Mirror Mikey on the Wall

15 months into Mueller, I’m still not convinced Mike Schmidt understands the depth and breadth of conspiracy investigation, the threat it poses to Trump, and the issues Schmidt’s own public statements (and tweets) repeating White House spin claiming obstruction is the main risk have created both for the public’s understanding of the inquiry and Schmidt’s credibility as a journalist.

As I disclosed last month, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to Mueller’s conspiracy 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. 

154 replies
    • TheraP says:

      The other day a top comment at the WaPo went something like this: We need an investigation of whether any of Trump’s past or present appointees/etc. have ties to the United States.

  1. Tracy says:

    I agree with you! I saw Mike Schmidt on Nicole wallace’s show from Friday last night, and he said something like: “the president so far hasn’t fired mueller b/c he doesn’t have the guts to.” What kind of comment is that?! Wallace, kind of embarrassedly laughing, like I can’t believe what you just said, replied: “I think you may have just waved a red flag in front of a raging bull.” In my view, this is just taunting a huge bully and egomaniac who is on the edge of rational stability already. Moreover, for someone whom many Americans trust to be representing in good faith the truth of the situation, to couch it in these terms normalizes the idea of getting rid of Mueller before he’s done, and normalizes the WH spin that there’s something wrong w the probe – that it is unconstitutional, partisan or unethical – and therefore deserves to be gotten rid of, if only the president had the guts.

    In my view we already have a constitutional crisis on our hands – when one branch of govt won’t check the other – and comments like this just invite the worst case scenario.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      Schmidt attributing Trump’s inaction on Mueller to guts is a good hint at the problem – he’s seeing this as an issue of personality. Which is a big underlying problem with the NY Times in all of its political coverage. Ultimately, in their view, Hillary Clinton wasn’t about issues or ideas, she was a set of personality traits, so they wrote off the impact of her policy and focused on personal issues. Likewise for every politician.

      What this means is the malignancy of, say, Mitch McConnell’s political views is viewed as somehow not real. It’s just a function of his legislative leader. And when, say, Elizabeth Warren stands up for consumer rights, it doesn’t count as intellectually serious because it’s a product of her outlook on life.

      So when Schmidt screws up Trump’s legal danger or motivation for not firing Mueller, you can see these as a deeper problem with Schmidt’s approach to reporting, and the NY Times in general. It’s not about facts, it’s about bad creative writing.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Nice turn of phrase.  The MSM only knows how to call a horse race. No matter the number of horses, there’s only one track, everybody runs in the same direction at the same time, and one winner.

        It is conveniently two-dimensional.  It avoids the press having to deal with a more chaotic, three-dimensional reality.  It makes it easier to simplify that reality – in the way economists’ arguments rely on patently unreal assumptions – and to manufacture consent.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It is a red flag to a Trump bull.  But Mr. Schmidt captures the zeitgeist: the Trump regime is all about balls and testosterone, and hiding not having either.

      Mr. Schmidt gives the impression that tactics, strategy, self-preservation, not opening a bigger can of worms or increasing the risk of impeachment in 2019 could possibly motivate Mr. Trump or his advisers.  Nor does he consider whether restraining Trump from firing Rosenstein and Mueller might have been one of his advisers’ few successes.

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    Mike Schmidt is a New York Yankee fan…. does that give you an idea how clueless he is. I’m wondering if Schmidt is on the Cohen tapes?
    When will Trash Talk start?

      • Geoff says:

        I read this and, being that it is Sunday morning and all, thought, OMG, an ex-Philadelphia Philly is caught up in this?!?!?! The horror!!! And then I thought, well, he does want Pete Rose reinstated, so that says a fair amount about his moral compass, so, why not?

        I cannot tell you the relief I felt when I realized it was this simpleton from the Dorian Gray Lady.

    • emptywheel says:

      I was a NY Yankees fan until Thurman Munson’s death. Then I moved to SoCal the same year a chunk of Yankees did, some of whom even moved into the same neighborhood I did, which also happened to be the neighborhood of Tony Gwynn, an appropriate replacement for Munson among baseball fannery. I was no longer much of a baseball fan at all at that time, but I did follow along until Gwynn got into the HoF.

      • Lulymay says:

        A Canuck here!  Just had my 79th birthday and been a fan since grade 3 when the World Series was a very quick best of 7 and you had your ear glued to an old radio.

        And, yes, I am completely normal.

        p.s. really enjoy your blog, Marcy, and how you clarify all the crazy machinations happening in your country these days…..

  3. TheraP says:

    This is an oblique comment, which could have been included under Marcy’s prior post:  an astounding piecing together of information, but just one among many of Marcy’s important contributions to our understanding of the reach of what Marcy has termed ConFraudUS.  For reasons that most of us (who read on) will “get” I suggest we not generate a long trail of comments to my comment.  (Or make, if you like, similarly oblique allusions elsewhere, if you feel the need.)

    With that preface to Some See No Links:

    I may not be able to understand all the minutiae of the things Marcy draws to our attention.  But I can see the Big Picture emerging as Marcy, bit by bit, brings so much into focus, training her binoculars on discrete past events and showing us the footprints and fingerprints she’s able to discern there.

    I picture this whole terrible conspiracy as a huge spiderweb, whose strands may at times be so delicate as to be almost invisible, but not to EW, who almost daily reveals more and more of these delicate strands.  And whose investigative reporting (and recent decision to approach the FBI) places her, as we know, in potential danger.

    With that in mind, I’ve been giving thought in recent weeks to our Justice System’s “Witness Security” program, a program that dates to 1971 and generally is used for the protection and even hiding of criminals who’ve flipped.  Nevertheless, as you might imagine, a small percentage of this program includes people who are innocent witnesses to crimes or who – even at risk to their own well being – are willing to come forward and report information about them, even to testify if need be.

    Now, as it turns out, such “crimes” can include crimes against our National Security, even crimes (or criminal conspiracy) to Defraud the US government.  Not only that, as I’ve learned this morning, a decision to provide security for a witness (or potential witness) depends, among other things, on whether such a person might be endangered due to such testimony; and it is dependent on the decision of some high up person in the Justice Department (which could include even the Deputy Attorney General of the United States).

    Putting these things together, I think this morning of a certain investigative reporter and her family.  I think of our national security and the well being of all of us.  And I fervently hope that our Assistant Attorney General has provided ample “Witness Security” for all those, whose brave and patriotic actions are contributing to Mueller’s ongoing, vital work on our behalf.

    A useful link:  https://www.justice.gov/usam/usam-9-21000-witness-security

    • emptywheel says:

      FWIW, some of the web I weave I weave out of discovery, as in the last post. Some of it I think I know directly, though I won’t know precisely how much has been corroborated until Mueller does the big reveal.

      Also, my decision to approach the FBI, which I have described as occurring in 2017, was therefore not recent.

      • Palli says:

        This may be an inconsequential question while we are in the thick of this; but there is a recurring question I try to imagine answering: Where would the social & legal understanding of the activities [and the dangers] of trump’s campaign/administration be if the Steele Dossier had not been commissioned in the first place?
        (A crude ancillary: Did the public need the peepee story first?)

