Goldstone’s Bare Facts: Attorney, Damaging Information, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Useful to the Trumps

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. 

The other day, I argued that people should stop looking for a pee tape. The kompromat that Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump are what I called “receipts” of his willingness to engage in a conspiracy with Russia to win the election.

People are looking in the entirely wrong place for the kompromat that Putin has on Trump, and missing all the evidence of it right in front of their faces.

Vladimir Putin obtained receipts at each stage of this romance of Trump’s willing engagement in a conspiracy with Russians for help getting elected. Putin knows what each of those receipts mean. Mueller has provided hints, most obviously in that GRU indictment, that he knows what some of them are.

For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators  attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.

But Mueller’s not telling whether he has obtained the actual receipts.

And that’s the kompromat. Trump knows that if Mueller can present those receipts, he’s sunk, unless he so discredits the Mueller investigation before that time as to convince voters not to give Democrats a majority in Congress, and convince Congress not to oust him as the sell-out to the country those receipts show him to be. He also knows that, on the off-chance Mueller hasn’t figured this all out yet, Putin can at any time make those receipts plain. Therein lies Trump’s uncertainty: It’s not that he has any doubt what Putin has on him. It’s that he’s not sure which path before him — placating Putin, even if it provides more evidence he’s paying off his campaign debt, or trying to end the Mueller inquiry before repaying that campaign debt, at the risk of Putin losing patience with him — holds more risk.

Trump knows he’s screwed. He’s just not sure whether Putin or Mueller presents the bigger threat.

On Twitter yesterday, NYCSouthpaw demonstrated how this worked by noting that in his email asking Don Jr for a meeting Rob Goldstone had laid out “all the essential elements of the relevant criminal statute so clearly.” NYCSouthpaw highlighted the words, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump,” which show that in accepting the meeting, Don Jr was accepting something of value from a foreigner.

Remarkably, Goldstone liked that NYCSouthpaw’s tweet.

He then RTed and commented positively on a TCleveland tweet suggesting that Goldstone was only doing what he was told when he set up the meeting.

That’s actually fairly consistent with Goldstone’s (and Ike Kaveladze’s) SCJ testimony. He described Emin Agalarov telling him, over and over, that all he had to do was get a meeting with Don Jr; he didn’t even have to actually attend the meeting. Ike would coordinate once Goldstone got the meeting. And when things started getting crazy a year later, as news of the meeting came out, Agalarov repeated that Goldstone didn’t really have a role in the meeting.

Given my contention that the Russians created kompromat in the way they got Trump or his flunkies to buy into a conspiracy with a kind of call and response, however, I’m particularly interested in this exchange in Goldstone’s testimony.

Q. — you talked about with my colleague, I know we have asked you a lot of questions. I just want to have you explain. When you say there — you wrote the statement “based on the bare facts I was given,” exactly what were the bare facts that you were given?

A. So, to the best of my recollection, when I spoke to Emin, he said to me: I would like you to set up a meeting. A Russian attorney met with my — a well-connected Russian attorney met with my dad in his office, and she appears to have or seems to have damaging information on the Democrats and its candidate, Hillary Clinton. And I think it could be useful to the Trumps.

He talked about the Trumps rather than the campaign. And he would like us to get a meeting. To me, that was it. That’s when I started pushing for more information. But those would be the bare facts: attorney, damaging information, Democrats, Hillary Clinton.

Goldstone doesn’t repeat “could be useful to the Trumps” in his “bare facts” formulation. But he lays out with those words the things that Emin wanted to be included in any request for a meeting: “attorney, damaging information, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, useful to the Trumps.”

Not only were those bare facts enough to excite Don Jr, but he seemed to have some expectation about what this damaging information about Democrats and Hillary Clinton that would be useful to the Trumps would be. “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Call: Russians have emails they want to release to help Trump, they’d like to discuss a series of escalating meetings

Response: Trump’s April 27 speech, which George Papadopoulos told Ivan Timofeev is a signal to meet, includes this line:

Some say the Russians won’t be reasonable. I intend to find out. If we can’t make a deal under my administration, a deal that’s great — not good, great — for America, but also good for Russia, then we will quickly walk from the table. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find out.

Call: “attorney, damaging information, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, useful to the Trumps.”

Response: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Response: Here are just a few docs from many thousands I extracted when hacking into DNC’s network.

Call: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 (Clinton) emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”


For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton Campaign.

Goldstone is right. He did what Aras Agalarov’s son told him to do, he set up a meeting by promising, “attorney, damaging information, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, useful to the Trumps.” That he did so via email is gravy. Because (as NYCSouthpaw noted), he clearly presented the offer to Don Jr in such a way that it would fulfill all the terms of the election law statute prohibiting accepting something of value from a foreigner.

And Don Jr responded, joining a Conspiracy to Defraud the United States of its ability to enforce that election law.

239 replies
  1. John B. says:

    The Russian key that will lock Trump up:
    “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 (Clinton) emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

    • Jan says:

      The ‘key’ that leads to the cul de sac of impeachment is the Trump Tower meeting, coupled with the cover up of that meeting, and any meetings prior to and in relation to that upcoming meeting, and any meetings/correspondence/ apres the Trump Tower meeting.

      Americans (should) know the laws that were breached better than I. It’s not so complicated. The noise from Trump and his circle is.

  2. Rob says:

    Great post, Marcy. As always.

    But it’s missing a key piece of analysis: Who will play Rob Goldstone in the movie?

    Otherwise, excellent, and thanks again for sharing all of this.

  3. Alan says:

    52 U.S. Code § 30121(A)(1)(a) …a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value…

    Read fairly, the “other thing of value” has to be something similar to a “contribution or donation”. If for example, the Trump campaign paid cash or in-kind for the “other thing of value”, then it would not be a “contribution or donation” and would not be covered be the statute. To read this otherwise would criminalize (for example) purchasing staples from a Chinese vendor.

    So that has been cited for far in this blog post and in other sources is not enough to make this a criminal violation. IMO, several ways it could become a criminal violation would be (a) knowing or becoming aware that the thing of value was stolen; (b) offering to perform an official act as President in exchange for the thing of value; (c) false statements, perjury or obstruction of justice related to the investigation of the thing of value.

    • emptywheel says:

      Trump didn’t know the Russians had stolen Hillary’s emails when he asked for more?

      And the two things of value we know Trump took actions on were sanctions (the Flynn plea deal) and Syria.

    • Watson says:

      My understanding is that the ‘contribution or donation’ here was criminal because of its source – it came from a ‘foreign national … in connection with a Federal, State, or local election’; not because of its nature.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Read fairly – that is, by someone not named Brett Kavanaugh – and looking at the whole statute, it seeks broadly to avoid foreign interference in US elections.  In part, it prohibits any foreign national, directly or indirectly, from making a “contribution or donation of money or other thing of value.”  That is inclusive language, made more so by the statute’s refusal to limit by definition, “other thing of value”.

      To use your example, a campaign could buy all the staples it wants from wherever it wants them.  It could not accept a truckload of staples as a gift from a Chinese vendor, or purchase from that vendor at a non-readily available discount, the latter being an unlawful contribution.

      Your other examples of illegal behavior do not relate to this statute.  The contribution need not be stolen.  The statute does not require an offer or exchange to perform some official act, it prohibits the mere contribution.  The false statements, etc., are separate crimes.

      • MarkC says:

        If there is no obligation created by the donation, there is no harm in foreign governments donating. The idea that later foreign policy moves “paid back” Russia is exactly why such “donations” are banned.

  4. Bruce Olsen says:

    I wrote a couple of self-serving letters in a legal dispute some years ago, carefully reviewed by my attorney. I understood what he was doing then, but never connected that work to the construction of Goldstone’s email. Different crime, but same technique. It sure looks like a transparently obvious receipt to me.

  5. Bob Conyers says:

    Because I can be very dense, is the gist of this that the Russians made a series of offers worded in a way which, step by step, spelled out the specific legal conditions necessary to qualify as crimes?

    Do we know how the Russians made the initial call saying they wanted to discuss emails?

    What’s the likelihood there is more call and response we don’t know about, either earlier or on parallel tracks?

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      ‘earlier or on parallel tracks’

      I’d bet on both being the case. This mess is too complex to only have been orchestrated by the known players.

      I’m still curious about the 30,000 HRC emails that allegedly are out there.

      • Lika2know says:

        The 30,000 emails are in possession of the FBI.  What people miss about them is that they were deleted under State Dept Record Retention guidance.  At the time, only relevant emails were to be kept and had to be printed out.  Eventually, all the emails would be deleted under that definition.

        I evaluated NASA’s Records Retention rules at about the same time for my job back then; NASA was a little bit ahead in that they would keep the email version rather than the paper one.  But otherwise, the guidance was similar — keep nothing personal, trivial, or duplicative.  I’m surprised the number isn’t higher because the interpretation is:  if it took you ten emails to get a meeting scheduled, keep the one meeting notice with the agenda and personnel invited, and delete the other ten.  And, if all of that information was available on meeting minutes or written notes, then delete the meeting notice, too, and keep the minutes/notes.

        The deletion was done through routine processes — no extra steps to do a deep erase.  The FBI has all of them (which Clinton reported would include a lot about yoga classes and her daughter’s wedding plans).

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          So, if they are really out there, in the wild, would that not
          point to a State Department leak?

          Would not surprise me.

        • James says:

          Your record retention comments are absolutely correct. I also have experience with Federal record retention policies and procedures and they work exactly as you stated. There is a very specific definition of a Record. All electronic communication and documentation that falls outside that definition is required by policy to be deleted.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          Thanks, that’s detail I don’t remember reading elsewhere. Considering how many holiday party reminders, health insurance enrollment updates, and other random stuff that goes out through email, I’m not surprised there might be 30K deleted over the 1,200 or so days she was there.

