Trump Tweets a Confession, Then Sekulow Admits His Client Has Been Lying about His Involvement

As I disclosed last month, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

Maybe the President and his lawyers think the best way to avoid an interview with Robert Mueller is to confess to everything before noon on Sunday morning?

Amid a series of batshit tweets just now, in an attempt to rebut reporting in this story, Trump admitted that his spawn took a meeting with people described as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for his father to obtain dirt on his opponent.

Set aside, for the moment, Trump’s claims that the meeting went nowhere (for which there’s abundant contrary evidence) and that he didn’t know about it. Consider simply that this means Trump sat down with Vladimir Putin last July at the G-20, and came up with a lie to avoid admitting the fact Pops just admitted, the lie that Junior took a meeting to learn about Russian adoptions.

That’s some pretty damning admission of a conspiracy right there.

Even as the President was admitting to entering into a conspiracy with the Russian President and his envoys, his less incompetent lawyer, Jay Sekulow, went on ABC news and said,

I had bad information at that time and made a mistake in my statement, I talked about that before, that happens when you have cases like this … in a situation like this, over time facts develop.

What he means by “cases like this” and “a situation like this” are “cases and situations where your client is a pathological liar.”

Sure, Sekulow didn’t use the word liar, but he made it clear that Trump lied to him at the start, but that it was only after time (and the realization they couldn’t pull off the lie) that the White House settled on some version of the truth (stopping short, of course, of admitting that Putin helped to craft the statement).

So, at almost the same time the President’s less incompetent lawyer was on TV admitting his client lies, the President was tweeting that he did not know about the June 9 meeting.

This conspiracy trial is going to be awesome.



151 replies
  1. TheraP says:

    Eventually, Trump will convict himself.  Via Tweets.

    We just need to be patient, as the Truthful Alert Patriotic Journalists keep hammering away.  It doesn’t bother him, he claims.  

    Till the next Tweeting fit.

    I wonder if he weads EW.  No!  He doesn’t do weeds.

  2. harpie says:

    Yes, certainly “series of batshit tweets”! Laura Rozen wonders: 

    why are Trump and his lawyers all trying to correct their year old statements about the Trump Tower meeting today? 

    I’d also like to note that Hope Hicks was spotted by AP reporter [email protected]g yesterday:

    SPOTTED at Morristown, NJ airport ahead of Air Force One departure for Trump’s Ohio rally: Hope Hicks 


  3. Kevin Finnerty says:

    There won’t be a trial of US citizens on conspiracy charges. Trump will smash the Justice Department to pieces after any indictment.

    • bmaz says:

      Um, there have already been two US citizens indicted for conspiracy, and one of them has already pled guilty. The other one is currently on trial in EDVA on different charges. And smashing the DOJ to pieces would be icing on the cake as to obstruction. It is not close to being so simple to get from under as you depict.

      • Kevin Finnerty says:

        Maybe my language was imprecise: There won’t be a trial of Trump’s closest family and associates on conspiracy charges related to Russian interference (the hack and leak, election law violations, etc.). The minute Don Jr., Kushner, Parscale, Stone, or anyone similar are indicted for coordinating the campaign’s efforts with Russia, all hell is going to break loose. Trump has no vested interested in the rule of law, and he will destroy everything around him in an act of self-preservation. I would assume, at a minimum, pardons and firings/resignations at DOJ.


        And yes, of course this strengthens an obstruction case, but what does that matter if Trump has calculated (not without reason) that he could beat impeachment charges in the Senate on the back of the militant 40% of the country that will follow him straight into authoritarianism. That’s where this confrontation is going, and I think it’s important to be honest about it.



        Do you really think Trump would sit on his hands if Don Jr., Kushner, Parscale, Stone, or others are charged with coordinating the campaign’s efforts with Russia.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, I do indeed think there is a point to where even Trump can go too far. I also think even he knows that, or he would already have done what you contemplate. A broad brush pardon scheme simply will not do the trick, and I have been saying this for a very long time.

          I know it is a popular thing to think, but the implications of starting down that path are many and complex. And this is exactly one of the reasons Mike Dreeben was brought in to the SC team early. They have this gamed out, let’s see what happens.

        • Kevin Finnerty says:

          I guess where I disagree with your analysis is that it assumes a relatively stable political system. Trump has cultivated an authoritarian movement of the sort we really have not seen in this country in modern times. Look at his rallies. They will follow him through anything. And the Republican Party as a whole is dependent on those voters. If Trump decides he is just going to stop following the courts, his rank and file voters will back him up, and they will drag along most of the GOP. I think the system is far more brittle than we realize.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          No, but that would not stop Mueller from indicting them if he has the facts to make those claims.

          One reason is that decades ago, GOP leadership would have recognized when their president no longer had a tenable hold on the White House, with Congress, and the public. They would have worked a deal to make changes with the lowest visibility possible.

          This GOP and this president will never admit that.  If they did, they would all go down with the ship.  They would be more and longer in the wilderness than they were under FDR.

          They will never impeach and will obstruct a Democratic Party-led impeachment.  The only practical resolution would be the courts.  One reason the GOP has worked so hard to corrupt them by the hundred with men like Brett Kavanaugh, who has never met a presidential power or its exercise he would not bow down to.

        • bmaz says:

          Said this before, but will again: It is pretty hard to picture who in the modern GOP plays the roles of Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott and John Rhodes.

        • Peterr says:

          A deathbed statement from McCain might — might — have a similar effect.

          Absent that, I wonder about Richard Burr. Given what he’s seen as the Intelligence Committee chair, and his willingness to slap down his over-the-fking-moon House counterpart, he might — might — be a possibility for filling that role.

          If Coates and Pompeo start talking to their old colleagues on the Hill, expressing their willingness to provide cover, that might — might — give someone or several someones a bit of a spine.

        • bmaz says:

          Don’t mistake McCain for Goldwater. He has NEVER been that kind of guy. And there are a myriad of posts here explaining why. It is also why Goldwater quietly (mostly) absolutely loathed McCain.

          Even as a critic, I do not think McCain should be shit on by Trump and Trumpalos as he closes out his career. By the same token, nobody should mistake him for the likes of Goldwater, Scott and Rhodes. In fact, it was a craven and belligerent McCain that plopped his carpetbag down in an AZ district that Cindy bought a house in for “residency” instantaneously, that led the carpetbagger McCain to push out the living AZ legend John Rhodes before the one last term he wished to serve.