        • Desider says:

          The pee-pee let them cut through the doo-doo, so to speak. It’s like waiting for a sex angle to make Ted Bundy a monster and warrant the front page – killing people is just ho-hum. Even now, Trump using the N word and talking about some girl contestant’s ass 10 years ago gets as much print as his weird super-destructive trade deal or money laundering through Cyprus or bringing Hope Hicks onboard to obstruct justice.

        • Desider says:

          Re: the Steele Dossier, Marcy, you’ve suggested the Russians were tipped and fed disinfo to Steele, whereas many on the left keep saying nothing in the dossier’s been disproved. You’ve probably noted in detail somewhere, but could you point out a couple items you think are fairly demonstrably fake entries to use as an example in this debate?

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Oh, that’s a hard counterfactual, because of the extent to which Steele’s work, especially in the later months, cast a shadow on what was believed to be known and obfuscated lots of things that were happening in plain sight. I’m sure when Julia Ioffe crossed paths with him when reporting her piece on Carter Page she took it as a sign that there was perhaps more there than there was.

          Perhaps Fusion’s work would have been more focused on the dirty money in Sunny Isles beach. Perhaps there’d have been more focus on Flynn. Perhaps there’d have been an attempt to take down Wikileaks. But I don’t think the influence operation would have been affected in real time, because American politics was configured in a way that allowed it to happen, and the influence operation took advantage of the desire for oppo research.

          Perhaps 2017 would have had less focus on Carter Page and pee tapes and Prague meetings and more on Flynn and Papadopoulos and Manafort and troll factories and GRU hackers from the outset. Comey’s fate might have been different, but probably not, given what King Idiot told Lester Holt. Would Sessions have recused himself? Dunno. Would we have learned about the Tower meeting sooner? Dunno. Would an agreement for Syria have been easier to push through? Dunno, because the sanctions were in place.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Obstruction of justice is a serious crime, ask Scooter Libby. But it is hardly the only possible crime that Mueller is pursuing. The Russia investigation evolves around claims of ConFraud US. It inevitably involves the possibility of serious financial crimes, independent of obstruction and ConFraud US or integral to them.

    Trump, like Manafort, is obsessed with money. How much he has, how much more he needs. A detailed review of possible foreign influence in his campaign would necessarily require a detailed examination of Trump’s personal and business finances. That, in turn, might reveal serial financial crimes: wire and bank fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, the lot, related to his global properties.

    We’ve already seen the way Trump abused his supposedly charitable foundation. He used it like a piggy bank, spending foundation money on personal and for-profit business purposes. He failed to perform any of the corporate formalities – for ten years – required even to keep his foundation in legal existence. Those are not close calls. They are emblematic of a deep disregard for any kind of process and the arrogance that makes him sure the can get away with it.

    It’s takes no stretch to imagine Trump might have abused others of his several hundred companies to avoid paying taxes, to hide money or launder it, to pay back favors illegally without obvious traces. Many of those could be crimes independent of obstruction and ConFraud US. Many of them could relate directly to it.

    Mueller’s investigation involves far more than obstruction. It involves ConFraud US. It involves the existence and continuation of his business empire. It involves whether he and members of his family remain wealthy and above the law or go off to prison. A lot of reasons for Trump to lie and obstruct. A lot of reasons to protect and support Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

    • bmaz says:

      I wonder what is up with the NYAG case against Trump Org these days? As I think we discussed here before, there is no viable path for that Org to stand up, thus its principals, including Trump himself and his children are naked and exposed. That alone is extremely problematic for him and extremely underreported.

    • Palli says:

      Fighting to keep the con alive.  Would that a trump con demise expose other Ross-types across the “business” spectrum who have re-drawn, crossed or stretched the legal lines. Would that it embolden law enforcement to recalibrate their attention toward the financial criminals who disguise their anti-social behaviors in flamboyant fame or anonymity.

      Naive me.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Trump Foundation seems to be a poster child for 501(c)(3) abuse.  It is also emblematic of Trump’s routine mishandling of large amounts of money – and intentionally hiding such abuses.  Plus, he is unlikely to be the only person of wealth in NYC abusing his private family foundation or private business.

      The NYAG’s civil suit against the TF has disappeared from the headlines.  Governor Cuomo claims to have offered to make a criminal referral, which would allow commencement of a parallel criminal prosecution.

      The NYAG claims, surprisingly, given her past comments, not to need a criminal referral just yet.  That suggests that Cuomo might have stepped in to stage-managed events.  This is an election year and the NYAG is one of the posts to be filled.

      Other issues.  Civil suits, for example, can be quietly settled by negotiation.  A criminal case would be more public.  It would require more explanation of facts and circumstances, and require a judge to sign off on its resolution.

      The TF case is not a close call.  It has been investigated before.  Its violations of law and rules are fundamental, egregious, and prolonged.  It has a ten-year pattern of abuse.  They involve state as well as federal violations, at least with regard to tax filings.

      Trump already previously agreed to close down the TF.  Like most of his promises, he has failed to fulfill it.  Arguably, the TF lost its legal existence years ago, which would make acts since then the personal acts of its principals – Donald Trump and his family.  Liability for them would be theirs, too.

      The silence over the TF civil suit suggests a fix might be in, at least to keep its resolution low profile.  Cuomo, nominally a Democrat, is strongly pro-GOP.  He has a growing reputation for being corrupt.  That Trump got away with outrageous abuses of his family charity for a decade suggests NY state’s enforcement is cavalier.  That would benefit thousands of similarly situated foundations.

      Changing course and enforcing the rules more strictly would rile the powerful NYC bar and its many well-heeled clients.  Not actions commonly associated with this governor.

      • bmaz says:

        Note though that the current NYAG, Barbara Underwood, is not running and has a reputation for being dogged.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That’s why the relative disappearance of the civil suit and her current dance with Cuomo about whether to seek a criminal referral is so strange.

            • Valley girl says:

              Don’t know if this will help.  It’s from July 16.  Last part is most relevant.


              Teachout recently called on Cuomo to allow Underwood to criminally investigate the Trump Foundation, something that requires the green light of the governor, the state police, or the state’s Taxation and Finance Department. She also asked her three Democratic opponents to join her in pressuring the governor. None of them did so, and on Friday, Teachout criticized Cuomo for remaining silent; she’s pledged to make investigating Trump’s corruption a central priority if elected.


              • bmaz says:

                I don’t think it is that. There is not even any news on the action she has already taken. And there should be by now.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                She filed the civil action in mid-June, so we’re just at two months into the process.  There should have been an answer to her complaint and perhaps further filings.  Hope bmaz can find out a little more.

                Trump should have shut his TF down earlier. He cannot now legitimately shut it down now until the NYAG’s suit is resolved.  He has to preserve it and the relevant records.

                This involves Trump personally, and relates to conduct engaged in before he became president. If Trump thinks he has harmful exposure here – he should – his counsel will claim that the president is immune from suit while in office. (That may be one reason Underwood has not sought to bring criminal charges.) Precedent is not on their side, but that’s never stopped a good defense counsel.