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            That is all good and fine if FBI has them, but how would Russia be able to offer them as dirt?

            DOJ leak?

              • SpaceLifeForm says:

                Forget about the DNC email hack and the Podesta email hack.

                If these 30,000 emails even really do exist, where would they have come from? State or the server in HRC’s basement?

            • Kay Klingman says:

              As far as I know, Russia never offered the “30,000 deleted emails.” They offered “emails” to Papadapawhatever, and they offered damaging information prior to the June meeting. It appears that Jr. thought the “missing” emails were what would be offered at the meeting given the earlier tease, and was disappointed and annoyed when it was something else.

              From what I can tell, the Trump campaign, and Repubs in general, took it as an article of faith that the Russians had hacked her private server. They spent 2015-2016 searching for the Holy Grail of the personal emails that Clinton deleted prior to turning over the work-related emails required by documentation and retention policies. Russia knew they didn’t have those emails, but that that was what Trump required (Russia, if you’re listening…) in exchange for playing ball with the Russians. Russia began that night to search for those or any other personal Clinton emails that Trump could use against her. Meanwhile they released any emails they did have to satisfy the Repub thirst for Clinton emails.

              The point is, regardless the vulnerability of Clinton’s private server, it was never hacked. But Trump convinced himself, other Repubs, and a broad swath of US political press that it was. Furthermore, they were convinced (with no evidence) that Russia had emails that would prove Clinton had committed crimes, or at least had done things that could be characterized as crimes. And Russia strung them along while looking for anything they could steal that might fit that bill.

    • Trip says:

      What’s the likelihood there is more call and response we don’t know about, either earlier or on parallel tracks?

      I think it’s high @Bob, don’t forget about Butina (sp?) and her questions to Trump back in 2015 at the NRA meeting. It sure seemed like signaling to me.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Yep, NRA is key.

        Funny how they are going broke.

        Still have not tied Sekulow to NRA solidly, but I can smell the right-wing gunpowder smoke from any angle.

        • Peterr says:

          Funny how they are going broke.

          This is one of many unsupported claims they made in a filing in a lawsuit against NY and Gov Cuomo. Until they open their books for independent analysis during discovery, this assumes facts not in evidence.

          And given their penchant for stretching the truth and advancing alternative facts, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for that evidence to emerge.

          • Trip says:


            Best comment on twitter, after the NRA began whingeing and whining: “Thoughts and prayers”.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Well, Vlad is a master agent handler and I’m sure he employs others.  Having kompromat is essential.  Agents are always under stress, the job, life, the other side.  A handler would need something to persuade the agent to remain loyal to him.  I imagine Vlad reminded the Don about some of what he has in that little private meeting they had a few weeks ago.

      • Allison Holland says:

        trump looked scared and worried coming out of that #helsinki 2018 meeting. and he allowed putin to grab the podium usually taken by trump. trump had to let it go. his body language said everything we needed to know and feared but couldnt hear.

      • Peterr says:

        It’s not simply having kompromat — it’s the agent believing you have it. If you really want to put them in agony, you show them one or two little things you’ve got on them, and then say “. . . and there’s much more where that came from.”

        In Trump’s case, even if Putin only had one or two things, Trump has cut enough corners and bent/broken enough laws over the last 30 years that wouldn’t question the assertion that Putin has more on him. Trump would obsess forever wondering what else Putin has. He’s not wondering if Putin has evidence, but wondering what evidence of which crimes.

        Have I mentioned before that Trump HATES not being in control?

  6. Alan says:

    P.S., the members of the Trump campaign are only covered by 52 USC § 30121(2), which doesn’t mention “or other thing of value”. That might become relevant if a member of the campaign were charged with violating 52 USC § 30121.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      52 USC 30121(a)2 prohibits “a person” from soliciting, accepting or receiving “a contribution or donation” of the kind referred to earlier, in 30121(a)1(A) or (B).  (A) does refer to “money or other thing of value”.

    • SteveB says:

      52 U.S. Code § 30121 – Contributions and donations by foreign nationals
      US Code

      (a) Prohibition

      It shall be unlawful for—

      (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—

      (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
      (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
      (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title);

      (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

      (b) “Foreign national” defined
      As used in this section, the term “foreign national” means—….

      • SteveB says:

        So a US person may commit crimes implicated in ths statute in a number of ways:

        I. By contravening any of the prohibitions in (2) [specific offence]

        II. By conspiring with or aiding and abetting etc a foriegn person to breach the prohibition in (1) and/or any person to breach the prohibitions in (2) [incohate offences, conspiracy etc]

      • orionATL says:

        thanks for listing the object of discussion in its entirety. not all of us run confidently up to the u. s. code volumes to peer inside.

  7. phillip anderson says:

    This has been gnawing at me for a year since I first read those emails. The inclusion of the line “this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump” just really set off alarm bells for me. I just can’t fathom that that line wasn’t included *very much* on purpose.

    • bmaz says:

      Assuming this is the same Phillip Anderson from oh so long ago, thanks for stopping in again after so long.

      Hope the doges are doing well.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I realize we’re talking about communications with the thought-challenged Don Jr and, ultimately, his dad – both would need simple and stark – but it looks like entrapment to me.

      A good handler would want layers of kompromat.  Circumstances change.  Some of it will go stale, some might be lost, some won’t do the job.  The more important the target or the longer the play, the more layers needed.

      If the exercise involves a public figure and the debate lies in the media as much as among powerful peers (other oligarchs, say) or in the courts, the more need for more kompromat.  To borrow a phrase, enough is never enough.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Kompromat like money? Never enough?

        In this sistema theory, one may not need much if any kompromat as long as the players *believe* that *someone* may have the dirt.

        That is the beauty of sistema, a player can not even buy their way out of a potential blackmail situation because they never really encounter it. They just worry about the *possibility*.

        Ledeneva is skeptical that Putin, years ago, ordered an effort to collect kompromat on Trump. Instead, it is possible that there is kompromat in the hands of several different business groups in the former Soviet Union. Each would have bits and pieces of damaging information and might have found subtle (or not so subtle) ways to communicate that fact to both Trump and Putin. Putin would likely have gathered some of that material, but he would have known that he couldn’t get everything.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Of course it’s not just money.  It is almost certainly money laundering and other financial crimes.  Exposing it might be slightly embarrassing to a few oligarchs, but it would bring down the House of Trump.  Photos from honeytraps would be peripheral.

          Putin has a handle on the sistema network you speak of or he would not be president.  The systema that is more apt is the Russian martial art.


  8. Trip says:

    OT:Does anyone know what the red “X” signifies for the cult, next to their names on twitter? I’m seeing a lot of this suddenly.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Protestors complaining about shadow banning. Or bots complaining.

      Even right-wingers do not like social media hosts to censor.

      Who knew?

  9. shagnaski says:

    While I certainly agree with all you’ve written here, I have no doubt that a pee tape exists. That is precisely the kind of thing that that the man would insist upon; it is just so in keeping with his character. Nevertheless, I have no wish to see it nor do I think it would be all that significant given what we already know; just a drop in the or on the mattress. Still, what Putin has is far more significant and valuable to him.

  10. MIJ says:

    Question – What you’ve laid out here is related to the campaign and certainly damning. It has seemed fairly obvious for quite awhile that there were connections to the campaign resulting in the call/response framework. What I wonder is how deep the Russians were into Trump well before the election. Trump’s business relationships through the years leave the impression that there’s a very good probability that Trump had been dependent on or at least a beneficiary of Russian money. So does Kompromat exist from prior to the campaign as well? A financial relationship that left Trump vulnerable? Trump’s presidential run was a long shot but there were analysts who saw a path given the size of the Republican field and the turbidity of the base – populism is a helluva drug. I’m beginning to wonder if Russian involvement and especially encouragement/direction doesn’t begin prior to the campaign.

    Maybe I’m seeing this through 20/20 hindsight but Trump’s primary run was not as much of a Hail Mary as many said at the time. Even presuming Trump had no real chance in the general at the least he could serve as a useful idiot in terms of roiling the electorate. Certainly his tactics in the campaign when he was polling far behind – calling into question the legitimacy of the election and voting itself – could have been scripted. With Clinton’s negatives and the passionate dislike of her within Trump’s base had she won her presidency would have been subject to a lot of pot stirring and turmoil.

    Could Trump actually be a sort of Manchurian candidate?

  11. Rapier says:

    I am having a difficult time accepting the proposition that Putin would burn Trump. There is no upside for Russia to do so. Trump has now built a burgeoning pro Russian movement here and giving ammunition to Trump’s opponents threatens to negate those gains at the ballot box.

    I will grant that by supporting the most fascist elements of America he is laying the groundwork a new civil war which it hardly needs to be said will weaken the US profoundly. So perhaps that’s the end game strategy.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Chaos is as good as a win for Vlad.  Any competent agent handler would know that an agent like Trump has a limited shelf life.  Burning or abandoning him, in a manner that promotes the handler’s goals, would be routine.

      In the short term, Pence would be just as good as Trump for Vlad.  Medium term, it would take another successor years to recover, during which all manner of other events could work for or against Vlad’s interests.

  12. Troutwaxer says:

    …CSouthpaw highlighted the words, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump,” which show that in accepting the meeting, Don Jr was accepting something of value from a foreigner.

    This is what real tradecraft looks like. Putin, or someone who works for him, is one sly fox.

  13. Drew says:

    The kompromat is far deeper (and more obvious) than the pee tape. Trump is much more profoundly threatened by other implied or explicit threats and offers than that. It’s mostly just a distraction. Yet there are rumors & reports that aren’t derived from the Steele dossier of its existence. The main thing is that Trump is sloppy, careless, self-centered, self-interested and obsessed with slights & humiliations, especially if they relate to Barack Obama. His mistakes are legion, we just have to wait and see what actually comes out and how the whole thing plays out.