          But McCain has never been, and will never be, “that guy”. Never.

        • Peterr says:

          Bmaz, bmaz, bmaz.

          Given what you’ve described, don’t you think that McCain would love to go out in a blaze of glory, taking down the guy who said “He’s not a hero. I like people that don’t get captured.”?

          Yes, that’s very different from Goldwater’s “you need to leave for the good of the party and good of the nation,” but the end result would be the same.

        • bmaz says:

          Honestly, no, I do not think McCain is that guy. If so, it will be the first time in AZ politics.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          I think this is correct: there’s an inner sanctum and when the investigation directly touches it, it will trigger an endgame that is political and not legal. If the republic survives that, there’ll be a trial. And while the legal stuff will define the framework for the political, it won’t control it.

        • emptywheel says:

          Most of the people you mentioned (Don Jr, Kushner, Stone) can also be charged in state courts, which would put them beyond Trump’s ability to pardon and make them available for cooperation against the principal. I also think there are ways of indicting this which would make it unbelievably toxic to pardon.

        • bmaz says:

          I also think there are ways of indicting this which would make it unbelievably toxic to pardon.

          Yeah. Can’t say it is impossible, or that Trump may not try, but think it a LOT harder and different than popular thought presumes.

    • Shelly says:

      Agreed. I think Marcy makes a lot of good points, but I don’t see how this would ever reach trial with the way things are going.

    • greengiant says:

      Humbly suggest that since Trump has no effective concept of the rule of law and has bribed, blackmailed and bankrupted his way around town that Trump has no idea what is going to hit him and no one to tell him so either. George F. Will defected last month. There is a concept of honor in some in the GOP, maybe not many, There either will be enough to dump the corrupt ones in the soup or the GOP as we know it will cease to exist. You piss at the rule of law and it can come right back at you, your experience in DC or NYC to the contrary.

      • Trip says:

        The only dissent I see in the GOP is from people who aren’t in office and people who are leaving office. In other words, people who have no direct control to do anything.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t count Will as a real defection. He’s been flirting wih the theory pushed by the Federalist Society that Mueller’s investigation is invalid because he’s not really an inferior officer and should have been voted on by the Senate.

        It’s dumb once you look at everything around his appointment, and the courts so far aren’t buying it, but I wouldn’t rule out the conservatives on the Supreme Court fast tracking a case and ruling against Mueller on the flimsiest of grounds.

        Ultimately, I think it hangs on how much evidence comes out before they entertain this option. If it’s out there and it all looks bad, I think they’ll hold off, and I also think they will hesitate if it appears that it’s bad and it will get exposed regardless.

        • greengiant says:

          George Will defected on family separation issues on June 22. I will take honor where they find it. It is not just Trump Russia that can cause defections. is badly, very badly, making stuff up as they go along, not just in defense of con fraud USA, but in everything they do. The media does not cover their fiascoes much. There are some real drive off the cliff full throttle policies in play. Revoking refugee status over 700,000 affected including US citizen dependents, discharging military so they can’t earn citizenship, deporting spouses of veterans, Sessions off the wall asylum for no one and zero tolerance policy which scheme is to criminalize all immigrants so they can never cross legally, internal deportations due to change in policy. That is just immigration. Everything they touch is “dumb”. Just fortunate this first big populist cult in our times, ( left or right ), is so criminal and so incompetent.

    • Beth Carroll says:

      My husband was a trial attorney at DOJ for 27 years. Believe me Orange Man cannot “smash the Justice Department to pieces after any indictment.” You need to understand the workings of that agency and others and how they continue and survive periods of extreme duress. They will prevail along with  the courts.


    • orionATL says:

      i think mueller would indict if he could make a strong, simple case, as did patrick fitzgerald against v-p cheney’s chief-of-staff scooter libby. as with the libby indictment, the case would have to be one with reasonably simple charges which your ordinary juryman could understand and could not reasonably turn down.

      i would also guess that the office of special counsel would reserve that indictment for the final one they make. there is reallly no doubt what trump would do then – collapse the osc or put it under a toady post haste. i suspect the osc has been leading the wh on on this one :).

      but those presidential actions might be too late to save trump if there were simple, well-documented charges 1) of conspiracy and 2) of obstruction of a conspiracy investigation. as pinc mentioned, then it will be time for the big game to be played, politics, which i would expect to involve mob violence and vigilanteism.

      at that point it might be cleat to most all politicians that it is time to negotiate president trump’s return to civilian status.

      however, none of this cold politicall/legal calculation, NONE, can undo the damage the trump presidency has done to 1) the social safety net, 2)the control of pollutants and climate change, and 3) the domestic economy and the world economy, including trade relations and trade blocs like nafta and the european union.

      the trump presidency has already been one of the most destructive in the history to our democracy and our economy.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr, were the top three officials in the Trump Campaign.  Trump had worked with Manafort for three decades.  The other two are family.  They met at Trump Tower, with Donald Trump in the building, to solicit or accept campaign help from acknowledged Russian sources.  They planned for the meeting ahead of time.

    Sounds like a conspiracy to me. Even if nothing was exchanged – did they think the Russians were giving them file boxes filled with printed e-mails? – they corruptly acted to further that conspiracy.

    The odds that Trump was not involved before and after this meeting seem poor.  That anyone involved regarded this meeting as incidental and unimportant – that close to the election and the earlier GOP convention – seems laughably implausible.

    Donald Trump just admitted his son – and Paulie, Jared, and his campaign – broke the law.

    Don Jr did it, the Don claims, but without knowledge or intent.  (He doesn’t offer an excuse for the others.)  If I’m ever in trouble, lord, please do not put the Don in charge of my legal defense.  Don Jr must be wondering whether it was an uptown or downtown bus that just rolled over him.

  5. Geoff says:

    I’m not particularly in the loop on a lot of this, but I keep wondering about the blocked phone number that Don JR called during the setup for the meeting. Obviously, the Republicans avoided looking into it, but someone must know whose number that was, at least, and it’s not a small possibility that the NSA has a complete recording of the call. When do we get to find out who owns that blocked number? Obviously, we kind of already know, given the timeline of events that day, but it seems like an important piece of info that is constantly avoided.