                • bmaz says:

                  New York state courts are famously difficult to get online dockets out of. I have literally had to send friends to courthouses a couple of times. It is maddening. But, yes, well past the answer time which is 20 days, 30 on the outside, far as I can tell. Sooo, where is it?

            • Charles says:

              Please do a post if you can find out, bmaz.  There’s a lot riding on what the states are able and willing to do to back up Mueller and the SDNY.

              • bmaz says:

                Will do, if I can. Sometimes my inquiries work, sometimes not. I’ll say this though, I know a couple of very good reporters that would be following this and would be reporting if they could. So, I dunno.

          • orionATL says:

            i don’t know beans about the details of this case legally, except that the charity opportunity offered to all was abused by the trump family.

            what i fear is an official cover-up.

            trump did quite well as a developer for years, getting around n. york and n. jersey development and building rules (e. g., no sprinklers), and working hand-in-glove with mafioso.

            you can’t do this for years and decades without the tolerant, tacit support of officialdom – and trump used to lean democrat. and i would’t trust cuomo as far as i could throw him.

            correct me where i’m wrong.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            We might just be in the procedural doldrums.  It’s just that Underwood went at this hammer and tongs – with an apparently slam dunk case – and now nussink.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Believe this is a situation where charging does not occur in order to ‘follow the money’.

        Also believe there is a related GJ that has stayed well below the radar. Well below. Nearly stealth.

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            Are you implying that no FISA Warrant and/or NSL could direct the state level investigation to hold off?

            • bmaz says:

              Uh, no, neither device is used for that. FISA warrants could not possibly do that, and NSL’s are information gathering tools, not restraint orders other than gags on the recipients. Seriously I don’t know where you hear or hatch this kind of stuff from, but it is not a good place.

              • SpaceLifeForm says:

                Do not disagree. Something is going on though. Do you know for fact that an NSL or FISA warrant can not pause an investigation?

                I suspect they actually can even if not clear in the code.

                But, if neither are applicable, then everything points to FinCEN BSA.

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            Keyword: Public.

            Scenario: Feds know that ‘stuff’ could and/or would be revealed in the ‘very public civil suit’ that could potentially screw up an ongoing Fed level investigation.

            What could be done to prevent or at least delay any possible reveal of ‘stuff’?

            If FISA, NSL, or FINCEN can not stop a possible reveal, what are the options?

            It may be a simple as just asking nicely.

            But, if that is not what happened …

            • SpaceLifeForm says:

              Note: I am well aware of the Constitutional issues regarding 10th Ammendment.

              Obviously, the state (in this argument, the State of New York) must be able to fulfill it’s rights under the U.S. Constitution.

              But the U.S. Federal Government also has it’s own obligations.

              Here is the dilemma.

              When in comes to investigations, who rules when there is a conflict between a state level investigation and a federal level investigation?

              Obviously, ultimately, the state level investigation *MUST* be able to proceed.
              Otherwise, the 10th Ammendment would be under attack by the federal level.

              But, the federal level must be able to complete their investigation unhindered by possible reveal.

              There has to be *some* mechanism to resolve the conflict between State and Federal level.

              Yet, it can *NOT* be indefinite.

              Otherwise, Fed level could say that there is an ongoing investigation (indefinitely), pre-empting States Rights under 10th Ammendment.

              But, I can see the need for fed level to assert to state level that there is a potential conflict, that ‘stuff’ could be revealed at state level that could mess up a fed level investigation.

              The only method I can see is something like monthly updates.

              The fed level must convince state level that the fed level investigation will wrap up at some point.

              And if they fail to do so, after repeated bullshit, then the state level proceeds anyway.

              But, who to trust?

              If I am state level prosecution, and fed level says to slow-walk or hold off, I can only listen so long, and they better have real good evidence. Telling me it is classified will *NOT* cut the mustard.

              • bmaz says:

                Just to be clear: 98% of people that yammer about the “Tenth Amendment” are blithering idiots. But do carry on.

                Have to admit, never thought this blog would be infiltrated and infected by Tenthers. Guess it truly is a new world.

      • Ed Walker says:

        I agree with EoH that the Trump Foundation case is a straight-forward, and, of course, it;s a paper case.

        It shows something about Trump’s mentality that he won’t pay people to keep up with filing requirements and the ordinary business of keeping entities registered and licensed as needed. This isn’t rocket science, and it’s pretty cheap.

        • Geoff says:

          The crux of all this is that the people at the top of the financial heap have used their wealth to burrow into the political system, and in turn, the people running law enforcement. They are all so inextricably tied up that the little bit of criminal prosecution going on is for show, and only the most egregious examples. You need a Madoff once in a while to keep the little people feeling like someone is minding the store, but in reality, no one really is. The corruption problem in this country is not just Trump’s crime family, it has been going on for years, and emboldened, sadly, by Obama as well when he decided that all bankers should pass go, collect $200 and have a lifetime get out of jail free card, just in case. Although this was totally unnecessary because, well, it’s the fault of human nature, ya know, not the people in power. No blame, let it go, it’s all good, back to debt loading!  We just simply have no stomach for calling white collar criminals criminals, and any little enforcement via fines imposed on them are a paltry cost of doing business. I mean, WFC is still in business, and apparently it’s a criminal racket and no one seems to care that much. It’s really no wonder Trump thought he could get away with this election fraud, given that he’s been getting away with fraud for decades, as has everyone he knows.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Cheap, arrogant, assured he won’t ever be called on it in a way that could hurt him.  People work for him who do know what should be done.  They must know he will neither authorize it to be done or keep anyone who raises the issue.

          What kind of mentality is that?

  5. Palli says:

    Thanks for this, I had forgotten about TF. Foundations loomed large in my thinking about the 2016 campaigns. Neglected & small as it is, it seems a perfect foil to the trump “for-personal-profit” mantra. (Remember that awful trump portrait?) The corruption of 501c3s (big & small) is a scourge on our culture and a tool of control by the rich few & the sustained acceptance of economic inequality in the US. The trump Foundation is absurdly obvious. Too many are similar but still allowed free rein…in the arts world even.

      • Rusharuse says:

        I’m thinking spy-wearable, state of the art, something you go out of your way to get, something for the serious practitioner.

        • bmaz says:

          Come on man. Her history is that she uses voice notes on her iPhone. She would not have had time or warning to go out and get Double Naught Jethro Bodine Super Secret spy gear. Seriously, SLF is just ginning up relentless crap with no foundation whatsoever.