  14. Jan says:

    Rapier – the “pee” tape may exist, but in regards to any member of the Trump family. Or, the Golden Showers may be in reference to the Las Vegas club that “simulated’ such a thing, attended in the past by your man Trump and his circle of Russian friends.

  15. SteveB says:

    “Trump didn’t know the Russians had stolen Hillary’s emails when he asked for more?”

    These are clearly “donations,contributions or other things of value”

    However as for

    “And the two things of value we know Trump took actions on were sanctions (the Flynn plea deal) and Syria”

    This requires a little unpacking, perhaps.

    These are clearly pro-quos.

    As such they potentially implicate the bribery provisions : being official actions (or promises of official actions) in exchange for the quids of donations/contributions/things of value.

    Even if these exchanges fail to fulfill the more restrictive interpretation of bribery that SCOTUS seems to require, ie a very strigent proof of nexus between the quid and pro quo, they would help to show that in a context of nefarious mutual backscratching, the hacked emails were indeed things of value within the campaign finance statutes and were recognised as such by the parties , who also recognised that within their relationship they merited benefits in kind in return.

    It seems to me reasonable to consider alternative charges of conspiracy to defraud the US or conspiracy to bribe as approaches to the criminality exposed by the evidence.

  16. John W. Buaas says:

    Missing from all the above (unless someone snuck in a comment): July 18-21 2016 was the GOP convention, during which the _one_ platform item changed by the Trumpers, remember, was the weakening of the language regarding support for Ukraine.

  17. Strawberry Fields says:

    I read a thought provoking thehill article “If Trump meeting is illegal, then Clinton dossier is criminal too” and I’d love to know if theres a legal difference between taking opposition research from a government vs. a company.

    • Willis says:

      Well, four federal judges signed the FARA for Carter Page knowing the dossier was political opposition research.


      So, yeah

      • Aaron says:

        FARA is the foreign agent registration act

        I think you mean FISC/FISA warrant

        I’m British and under-30 so don’t ask me what I’m doing correct an American on obscure acronyms regarding their own government… procrastination is the main driver :)

    • koolmoe says:

      I think perhaps the difference may be is one is ‘work for hire’ whereas the other is an offer of information with no specified cost, but the suggestion of ‘do me a favor in return later’. (?)

      • SteveB says:

        Exactly:  what is regulated is foreign contributions and donations

        Contribution is extensively defined in 52 USC s30101 (8)  and starts with “any gift, loan…”

        So if the Clinton Campaign paid lawyers to conduct political research, and they paid a political research outfit, who in turn hired a professional investigator, who sub-contracted portions of his investgation to agents and sub agents, then it is extremely difficult to assert that HRC campaign received ” a contribution or donation”  = “gift,loan etc etc…” in the form of money or other thing of value, from a foreign national.

        Cf Trump

        • Bob Conyers says:

          The call and response reference above suggests the Russian hackers launched the spearfishing attack in coordination with Trump and his campaign. That puts it in a different class from hiring Fusion to do research.

        • Tracy says:

          I’m just a lay person, I’ve heard that the difference is paying vs not (as said above). Interesting article on criminal exposure of Don Jr: “Donald Trump Jr’s Potential Legal Troubles Explained” (read under “was the law broken” and “but does opposition research count?”)


          “Legal experts have struggled to identify a precedent for criminally charging somebody under this law. As a result, an attempt to prosecute Donald Trump Jr. under that statute would raise novel issues.”

          Lawyers here will surely have opinions on this – the article already cites three different positions on it!

          I wonder, are they just making it newsworthy, or are there real questions on interpretation? (esp. since it’s unprecedented)

          (The article also cites other poss crimes: conspiracy, ConFraudUS, felony for lying to Congress.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          It’s complicated, but some of it is simple.

          If a campaign paid market value for legit information from a foreigner (or bought a box of staples, toothpaste or dog food from China), then that foreigner has not made – and the campaign has not solicited or accepted – a prohibited contribution or donation.

    • orionATL says:

      strawberry fields –

      “… I read a thought provoking thehill article “If Trump meeting is illegal, then Clinton dossier is criminal too” and I’d love to know if theres a legal difference between taking opposition research from a government vs. a company…”

      what you read in the hill was not thought provoking at all; it was calculated republican” muddy-the-waters propaganda.that should have been immediately obvious there is absolutely no equivalence, except between the ears of a republican p. r. guy or apologist, between highest level trump campaign officials meeting with the intention of accepting information from a foreign government on the one hand, and the clinton campaign contracting to gather information on their own initiative on the involvement of a foreign government in the american election to the detriment of their campaign.

      the trump effort was offensive; the clinton effort was defensive.

      only a troll wouldd consider this a legitimate equivalence. the prescence in this discussion of the confirmed troll “koolmoe” makes trolling a certainty here.

      • schmed says:

        Thiessen just made this argument in the Post, and now Turley in The Hill.  This is the intelligentsia (sic) of the right preparing the inevitable false equivalence  that will be the defense once the collusion cat is fully, irrevocably, out of the bag.

  18. Willis says:

    Marcy, would you characterize what Rand Paul is doing as negotiating the blackmail terms between trump and Putin?

  19. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Chris Hayes postulated tonight that if the Tower meeting was a bust, “Russia, if you’re listening” was a sign that they were on board what DCLeaks / WL were doing.

    I think that depends too much on accepting the current bullshit narrative of the meeting, sets aside what Papadopoulos had passed along starting from late April, and implies that the campaign simply sat back and watched between June 9th and July 27th.

    Tangentially, the October 16th tweets have “Wikileakes” from the Android, a correctly-spelled WL ref from an iPhone, while Assange posts a few sha256 hashes and Ecuador pulls his connectivity.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      re June-July — even if you subscribe to the Doofus McGuffin theory of Carter Page, he was in Moscow smack in the middle of that time period.

      • orionATL says:

        personally, i think carter page never ended up any place in this saga that he did not want to be (physically and conspiratorially). i view him as much a would-be conspirator as any of the others. it’s just that with carter, his mental (or speech) processes did not allow him to be anymore effective, or to be perceived as any more useful, than he turned out to be because he either was or appeared to be non compos mentis.

        so page gets a mental deficiency defense :)) but he did try, did act for the hbenefit of the trump campaign including chats with kisylyak and a pal of his in rosneft. and he managed several trips and a speech in moscow which aligned nicely with the trump campaign’s new republican orthodoxy of “being very nice to russia”.

        i think page could be termed, humourously, as an unindicted co-conspirator. he gets a pass gets due to the non compos mentis issue.

        house republican tears for page have always been insincere cricodile tears.

  20. Eutectic says:

    Trumps been funneling dirty Russian, Chinese or whoever money nearly his entire professional life.

    The New York real estate game has always involved dirty money. Since 2008 it’s an open secret empty luxury condos priced in the millions are paid for by foreign buyers looking to to flee crashing local currencies (Russia), avoid restrictions on capital flight (China, India), or launder dirty money (all of the above).

    It’s highly likely Trump committed a bunch (that’s the technical term) of crimes years if not decades before running for President.

    But even with all that basically in the open the people elected him anyway (with a little help from Trump’s friends).

    Some of that could be some of the kompromat, just saying.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Everybody knows” does not make a fact or circumstance provable in court.

      Much about Donald was not “in the open”, he spent a lot of money to keep it that way.  There’s also the blinding effects of modern propaganda.  It is astonishingly effective.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Yes, very important to understand.  Propaganda works! Humans will believe the provably ridiculous over their own lying eyes. Emotions trump rational thought. This has been scientifically proven many times over.  Just last week, on this very site, one of the many astute commenters quoted a defected KGB agent from the ’90’s describing in detail how psy ops causes people not to see what is in right in front of their faces.

        OT but I keep hoping to see a discussion here about how the well-informed view Fox News–the underlying motivations, the funding, who is calling the shots.  I find it increasingly astonishing that a basically treasonous channel continues to operate with impunity decade after decade.  No wonder our democracy is in deep trouble.

        • phazed says:

          I’m cautiously optomistic that Cohen’s tapes might include some insight into how these sausages are made. Most of them are supposed to be with journalists, but that presumably includes operators from the left AND right.

        • orionATL says:

          1. at the moment, it helps that murdoch and trump are pals and that trump’s daughter provides services to help ouf murdoch grandchildren. trump controls federal law.

          2. while not that many as a percentage, nonetheless several millions of viewers are fox news fan(atic)s. they would be outraged and noisey.

          3. consider this anogy. in this society, the crazier, more absurdly illogical, noisier, more socially destructive a person is in this society, the more protected they are from serious social reproval or legal action – alex jones, donald trump, milos yiannopolous are examples of this phenomenon. goof balls survive and thrive here.

          similarly for corporations (which we have been assured by our supreme court have personhood) . thus the murdoch news empire in print and teevee, as with breitbart and sinclair, can mislead, lie, or propagandize for the republican party exclusively and no effort is made to hold them politically or legally accountable (well, there were those boycotts). there are no congressional hearings on fox’s lies, distortions, nor on breitbart’s.

          rupert murdoch got to be an immigrant billionaire in this country by exploiting the ignorance and fanatic human loyalty, in this case political loyalty of a segment of american society.

          i have heard murdoch was given citizenship by an act of the congress. i have often thought it would be a great blessing to this country if that gratuitous bestowal of citizenship were revoked.

          in any event, some studies of partisanship in the u. s. show that it became an issue increasingly after fox news’ entry in the media market in 1996. before that, the argument goes, everybody listened to abc, nbc, cbs mainstream news which had certain professional rules in place about misrepresentation, lying, and extreme partisanship.

          i note in passing that every nation that fox news has entered – u. s., canada, england, australia, israel – has become unstablely rightwing with destruction of the common intetest and consideration of the commons, to the economic detriment of its citizens.

  21. John says:

    (Apologies in advance in case my earlier comment appears–it seems not to be here.)

