

            One problem that creates for Trump, though, is that it would require him to have had knowledge of the deal and that it was made for his benefit, a characterization he has repeatedly denied.

            If the payment was for his pre-election benefit and he knew about it, that raises questions about conspiracy to violate election laws for both him and Cohen.

            Cohen’s drafting makes all that clear as mud, which implicates the many other similar pre-election NDAs that were supposedly made.

            • Trip says:

              ^Ding Ding Ding^  Winnah, winnah, chicken dinnah!

              They think they are smarter than everyone else because they operated this way for years, without any blow back, or extreme scrutiny. Having Giuliani as a guard for many years, I’m sure, was no small favor either. Not to mention Chris Christie.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          There is the $1 million in liquidated damages.  But as you say, any defense of the suit and any counterclaim would eventually lead to discovery.  That’s not a process Trump would win. He only wins if he can force this into arbitration or settle it.

          Ordinarily, a party would demand receipt of an original of the agreement and a signed signature page from each party.  It’s possible but unlikely there’s a Trump signature page out there.  I’m pretty sure Cohen’s not stupid enough to have one signed now and then claim its recent discovery.  I see no benefit to further implicating Trump in this mess, perhaps one of many similar ones.

          • Trip says:

            I have no real opinion on “Stormy”, but I hope she rakes it in, in no small part as retribution for all of the little guys Trump screwed over.

            *Just Des(s)erts* shouldn’t be a beautiful chocolate cake.

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were both specifically targeted and poisoned with a nerve agent, says the Met, which is now calling this attempted murder.  The two remain critically ill, as does a first responder who came to their aid.  The specific poison has not yet been identified or made public.  Examples of such agents are sarin and VX.

    As EW observes on twitter, this may be retaliation by the Russian’s for Skripal’s more than decade-old treason.  Or it may be retaliation for something more recent and entirely unrelated to Skripal’s conduct.  If the Russians were involved, that would be a twofer. If not, we have more to learn.

          • Rayne says:

            LOL as in gas? Yeah.  Or stupidity, as in blithely slapping the stuff on a strange man’s face, if the women who did it are to be believed.

            I find it puzzling in the UK case that there wasn’t CCTV surveillance video already released given how much of urban UK is under video — or perhaps that was the point, the perps picked a spot without video cams and summoned the victims there.

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, exactly. Both as to the LOL and the surveillance. Although the latter is ubiquitous in London, not sure about locations such as where this occurred. Still a public square though, is a good question.

            • pdaly says:

              The 2017 BuzzFeed article “From Russia With Blood” reviews 14 suspicious, untimely deaths in the UK of anti-Putin oligarchs and their UK helpers. CCTV footage mysteriously fails to capture Scot Young’s death.

              Young was a lawyer who worked for exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky living in the UK. Young was suspected of helping Berezovsky to hide his fortune from Putin.

              When Scot Young fell from his fourth floor apartment window to his death in a London square, his grieving daughters, who did not believe the official story of ‘suicide,’ had to insist that the police check the CCTV footage.

              “Eventually, [Detective Sergeant Christopher] Page did agree to check the CCTV cameras in the area, though the police would later admit that they never watched the footage until they were ordered to do so by the coroner six months later. At the moment Young fell, every single camera in the square was pointing away from the window.”

              No mention in the BuzzFeed article whether the CCTV cameras would normally aim in the direction of Young’s window or landing spot.

                • pdaly says:

                  I missed that DC camera hacking story for some reason.

                  Makes me wonder if a hacking of the CCTV cameras in the GCHQ-controlled apartment building where Gareth Williams was found folded up in his gym bag could explain the bizarre UK government response to his death. Maybe a suicide was an easier explanation for GCHQ to commit to than ‘we were hacked.’

                  That BuzzFeed article “From Russia With Blood” blames Russian mafia for Gareth William’s death in response to his work on researching money laundering for MI-6/GCHQ. Which makes me wonder whether it was beneficial to Young/Berezovsky types. I would think Putin would have liked for Williams to succeed in his task, as Putin was trying to find Berezovsky’s stashes.

                  • Trip says:

                    Speaking of suicides, I know the funeral home said they had seen the helium and bag method before, and it’s likely that Smith did kill himself. However, how much work would it have been to at least confirm that he purchased the helium on his own? It seems shoddy that police wouldn’t follow up on this, since there were so many accidental/on purpose deaths seemingly tied to the election and associated shenanigans.

                    Police found a receipt from a local Walmart time-stamped from the previous day, May 13 at 12:53 p.m. The receipt was for the purchase of “Helium Jumbo” and other items. Police also noted that the two helium tanks in the room were draped with vinyl-covered exercise ankle or wrist weights. The report did not offer an explanation for the weights. Police said that because they did not suspect foul play, they had not viewed any security video from the Walmart store to confirm that Smith bought the tanks himself.


      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Latest news is that it was not VX, and apparently not Sarin either.