    • greengiant says:

      The Feds seldom involve themselves in state election fraud or local school boards. I agree with Binney that if it was done the NSA has it. The problem with the 2008 crash and any number of hacking attacks, of random phones is that the NSA is not supposed to have it. From many miles away my guess is that the NSA uses a creative dictionary and access that is so restricted that Snowden and Reality Winner are examples of those who defy it. As an example financial crimes for sure in 2008 but the NSA would “break cover” if its information was used. The NSA data could have been used to catch Madoff and other ponzis, but the cover. So what Wall Street, Trump and all never get 24/7 people monitoring, they are never targeted. Instead of the NSA we have Silicon Valley, facebook, google, the ISPs, the cookie monsters, market the data and groups like CA and the GRU who are smart enough to use it to blackmail and election warfare. As early as 2010 investigative journalists were using Facebook and Wikipedia edits to find networks of crooks.
      You can not hire good people in the US to hack unless you are the government. The penalties are too high. You cannot hack from outside the US because the NSA has carte blanche to take all your data and communications. So the GRU tried to use the cloud servers.

  6. DJ says:

    Based on Trump’s tweets and behavior, it seems that Mueller could exert the most leverage over Trump by going after Trump’s family… Jared, Jr., Ivanka. (Looks like Eric might be the smart one, but who knows.)

    If Mueller is not keen on indicting a sitting president, could Mueller get Trump to resign with the sight of Jr and company looking at some hard time? How would pardons play in to all of this? Awesome stuff.

    • Bri2k says:

      That sounds like good thinking and it would be consistent with a RICO-style prosecution.

      As for pardons, I believe accepting one removes a person’s 5th amendment right against self-incrimination since this is an admission of guilt. So if Trump’s family are convicted and then pardoned, they can be forced to testify against him or be held in contempt of court.

      If I have any of this wrong, hopefully others more knowledgeable will set me straight.

  7. Brumel says:

    Over time facts develop. Gotta love that line.
    Judge: “Why did you lie?”
    Accused: “It’s not my fault, your honor, the facts just didn’t develop.”

    • Peterr says:

      Yeah, that’s the line that caught my eye, too.

      Facts are. They do not develop. What develops might be our awareness of the facts, or our understanding of what they mean.

      For Sekulow to to put it that bluntly, however, would make it that much more obvious that he had been misled — or, dare I say, lied to. Bmaz can check me on this, but my sense is that while defense attorneys do not like being lied to by their clients, they also do not like shooting their own case in the foot by telling the world that their client lied to them.

      But hey — if you’re crooked and don’t trust your own attorney, you can’t exactly get upset when your defense strategy gets hamstrung because the attorney is in the dark.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Nor are they allowed to expose material information about their client during or after the representation.  That would restrict how far Sekulow can go in admitting that his client lied to him.  Hence, his verbal gymnastics.

        But as everyone has said, none of this new Trump behavior.  Sekulow and every other Trump lawyer knew what they were buying into – including the high risk they would be shat on, embarrassed, and not paid.  One reason so many top lawyers said nyet when asked to work for the Don.

        • Peterr says:

          Nor are they allowed to expose material information about their client during or after the representation.

          Isn’t there an exception to this for the lawyer’s self-defense? That is, if the lawyer makes representations to the court based on what the client told them that are later proven to be not just wrong but an attempt to mislead the court, is the lawyer allowed to expose material information that would defend them against charges of conspiracy to commit perjury and obstruction of justice?

        • bmaz says:

          If sued by the client, sometimes. Other situations a LOT more dicey. That is not happening here by any measure I can see.

        • Peterr says:

          That’s what I figured. If there’s ever an opening for this, it’s not just “my client lied about me to the press and made me look bad” but it has to be in the context of formal legal proceedings.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Agree with bmaz’s comment.  If the client sues the lawyer, her confidentiality obligations drop away in that she can use information obtained from or about the client to defend the suit.  Malpractice and billing suits are examples.  But I don’t think the lawyer can disclose just any old information; it has to relate to defending against the client’s claims.

          It’s not going too far out on a limb to say that Donald Trump would be exceptionally self-destructive were he to sue any of his  lawyers, and thus allow them to disclose information they would otherwise need to keep confidential.  But then Trump abandoned Mickey Medallions in a marvelously self-destructive way.

        • orionATL says:

          trump is just so friggin’ reactive.

          he absolutely cannot control himself.

          he can’t even think straight about his own son’s wellbeing.

  8. jayedcoins says:

    “This conspiracy trial is going to be awesome.”

    Question for MW or bmaz — what trial? Do you think it is likely POTUS himself will stand trial, either while in office, or out of office (on the assumption he loses in 2020)? Or is this statement more pointed at potential future trials of Jr., Stone, Kushner, etc.?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      For starters, Don Jr and Stone are not in government and there is no restriction on indicting them.  Jared Kushner’s status is a one-off, but there is no obvious prohibition on indicting him, either, certainly not for pre-inauguration crimes, any more than there would have been a prohibition on indicting Rob Portman for felony assault related to partner abuse.

      The Don is mostly likely to show up as an unindicted co-conspirator.  If statutes of limitation have not run on any of Trump’s crimes, he could be prosecuted after he leaves office.

      The odds of a Democratic president pardoning him are low.  But that leaves open the possibility that he would attempt to pardon himself.  An unprecedented and questionable act.  Vlad would love that, as it would extend the chaos that promotes his interests.  Impeachment is not relevant after Trump leaves office.

      • Peterr says:

        The Nixon and Reagan White Houses both were filled with folks who were indicted, tried, and convicted (or who pled guilty):

        Nixon: VP Spiro Agnew, WH assistant to the president John Ehrlichman, WH chief of staff HR Haldeman, WH Counsel John Dean, special counsel to the president Chuck Colson, deputy assistant to the president Dwight Chapin, Attorney General (and campaign chairman) John Mitchell, Attorney General Richard Kleindienst, Secretary of Commerce Maurice Stans . . .

        Reagan: National Security Advisor Bud McFarland (later pardoned), National Security Advisor John Poindexter (later overturned on appeal because of immunity granted during congressional hearings), National Security Council staffer Oliver North (also later overturned for the same reason), Assistant Secretary of State Eliott Abrams, and indicted but pardoned before a trial could take place was Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger.

        And that’s just off the top of my head.