    Missing from this account is the GOP convention in mid-July–chiefly, the softening of the platform language regarding the extent to which a Republican-led administration would lend support to Ukraine (by the way, the _only_ language in the platform the Trump people took interest in).

  22. Rusharuse says:

    Sunday, Ed Royce R. (on CNN) refused point blank to critic or even comment on Trump contradicting his IC heads on Russia. Royce as Chairman of HCFA did fully support IC position but refused repeatedly to comment on Trump. Rep strategy to have it both ways becomes obvious – all in for Trumps base, a few crumbs for the rest of America.



  23. e. a. foster says:

    In my opinion Russia owns Trump, lock, stock, and barrel. It doesn’t matter what Mueller does or doesn’t do, the U.S.A. is sunk. Its time is over. The American government won’t recover from this. The Republican party decided to drink the cool aid to gain power and this can not be undone. Their supporters think they have actually achieved something, but all they got was their 15 seconds of fame. Good luck with that and “enjoy” the future.

  24. Tracy says:

    This is so brilliant! First of all, the tradecraft (thanks @Troutwaxer – this was the word I’ve been looking for) is incredible – is this textbook (call-sponse/ receipts)? And it’s brilliant, Marcy, that you, and some others, have discerned this – well done!!!

    @MIJ – I’ve also wondered about Manchurian candidate, it sounds like Russians have been cultivating Trump at least as far back as 2013 Miss Universe. Putin sent Trump a gift then, but there’s a lot to this picture

    @Trip – Butina-Trump at NRA definitely sounded like call-response! I was reminded on Chris Hayes that Don Jr met with Butina and Torshin at NRA in Kentucky a few weeks before June 9 meeting – yet to see how these 2 threads interweave

    @earlofhuntington – I agree, I now see Putin as a “master handler”

    I wonder how much Pence knows? (someone yesterday mentioned Manafort-Pence). Pence also seems like someone without any values, a total sycophant/ power-chaser-behind-the-scenes – easy to manipulate such a coreless being.

    @Drew – yes, Trump is a narcissist! So easy to manipulate b/c he has blinders on.

    Biggest misrepresentation in the media is that Trump is stressed b/c he cares so much for his son. Nonsense!! Trump cares about only himself – and his own exposure!! (@Trip also mentioned)

    @John – yes, I saw your post 2x :-) – indeed: changed position of RNC on Ukraine!!

    @Willis – yes, I defo want to know about Rand Paul!!… (and other Repub-Russian meeting)

    @Eutectic – yes, Russian $$ looking more and more like reason for not seeing tax returns…


    Do you think there are any tapes of Putin-Trump’s second/ side-meeting at G20? Wasn’t Melania sitting right there? (in photo?… such a patriot: “I really don’t care, do u?”)

    Will we ever know what was said in Helsinki in 2 hours+ meeting??… (who has tapes of that one? DNI clueless on it)… Could the US translator have gone to FBI to report a crime?

    Marcy – since Goldstone is “liking” posts – do you ever worry that Russians are reading your (and others who’re smart like you!!) posts/ tweets to see what people know?

    The Russians must be doing everything they can to get inside Mueller’s probe… but SC’s team must be the best of best on espionage/ cyber, and surely are 100% secure!…

    • Anne says:

      DNI says he is clueless — that may be a coverup!

      I have this scenario running around my head:  A few days before the Helsinki conference, Pompeo sits down with his Finnish counterpart over a couple of glasses of vodka.  Pompeo says, “this is really dangerous!”  His Finnish friend downs the rest of the vodka, puts down his glass and nods.  The Finns wiretap the conference and DNI goes on Andrea Mitchell to claim total ignorance.  Tradecraft, folks.

    • Anura says:

      Gates doesn’t get to walk; the sentencing guideline for his plea bargain is around 5 to 6 years and a fine of $20k to $200k.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Any reduced sentencing Gates would have been offered would have depended on how valuable Mueller thought his information was: how detailed, how provable in court, how damning as hard evidence against more important people higher up the chain.

  25. Jan says:

    Trump is not only compromised (doesn’t really matter in the end) but a willing participant with Putin’s vision of ‘world order’. It isn’t “evil” to Trump, or Putin, it’s just how they believe the world should operate – according to their narrow view. While you argue with the Rule of Law, they’ve already pissed on it and are one step ahead – right now – convincing those that vote, that the Rule of Law is an ass. Americans have one chance, in November, to overthrow what has been in play for the past 3 years. If that opportunity is lost – you are facing a setback that will take a decade to correct. In other words, Mueller won’t save you, it will come too late. You are on your own, and have been since January 2017. As an outside observer, I wish you all the best, and Good Luck.

  26. Tracy says:

    @Jan – agreed: stakes in Nov never higher!! (see article below…)

    BTW, WaPo: Trump team to punt on interview again, G says due to “obstruction” ques (ha):

    If T is not a target – time to subpoena? may take 9 months, Kavanaugh may be on SC, but time to initiate…? Politically, Repubs continue to use bully tactics, b/c it works…!!

    Wonderful opinion from William D. Ruckelshaus, a true patriot, in WaPo: “Only One Other President Has Ever Acted This Desperate:”

    (excerpted – but there is much more: strong, urgent, inspiring, hope you have time to read all:)

    “Nixon was brought down by his disrespect for the rule of law. The hundreds of letters I received after my refusal to fire Cox enshrined this thought in my head for the rest of my life.

    “It’s hard to believe that, 45 years later, we may be in store for another damaging attack on the foundations of our democracy. Yet the cynical conduct of this president, his lawyers and a handful of congressional Republicans is frightening to me and should be to every citizen of this country. We are not playing just another Washington political game; there is much more at stake.”

    • koolmoe says:

      The comparisons to Nixon are interesting and increasingly frequent. That was just before my time on this earth. I wonder, were the pro-Nixon diehards as….dedicated and rabid as the pro-Trumpers these days? Surely the noise is louder today with electronic/social media…but at the root and perhaps locally, was it so…pronounced and discouraging?

      • Pete says:

        I was not particularly engaged ion my early twenties, but I think generally speaking the political splits were a bit more “civil” back then (Nixon’s era).  Perhaps there was more a degree of shame back then.  Bmaz mentions Barry Goldwater and that there is no Goldwater like person now to essentially confront Nixon. is more “religious” or cultish if you will with an air of violence to it.  It would not surprise me that, if Trump is indicted or even if Jr is indicted and subsequently pardoned by Sr with following outrage, that there will be violence to some degree or another.  Civil War…I dunno…but cannot rule it out.


        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Brief exposure to the Nixon tapes would suggest civility was rare then, too.  Quotable quotes from the era and earlier – such as LBJ’s liking to keep politicians’ peckers in his pocket – suggest the lack of civility was bipartisan.

          The difference now is that public behavior is more partisan and immune to shame.  That’s an expression of who pays for politicians’ campaigns, of gerrymandering and sophisticated electioneering algorithms, and pay to play in the legislature.

          Politicians need worry only about what corporate and billionaire donors think, not the general population.  Shame is no longer an effective shaper of political behavior – unless you piss off the Chamber, NAM, the Mercers, Adelsons or the NRA.

          • Ed Walker says:

            There is some remnant of shame in the D party as we saw with Al Franken. The Rs have absolutely no shame as we see with the latest creep, Jim Jordan.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        Wow!  Reply worked!

        I lived through the Nixon era.  No, the Nixon people were not as misguided, hateful, or willing to consider treason as a viable option.  For one example, what one’s neighbor’s thought of one was a lot more powerful then.  There was no internet in which every racist and child molester could normalize his attitudes among the few like-minded people with the same anti-social tendencies. For better and for worse, there was more lockstep thinking.  You could choose among 3 evening news broadcasts, and they all felt a duty to report relevant developments with a mostly identical weighting of importance. In fact, it was during Nixon’s presidency that the inconvenience of facts to reactionaries (conservatives) caused them to cynically cook up the false narrative that the media has a liberal bias. and there was nothing even approaching Hannity attempting to normalize seditious thought.  Obviously, it’s a complicated analysis, but I would say one enormous difference between then and now is that being seen as a traitor to the country would have been a death knell to anyone wanting influence over public policy. Yes, the silent majority (more precisely, those who hoped to manipulate the sheep) worked hard to marginalize the dirty fucking hippies, with much success, but the coin of the realm was patriotism: the side that could claim the mantle of representing American ideals won the battle. These guys would have been thoroughly marginalized. In fact, the Nixon people fell silent in embarrassment.  We used to joke about how impossible it became to find anyone who voted for him.

        There used to be a third rail.  There used to be a bridge too far.  People used to consider the “nuclear option” unthinkable.  Decades of anti-American propaganda, along with many other social forces, have taken a terrible toll.

        I hope not to sound glib.  These are complex matters not easily distilled.  Just offering a rough outline of the kinds of things I notice.

      • Marksb says:

        I was active duty during the legal fight over the tapes, including being suddenly on 1-hour alert the October 20, 1973 when Nixon was in the midst of the “Saturday night massacre”. I got a call mid-day Saturday while working on my Triumph Spitfire (fun, but constantly in repair) that we were on a 1-hour recall to return to Base. I asked if this was just us, the Coast Guard, and was told that the entire military was on alert. The alert was called off on Sunday, in another phone call.

        Anyway, all that personal drama aside, yeah, the diehards were indeed screaming and yelling and calling the Democrats everything just short of the devil himself. While we didn’t have the immediacy and ubiquity of the Internet, the LA Times was a perfect picture of the country: a virtual war within the pages, every day. Conrad was doing his amazing and devastating political cartoons about Nixon (do a Google search, well worth it) while at least half the opinion pages were proclaiming a communist takeover by these evil people bringing down Nixon, the Vietnam war, and of course, constitutional democracy.

        It was quite a time. I felt thankful we got through it without going into martial law.