          • Frank Probst says:

            I agree that she probably just used her iPhone, but after listening to snippets of the audio, SLF is correct in saying that the quality of the sound is quite good, and I’m impressed at how well this woman played this whole game.  She recorded the White House Chief of Staff in the Situation Room when he fired her, and she kept her mouth shut about it for over 6 months until she needed it to plug her book. She probably wouldn’t have had her phone in there if they were having a classified meeting (I hope.), but she shouldn’t have been able to pull this off AT ALL.  And she’s got John Kelly on tape saying that the White House staff works for HIM, not the President.  In case anyone missed that, she highlighted that fact right after the recording was played.  At a bare minimum, that’s going to get Kelly groveling for forgiveness and publicly humiliating himself as payback to the President.  Personally, I think you can stick a fork in Kelly.  This wasn’t a slip of the tongue, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that makes Trump go ballistic.  It’ll surprise me if Kelly survives the week.  I honestly think she just took out the White House Chief of Staff.
            Then she got a $15,000/month hush money offer, and she played along with the people offering it long enough to get a copy of the contract, which may as well have been titled HUSH MONEY AGREEMENT.  She claimed that Sean Spicer signed a similar (if not identical) agreement, which is why he wrote his ridiculous line about Trump riding a unicorn.  And she said that other people who have left the administration have signed similar agreements.  All of that is quite believable, and I’d expect that reporters (and possibly law enforcement) will spend the better part of the coming week(s) figuring out which former staff members have been getting paid $15,000/month.
            And finally, no one has any idea what else she’s sitting on.  It was noted that she had an unusual amount of access to the President early on in the administration.  She just dropped a nuke on the White House Chief of Staff, who has a history of telling whoppers about women of color.  The story about Omarosa’s bizarre behavior after being fired looks totally bogus right now, and the people who reported it are now probably going back to their sources to see if they still stand by their stories.  I would expect some retractions and apologies early this week, too.

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah. But that known hostility to women of color thing, coupled with the fact that Kelly summoned her into the most intimidating place in the White House he could……to threaten and extort her……is really beyond belief.

              Not enough attention is being paid to that part as opposed to “she recorded it!”

          • Desider says:

            Don’t be dissin’ Jethro – if he’d been on this case, he’d of tied all the noughts together by now.

          • orionATL says:

            what bothers me about the omarosa story is that the wapo, at least, is writing omarosa up as if she were some spy, or more contemptably of wapo, as she were merely an author selling a book (which she is), rather than as a person selling a book AND exposing whitehouse activity that is contemptable.

            the press treated jim comey the same contemptable way when he did his book tour, as if were simply a money-grubbing author instead of a guy with an important story to tell.

            both the omarosa and vomey stories are important for the info they give us about this presidency, info the media would be delighted to publish if it had come into its hands to publish instead of an author’s. this pose of psuedo-integrity is how the press sells itself out and generates contempt for its integrity.

            i don’t care if omarosa or comey are selling books.

            omarosa has an important story to tell about trump’s evident racism. if it is self-serving, so what. is that not true of any reporter/editor story?

            furthermore, it is important to know kelly was threatening omarosa and that he tried his best to hide it with hilarious technological overkill. that situation should be worth at least a few zinger cartoons.

            it was important to be able to hear and then read that trump initiated discussions of the urination scenario FOUR seperate times with comey. this fact fits in the same category of credible evidence as watching trump’s facial and body language at and after helsinki – it proves sufficiently without further evidence being needed.

            how stupid do these various masters of the universe think we are?

            • bmaz says:

              Yes. Omarosa is an incredibly unqualified person to have ever been in the White House, for any purpose, much less the senior title she was given. She is, by all appearances, exactly the reality show catty villain she is painted as. Fine. But THEY hired her and propped her up. That is on Trump alone. Her questions to Kelly, if you listen to them, were quite fair given all that. And his conduct not so much.

              • orionATL says:

                like other blacks who have joined the trump carnival, omarosa was there out of a perverse self-interest.

                that she’s a turn-coat opportunist is evident. but that is not, in my opinion, the core story. the core storey is, or should be, the conduct of the president and the quality and conduct of his appointees. omarosa’s veracity is a fair question, but that is not what is being debated at the moment.

                for comparison, comey’s veracity with regard to his trump stories has not been questioned, but he got the same dismissive, just an author out for money, treatment of what should have been an important insight into this president and presidency.

                • Trip says:

                  Omarosa’s qualifications bolded below:

                  Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump

                  …really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!

                    • Tracy says:

                      Desider, thanks for the link – Ben Carson is emblematic of everything wrong with this administration – deeply unqualified, working to roll back the regulations that his department is supposed to enforce. HUD, outrageously, is doing their utmost to entrench housing segregation and inequality. Such insidious policy nearly goes unnoticed amidst so many daily calls of  corruption – what to focus on? Thx for calling attn!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Spy gadgetry of any kind – readily available for retail purchase in DC – would instantly make you look guilty of something nasty.  It demonstrates intent and ability.

          iPhones and what have you are part of the standard uniform; you’d look naked without one and unable to do your job.  Having one would not raise an eyebrow unless taken into a place where they were forbidden.

          • Buford says:

            I recall that recently there were “cell phone listening devices” that were not authorized by the US government, in the DC metro area…I wonder what that was all about…

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            Since the Situation Room is a SCIF, and phones are forbidden, that is why I suggested an old iPod.

            Full Disclosure: I have not listened to the recording so I am not aware of the fidelity of the audio.

              • SpaceLifeForm says:

                Since, it was not a discussion of classified intel allegedly, then it just becomes a conference room.

                But, rules still say no phones.

                If non-classified setting, cams ok. But no phones.

                • bmaz says:

                  Oh, I see, video cams with microphones to pick up the activity being filmed are dandy, but the Omorosa thing is just too much??

                  So sayeth the conspiratorial jackass that just claimed she had a thing in her bra because she had “cleavage”??

                  You are a fucking idiot, maybe a particularly misogynistic one, and VERY close to being done here. Clean up your act or be gone.

                  • SpaceLifeForm says:

                    You are missing a National Security aspect.

                    Think about a Cell Phone secretly being left in the Situation Room for a meeting later in the day (or next day or two), *TRANSMITTNG* audio.

            • SpaceLifeForm says:

              Likely an older iPod Shuffle in her bra.

              She has the cleavage, which would explain sound quality. Close to voice sources.

              Sweeping will not help.

              An older iPod Shuffle does not *transmit*.

  6. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    I have yet to see a single article helping readers or viewers grasp the amounts of money involved, or the really sordid routes the money has traveled.

    How much money was laundered through Trump Tower condos in NYC? Enough to build 450 units?  Enough to fund WIC in 3 states?  Half an aircraft carrier?  A third of a Superfund site cleanup?  One of the most important reporters in the US today (apart from EW), is David Cay Johnson – partly because he has documented Trump for decades, but also because he smells financial bullshit at 500 miles.  Tim O’Brien at Bloomberg is in a similar category.

    Mr. Schmidt needs to up his game, and so does a lot of MSNBC, with the exception of Velshi and Ruhle.   (I’d include CNBC, but I find its financial hucksterism utterly dismal.)

  7. getouttahere says:

    I think Cuomo fears Zephyr Teachout. She will not play the corruption game in Albany. It is surprising how close Cuomo has come to being outed for his ties to that game. When t canned Baharara, a side effect of that was to benefit Cuomo, who had  disbanded “his” ethics panel. Cuomo’s m.o. is not unlike t’s.

      • Valley girl says:

        Meant to add this from link above:

        ~In 2014, Zephyr Teachout decided to take on Andrew Cuomo in the New York gubernatorial primary. The anti-corruption lawyer and Fordham Law professor had virtually no name recognition — nor the extensive campaign funds and Democratic party connections that the famously vengeful incumbent governor does — but still managed to secure 35 percent of the vote.~

    • Trip says:

      All one has to do, to find small crumbs, is look at the Port Authority. It has been used by both parties in two states as a slush fund for patronage jobs and misc other misuses.  Often at the very same time.