        Hmmm . . . two thoughts:

        1. Flynn, Manafort, and the kids would fit right in with the names/positions listed above, which can’t give Trump any comfort at all.
        2. By the time this is over, “Hiring the best people in the world” will go down as Trump’s “Heckuva job, Brownie” catchphrase.
        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          Believe an indictment will come out in coming weeks via a Grand Jury that has largely stayed off of the radar. Not tied to Mueller investigation.

    • DJ says:

      I spent 18 formative years of my life in the midst of people in the Trump/Sekulow camp.

      I guarantee Sekulow is motivated by one thing… and it’s not his fiduciary duty to his client, or professional ethics. As long as Trump keeps paying Sekulow, Jay will do the job, regardless. Now, if Trump stiffs him like every contractor he’s ever hired… Jay might take matters into his own hands.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        Sekulow will get paid regardless of whether Trump opens his wallet or not. He’s in a network that will be sure he’s taken care of.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As for the ignorance defense, I’m sure it’s often worked for the Don, stable informed genius that he is.  It doesn’t go far, though.

    Paul Manafort has business and law degrees from Georgetown.  He is a famously expensive Beltway lobbyist, political consultant, and lawyer.

    Jared Kushner has law and business degrees from NYU.  He interned with legendary Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau, and worked at white shoe law firm Paul, Weiss.

    Donald Jr is a graduate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.  He and his brother supposedly run their father’s international business and property empire worth over a billion dollars.  They’ve recently decided to spend another $200 million on one of their properties in Scotland.

    If these guys did not know the relevant election laws, they had friends, classmates, peers, and advisers who did.  A truck driver from Utah, speeding in West Virginia, would not avoid a ticket because he didn’t know the speed limit.  The claimed ignorance of Don Jr and his friends should be no excuse either.

  10. Tracy says:

    Thanks for reporting on this, Marcy! Again, I can’t believe that the press missed the real story here: they ask us to believe that the Narcissist in Chief cares more about his own son’s welfare than he does his own hide. Why does Trump really care about the exposure of his “wonderful” son? B/c it directly relates to his own guilt and discovery of it.

    Interesting is Hope Hicks appearance in midst of this…

    I wonder what is happening in Trump’s world – what info he’s getting, from Putin or through manafort’s lawyers? making him believe that the noose is tightening? (Dramatic escalation in revelations following start of Managort trial…)

    Re: comment about Putin crafting the statement – I believe that it was a view that I read on here that in trump’s undisclosed meeting w Putin at the G20, in which there was only a Russian translator, that they came up w the cover up story of adoptions? The video of Trump gesturing to Putin at the table to get his attention (to have a side meeting?) was interesting… I’d love it if someone could say more about this or link to marcy’s other articles about the Trump-Putin G20 side meeting, bc I may be misremembering this supposed chain of events and l would love to learn more about this myself (sorry if I misrepresented anything).

  11. William Bennett says:

    August 5, 2018 at 10:07 am

    It does seem like they’re pursuing the “boiling a frog” strategy. Make the admissions numerous and incremental enough that no single one can stand as a crisis. We’re approaching the ultimate test of that strategy, wherein they admit conspiracy with a foreign power and nothing happens. “Yes, we committed treason but everybody does it and would you rather have a president who works with the Russians or Hillary? I mean, yeah, he may have to knuckle under to Putin, but you say that like it’s a bad thing.”

  12. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Many thanks for the straight facts mixed in with some much-needed hilarity. Clever people here on EW. It helps as I keep wondering what my country is going to look like this time next year. I’ve seen speculation that Putin (or whoever) wanted a deal on Syria.  My fear is even more that he would love to see Americans starving to death, as people did in Russia after the fall brought on in part by the lies of such as Cheney and Rumsfeld in response to Carter’s peace initiatives. If you were Russian, how much would you hate the US?  Trump’s economic “policies” are a step in that direction.  The good news is that I’ve always been paranoid and usually wrong.

    We’ve gone from “No collusion” to “Collusion is not a crime”. Simple extrapolation points to an eventual early morning tweet “I committed treason.  You’re welcome, America. Nobody ever reports on the positive side of Benedict Arnold.” I agree with those speculating that a drip drip drip of confession gradually desensitizes so that there is never a moment of revelation so shocking that the good citizens feel the need to rouse themselves. There is no dramatic climax, just endless soap opera.




  13. William Bennett says:

    August 5, 2018 at 11:08 am

    “Reply” doesn’t seem to be working for me, but Josh Marshall has been arguing for a while, pretty persuasively IMO, that the Trump-Putin tete-a-tete at the G20 was all about discussing the cover story. It’s behind a subscription pay wall, but here’s the gist:

    So the President learns news of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting is going to break. His staff is chattering and brainstorming about it all day. He seeks out President Putin and has a highly irregular private meeting with Putin with no other Americans. He discusses Russian adoptions. The next day he takes over the press response and personally dictates a statement which is false and makes Russian adoptions the centerpiece of the meeting.

    It is not only clear that the discussion of adoptions with Putin informed Trump’s false statement. It seems impossible to imagine that Trump didn’t raise the Trump Tower meeting explicitly with Putin during their chat. Indeed, it seems highly likely that that is why he went out of his way to meet with him a second time. Remember, this is the guy who two months earlier bragged to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov: “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

    We don’t know what the two men discussed. (The Russians no doubt have a record of it. Their translator was there.) But given the facts and chain of events, it seems close to impossible to believe this wasn’t one of the things the two men discussed. Good bet it was the entirety of what they discussed.

    • Tracy says:

      William Bennett – Thanks for posting this reporting! This helps me recall the background – I appreciate it! (I also inconsistently can “reply,” dunno know why! :-))

    • emptywheel says:

      So have I. And actually, we do know what they discussed. They discussed adoptions. That is, the cover story Trump dictated.

  14. getouttahere says:

    Seems that in court(s) Mueller et al. have these creeps dead to rights. Not a simple task despite the bad guys’ assholeness and self-incrimiantions. So while it will be a joy seeing them facing the hoosegow, there is much to worry about how this plays out politically, including the extent to which the trumpie thugs take to the streets as things go badly for the putz-in-cheap. I think much of the recent talk about how the repugs in the nixon horror did their “patriotic duty” is overblown (with some notable exceptions — E. Richardson and W. Ruckelhaus who were heroes.) They only did their duty when the evidence against nixon was overwhelming. Todyay’s repugs have zero scruples and few brains and are far less likely than the nixon-era repugs to do the right thing. The upcoming elections are perhaps more critical than what Mueller can do.