        • Bob Conyers says:

          This breakdown of votes in the House Judiciary Committee on the three articles of impeachment is helpful.

          10 out of 17 GOP members voted against everything. One GOP member voted for all three, and six voted for one or two.

          Those three articles represented only a portion of the charges which Nixon probably should have faced, but the House Democratic leadership decided to focus on a narrow set they thought could get some support from the GOP.

          Those three articles were backed by very strong evidence, and yet almost 60% of the GOP members refused to support them.

          If Mueller can come up with similarly well documented case, I don’t think you would see unanimous support for Trump among the GOP in Congress, if for no other reason than political ambition, although I think a handful at least would vote on the merits. Nevertheless, unlike the 60% hardcore pro-Nixon contingent, I think you’d see more like 85% to 95%.

  27. Mitch Neher says:

    Strawberry Fields asked if the Steele dossier could be a violation of 52 USC 30121.
    Steve B posted the following from that statute:

    (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title);

    Were the Steele dossier construed as a campaign expenditure, then it would violate 52 USC 30121 only to the extent that it was used for an electioneering communication. A quick glance at 52 USC 30104 (f)(3) suggests that electioneering communications are mostly just broadcast communications. And there’s a long list of exceptions.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If a campaign had purchased the Steele dossier at market value, it would not be a prohibited expense.

      If the dossier had been provided free or at below market rates, then it would have been a prohibited contribution or donation.

      Had the dossier been contributed to someone not affiliated with the campaign, who chose to make it public, it could be a prohibited expenditure for an electioneering communication.

      • orionATL says:

        as i said earlier, i don’t think there is an equivalence between the trump campaign receiving info from russia and the clinton campaign receiving info about russia.

        surely there must be a substantial interaction between a campaign and a foreign to negotiate a transaction before any such law would apply. if britsh citizen, steele, out of passion or anti-russian animosity, gave the clinton campaign his dossier gratis (or they received it over the transom or thru a congressman like sen mccain) they surely could use it. likewise for news articles about an opposition candidate. otherwise a free speech impediment would be activated and challenged. the key has to be a consciously negotiated transaction between two parties.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The campaign finance law is not a “buy America” statute.  It is a “no freebies” statute.  Foreign purchases are legal.  Foreign freebies are not.

      As the Republicans say when it comes to food stamps – but not when it comes to tax subsidies for corporations – there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

      Campaign freebies, such as Paul Manafort’s services, are not free.  It is just not clear what the cost for them is or who pays it.  That harms transparency and democratic government.

      • Mitch Neher says:

        Thanks EoH. IANAL. But I see your several points. I don’t think the dossier was used for any electioneering communications. I also suspect that Trump campaign counsel, Don McGahn, was not consulted on the Trump Tower meeting. But that’s just a guess. Had the Trump campaign sought McGahn’s advice the way Clinton and the DNC sought the advice of Marc Elias and Perkins Coie, then McGahn probably would have told them not to take the Trump Tower meeting.

        P. S. Turley is pushing the false equivalency between the dossier and the Trump Tower meeting again, today.

  28. Trip says:

    I don’t know Scott Stedman, so I can’t vouch for him.

    Scott Stedman‏ @ScottMStedman

    NEW: In a now deleted posting on his website, a former Yeltsin adviser and famous Russian economist said on July 12, 2016 that @carterwpage “held secret talks in Moscow” …

    @Marcy, was this Carter Page stuff just pro-Trump propaganda (opinion) at the time? It’s a “deleted post”, so I have no idea that it even existed. The interview seemed to contain typical talking points. Maybe Julia Davis can comment?

    Also Russian TV on Rand Paul:

    Julia Davis @JuliaDavisNews

    #Russia’s state TV:
    @Dr_Ariel_Cohen: “We don’t know whether he [Rand Paul] delivered any secret messages from Trump to the Russian side. That is unknown to us.”
    The host asks Konstantin Kosachev: “Did he or didn’t he?”
    Kosachev, grinning: “It’s known to us, but I won’t tell.” ©️

  29. Tracy says:

    BTW, I didn’t realize that Don Jr met w/ another group 3 months before election “offering to help his father win the election.

    “It included an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes who run Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. The younger Mr. Trump responded approvingly, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The New York Times.”

    (by Charlie Savage, WaPo, “Donald Trump Jr.’s Potential Legal Troubles, Explained”)

      • Tracy says:

        I know, there’s so much to unpack there! Imagine T as your dad… EEK! Well, Jr has known his whole life what the dynamics are (“wonderful” my arse!)

        I wonder if T would attempt to pardon Jr for appearances’ sake – as this IS the Party of family values, don’t ya know… :-/

        (Pundits recently floated the idea that T is trying a more family-oriented image, mentioning Melania/ my wife/ “we” pronoun a few times in last rally. Not sure that’s going to totally do it for him at this stage; but maybe for Jr!…)

    • Tracy says:

      This article gives details of the exchanges; seems like Ellis is being very obstructionist:

      @Willis, others have commented on this issue in a previous post, you may want to look. Ellis was a Reagan appointee; one view I’ve seen expressed is that we need to see how he treats the defense in order to see whether he’s politically biased.

      However, if he’s overcompensating or acting like this b/c of trying NOT to appear biased against the right, then this illustrates how right-wing bullying is reinforced: b/c it works!

  30. Doctor My Eyes says:

    @OrionATL (Reply doesn’t work.) Thanks for the Fox discussion and especially the troll heads-up.

    Re: the times of Nixon compared to today. Whatever it means–call it decency, call it prudishness, call it hypocrisy–absolutely no public figure caught on tape in 1970 using the word “pussy” as Trump used it would have had a prayer of being elected. Hardly a soul would have the temerity to defend that person, and anyone who did would be a pariah. The discussion has started me musing how in the so-called 60’s, it was the liberals, radicals, young people who were severely critiquing the government. It strikes me that the right today is mimicking those attitudes in a violent, misguided way. I won’t go on about it, but another example of how the corporate-created right is essentially reactionary. These times are defined by reactionary behavior, which tragically means almost all good ideas, not to say public policies necessary for our continued existence, will be opposed by TPTB.

    • Robert says:

      I’ve long been amazed at the ability of senior people in the Republican party to successfully position themselves as outsiders when they are anything but that – you will find them on the inside of whatever side there is.

      • Anura says:

        Between the willingness of right-wing media to misrepresent reality on behalf of the wealthy, and the fact that cable news reality presenters default to taking a neutral position rather than an objective one, I’m more frightened than amazed.

  31. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Thank you for this post Marcy, it has generated a thread of discussion of the first time we had a fascist in the White House with a war goin’ into it’s 10th year. I hope everyone here who wasn’t here then or too young to remember goes to the easily accessible public records of that period. I was five years out of military service (including an all expenses paid trip to SE Asia} and finishing undergraduate school in California. I won’t bore you with grandfather stories or personal anecdotes, others upstream have shared narratives better articulated than could I. But what I would like to share is an outline of the history of that period that has followed us in real time with real contemporary characters into the moment we now face.

    Rumsfeld, Cheney, Stone, Manafort and George HW Bush are all weedy characters who germinated during this time and are still around today. They grew out of soil fertilized by history and blood for over one hundred years previous. They cut their political teeth on the Nixon experience and learned from that experience. By 1973, the United States was entering the 10th year of our military incursion into Vietnam with a conscripted, citizen army of occupation that had just a few years previous reached upwards of 500,00 in country, in the South China Sea and in bases in Japan,the Philippines, Wake and Guam. Those soldiers, sailors (marines) and airmen (and women) were coming home in increasing numbers and joining millions of their generation on college campuses, in the streets and in government. This changed the political dynamic at that moment and caused structural changes in the military-government-industrial nexus going forward. All of the aforementioned contributed to these changes that corrected the defects in the nexus in 1973 and allowed for the dangerous moment we now live.

    If it hadn’t been for the anti-war movement of boomers and the massive numbers of war vets coming home to testify, we would still be in Vietnam. This is where the structural changes of the next 25 years began. Rumsfeld learned that in order to maintain active military presence in the world, we would need a “professional” military and he worked his ass off to get it. The professionalization of the military followed the federalization of the National Guard. The rat fuckers, political hit men and money launderers mentioned above all grew up in the Nixon era.

    I will end by saying that from my 3 year experience in the military, I am terribly worried about what is facing us in the next four months. There are many of our fellow citizens whose last refuge of hope is that the military will come down on the side of the people. I am not one of those folks.

    Thank you Marcy for this space and allowing me to occupy a small portion of it. Namaste to all here.

    • Tracy says:

      Namaste, @Norskieflamethrower, and the other Watergate contemporaries who have contributed – thanks so much for sharing your views and stories – so valuable to hear!

    • marksb says:

      Excellent placing all this into the context of Nixonian times, NorskieFlamethrower.

      I worry as well. If I had been ordered to the base and then ordered to take part in the suppression of resistance, would I have complied? To this day, I don’t know. It wasn’t a specified part of our mission, but if a commanding officer ordered it under martial law, I have to think most would take up the task. We were trained to follow orders, and leave the legal arguments to lawyers, courts, politicians, and command. That’s the way the military is structured. I know a man who as a young National Guard soldier and was called up and sent to the Watts Riots. He complied. They didn’t give him ammo for his M1, but said he probably would have fired on Americans if he was ordered.

    • Michael says:

      For the benefit of any youngsters here, I’ll point out that the term “professional” military means volunteer military, just to be clear. And “professional” military does not mean that a volunteer military does not, or cannot, act professionally.

  32. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Re the Manafort trial, Paulie’s Christopher Lee-like stare at Gates during the entire time he was in court is just an example of how much control Manafort exerted over his former business partner and their joint business. He’s just hoping to extend it through the trial, but Gates isn’t buying it.

    Mannie was the guy in charge his entire career, no matter how hard his defense counsel tries to make it look otherwise.