    • SC says:

      Teachout stands a chance to win NY AG. If Nixon was competive with Cuomo right now, I think Teachout would be favored but sadly Nixon continues to poll poorly against Cuomo and I’m concerned Nixon’s poor showing is going to hurt Teachout’s chances. I like Nixon and much prefer her over Cuomo but so far she’s far less competive than Teachout was in the last NYS governor election. I think Cuomo was scared by Teachout’s close run and so he took Nixon seriously from the get go. Nixon has been forced into a more rereactive campaign than she hoped to run. I would love for Cuomo to have a sticky scandal that might give Nixon a better chance but I think the odds of a serious scandal are minimized by Cuomo’s owning the state Dem machine and a surprisingly lame state press corps. Cuomo’s Teflon coating is partly related to him being treated by the press as a “national” player and the details of what he actually does in Albany get light coverage. If Teachout does win AG, yes, I’d expect her to immediately cause problems for Cuomo and, of course, Trump.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If the Times covered Cuomo in Albany the way it covered Hillary everywhere, Nixon would be a shoe-in.

      • Valley girl says:

        I’m worried by the dual endorsement, and hope that it doesn’t hurt Teachout.  Teachout has superior credentials to back up her run for AG.  Nixon is altogether a different bird as far as credentials.

        • SC says:

          Yeah, the dual endorsement is tricky. Nixon is, so far, no help to Teachout. Our best hope might be Omarosa releasing a tape of Cuomo begging Trump for a job.

          Kinda OT, I know. But . . . I wish Letitia James was’t in the AG race. Teachout would be the out-and-out favorite and would, I suspect, win without James running. My concern with James is that she’s traded allegiance to Cuomo for election support.

          Not only is James endorsed by Cuomo, he’s raised serious money for her and put the Dem machine behind her campaign (after she switched her party allegiance from Working Families to Democratic, a move that Cuomo insisted on and that mostly benefits Cuomo in his race against Nixon). In fact, James’s largest _liability_ in this is race is, doh, her close relationship with Cuomo and his endorsement. She’s had to say over and over again that she will not let Cuomo run the AG office (she literally said “I will not take orders from Cuomo.” the other day). If James wins she’s going to owe a large debt to Cuomo and she’s going to be surrounded by Cuomo people and money. I’d guess that James as AG will about as much of threat to Cuomo as Cuomo has been a threat to Trump . . .  basically none at all.

          I’d love to see Teachout working to make our state elections clean and safe,  advocating for voter rights, working for campaign finance reform, etc. If the Democratic party stands a chance of taking back the US, we are going to need dozens of Teachouts though out the country working to undo the institutionalization of political corruption, and working to undo the damage the GOP has done to voter rights and fair elections. James might one day make a fine NYS governor but I suspect she will be low profile AG during a time when we need strong, active AG.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m no fan of anyone who would work in Trump’s White House.  But the furore over Manigault Newman’s taping her firing by General Kelly seems considerably off-base.  In no particular order,

    1. DC allows tape recording of conversations on the authority of a single participant.

    2. This conversation is not classified and shouldn’t be.  Its disclosure does not implicate national security issues.  It does embarrass Kelly and his president.

    3. The principal confidentiality issues relate to Manigault Newman.  She’s the one who chose to release the tape.

    4. Kelly chose to took her into the most intimidating space in then WH outside of the Oval Office to fire her and threaten her with “consequences” if she chose not to go quietly or to tell tales out of school.

    Kelly meant at least “reputational” damage.  Transliterated into English, he threatened to sic the rightwing noise machine on her, to make her so toxic no one would give her a job. I’m surprised he didn’t threaten to kneecap her.  (Since when did John Kelly become Mickey Cohen?)

    5. The usual NDA Trump requires of “his” employees is not valid when, as president, he dictates that government employees sign them in connection with their work for another government employee.  For starters, much of their work would be covered by the Presidential Records Act.  Then there are government transparency issues, and First Amendment issues. (There is some dispute about this, but I think the arguments against their validity are much stronger than those for it.)

    6. The MSM is covering this for its tabloid value, which misses the important bits.  Some are covering it to stain Manigault Newman as a stereotypical “disgruntled former employee”, the go to epithet corporate employers use when attempting to discredit former employees who may have damaging stories to tell.

    I don’t much care for anyone willing to work closely with Donald Trump, but there doesn’t seem to be anything typical about Manigault Newman.

    • TheraP says:

      I recall that a few months ago there was a renewed effort to prevent White House aides from even bringing their own phones to work with them. Here’s one report from May that not only were they forbidden to bring their own phones to work, but that security people were “sweeping” the place to find any “contraband devices.”


      Obviously it’s not working!

      The fact that a recently fired employee was able to record the Chief of Staff (while being fired – in the Situation Room) is proof of the Chief’s inability to even do his purported job. There is just too leaky a workplace there. Which, to me, distills the national security risks in Trump’s White House. With Trump himself as the true and worst security risk.

      • Bob Conyers says:

        The piece the media just can’t focus on is the security risks of private phone use by Trump’s staff. The NSA warned the White House in early 2017 that they should assume their phones were already hacked, which it turned out had already happened to Kelly.

        And this was not just a risk of personal communications being hacked, but the devices being used to capture and transmit audio and video while not in use.

        Trump’s people just don’t care, and it will be a matter of time before much worse is revealed than what a reality personality managed to stumble upon.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          His staff’s security protocols seem as rigorous as the Don’s.  His staff often do not know who he’s talking to, on what device, or what he’s saying.

          “No president has ever done that….” describes the Donald Trump presidency.  He is not novel or creative, just destructive.

    • Desider says:

      Does the requirement of a bogus illegal NDA not create a hostile work environment or some other obvious cause for lawsuit and reversal? If not, why not a pledge of allegiance to Russia as a term of employment?

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        Either KellyAnne was bullshitting about NDAs, or the numerous access journalists managed to miss it. My guess is that NDAs aren’t used within the White House — and wouldn’t be enforceable anyway, especially not the non-disparagement clauses that King Idiot loves — but that they’re part of any golden parachute. Hopey probably has her name on one dating back to her time at the Family Business.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If you’re looking for evidence of a hostile work environment, NDAs would be small beer.  Extorting silence might be better evidence of it.  But the list would be long, if ignored.

  9. JKSF says:

    Everything Mike Schmidt writes must be seen through the lens of the peculiar brand of access journalism that he and Maggie have perfected. Nothing gets written that isn’t passed along from and approved by the little birds that chirp in his ear.