  15. Trip says:

    That Sekulow comment about “Facts developing” is a load of horseshit. He’s covering his ass for knowingly lying for Trump. I don’t believe for a second that he was in the dark.
    And WTF is Emmet Flood doing? Twiddling his thumbs?

    • Trip says:

      I can’t edit:

      I say this because Trump comes up with a cover story (which couldn’t be more obvious of a lie), then his sycophants go out and promote the lie, and then Trump takes a 180, and says the opposite, making them look like idiotic tools.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Yeah: Hackulow is comfortable with the wingnut welfare approach that involves agreeing on a lie and repeating it consistently across the entire spectrum. He’s not comfortable with a situation where the principal cuts him off at the knees.

  16. Anura says:

    Maybe he can get off with a abused senior defense?

    “Donald Trump was not capable of understanding the world around him; his mental health has been deteriorating for years, and instead of receiving help he was taken advantage of by his family and those he believed to be his friends, unwittingly used for their own nefarious purposes.”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Donald was accused of doing that when his ailing and probably demented dad wrote his last will.  It gave Donald the lion’s share and cut out his older brother’s family.  He promised to support that family, which had a chronically sick child.  When his nephew contested the odd, disadvantageous new will, Trump cut them out without a bent dime.  He finally settled the challenge many years later.

      The Don likes to prove his point.  Cruelty and humiliation are his special tools.  But it’s unlikely anyone is doing that to Trump himself yet.  Melania is still there.  His children are still there.  The boys supposedly run the empire, but report to the Don frequently, and he can take any money he wants any time, from anywhere.

      Not signs that anyone has taken control of his money yet.  There’s probably not a lot of free cash to be had, and the deals are the Don’s specialty.  Who’s gonna do a deal with either son without dad, while dad’s president?  But nor are they signs that the Don is spending much time actually being president.

  17. Rusharuse says:

    Why all this on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Surely we can’t have new indictments coming this week (“Ruggy” still in court). Maybe the SC has given Ramesses 45 a deadline for their chat?

  18. Geoff says:


    then what of the self proclaimed “stable genius”? Or is this simply co-opted as part of the defense, as in clearly, he is insane, because the evidence shows this statement to be utterly unbelievable. #circularreasoningerror

  19. Trip says:

    One more thing to add: He is calling his son “wonderful”, while throwing him directly under the bus.
    Notice he adds it was something he didn’t know about. No way he didn’t know.

    • Trip says:

      I can hardly wait for the narrative (the repetitive chorus in a song?) that Jr. really had very little to do with the campaign and that Donald hardly knew him because he was exclusively raised by his mother. Plus, he only picked up some coffee now and then.

  20. Charlie says:

    I happened to be looking at my twitter feed when all of this took off and have spent hours looking at the replies, probably about a 1000! some of which had me in stitches. I reckon about 90% were anti-orange-mop and very angry and the rest were Fox or Q drivel. People are demanding immediate action ranging from impeachment, arrest to imprisonment. Fingers crossed that people still feel the same in Nov. It did cross my mind that Air Force One might be heading straight across the Atlantic with all guilty parties on board!
    HH was mentioned a number of times with speculation that she may have been wearing a wire…
    By the way BREXIT troubles are looming because of GRU activity with some calling for a cancellation of the referendum as not free and fair.

  21. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Hopey on a plane
    tryin’ to explain
    her lawyers made her bail
    so Uday’s goin’ to jail

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      And if Maggie H still has Hopey in her contacts, we may get to hear what happened between Saturday evening and this morning.

  22. gmoke says:

    Interesting that every time Trmp says political campaigns all do what he did with the Russian meeting nobody seems to be reminding us that the Gore campaign in 2000 got a copy of George W’s debate briefing book and immediately reported it to the FBI. Wonder when someone with a loudspeaker is going to push Trmp’s Overton Window a little on that issue.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      So, GW could read? Better than Trump?

      How did that Bush vs Gore thing work out?

      Not a Y2K problem after all?

      Kavanaugh will solve all problems in the mind of the fascist gop. See Mercers, Kochs.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      You might want to reread the comment.  As I read it, it is a complaint that Trump is wrong when he says that, “Everybody does it.”  It is a complaint that nobody points out that – contra Trump – Gore did the right thing by turning the W materials over to the FBI.

      I would add that Trump’s horizon is bounded by his own ego, so that when he says “everybody does it,” he means “I did it.”  After all, he is everybody.

      • Peterr says:

        This is the flip side of the “Nobody knows that . . .” which really means “Someone told me this a couple of minutes ago, and I didn’t know about it.”

        Kind of like “Most people don’t even know he [Lincoln] was a republican.”

        Trump is great at projection. What he doesn’t know, he projects that no one knows. What he believes his behavior is normal, he projects that everyone does it.

      • Greenhouse says:

        EOH, I think gsmoke and you are in agreement. I read his reminder of Gore’s actions to contradict Trump’s “everybody does it”.

  23. phein58 says:

    I’m pretty certain that “Facts develop over time” is NOT the same as “Lies crumble over time,” and they shouldn’t be used interchangeably.

    Just sayin’.

  24. Tracy says:

    @Charlie, wow! New hope Hicks was wearing a wire!! :-)

    @gmoke yes, I agree, people ought to hear more: what was done in that bush-gore situation when those involved actually had morals and ethical standards!!

  25. Doctor My Eyes says:

    So, I guess it’s not just me whose reply feature is not working. I was afraid my 3 comments so far had been deemed too inane to allow me to continue.

    Wrt Kevin Finnerty’s fear of Trump’s “smashing the Justice Department to pieces”, my view is that disaster would be much more subtle. If it develops that the DOJ is unable to perform its duties in the current crisis, the failure will likely not be in a dramatic, public way. My greatest fear in all of this is of the power of infiltration. With infiltration, procedures remain in place and there is an appearance of normality, but gradually, increasingly the infiltrated institutions move to serve the desires of the conspirators. Sabotage of the case against against Russian influence can be subtle and hidden–difficult to pin down precisely: competent investigators with integrity are moved to other cases, “facts” are buried or altered, fatal mistakes are made in trial, paperwork is lost, red herrings pursued, decisions made not to press forward in certain areas. Someone more versed than I could develop a better list of how it would look, but the point is that at no time would there be an overt smashing of anything.