  33. Jason says:

    Question for the legal minds here – the Goldstone email to me reads as an offer of negative information about Hillary “and her dealings with Russia”. For the sake of argument, let’s take the hacking off the table. Are some of you arguing that just accepting an offer of negative information on a candidate from a foreigner would violate the law because it could be considered an “other thing of value”? That strikes me as an awfully broad interpretation – wouldn’t the Clinton campaign by helping fund the research that led to the Trump dossier (which included negative information on Trump from Russian sources) then also have violated the law?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If true, I expect bmaz would have a lot to say about that.  Commentary on witness testimony while the jury is in the courtroom, I believe, is unusual.

      Ellis’s rulings and commentary seem darn close to interfering with the prosecution’s ability to present its case.  Ellis must want to retire with a bang.  Sounds like it should have happened years ago.  Trump will probably give him a medal.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Sorry. When I said ‘totally inappropriate’, I was trying to be nice. Let me clarify.

        What I really meant was:

        This Is absolute fucking bullshit.

      • Trip says:

        He actually pulled the Tom Hanks, “There’s no crying in baseball” routine, humiliating the prosecutor, who said he wasn’t crying. What a douchenozzle.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah. Ellis is nuts. But has long been so. He is not a bad judge in many ways, but sure does go out of his way to inject himself where judges should not. He would drive me crazy, glad I don’t practice in EDVA.

    • arbusto says:

      Wonder if prosecutors, after reviewing today’s proceeding, might have a little side bar with Ellis on even handedness.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Believe they have already made their displeasure known to the court. Should be in the record.

  34. booond says:

    We don’t know whether Manafort looked at it closely as Gates only remarked on the number of occurrences not the quality. The judge is assuming.

  35. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Wow! Not only inappropriate, but dead wrong. Paulie could have been checking in every 15 minutes and that wouldn’t have kept Gates from padding his expenses. Disturbing, because this assists the defense in planting the very thoughts they want in the minds of the jurors. If a defense lawyer had said that, surely an objection would have been in order. I suspect that little Caesar just hates for we the people to interfere with rich folks. Here’s hoping the jurors are coming to see him as a tedious old grouch. Yikes.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      To me, it smells of jury tampering by the judge.

      There is no doubt in my mind that Ellis gave out the standard bullshit jury instructions which attempt to deceive the jurors that jury nullification does not exist.

      This trial is going nowhere.

      How the jury decides means nothing.

      Ellis must be familar with sistema.

      He wants to wash his hands and look good.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Tampering – here, impermissibly influencing a jury, if that’s what it was – and washing one hands do not go together.

        • SpaceLifeForm says:

          I believe Ellis does not care. He knows it will be appealed. He wants to wash his hands of the entire mess. By the time it gets to SCOTUS, he will not care because he will probably be deceased by then.

          But, while he Is still there, he wants to look good.
          After all, that is what a Caesar would do.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Sounds like gibberish to me.  Your comment paired Ellis tainting the jury, looking good, and washing his hands, not Ellis.  If he is interfering, it is not to wash his hands, it is to work out his own conservative demons.  If he wants to look good, it is in the mind of executive authority by trashing the prosecution of the wealthy and the tax avoiding.  If he’s washing his hands, it’s because he’s done with all this – and his – bullshit.

            • SpaceLifeForm says:

              So, are you implying that it is not possible that Ellis coud taint the jury and at the same time wash his hands?

              I really do not see that they are mutually exclusive.
              At least in his mind.


              “Judges should be patient,” Ellis said. “They made a mistake when they confirmed me.”

  36. Rusharuse says:

    Nothing the defence revealed about Gates disqualifies him from rejoining team Trump, so that’s good.

  37. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Gates is a crook.  His testimony goes nowhere to establish that Manafort is a good guy.  It just qualifies him to be in business with Manafort.  If they weren’t both crooks, they would have parted company their first year together.

    This case involves their work together, not just who screwed whom once they collected their money.  It involves how they made it as well as how they tried to cheat the tax man and each other out of a cut.

    • Rusharuse says:

      Gates screwing Manafort makes good reading. If he’s also banging Butina he’d be legend. Harold Robbins ghosting for le Carre? (relaxing read after a hard day under the hair dryer!).

  38. lawrence a fisher says:

    Why did Trump ask Russia to find HRC’s emails, and not Iran or China or any other country. Hiding in plain sight, call and response.

  39. 4jkb4ia says:

    36 minutes late to this, but Bob McCulloch has LOST his primary by 25,000 votes. Carry on. All the more amazing is that there are evidently Bell/Stenger(County Executive) votes out there and Stenger at least by the American is absolutely despised.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      Missouri overwhelmingly voted pro labor union. That may be the most disturbing vote of the night for the GOP. With any sense, the Dems will take the hint and pick up the pace on anti-big business campaign from now on.

      • Tracy says:

        Great news! With our new elected majority :-))) we will need to put forward legislation that protects unions.

        Heard some Dem pundits saying that if the Dems take back the House (please, God – and the Senate, too, pretty please???), then they will keep putting bills across that will get struck down by a GOP Senate/ President, but this will show the public the issues and legislation that Dems would prioritize when fully governing :-))) in 2020 (God, you are listening, right??!!!…)

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        The bellwether was Prop A (right to work).

        Clearly defeated. After the machinations of the right-wing and Greitens. Put on a primary ballot when it should have been on mid-term ballot. Why did this happen? Because the right-wing thought they could get the win due to historical data. That dems do not turn out for primary election like gop does.

        They read the tea leaves wrong. People came out and voted. They learned their lesson after failing to vote in 2016.

        But the Prop A vote was not even close.

        Obviously a lot of gop voters went against it.

        As I said, this is a bellwether.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Another bellwether.

      Right-wing completely mis-read the tea leaves on this one. They were so sure of the win by McCulloch (a DINO), that there is no one to run against Wesley Bell in November.

      McCulloch, being the Prosecuting Attorney of St. Louis County (note: separate from St. Louis City) for 28 years, failed. Failed to prosecute the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

      Not only do actions have consequences, lack of action also applies.

  40. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Another GOP congresscritter bites the dust.  NY GOP Rep. Chris Collins arrested for insider trading.  Not accused, not indicted, arrested.  He was an early Trump backer.

      • Tracy says:

        Wow! And another one bites the dust!

        I wonder how the issues of GOP corruption/ govt reform are playing in focus groups and on the campaign trails? How much attention is the average person paying to this mass scale corruption?… They ought to be: it affects most everything, but sometimes we need to make explicit connections – most working class people don’t have time to follow politics

        Thought I heard one Dem rep saying that this was one leg of a three-legged platform: healthcare, (jobs? living wage?), and GOP corruption…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Well, he’ll be in office for a while – there is the Menendez precedent – but he’ll be slightly preoccupied.

      • Tracy says:

        I the other night that the Menendez race will likely require extra funds, that are needed/ could have been put to good use in other races. You know, we are really up against it already! It would have been the patriotic thing to have resigned. It is so disappointing that now we have to spend valuable $$ in NJ!

      • Trip says:

        Menendez was alleged quid pro quo with a donor, not insider trading though, right? After Trump, that’s basically a moot point.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      He’s a good indication of how broken the Congressional Ethics panels are. His actions have been known about in great detail by the House for nine months, but no move to expel. Duncan Hunter’s clearly criminal level shenanigans have been exposed for even longer.

      Jim Jordan is unlikely to be prosecutable, and I can understand why the House Ethics Committee would be reluctant to move to expel him, no matter how awful he is. But there’s no excuse for not moving on clear violations of the law.

  41. Lawrence Kart says:

    In such a case the prosecution cannot appeal if the defendant is found not guilty. That would be double jeopordy. The defendant, if found guilty, is the only party here who can appeal.

  42. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The MSM is chatty about yesterday’s elections.  Word to the Democrats and the “pundits” they put on TV.  If moving to the right were a way to win elections and lead the country, Hillary would be president.

    Stop trying to be Republican-lite.  It’s a cheat by manufacturers of cigarettes, by sellers of beer and industrial food, and by politicians.  Be Democrats.

    Same argument applies to Labour in the UK.  Turn the Party of Blair back into the Labour Party.  You might win an election and retake Parliament.

    • Trip says:

      Yeah. A lot of those people are expatriate Republicans. They made or permitted their party to go insane, now we should listen to them to do the same with the Dems? They can go sit on it and spin.

      • Tracy says:

        I agree, Dems are in this mess b/c we have not stood up for a big, bold platform. Republican-lite WILL NOT work.

        In focus groups, Jon Favreau found that people in Obama-Trump areas were clear on what Repubs would do in power, and what their econ message was – they didn’t agree w/ it, but did not know what Dems would do in power/ what their econ message was. That’s been hurting us. We must say it loud/ proud.

        During the Bill Clinton years, Dems turned to the center b/c this seemed the only answer after losing/ not replacing our Southern base. Now we know that we need to knock doors to get our growing base to turn out. These people feel disenfranchised by the system, so they don’t show up to vote on their own.

        When we are in the majority again, we need: voter protection, union rights, and path to citizenship legislation to shore up our voting base. Making D.C. and Puerto Rico states could help (idea attributed to Dan Pfeiffer).

        Dems need one, strong message: ALL Americans deserve to be able to live dignified lives, with equal access to healthcare, jobs, living wage, education. Throw into that reform of our criminal justice, immigration and govt-influence systems, and that’s our platform! There’s no left-center divide after all!

        • Jan says:

          “Dems need one, strong message: ALL Americans deserve to be able to live dignified lives, with equal access to healthcare, jobs, living wage, education. Throw into that reform of our criminal justice, immigration and govt-influence systems, and that’s our platform”

          Perfect, but I would also speak to the con of the GOP’s “tax reform”. It balloons debt without ever having addressed (in spending or otherwise) any of those issues. Seems to me when the bill for emptied tax coffers comes due, it is workers, the middle class, and the poor who will be picking up the tab, either through severe cuts, or higher taxes down the road. Sort of like the Russian model – citizens take all the risk, the wealthy and corporations benefit regardless.