        But still not saying what it was.

        May narrow down suspects.

      • greengiant says:

        SLF catch of the day. Hermitage Bill Browder Pro Magnistky act to reweave the hanging threads. This is so much #TrumpRussia.  I miss our troll from another planet, Bell, at least (she) seemed to be putting out the oligarch line.

  26. harpie says:

    Carol Rosenberg@carolrosenberg  29m29 minutes ago  BREAKING: Resigned USSCole case defense lawyers found a microphone in their Guantánamo meeting room, were gagged. 10:08 AM – 7 Mar 2018

  27. maybe ryan says:

    Not a big deal, Rayne, but the assassination wasn’t in London, unless I’m misunderstanding what you’re referring to. It took place in Salisbury, a town of 40,000 near Southampton.
    Interestingly, we’ve heard that Porton Down is involved in the investigation, naturally, since they would be the experts in nerve agents. But also, Porton Down is about 3 miles from Salisbury.
    Assuming the Russians are behind it, as I do, this is not unlike killing and extracting Bin Laden from the garrison town of Abbotabad vis a vis Pakistan. It sends a very direct message to the British defense establishment. “We operate with impunity. Anywhere we like.”

    • maybe ryan says:

      This graph about the assassination attempt from the Independent is interesting:

      >The policeman was initially treated in hospital as a precaution and then discharged, but his condition deteriorated and he was readmitted on Tuesday and taken into intensive care.

      Someone mentioned VX as likely.  But wiki suggests the fatal dosage is only marginally larger than the dosage that has any affect at all. The idea of 3 people being sickened but not killed doesn’t seem consistent with that description.  It’s interesting to think of something that could affect the Skripals very quickly immediately, but render the policeman sick a day later.  Did something get on his clothes and he later made recontact without realizing?

      Just realized that Porton Down was familiar to me because I just watched Wormwood in February.

      • maybe ryan says:

        An article in the Sun speculates that Russian agents may have followed the expatriation of his son’s body to track Skripal’s whereabouts, at least suggesting that there was some attempt to keep his whereabouts secret.  His daughter seems to have come to visit him just recently.  That would also presumably have been easy to track, and makes the speculation about the body a bit weird.

        Two policemen were treated Sunday for symptoms including “itchy eyes and wheezing” per the BBC.  Given the timing of that story, one of those is probably the policeman subsequently rehospitalized on Tuesday.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          They didn’t need to.  Skripal was living in the UK under his own name.  He used it to buy his house, for cash, when he moved there, and has been using it since.  An odd choice for a former GRU Colonel who thought his compatriots were still after him.

      • Trip says:

        They were in, what I assume would be crowded places, where they lunched at a bar, prior to sitting at the park bench, purportedly.  Perhaps the reaction was not as rapid as originally suspected.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          But it most likely was on their clothes or on the bench for the police officer to be exposed.

          The mystery couple walking nearby is one possibility, but another is that the agent was slipped into their coats while eating, then when they left, contact was made.

          Even though the weather was not bad, it was not warm enough for no coat.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Salisbury is a well-known cathedral city.  It would have been easy to go and come, or to find someone there.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Twenty-one people treated so far for exposure to the known but undisclosed nerve agent involved in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, England.  It has been described by experts at Porton Down – the UK’s principal chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear research facility – as simply, “very rare”.

        • maybe ryan says:

          Mystery only deepening on this story.  Russian state tv says “sic semper traditoris, not that we had anything to do with it.”

          More than 100 military mobilized, in bomb disposal and other relevant support units.  Likely the bomb disposal guys also have hazmat training. I saw no suggestion of an actual bomb.

          Investigators seem to believe the police officer never went near the bench, so they’re now wondering whether the Skripals came in contact in the house.  Does the uncertainty about the officer’s whereabouts that day mean that he too is now comatose?  Otherwise you’d think they would know. He had been released from the hospital initially.

          A nerve agent that takes time to come to full effect …

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Over 180 military personnel are now helping police with this inquiry. The first responder is in serious but stable condition. The Skripals remain comatose, in critical condition.

            Russian media is now warning its citizens against settling in the UK. “It’s not safe,” it says, as if answering the question posed by Dr. Szell.

  28. maybe ryan says:


    Reply-formatting isn’t working for me now. Anyway, thanks for the info on him living under his name. Weird speculation from the Sun. I probably shouldn’t read the Sun!

    Yeah, I know Salisbury is a well known town. And England is no more locked down than we are. Someone living a public life is vulnerable anywhere, period. In describing as like extracting bin Laden’s body, I meant the effrontery of doing it right down the road from Porton Down. Which only makes sense if this was done to send a message. Not if they wanted to target Skripal in particular.