    Infiltration is the essence of our current challenge, imo, and I fear I am seeing a failure of imagination with regard to how this works. I lie awake at night wondering what use Putin may have made of the data stolen at the US embassy, of what damage is being done by Trump appointees at the various agencies, worrying how vulnerable are our public servants. I am haunted by the testimony months ago, before it was clear how compromised is Congress, of a work-a-day DOJ (or CIA) employee in which, after describing how the Russians target people and destroy their lives, that he would be leaving the hearing with a feeling of having no protection against any retaliation they might take for his having given testimony. (I’m sorry I cannot locate this testimony from, I think, over a year ago.)

    • cat herder says:

      When have you ever seen anyone on Team Trump do anything subtle? Their style is more like an 8-way train wreck that then gets hammered by a hailstorm of flaming dumpsters (which they then describe as “winning!”). I don’t think they are secretly brilliant and just hiding behind a veneer of buffoonery to distract us so they can do their secretly brilliant stuff behind the scenes.

  26. Bruce Olsen says:

    Even ironically, embedding a JSB video is just wrong.

    I hope he’s condemned to a life playing behind chicken wire…

  27. Ollie says:



    A caller on Washington Journal/c.span Friday, August 3, 2018. Citizens are bat shit crazy. I couldn’t resist posting this here. As much as I wait for that idiot to be brought down, I’m very, very afraid of this people. They call in every day. I’ve never heard one threaten to shoot anyone but it’s coming. You can feel it.

  28. Mark says:

    Not sure there is a point where Trumpsky can go “too far.” So, he tweets out a confession of conspiracy with the russians, denying that he had any foreknowledge of that meeting in the tower, even though there are now several witnesses that say he green-lighted the meeting, according to Cohen, and today my F’book timeline is spammed with photos of elderly obese white males wearing shirts that say they would rather be russian than DIMOCRATS!

    Aside from the open treason those shirts represent we have to keep in mind that ultimately Tsar Cheato is the president no matter how or by what monstrous crimes he came to that position. That his followers though a minority are saying straight up that no matter what they defend their guy even if that is with russian boots on American soil. I am told they are promising on their neo Nazi Alt Right media a civil war and violent insurrection if anything were to happen to remove conservatives from power, not just Trumpsky. I am thinking that sort of assumes Pence will go down with him and the threats are bluster because deep down they know as well as we do that the whole shithole coup is unraveling fast.

    So, what is going to happen in the vacuum after Trumpsky and his evil circus are gone? If it happens too soon we will be stuck with god knows who, President Pompeo? Or a President Ben Carson (shuddering at the thought). Who knows how deep the Mueller cuts will go before someone in the line of succession is not proven to be part of the 2016 and ongoing GOP conspiracy against the USA and Hillary Clinton? In some ways I think it would be best in the long run if our military took over for a while and rounded up anyone with the taint of this unfortunate Trumpsky episode, anyone who aided and abetted, and sent them to Guantanamo for tribunal. I mean that is just how serious this is, this not legal wrangling and a difference of opinion here, it is treason.

    After a respectable period of military supervision we could reintroduce full democracy and FREE and FAIR elections again. Some will say nope, that’s crazy, but I must say to them right now I would trust our generals and military to respect the constitution and democracy far FAR more than I would the GOP, and it would be a better solution than another civil war because I doubt we would survive that.

    • Anne says:

      “…I think it would be best in the long run if our military took over for a while and rounded up anyone with the taint… ”

      When in the history of civilization has military rule been good for the people?  Let’s start with the militarization of the policing here in America.  How’s that working out?

    • Greenhouse says:

      That, my friend, is an invitation to a fascist state in the guise of saving the republic. Resist that temptation. That is exactly how the oligopoly wants you to feel — futility, so our only hope now is martial law. Fight the power, all is not lost, all is not hopeless.

  29. Joshua88 says:

    Why do people keep asking whom DT, Jr, reached when he called that “blocked” number?

    You can receive calls from but cannot return calls to a blocked number.

    Everyone explains the sequence this way, so the translation must have gotten lost after the House testimony of Don Jr, (I guess).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think there’s some confusion in that description.  Typically, a blocked number refuses to disclose itself to the person called.  You can have a conversation when that number calls you, but the number itself does not appear on your phone.  The phone company, however, knows the number, and lots of other stuff.  Mueller undoubtedly has all that, too, by now.

      A number that cannot be called is a different kettle of fish.  There are analogues in the e-mail world: e-mail addresses that send messages out, but refuse to receive them.  To correspond, you need to know another address or number.  Often used in marketing and scam marketing.

  30. Rapier says:

    Perhaps Sekulow should mount as a defense that Trump is not competent to stand trial. Still president mind you, just not competent to stand trial

  31. Joshua88 says:

    What can I do if I don’t see my comment?

    Been an observer, but the unseen post was my first.

    Smart place to visit.

  32. Smokeyedaho says:

    First time caller
    A disservice to Narcissists to not call him/ them out consistently as Anti-social Personality DOD aka Sociopathic. Budding narcissists don’t get sent to military school. Blossoming cat killers do.

    Can anyone point me to threads that relate to Trumps body language beyond the captain obvious handshake? He has a consistent left shoulder dip- wondering if that is when he is hiding in plain sight?

    Y’all keep me sane! thank you!

  33. Joshua88 says:

    I receive calls from blocked – or anonymous -callers and if s/he starts leaving a message, I know who is calling.

    My issue is that you can’t hit redial to a blocked caller and unless you know the caller (Pops), it is a “mystery.”.

    No doubt the SC knows.

    Bmaz – it took a few moments.
    Thank you.

  34. clairence says:

    I’m curious which is worse – that DonSr knew, or that he didn’t know.
    Because clearly being in the loop here would suggest conspiracy. But for such a meeting to not require his knowledge would suggest that it was somewhat commonplace and not a big deal.

  35. Rusharuse says:

    Where’s Rudy? I miss his “chalice from the palace” schtick. Sekulow just leaves a grease spot wherever he’s been.

  36. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @clairence — ”which is worse” implies we are stuck in duality.
    We aren’t.
    It’s not either/or.
    It’s ‘and also’.