          Of course I am speaking as a non-US citizen, I could be wrong. :-)

          • Tracy says:

            Thanks, Jan! Right-ho!

            The tax cuts are a disaster: one of the first things that Dems will reverse, I reckon (from how different Dems are talking about how to fund what they want to do). Most Repub candidates are avoiding talking about them b/c they are so unpopular.

            Dems ought to be telling people how poor, working and middle class programs are in jeopardy; in order to save the deficit from even greater blow-up (it will already exceed projections by an EXTRA half trillion, I think), Repubs, if they win in 2018, WILL target Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, etc.

            One thing that Dems have now is the card that says: Repubs can no longer attack us about increasing the deficit – look at them!!!

            You know a lot for a non-American, I applaud you! I don’t know if you are British (I used to live in London), but the troubles w/ Brexit interweave w/ what we are talking about here… :-/

  43. SteveB says:

    Re Trump/Putin envoy RandPaul

    Sam Stein tweets

    Weird WH statement on the letter Rand gave to Putin

    “At Senator Paul’s request, President Trump provided a letter of introduction. In the letter, the President mentioned topics of interest that Senator Paul wanted to discuss with President Putin”

      • Tracy says:

        I was just looking at this!

        “After the summit, Paul and Trump discussed the senator’s planned meetings with Russian officials and the messages the president wanted Paul to convey to them.”

        More call and response?…

        BTW – anyone know what is happening b/t Saudis (now w Russia’s support) vs. Canada? Does it look like a US-Saudi-Russia vs. Canada situation?

        Everything seems so weird and backwards nowadays!…

        • Rusharuse says:

          Probably Trump getting even after G7. He said on camera that Justin “would pay a price”.

  44. Trip says:

    Wasn’t Manafort carrying high expenses for a pricey girlfriend he was cheating on his wife with? I mean, Gates wasn’t the only ho-thief. People in glass houses (with a big M in flowers on the front lawn) shouldn’t throw Roger Stones.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Paulie is unlikely to testify, which would open him up to cross-examination, so a lot of those stories about him are unlikely to come out.  He’s innocent until proven guilty.  Gates is the one who has to establish his believability.

      That Paulie is probably a much bigger and more ruthless criminal than Gates isn’t the story yet, and Ellis seems to want to keep it that way.

      • Trip says:

        I agree @earl.  I just recall the cruelty directed at the wife as stated by daughters. Something to the effect of “He won’t let mom go”, like she was a trapped victim.

  45. earlofhuntingdon says:

    According to Rudy 9-11, Bob Mueller’s team can ask Mrs. Lincoln only whether she liked the play. Everything else – that Booth fella, shots fired, jumping onto the stage – that’s off limits.

    Rudy is trying to shoehorn Trump into a victim’s straitjacket, and saying to Mueller, “See ya in the Supremes about that subpoena, fellas.” None of this is news to Mueller. He had Rudy’s number a long time ago.

    The MSM is kinda sorta finally coming round to the idea that neither Rudy nor Trump are dealing in good faith.

    A pet peeve about the MSM meme that Trump “believes” his lies are true. Bullshit. Donald’s skills set is severely limited. But he knows he’s lying. He does it on purpose whenever he thinks it plays better in the moment. He does it because he’s always trying to cheat, to cut a corner, to put one over. He thinks that’s what makes him smart.

    • Trip says:


      The other thing that is terribly irritating is the storyline that Trump can’t accept that Russia hacked or influenced the election because it makes him feel illegitimate. Fuck that noise. He doesn’t want to get caught in the conspiracies. Why doesn’t anyone state the obvious, instead of promoting victimhood psycho-babble; treating him like a complicated teen girl who isn’t mature enough yet to articulate feelings?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yes.  Easier for the MSM to say that Trump refuses to accept that Russia interfered because it would mean that Trump’s victory was illegitimate.  It would diminish him, something his fragile man-go could not accept.  Bullshit.  Look at the guy’s 50-year record.

        Trump sought Russian help because he wanted to win.  He was a non-politician outsider, with no network and no support.  His odds of winning were poor.

        Who could help him more than Russia, a nation-state with awesome power?  Plus, Trump owed various Russians lots of favors for access to once impossible to get financing.  Not to mention that being a criminal wouldn’t be a problem.  Everybody would fit well with each other.

        What Trump wants to avoid is not the truth.  He wants to avoid the consequences.  Because Roy Cohn.

      • Tracy says:

        @earl that “Trump believes” has gotten me for a long time! It is more truthful to report that “Trump says,” because using the term “believes” suggests that they see into his mind and know his truth. This gives credence to his lies. @Trip, same with the “fears being seen as illegitimate:” lends false credence.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Because if Trump believes the crap he’s selling, he hasn’t the requisite intent to commit the crime.  There is madness in his method.

        Politicians use the same fraud when they feign ignorance or incompetence. The social and legal penalties for incompetence are a lot less than for intentionally wrongful conduct. Rather like the difference between mistake and fraud, or between negligent homicide and murder one.

  46. Anne says:

    Tool Tip: Reply Button

    I meant to suggest this a while ago.  If you click Reply and nothing happens, or you get sent to the form at the bottom.  Try the following:

    1. Hover your mouse over the Reply link.

    2. Right Click to show the browser context menu

    3. Select Open in New Tab, go to that tab (you may have to navigate to the intended section again)

    4. Click the Reply button again

    Result: It shows the Reply form in the context of the post as expected.

    5. After the Reply is accepted (4 minutes?), go back to the original tab, Refresh.

    Hope this helps!  Happy threading!


  47. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Koch group is in panic. Extremely worried that they will lose control of US Senate. And therefore lose control over Kavanaugh confirmation.

    Why do I say this?

    Here is some (last month) background:

    And after the bellwether results, Koch group is worried.

    So, today, they started a new ad campaign, attacking Claire McCaskill, Missouri DEM senator.

    Note the link above says the spend was to be $1.8M.

    They probably spent that much *THIS MORNING* on *JUST* Fox TV ads in Missouri.

    They are buying every ad slot they can.

    Saturation Campaign.

    And guess who is the narrator in the ad?

    Jeanine Pirro.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Looks like business as usual for the Koch machine during an election year.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It’s their place.  The rest of us are just visiting.

  48. SpaceLifeForm says:

    Rudy, rudy, rudy. Just stop with with your misdirection.
    Mueller does not want nor need to talk to Trump.
    Just stop.

    You can not offer a counter-offer when there has not been an offer. You are still fishing. It is obvious.

    BTW, your slip is showing, and your heels could use a buff.

    Giuliani, who made the remarks on fellow Trump attorney Jay Sekulow’s radio show, didn’t say what the proposed terms are.

  49. Tracy says:

    Marcy, I highly recommend to everyone here your interview on The Josh Marshall Podcast: “Don Jr is more central to the Russia story than people think.” It was excellent!

    To all: this is NOT my area of knowledge AT ALL, but what is known about the Syria-Russia-US-Israel connections, also w/ the UAE and Saudis, under Trump admin… Why the pivoting against our Allies in Europe and North America… The big picture here is looking more and more dark to me… The president has almost unilateral power, under the Constitution and it’s only increased over time as Congress has given up more and more power, in foreign policy. Trump may get hamstrung by our courts (the last defense against a autocratic-leaning president and rolled-over-Congress) over domestic policy, but he can do largely what he likes in foreign policy. I can’t help but worry: what IS U.S. foreign policy nowadays, and who will stand up and protect us?

  50. W says:

    August 8, 2018 at 7:21 pm
    Marcy, I highly recommend to everyone here your interview on The Josh Marshall Podcast: “Don Jr is more central to the Russia story than people think.” It was excellent!

    I echo that as well–really helped to summarize a lot of the bits I’ve been trying to keep together in my head from Marcy’s various posts. And make sure to stick it out to the end–some well deserved kudos from Josh after Marcy signed off.

  51. Jan says:

    Tracy – thank you, I’m just an observer as I’ve said, but you were getting very warm in reference to British, in which Canada still retains many of it’s British aspects, our parliamentary system for one. :-)
    I’m curious as to what portion of the debt recently incurred as of this administration, is in investment in education, health, innovation, justice reform and so forth in contrast to the debt incurred on tax cuts alone. Forgive me if that is a stupid question!

    • Tracy says:

      Hi, Jan! On behalf of all Americans, I apologize for our President right now; Canadians have the best P.M in Justin Trudeau! I can see why you’re interested in all of this!

      I do not know about %’s of the debt, but the big picture is that this admin is reducing non-defense spending (on education, housing, environment, energy, labor, etc), while increasing defense spending and passing those tax cuts. Also, Congress appears to plan to cut “entitlement” (assistance programs) spending in 2019.

      Looking at the WH’s proposed 2019 budget (one way in which, over the last 100 years, the legislature has ceded greater power to the executive is that now the U.S. Budget originates with the President, then passes to both chambers of Congress for resolution – in this way, the executive sets the agenda), the funding for nearly every sector except defense would get slashed (The Environmental Protection Agency by 34% from 2017!)

      This is the President’s Feb 2018 budget proposal for 2019 fiscal year (which includes things like border wall funding that might not pass). For each department, you can see % decrease from 2017, and there’s a summary table starting on page 117:

      The House Budget Committee has just made their budget resolution for 2019:


      “The resolution approved Thursday lays out a path to balance the budget over a decade and calls for $8.1 trillion in deficit reduction measures to reach that goal.

      “The figure includes $1.1 billion in reductions from discretionary spending –– largely in the non-defense category –– and $5.4 trillion in mandatory spending.

      “The proposed mandatory reduction includes $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, $537 billion from Medicare and $2.6 trillion in reductions to other programs such as welfare, nutritional assistance and other anti-poverty programs.