  10. Frank Probst says:

    Can’t reply above, so posting here re: Omarosa recording John Kelly firing her while in the Situation Room at the White House

    The current news angle is that this shows Omarosa’s disrespect for national security, because that’s all the White House and the GOP have been able to come up with to push back against it. That’s not even going to make it through Morning Joe tomorrow morning (particularly since Omarosa conveniently mentioned “Joe and Mika” during her interview). Omarosa recorded Kelly saying that the White House staff works for him, not Trump. That’s looks bad. It’s the kind of thing that would make Trump lose his shit. The fact that she was able to make this recording at all makes Kelly look even worse. He’s telling her that the buck stops with him, and she’s recording it in the Situation Room. The irony is delicious. The fact that she sat on this recording for 6 months so that she could use it to plug her book makes it look like she’s playing a formidable long game to rake in as much money as she can.
    I don’t think Kelly will last the week. And I think there will be a lot of “revised reports” about Omarosa’s departure from the White House. And everyone is going to be asking which former White House aides took the $15,000/month hush money deal that she turned down–and has the paperwork to prove it. She specifically named Sean Spicer, which is so utterly believable that I’d be surprised if it WASN’T true.
    Until today, this was a woman who I’d say had zero credibility. But the White House has basically confirmed that authenticity of the recording and the location where it was made, so her credibility isn’t really an issue there. The $15,000/month figure is something that appears to have been heard by reporters before, and she’s got the paperwork to back that up, so her credibility really isn’t an issue there, either. She claimed that there are now ZERO African-American aides to the President working in the West Wing now that she’s gone, which is something that should be easy to fact-check. Kellyanne Conway looked like she was flailing in quicksand when she was asked about it point-blank, so I’m guessing that’s true, too.
    Her book might be complete fiction, and she may still have zero credibility in most people’s eyes, but her appearance on Meet the Press this morning was an absolute masterpiece in political performance art, backed up by audio and documents, designed to brutally embarrass a number of people in order to boost her book sales.
    She’s also going to benefit from absolutely perfect timing, since the big news stories tomorrow morning were supposed to be about the White Supremacist rallies in DC and Charlottesville, both of which fizzled. So the guests that have already been book for tomorrow are going to have to find something else to talk about, and Omarosa is the most likely topic to go to.
    None of this may be hard news, but it sure as hell is going to be entertaining to watch.

    • Rusharuse says:

      The word up here in the cheap seats: Recording device other than an “i something” used, sound quality just too good. Probably pro spyware! Given the sacking was a surprise, “O” must have been already wired.

      Questions arise: Was she routinely wired, if so why? — Always had a book deal in mind? Insurance/ass-covering? Leverage? Spying? Blackmail? Conspiracy? Was she recording everything as “palace intel” for Trump’s benefit, now using against him? Was she passing on recordings to someone “unfriendly” to the President? Omarosa is smart, cunning, ambitious, damaged and now it seems well advised. Don’t think we’ve heard the last of this “tail with a tape” saga . .  it’s got legs!

    • TheraP says:

      As we know: Neither Kelly nor Trump “employ” the White House Staff. It’s WE the People who employ them. It’s the Constitution to which they pledge their loyalty.

  11. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Mikey and Maggie aren’t going to write about conspiracy in the same way fish aren’t going to star in the World Cup. Their beat is palace gossip, and everything goes through that mincing machine. We could end up with a situation where the conspiracy is laid out in detail and the access journalists don’t understand its importance. Heck. we’re already there.

  12. thomaspaine says:

    Both the NYT’s Schmidt and Haberman have significant credibility issues when it comes to reporting on the Trump WH, because of their Faustian deal with their sources.  They both also seem to have an axe to grind with the Clinton’s which taints their objectivity further.  Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate, BUT, she did not deserve the treatment she consistently got from the NYT from 2000 to this day, (especially Haberman).

    Rucker, Phillips and Co. from the Wash Post are running rings around the NYT on accurately reporting on the happenings inside this zoo of a WH.  Further, Bob Costa shows how to report on this WH without pissing off his sources OR shading the truth.  He deserves his post as Host of PBS’s Washington Week in a Review.

  13. Mitch Neher says:

    IANAL, so I have another legal question based on 52 USC 30121:

    (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;


    (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.

    How might Mueller’s shop make use of the clause about “. . . an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation . . .”?

    The Goldstone email that led to the Trump Tower meeting looks like an express promise. And the Congressional testimony from the Russian attendees at the meeting about Trump Jr.’s statement that his father might revisit the Magnitsky sanctions after he won the election looks like an implied promise at least from the Russian point of view.

    Could Mueller allege that Trump Jr. was, in effect, asking the Russians for dirt on Clinton that the Trump campaign could use in exchange for sanctions relief? And that the hacked DNC, DCCC and Podesta emails were the Russian response to Trump Jr.’s request?

  14. Bay State Librul says:

    I wasn’t kidding about Michael

    “Mr. Schmidt grew up a Mets and Yankees fan in Nyack, attended high school in Richmond, Va., and went to college at Lafayette. He wrote for the student newspaper, and interned for the WNBA team, the Liberty, at Madison Square Garden in the communications department.
    Before his senior year at college, he took the semester off to take a six-month paid job at The Boston Globe to work as a news clerk for the national and foreign desks.
    While at The Globe, he wrote 10 pieces. “I thought I was King Shit on Turd Island”

    Article from The Observer


    • Bob Conyers says:

      There’s an interesting parallel to the way the the NY Times covers the White House in that story.

      The article asks why the Boston Globe didn’t catch the drug story when prominent Red Sox players were involved, and answers that it’s because the NY Times had dedicated Schmidt to the drug story and wasn’t assigned to cover any team.

      Now, the NY Times has Schmidt and Haberman covering the White House with all of the lap dog approach you see in typical MLB team reporters. Just like baseball reporters, White House reporters have similar reasons for awful blind spots.

      They come to identify with the people they cover far too much, they want to be liked, and they fail to see that the other side is out to manipulate them. They greatly overvalue access, and think that there is much more importance to random bits of inside knowledge than there really is. And they write for far too narrow of an audience, and assume the hardcore fan, with all of their ingrained preferences and assumptions.

      A great current example of this blindness is the way ESPN scooped the DC sports reporters on the University of Maryland football scandal that happened in their own backyard. Anybody covering University of MD football practices and built relationships with the players should have known the coach was a brutal nutjob. But it took the outsiders at ESPN to break the story, because the DC beat reporters were too compromised.

      I’m sure White House reporters and especially editors look down on sports reporters, but they really ought to take a hard look at how much they’re all alike.

      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        A while back, Matt Taibbi wrote a piece about political and sports reporting, and argued that while every team has its press lapdogs, if politicians faced the same media obligations as coaches — weekly press conferences, limited tolerance for bullshit answers — they wouldn’t last a week.

      • survivor says:

        It seems to me that Dean Baquet is looking for just the Schmidt/Haberman type of “access” reporters the Times now employs rather than hard news reporters of another era. They were all let go for a more “streamlined” version. Nobody says running a newspaper in today’s world is easy, but publishers and executive editors do make long-term decisions on content based not on news departments, but on how many eyes they can still attract.

        I think there’s been a definite change in quality since Baquet took over in 2014. The Old Grey Lady is getting a facelift, but not for the better.

  15. Trip says:

    Hellstinky: Negotiating the return of an alleged, indicted spy while investigations are still active on connections with the NRA, the Trump campaign and the Kremlin? I’d love to know what value the US gets in return for this “trade?”.