    And also, WTF is ‘commonplace’ about conspiring with a foreign nation state when you are running for a federal office?!
    And also, I am the Queen of Sheba.
    And also, I am going to live 700 (Biblical) years and be the Mother of Multitudes.
    And also, how many rabbit warrens of bullshit do you want to get lost in?

    He’ll argue a meeting with Russians is ‘commonplace’ because he’s “had so many meetings with Russians”.
    And also, pigs fly.

    He’ll argue anything; he’s cornered, and it’s starting to register.
    Expect a lot more crazy; it will be less coherent, and more manic.

  37. PolyNerd says:

    I know that it something of a cliche, but we are looking at a wealthy patriarchal family, and its hard not to think that there must be some jostling and jealousies among the heirs, and resentments toward the aging patriarch. They’ve shown a united front so far, but under duress-who knows? What could a Mueller offer one of the Trump children that might convince them to flip?

  38. tjinbendor says:

    In my studies for a degree in Counseling Psychology I spent a good deal of time thinking about the coping strategies people use in dealing with stress. I came to understand that the more severe the stress becomes the more the individual is to use their earliest, most familiar and comfortable techniques. Some people run and hide, some throw tantrums, some try to work a deal and others lie (to themselves and others). There are others, but these are very common.
    Trumps increasing fits and lies indicate and man floundering in a deep and inescapable stress cycle. He doesn’t know how to do anything other than what he is doing.
    The net is closing. We all stand and watch,jaws agape. This isn’t going to be pretty.

  39. Doug R says:

    You don’t need the NSA for a “blocked number” trump’s cell phone is known by his phone company. Even though the feds may have put a stingray in use because Russians were involved.

  40. Mitch Neher says:

    I have a legal question the answer to which I do not know for certain. Does the recipient of a pardon keep his or her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination only for those offenses for which he or she was not pardoned? For instance, if Trump pardoned Manafort only for those offenses of which the jury returns a guilty verdict, then would Manafort retain his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination for any offenses that might also incriminate Don Jr., Kushner and even Trump, himself?

    Conversely, if Trump granted Manafort a “blanket” pardon, then could Manafort’s testimony against Don Jr., Kushner and Trump, himself, be compelled? If so, is there any way to trick Trump into doing that?

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      IANAL, but it’s kind of moot, because federal criminal contempt is itself pardonable. (Or Paulie could just answer “I don’t recall” to every question.) There’s no external mechanism to make him spill the beans. That’s why EW wants him to have made recordings on those iPods.

      Mueller’s task here is to make the political cost of any pardon or commutation sufficiently high that it either can’t happen and Paulie decides he doesn’t want to die in jail, or it happens and it’s Salena Zito’s toughest-ever assignment to find old white dudes in a diner who agree that he should be free to enjoy his ostrich jacket.

  41. NJrun says:

    Reply also not working for me, in reply to the comments about Sekulow:

    Jay is a grifter of the religious right, his specialty is conning money from rubes by telling them that liberals are going to ban Christianity. Look at his published work, it’s on the “rapture” and the end of the world. It portrays a world order dominated by a liberal anti-Christ and batshit insane projections about the second coming of Jesus.

    He is totally over his head when it comes to criminal law. I don’t feel sorry for him because he is an amoral criminal who deserves to rot somewhere (I know his type of grift is not illegal.)

    His success, though, also points to why people stick with Donnie. They’ve been taught in churches everywhere for decades that liberals want to take away their religion, which they are also taught is the most important thing in life. Rational people think the War on Christmas is funny, but it has legs. If you think evil libs are on the side of the devil, Trump is OK by comparison.

  42. Trip says:

    OT, except for your twitter link, @Marcy.
    Russia Tasks Hollywood Actor Seagal With Improving Russia-U.S. Ties

    Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday it had made U.S. actor Steven Seagal its special representative for Russian-U.S. humanitarian ties, a role it said was meant to deepen cultural, art and youth ties between the two countries.

    So much to unpack. Since when has anyone ever accused a Seagal film of being “art”? Secondly, “cultural” ties, is this a trollish insult to brutal American culture? Third, youth ties? How many youthful people are in reverence of a paunchy dude with black shoe polish spray on hair? Is this the new essence of cool? I suppose I am terminally uncool. I looked him up on imbd and it looks like he made a million films, so someone is buying this stuff. Maybe I am an outlier, but I don’t love bad actors in action movies.

    Also, who writes this biography stuff on imbd?

    Steven Seagal is a striking and somewhat boyishly handsome (often with ponytail) action star who burst onto the martial arts film scene in 1988 in the fast-paced Warner Bros. film Above the Law (1988).

    Boyishly handsome? Uh, wut? It sounds like something Trump would write about himself.

    • Trip says:

      Oh, and I just read this POS has been accused by several women of sexual harassment, assault, and rape.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The 6′ 5″ Seagal might have been boyishly handsome thirty years ago, but only on the small screen.  He hasn’t been for a long time.  Even then, he was wearing a rug.  Since then, out of training and enjoying too much borscht, he’s used wires to make his “action” sequences come alive.

      Mind you, he was a top martial artist and mechanic.  He ran a security firm as well as his dojos in Japan.  Rumor has it he honed some of his combat skills in SE Asia, an episode missing from his published cv.  His ego would be a match for Trump or Putin’s, which might make him a good intermediary for them, but not a humanitarian one.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Pretty much.

          Seagal’s background of professional violence – notwithstanding his claimed religious views – makes him an odd choice for a humanitarian ambassador between two countries notably at odds with each other.  Seagal, who is also a Russian citizen, has no experience and zero credibility on this issue – as on most.  The long list of people who have accused him of sexual abuse does not help either.

          All in, it’s a Putin joke, a thumb in the eye to both countries and to humanitarian issues in general.  Not at all a friendly gesture.