      “Democrats have cried foul over the measure, accusing Republicans of slashing entitlements and key programs just months after blowing up the deficit with their signature tax plan, which the Congressional Budget Office projected will add $1.9 trillion to deficits over the decade.”

      Hope this helps! :-)

  52. Mitch Neher says:

    Jared Kushner filed a revised security clearance form on April 6th, 2017, in which he admitted having had contact with Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump and Putin had their semi-private conversation at the G20 Spouses’ Dinner on July 7, 2017. The NYT first reported the Trump Tower meeting on July 8th, 2017. But The NYT report had been confirmed by Trump Jr. and Kushner before it was published.

    What if Kushner and Trump Jr. were forced to leak the story of the Trump Tower meeting to The NYT rather than The NYT having uncovered the meeting from investigating Kushner’s revised security clearance form? What if Putin had had something to do with either or both forcing Kushner to revise his security clearance form and forcing Trump Jr. and Kushner to leak the story to the NYT? What if Putin’s conversation with Trump at the G20 Spouses’ Dinner was a demonstration of Putin’s power over Trump? Something along the lines of, “Look what Vlad can do! There’s more where that came from.”

    • Rusharuse says:

      Once Trump cleans up this “Russia thing” with a few pardons, he’ll be free to divvy up the world with Vlad, Bibby and the Shieks. We “the subjects” will be kept busy hewing large stones and hauling them to Giza (New Mexico).

  53. Trip says:


    It may not fall into a legal issue of indictable conspiracy, and in Trump-world low on the scandal meter, but FFS, Nunes confesses publicly (to what we all knew) that they were coming for Rosenstein (Mueller by proxy) only to stay in power. Not because there is some deep state conspiracy against Trump, as he chicken-littled so absurdly in the cloak and dagger presser. But because if Mueller doesn’t clear Trump, they will lose seats. This is an admission that the entire GOP is behind this fake push.

    How is this not a bigger deal? The head of a security/intelligence committee is plotting to take down an investigation of foreign interference in elections because he might “lose all of this”. How does he remain in his position as chair? All of their outrageous sanctimony about witch hunts from bad actors is plain to see as a PLOT for power. The gig is up.

    Nunes needs to resign as chair and from congress. WTF is Paul Ryan doing? Mitch McConnell?

    • Tracy says:

      Thx for commenting on this: this was a totally damning admission of House’s obstruction of the investigation. Ought to be the top story everywhere.

      Nunes in closed-door donor meeting: “If Sessions won’t unrecuse and Mueller won’t clear the president, we’re the only ones…If we don’t keep the majority, this all goes away.”

      (@Jan – per our convo: what goes away are tax cuts, deregulation, program-defunding…)

      BTW – I heard the recording on TRMS last night – Nunes also admits that they fully intend to impeach Rosenstein, but won’t do it before midterms b/c Senate needs to confirm Kavanaugh. Timing, only. Embattled Washington State Rep Kathy McMorris Rogers chimes in to agree – this does not look good, w/ her close race coming up.

      There will be lots of calls for him to resign. This admin has been so scandal-plagued: sometimes they weather it for a while (Pruitt), sometimes they fall right away (Preis) – and sometimes they never fall (Carson, Zinke). We have to hope!!!

      • Trip says:

        There will likely be NO calls from the GOP. Which further entrenches them as guilty of the plot.

        They will make up ridiculous excuses, or cry that someone surreptitiously taped this ‘private’ event. They would have lost their fucking minds if the Dems, or especially H. Clinton had been caught with this type of obvious corruption. No fan of Clinton here, but NOTHING like this was caught in the wikileaks emails, and YET, the Podesta emails were a humongous scandal. They had to make up pizzagate, FFS, becuase there wasn’t some smoking gun. Well this IS a smoking gun, in the hands of the shooter.

        • Tracy says:

          Yes, I ought to have said: DEM calls for resignation!! Neither can I see the GOP doing anything – speaks to their total corruption throughout this admin.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Interesting that Nunes admits to obstruction, but only within the protected confines of the halls of Congress.  His goal is to “clear” the president – apparently without knowing what, if any, crimes he committed.  He just wants him to be above the law and legal process.

        Perhaps he believes Mr. Trump is innocent of any crime.  Perhaps he doesn’t care.  He wants Trump to hold onto power so he can hold onto power, so that the GOP can control and rule America in its own neoliberal image.

        Mr. Nunes demonstrates why he is profoundly unfit to be a member of Congress, and why his party is profoundly unfit to govern.

        • Trip says:

          Nunes doesn’t believe Trump is innocent. He wouldn’t be going through Herculean corrupt measures to lift the weight off, if he genuinely believed that.

      • Trip says:

        Rand Paul delivering a letter from Trump, in the midst of this fuckery, and then the Russians are the first ones to post sanctions?

        I mean, can Mr Obvious be more obvious?

    • KM says:

      Not to be all heretical, but I’m not impressed by EW’s lone dismissive tweet so far about the Nunes recording.

      • Trip says:

        Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow blew off the most critical element of this, as well, IMO. Way too much was downplayed. Yeah, we know that Nunes can’t be charged with obstruction. But that doesn’t make what he said less significant. When they started focusing on the import of  Trump’s “cringe-y tweets”, I was like WTF?. Both missing the forest for the trees. I had to shut it off.

        • KM says:

          Indeed — though to be entirely fair, Maddow did explicitly say she would present the “take-aways” in order of increasing importance.  But yes, way too much time on silliness about cringey tweets.

          • Trip says:

            O’Donnell literally gave a pass/excuse on the element of impeaching Rosenstein later, as some fake promise he made only to insiders. While in the public sphere, Nunes has been actively pushing against the investigation as corrupt. How could O’Donnell make such a statement, outright dismissing Nunes’ intentions? Is he a mind reader? Is he ignoring what is happening right out in the open?

  54. Trip says:

    And since I’m on a rage roll: STOP WITH THE GIULIANI BS. Guess what? Trump is a big boy. If he really really wanted to talk to Mueller, HE COULD. Going against attorneys’ advice hasn’t stopped Trump from doing things or saying things in the past. It doesn’t have to stop him now or it didn’t have to stop him earlier. People can decide not to adhere to attorney advice. If they have strong principles about wanting to clear themselves personally, they stop making the conditions impossible. A lawyer isn’t a physical guard holding a gun to the client’s head. A lawyer counsels and it’s up to the client to decide whether or not to heed it. Can we PLEASE stop pretending that Trump has ever had any intention of sitting down and honestly answering questions? This jumped the shark almost a year ago.

  55. Tracy says:

    I’m not sure how the Dems will investigate, but the “shadow rulers of the VA” is a HUGE scandal:

    A tepid statement from a red-state Dem up for re-election (as per usual):

    “The top Democrat on the Senate veterans committee, Jon Tester of Montana, also chimed in saying the VA should be listening to veterans, not politics insiders. ‘Any influence and supervision of taxpayer-funded VA personnel and programs by unelected, unaccountable and politically-motivated advisors is deeply concerning,’ Tester said in a statement.”

    • Trip says:

      Un-elected, un-vetted, officially un-appointed, unqualified rich guys determining policy because they pay the president directly and enrich him.

        • Trip says:

          *Insert dog drinking coffee in burning room meme.*


          *Airplane movie scene, “Nothing to see here, move along”, with explosions going off in background meme.*


          If only the cult would be woke, they’d see the real shadows, right out in the open.

    • Doctor My Eyes says:

      Trip, it is almost too  much to bear.  I was also reading about serial thief Wilbur Ross. We need a succinct summary of the rife corruption, a bullet-point list.  Back in the early 2000’s I heard an Iraqi intellectual who had been a lifelong supporter of the US, speaking from a refugee camp, say, “In Iraq, Americans are famous for corruption.”

      I resent it when I think how much money I sent the likes of Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill back when I thought Dems were actually determined to undo Bush’s many offenses against democracy and the rule of law.  It sure is convenient for their election chances that the Dems’ opponents are batshit crazy and openly corrupt. Do we vote for the party that, to take one example, will do everything in their power to speed up climate change, or the party that will adopt hopelessly inadequate policies to slow down the inevitable, or at least help us feel good about ourselves on the way to extinction?

      • Trip says:

        Vote against the coming religo-klepto-fascism, or you may not ever vote again. Not just because the GOP is finagling who isn’t allowed to vote, but we are approaching a climate calamity, and the GOP is pushing us to the brink.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          You got that right. Have no fear, I’ll be part of the coming landslide, assuming we make it that far.  (I voted early in our primary yesterday.) My only question is whether I leave my comfortably sensible Vermont for a couple of weeks to help out in contested areas.  Nonetheless, I no longer harbor the illusion that Democrats as a party are committed to real solutions of our less immediate existential concerns.

      • Trip says:

        She is not hacky like Hannity, and she is smart, I’ll give her that, but she is a partisan with a distinct and strong bent. Not too long ago, as you recall, he retweeted a complaint about MSNBC having the right on, including Nicole Wallace (who, for a conservative is pretty balanced). Now congrats to CNN for putting Cupp on.

        What is up with Greenwald?

        • bmaz says:

          I dunno about Glenn, but will say that I think Nicolle Wallace does a very decent job. Have really grown to appreciate her as a host.

        • Doctor My Eyes says:

          Without going into detail about what most will consider crazy CT, another “blogger” (trying to remember her name, former government and specializing in Chechnya–accurate predictions but I’ve been away from this stuff for years) convinced me that with GG, things are seldom what they seem.  Her thoroughgoing argument consisted of comparing the treatment of GG in the Snowden business (life not ruined) with the treatment of every other contemporary leaker of matters of comparable importance.  Something was extremely fishy about the whole Snowden business.  Since then, I ignore Greenwald just to try to keep my head clear.

Comments are closed.