    After I posted last night, I saw an item in the Telegraph that Skripal had a connection to a consultant who worked on the dossier. Someone (on Twitter, not in the paper) even suggested he was the source described as a high ranking former intelligence officer. The Guardian says he was a colonel. Not sure if that qualifies as high-ranking. It’s more than just an intelligence agent, so maybe. I didn’t create a Telegraph log-in to see the sourcing, and other articles trickling out all seem to reference the Telegraph. So who knows.

  29. Palli Davis Holubar says:

    Coincidences…. Sex was in the air during that month at the trump campaign. trump set the stage first with the [Sept] Access Hollywood tape reported on the 8th. Second debate featured trump’s “denial”. First 2 women, during the campaign, accuse trump on the 12th. Then on the 19th, the last presidential debate was memorable for the 3 women who had accused Former President Clinton of unwanted sexual advances were paraded in by RNC to sit in the front row, as well as, trump’s menacing behavior. And on the 28th, the date of the peculiar signatures, the FBI announced they had found Weiner’s dick pics. Maybe there’s more &/or it was an ordinary month in trump’s sex life but…maybe the RNC needed insurance against his bad boy behavior & it spooked trump & he neglected the legal cover-up duties.

  30. maybe ryan says:

    Independent reporting that the poison may have been in a package Skripal opened in presence of his daughter. This echoes something from a couple days ago – a report wondering if she may have brought a present for her father, and whether the package may have been tampered with.
    But the Independent also prints speculation that the (would-be) assassins flew in to England and back out. Why bother if you had sent him a package?
    They quote Rudd saying Bailey, the policeman, is talking and engaging. Does he not remember whether he had been to the bench? More likely, the papers are cobbling a story together from various sources none of whom know all the facts, so contradiction is rife, and not unexpected.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The police concluded that both Skripals were intended victims.  In-person delivery of the nerve agent would make that more probable than would package delivery.  The two did not live together and a package delivered to one might not affect the other.

      Regarding the hospitalized first responder, “talking and engaging” are generic.  The description does not limit the scope of what he might be talking or engaging about.  That is something the government would want kept secret for now.  That information might disclose where or how he became poisoned – or eliminate possibilities for same.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Concurrent package delivery would have been possible, something the Met will, no doubt, have investigated.  But that creates double the forensic evidence.  Unless one wanted to be caught, that seems an exposure one could avoid if personal delivery were possible.

        Personal delivery would have required extensive observation of the target’s habits in situ, including the frequency with which Sergei met Yulia.  No point in infecting the post deliverer, diners and miscellaneous shoppers and missing one’s targets.  Discovering evidence of that would expand the scope and time frame of the research.

        Sergei has been living in Salisbury for some time.  I wonder if the season or weather was relevant to the timing or to the lethality – or limiting it – of the weapon used.

      • maybe ryan says:

        The Daily Mail has shots from immediately after the Skripals were taken to the hospital.  There is a red object on the ground, which explains the interest in the cctv footage of man and woman walking, she carrying a red bag.  They reference the Times for a report that Skripal is not expected to live, though there is more hope for his daughter.

        They have additional cctv footage of what they say is Skripal and his daughter, alongside a woman walking her dog, at 4:08.  That doesn’t fit with the timeline as released.  The footage is from a camera inside a restaurant, through the front window, so you can imagine the quality of the image.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Bit of a rehash and compilation of earlier reports.  The extent of the forensic activity at the cemetery is new.  Earlier reports were that Yulia might have visited there and become contaminated.  I don’t know how that fits with the timeline released so far.  It doesn’t fit Sergei apparently having had more exposure, although he might be more vulnerable to the nerve agent.

          I find the Russian response to be smarmy and in-your-face.  Not a credible diplomatic response.  If they weren’t involved, they are impliedly taking credit for it to bolster the hardness of their reputation.  It’s not an attitude unique to the Russians.

          • Trip says:

            I thought perhaps they might have been re-examining the son’s death? I haven’t read further to see if remains were exhumed. But I thought I had read he had been cremated.

            I would call it the Kremlin, from here on out. The Russians, as in, collectively, the people, have nothing to do with this f*ckery. The same way most of the US, the Americans do not abide Trump and his assholery.

            You are right, the Kremlin response is brazen. Further, the Kremlin is warning Russian people not to travel to the UK because ‘danger’.  Of course Trump publicly ignores that any of this happened, at all. He has given all of them; Putin, Deripaska, etc., free rein.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Exactly.  Trump is all empty bluster. He has ceded the entire playing field to the Russian team. A mistake. There’s no reason Russia would stop at the English Channel, unless it thinks it already has whatever it wants from Trump’s America. Problem is, for those personality types, enough is never enough.

  31. Maybe ryan says:

    Thanks for the informative posts, Earl. I continue to find this a very troubling escalation if it was state sponsored. Could it have been a private gru grudge? Unlikely. But shoddy assassination attempt on foreign land, with numerous native casualties, is a new level of brazen.
    I remain interested to learn what was used. There seems to have been a long delay between contact and significant effect for all three main victims.

Comments are closed.