  43. Tom says:

    By way of introduction, I am a recently retired Baby Boomer who now has way more time to devote to following the Trump saga than is probably good for me. I happened to hear about this blog on NPR a few weeks ago and thought I would add my own two cents worth. Just a few thoughts and observations, some of them no doubt a little simplistic …

    Most of the commentators I’ve heard state that Trump’s reluctance to acknowledge Putin’s efforts to sabotage the 2016 Presidential election is due to his unwillingness to concede that he might not have won the White House without this outside assistance; in other words, Trump believes any concession on his part to the idea that the Russians helped push him over the finish line would threaten the legitimacy of his Presidency. However, I’ve noticed that Trump seems willing to acknowledge that the 2016 election might have been hacked by the Chinese, a 400 lb fellow sitting on his bed in New Jersey, or ‘some other people out there’. So it seems to me, at least, that it is not so much the idea of the American election process being sabotaged and subverted (“meddling” and “interfering” sound too mild to describe what is happening) by foreign powers that is the tender spot for Trump, but the statement that the Russians were the perpetrators. Again, I’ve heard some journalists state that Trump really doesn’t believe what his security experts tell him about Russia’s efforts to disrupt the 2016 election, that he sincerely thinks that the Russians had little or nothing to do with it. For myself, I’m inclined to think that Trump does know in his own mind that what his security people are telling him is the truth, but for some reason he is unwilling or unable to make any definitive public statements to confirm as much. I’m just speculating, of course, but if Putin does have some kind of hold over Donald Trump, could this be part of the understanding between them; i.e., that Trump continue to cast doubt on the position that the Russians are behind the ongoing assault on the American democratic system.

    On a related point, I’ve heard some people claim that Trump isn’t really lying when he makes false and misleading statements as he sincerely believes what he’s saying is true. I disagree and think that Trump knows exactly what he’s saying all of the time. When he lies, he lies for the same reason anyone does–because he hopes to gain something from it.

    I’m surprised at the lack of public outcry over the Russians’ cyber-attacks. Maybe I’ve missed something but I would have expected demands for a boycott of Russian vodka, mail-order girlfriends, and other Russian goods and services. Where are all those folks with the “Don’t Tread on Me” flags? They should be protesting outside the Russian embassy and consulate buildings.

    Finally, what about the possibility of Trump defecting to the Russians if he feels that the walls are closing in on him. I know it sounds farfetched, but I wonder if this might be something that was discussed between Trump and Putin at the Helsinki Summit, especially when Trump seemed eager to have a second summit and Putin later invited him to Moscow. Is it possible to imagine Trump going to Moscow and then Putin offering him political asylum. Again, just something that occurred to me. I’m sure that somewhere in the national security apparatus there are contingency plans to deal with such a situation.

  44. Tracy says:

    Another day I can’t “reply,” lol! @tjinbender and @NJrun, interesting, always good to hear people comment from their experiences and background!

    @Tom you are exactly right about Trump being only upset about idea Russians hacked – very suspicious! Others have noted this! Re: willful lying, only a glance at biographers’ materials shows this to be a pattern. I’ve also been bewildered by lack of public outcry: Michael McFaul noted how he can’t even believe this after Helsinki: why there’s not more outrage. I think in part this could be why we saw the directors of FBI, NSA, NHS, speak in unison to the WH press corps to get their message out to the people: these attacks are serious and ongoing. In part, they may realize that they must alert the public, utilizing our democracy to press change: if public outcry gets strong enough, perhaps they think that’s the only way for Trump to finally get on board (he only changed child separation policy after intense public outcry, for instance).

    After Helsinki, for a week, a troupe of protesters camped outside WH w signs about traitor/ treason, etc… we need to have mass scale demonstrations about this and constant pressure on WH and pres to do his job; America first, really???! Staggering… the people must speak out en masse!

  45. Tracy says:

    For those commenting on where this could all go, impeachment/ trial/ indictment-wise, there’s an interesting Slate article today by David Lurie: “Did Trump Just Admit an Impeachable Offense? prosecutor Brett Kavanaugh Says Yes. Judge Brett Kavanaugh Saus No.” this compares Starr report making case for obstruction in Clinton’s case vs. much stronger argument for obstruction in T’s case. And how Kavanaugh helped author the former, then changed mind and if on Supreme Ct could oppose anything requiring pres to testify or even be investigated for criminal conduct. The article does not present new info but draws interesting compare contrast b/t Starr report and today’s sit and poss sit if reaches SC.

  46. Palli says:

    Tom, what would Putin need of a ex-“president” who never bothered to learn any real US secrets when he was president? Soon enough his blackmail on GOP lawmakers would be outdated & ineffective.
    What oligarch would do business with trump who is already in deep debt to Russian oligarchy?
    No, trump wouldn’t be safe or rich in Russia. He’s expendable to Putin.

    • Trip says:

      I suppose that could depend on the level of support he maintains with the cult.  He could run his own propaganda show on Sputnik or RT, riling up the loons.

    • Tom says:

      Palli:  You’re probably right and I don’t think Trump would really enjoy living in Russia.   But still … you don’t think Putin would savour the opportunity to have an ex-President, even a disgraced one, as a sort of permanent trophy of American decadence and corruption, living proof that the idea of American exceptionalism is a fraud?

      • Palli says:

        I suspect Putin would prefer a clean-up crew more than supporting a has-been without a country. trump’s a drag on the anyone.

  47. Trip says:

    Anyone else wonder why Trump avoids the tower and NYC, in general, like the plague? Has he even returned once since he was elected?

  48. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Reply to @ Cat Herder

    Thanks for the reply. Your response to my post underlines the point I was making. Anyone who thinks DT is the brains of the operation surely suffers from over-confidence. DT is a useful idiot whose outrageous public behavior serves quite well to keep people distracted and emotions high, thus rational thought low. The enemy is the Russian Federation or specific elements thereof. I don’t see how anyone could argue that they have been anything other than ruthlessly effective in infiltrating western institutions. Hell, they just determined the outcome of a presidential election. They just created Brexit.

    I take hope from the confidence of the likes of bmaz as well as from the seeming fact that Trump does seem to feel the Mueller investigation is enough of a threat to require obsessive attention. On the other hand, Trump surely has only the dimmest idea of what is happening and what it means. After all, he thinks Fox and Friends is real. Still, I see a lot of speculating that seems to miss the fact that we don’t know how infiltrated are our institutions and the damage that can be done from the inside. I see a lot of people thinking that Trump is the enemy; this is a dangerous misperception of the kind of war we are engaging. Literally, I am losing sleep over this particular concern.

  49. Thomas says:

    I am just blown away by the details understood and the expertise of the commentators here.
    Responding to an exchange by Kevin Finnerty and bmaz above:

    I agree with bmaz that the legal system (and civil society and institutions generally) are too robust to be broken by Trump…yet.

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