    Alexey Kovalev‏Verified account @Alexey__Kovalev
    Alexey Kovalev Retweeted Kevin Rothrock
    This is the guy @RandPaul was cozying up to in Moscow. Also, Slutsky doesn’t do much actual lawmaking or even bother to turn up to parliament sessions. All he does is taking selfies with the most corrupt, unscrupulous and/or ignorant Western politicians.

    Kevin Rothrock‏Verified account @KevinRothrock
    Serial sexual harasser and Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky has a 27-year-old daughter who owns a $2.1-million home outside Moscow. Either she’s an alchemist or the property is ill-gotten gains.

    From Vanity Fair:

    At the tour’s conclusion, Paul released a statement saying he was “pleased” to announce that the contact with Russia would continue: “We agreed and we invited members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia to come to the U.S. to meet with us in the U.S., in Washington,” he said. For their part, Russian politicians reportedly have a laundry list of topics to discuss with Paul, including nonproliferation, sanctions, and alleged Russian spy Maria Butina. According to Russian media, State Duma foreign-affairs committee head Leonid Slutsky asked Paul about Butina’s “early release,” adding, “We hope and expect that our colleagues will conduct the necessary consultations with Washington, and tomorrow we can consult about a road map and the plan of actions [on Butina’s case].”

    Apologies if this was already covered, I didn’t read through all comments.

    • Tracy says:

      Trip – thanks for posting this – I’d seen it but not read the whole article – disturbing!

      There are so many threads (tentacles??) reaching off into different directions all the time, we have to keep track of this one… potentially sinister, definitely suspect!

    • TheraP says:

      Omarosa may be a self-promoter (like Trump) and a frequent liar (like Trump). Nevertheless, to listen to that link of her speaking extemporaneously this morning makes one thing very clear: She is articulate as hell! And that suggest she’s got far better intellectual equipment than Trump. She was certainly way out of her league to be a White House advisor. But Trump is much further out of his league as the White House ‘resident,’ who employed her.

      When it comes to extemporaneous public speaking, he excels only in demogoguery, lying, self-adoration and the art of the scam – when in front of a crowd he’s whipping up to near-violence.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good essay.  Deserves a wide read:

    Stephen Miller is an Immigration Hypocrite.  I Know Because I’m His Uncle.

    Dr. Glosser takes aim at his nephew’s and Donald Trump’s cruel-by-design immigration policies. But his story is about more than family. It is about who makes America what it is.

    Dr. David S. Glosser is a neuropsychologist, a member of a family that once hailed from Russian Poland.  His forebears emigrated to America in the turn of the century’s great wave, owing to poverty, forced military conscription, and the Czar’s pogroms.  His nephew is Stephen Miller, American immigration czar and aide to Donald Trump.

    A handful of people came over on the Mayflower, a few more settled New Amsterdam, Philadelphia, Jamestown, and Savannah.

    Millions came to work the steel mills of Johnstown, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Gary, to work the mines in Appalachia that fed them, the docks in New York, Boston and San Francisco that moved their products.  Millions came to turn the Great Plains into wheat fields, to raise cattle and drill for oil in Texas, to create farms in the Central Valley and cut timber in the Pacific Northwest and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – used to rebuild Chicago after Mrs. O’Leary’s cow turned over that lantern.

    Dr. Glosser’s forebears progressed from street peddlers to haberdashers to owners of an Amex listed supermarket.  They did well.  David Glosser himself became a neuropsychologist.  His nephew, Stephen Miller, grew up in not so poverty stricken Santa Monica, and graduated from that university generously endowed by tobacco monopolists, the Duke family.

    Sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree.  Perhaps, as appears to be so with Clarence Thomas, Donald Trump and Stephen Miller, self-hate respects no racial, religious or ethnic boundaries.  Hate may be unavoidable, but we should never let it govern us.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Examples of how valuable the contributions of immigrants have been to America are endless.

      Most of the top scientists involved in the Manhattan project were immigrants or recent immigrants.  The labs at Los Alamos, Chicago, Columbia, MIT, and Berkeley were full of them.  Edward Teller, father of the H-bomb, was among them.  So, too, were the top staff at Princeton’s Institute of Advanced Studies.  Einstein was one of many.

      NASA was founded on the work – and secret emigration to America under the auspices of Operation Paperclip – of German rocket scientists.  Like Einstein at Princeton, Werner von Braun was only one of many.

      It is almost impossible to name an industry whose top names do not include famous immigrants, from Wall Street and Madison Avenue marketing men, to psychology and food research, America is full of them.  More importantly, its towns, villages, cities, farms and mines are full of them, too.  Even Trump’s White House.

    • greengiant says:

      Session’s and Miller’s affects on human rights of immigrants is noxious and minimally broadcasted by the media. Just two salients here.

      Any household member uses government benefits and nobody gets green card renewal or citizenship plan A. You vote and we come after your family plan.

      Not our people, send “legal” refugees back. Over 200,000 US citizen dependents, no human rights for them.

      Trumpalos say take it to congress. This with a house ruled by 123 or so racist GOP 0.1 percenters that kill any bipartisan legislation is such a typical right wing logic fail.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Upper middle class Stephen Miller is punishing the poor by denying them a route to citizenship if they’ve ever used a safety-net program.  He is threatening millions of people already here, and he threatens to separate them from their American born citizen children.  By design.  Miller is the horror that Kafka feared.

        Miller is demonizing programs that help families survive, that give them a leg up and a chance to work their way out of poverty, as his family and millions of others did.

        Family migration, which Miller mislabels, “chain migration,” conveys the specter of an unlimited number of links, an endless flow of racially, ethnically, religiously unwanted.

        Had Miller’s family delayed their emigration twenty years, American immigration policies of the 1920s would have barred their entry, as Miller’s own programs would do now.  His policies also would have barred admission to such diverse voices as Ayn Rand and Hannah Arendt.

        Miller is criminalizing the immigrant and criminalizing poverty.  He is also criminalizing community and connectedness, the values that bind every American neighborhood.  He is defending a white minority dominance, already on the ebb, that would never have let him into America.

        • Tracy says:

          It highlights the hypocrisy of all of those people out there outraged about immigration, when their own parents/ grandparents/ great grandparents/ great great grandparents or whatever immigrated here! (Unless they’re Native American – but it was due to the actions of just some of those immigrants, over time, that make that a lesser possibility).

    • Bob Conyers says:

      On the subject of relatives, Bob Goodlatte’s son is endorsing and contributing to the Democrat in the race to succeed his dad.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Andrea Mitchell used the term, “so-called” pogroms today, in an otherwise good interview with Stephen Miller’s uncle, Dr. David Glosser.  I’m not familiar with the qualification.  A Russian loanword, I thought that the term was accepted, and well if not narrowly defined in English.

      The context was the horrific environment of state-sponsored terror, military conscription, and grinding poverty that led so many Eastern European Jews to flee Imperial Russia and come to the United States. Those who emigrated included Andrea Mitchell’s forebears.

      Stephen Miller’s “reforms” would bar them from entry. Had that happened to his forebears, his family would likely have ended their days in German death camps.

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Manigault Newman is making a classic error.  So is the MSM.  They are accepting Donald Trump’s statements as true.

    Among her tapes, she has a call with Donald Trump after her firing.  In that call, Trump denies knowing about it ahead of time.

    Stop.  Donald Trump is a serial, abusive liar.  He is a bully and a coward.  He has a long history of never firing people himself.  He uses cutouts.  He does it in the most humiliating way possible.

    Who believes that Trump really did not know about Kelly’s firing of Manigault Newman ahead of time?  That would, btw, make four-star Marine General John F. Kelly a fool as well as an abusive extortionate manager.  And who believes Trump is lying to Manigault Newman to avoid accountability for firing her like a Trump apprentice?

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sorry, MSNBC editors, the most important question is not whether Manigault Newman broke the law or violated national security by taping her firing by John Kelly.  That she could do it is simply an expression of the incompetent processes used for all things by this White House.

    Her taping does not implicate the Situation Room as a SCIF.  It implicates COS Kelly’s shitty communications security protocols.

    It implicates Kelly for having taken her into what became a locked room – a closet devoid of people other than lawyers for Kelly.  He isolated and virtually imprisoned her in a soundproof room to announce her “non-negotiable” firing and to extort her silence.  That’s the story. 

    That story moves to the sidelines, however, another one.  Why she was fired and why she was hired in the first place.  Those, too, are on Trump.

    And WTF is up with the MSM selling Don Jr as a “campaign star” and a future politician.  Please. 

    Katy Tur is trying to sell it, but her body language suggests she’d rather not.  Don Jr would look fashionable in a striped prison outfit.  But this is crude distraction. Besides, unless Don Sr is in jail, he would never tolerate his son grabbing any of the spotlight for himself.

  19. Trip says:

    On FBI agent Peter Strzok’s firing: is that an appropriate measure?  It is beyond what the recommended punishment called for. But I have no real opinion on it. Is it a measure to placate Trump or a perfectly appropriate decision without Trump being considered at all in his termination?

      • Trip says:

        It’s peculiar (right after Trump was railing about him in tweets again) And He was not fired by Wray. Where is Wray?

        Mr. Strzok’s lawyer said the deputy director of the F.B.I., David Bowdich, had overruled the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which said Mr. Strzok should be suspended for 60 days and demoted.
        “The decision to fire Special Agent Strzok is not only a departure from typical bureau practice, but also contradicts Director Wray’s testimony to Congress and his assurances that the F.B.I. intended to follow its regular process in this and all personnel matters,” said the lawyer, Aitan Goelman, referring to the F.B.I. director, Christopher Wray.

        The articles offer no additional offenses committed by Strzok, nor the reasons for firing him now or why Bowdich fired him versus Wray.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Not if she looks forward, not back, or is afraid to use her political capital, or worried about distracting from her agenda.  The excuses are legion.  What we need is someone who won’t use them.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I agree that this looks like Fox, and therefore Trump, needed a scalp, both to appease Trump’s growing desperation and anger and to give him something to campaign on this November.

      More importantly, it’s part of the overall strategy of tearing down the FBI and its parent agency, the DoJ, and their investigation into how Russia helped elect him to the presidency.

      Plus, nothing entirely satisfies Trump more than publicly and humiliatingly firing someone who doesn’t deserve it.  (The OPR recommended 60 day suspension and demotion in rank.  The Bureau’s depty director overruled the recommendation, no doubt on Wray’s order.)  If Trump smoked, he’d be lighting one up about now. (See, Comey, McCabe, et al.)

      Bowdich and Wray take a hit for this.  They are toast as far as rank and file are concerned.  All part of destroying the FBI’s morale and the government’s power to investigate the great and powerful wizard of Trump.

    • RWood says:

      Appropriate? No. But it disarms the Right that much more, he’s no longer an effective weapon against the Mueller investigation.

      Not worried about Peter, he’s highly employable, despite what I’m seeing in the MSM. A GoFundMe? Really?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Disarms the Right?  That’s an awfully fact-based assumption. He needn’t be a current employee to be used as a propaganda football, to have his supposed faults smear the entire FBI that employed him. 

        But his firing does remove another chess piece from the board – another counter-intel asset that could have been used, directly or as an adviser, model and mentor to others – to defend against further foreign interference. In soccer, that’s called an own goal.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          Yep. This is the systematic purge of anyone who didn’t show the kind of mafia loyalty that King Idiot demands, regardless of its broader cost.

          The treatment of Omarosa is instructive here: there was no reason for her to be part of the administration, she behaved like someone drawn from the Family Business, and is an outcast specifically for her supposed disloyalty.

          • Tracy says:

            There are two branches to this thread, so I’m replying to all:

            Last night, Maddow made an interesting connection:

            “Rachel Maddow points out that six of the seven people James Comey told about his meetings with Donald Trump are gone or leaving the FBI, with the one who hasn’t been made into a political punching bag, David Bowdich, firing Peter Strzok, contrary to FBI personnel office guidance.”

            FYI, you can see her board listing the 7 here:


            It does seem that this firing was politically motivated, and could it also have been to preserve the position (for now) of that last witness – Bowdich?

            By Rachel’s reasoning, it seems feasible that it could have been Bowdich or Strzok’s head on a platter this time (and by the same reasoning, it could still be Bowdich’s next time).

            I have a question to lawyers: are the testimonies of Comey’s corroborating witnesses less valuable if they’ve been fired or pushed out? (If yes, then that would seem to support her theory – from where I am, I can’t see how they are less valuable after firing, unless the firing in itself somehow casts a bad light/ discredits.)

            All of these firings are disturbing and have been along the way :-/

            • Tracy says:

              (Please note above that the part after “interesting connection:” is a direct quote from the MSNBC website, thus I ought to have nested it in quote marks – thanks!)

            • Trip says:

              We keep hearing this over and over. Self immolation to save the investigation. I don’t think I buy this any longer. Just look how many sacrifices have been laid at the altar of Trump since Rosenstein said the DOJ won’t be extorted. Unless something new emerged about Strzok, this demonstrates weakness, not a great strategy to keep killing off people the emperor doesn’t like. How much longer will it take, cutting off body parts, until Mueller completes his analysis?

              • Tracy says:

                Well, going w/ your analogy, perhaps it is a mix of team Trump trying to knock off Comey’s contemporaries and corroborating witnesses (the “limbs”) from the outside, to weaken the whole organism and to damage the central core (the investigation), and the FBI/ DOJ, on the inside, in response is cutting off and suturing those limbs to try to preserve the life force within. Whereafter the organism will no longer be what it was, but it will survive so long as the core is protected and intact.

  20. Trip says:

    Kind of exciting (I enjoy southpaw’s twitter account immensely):

    southpaw‏ @nycsouthpaw

    I took a train down to Alexandria last week to watch a couple days of the Manafort trial. Yahoo News asked me to write about it. And I did. Then they asked me to publish it under my real name. And I agreed to.

    3 missing men at the Manafort trial

    • Rusharuse says:

      Great post

      also that name: Luppe B Luppen! That is going to spin in my brain for weeks, much like Immelman (the golfer), immulmun, Immoolman, E moolymun, Emuman, emoolymoolman!

      Coping OK though!


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