Into Shutdown Day 28: Is the GOP Senate Obstructing Justice?

[NB: Always check the byline, folks. /~Rayne]

As we roll through the afternoon into the 28th day of the longest-ever government shutdown, let’s revisit Senator Amy Klobuchar’s questions to Attorney General nominee Bill Barr before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

She asked him about his opinion on obstruction of justice. Barr discussed in his June 2018 memo addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General Steve Engel, focusing on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “‘Obstruction’ Theory.”

Four key points give pause:

  • Deliberately impaired integrity or availability of evidence;
  • Knowing destruction or alteration of evidence;
  • Ordering witness/es not to cooperate with investigation;
  • Misleading statements to conceal purposes.

Klobuchar asked Barr about each of these during the hearing:

(3:17) KLOBUCHAR: You wrote on page one that a president persuading a person to commit perjury would be obstruction. Is that right?

BARR: Yes.


BARR: Or any, any, well, you know, or any person who persuades another, yeah.

(3:31) KLOBUCHAR: Okay. You also said that a president or any person convincing a witness to change testimony would be obstruction. Is that right?

BARR: Yes.


(3:42) KLOBUCHAR: And on page 2 you said that a president deliberately impairing the integrity or availability of evidence would be an instruction*. Is that correct?

BARR: Yes.

KLOBUCHAR: Okay, and um, so what if the president told the witness not to cooperate with an investigation, or hinted at a pardon?

BARR: You know, I, I’d have to know the specific, I’d have to know the specific facts.

(4:03) KLOBUCHAR: And you wrote on page one that if a president knowingly destroys or alters evidence, that would be obstruction.

BARR: Yes.

(4:13) KLOBUCHAR: Okay. Um, so what if a president drafted a misleading statement to conceal the purpose of a meeting. Would that be obstruction?

BARR: Again, you know the, I’d have to know the, I’d have to know the specifics.

KLOBUCHAR: All right.

(* Not clear if she said “instruction” or “obstruction”; she was referring to the discussion obstruction in Barr’s memo.)

So what does this have to do with the shutdown? Regardless of the genesis and distribution of Barr’s memo or his opinion, these forms of obstruction are exactly what the government shutdown accomplishes.

Evidence to be gathered by and from some government resources may be limited by the furlough. IRS staff, for example, may have been called back to handle refunds but are there IRS staff on duty who may respond to subpoenas for tax returns? What of so-called “non-essential” personnel who might handle document requests in other departments? Have furloughed federal employees who are not yet called back indirectly ordered not to cooperate with investigations by virtue of their locked out status?

We already know that Trump avoided creating and processing records of his discussions with Putin, a likely violation of the Presidential Records Act. Has he further destroyed or altered evidence subject to the PRA but prevented staff responsible for handling and recovering destroyed/altered evidence from doing so with the shutdown? (Recall the archivist-records managers who had been taping together Trump’s documents but were fired by second quarter 2018.)

Has the demand for the wall itself, in any statements or writings demanding this wall, been an attempt to conceal the true intent of the shutdown as an act of obstruction? Recall how upset Trump was with Mick Mulvaney when Mulvaney tried to offer a number lower than Trump’s demanded $5.7B and higher than House Democrat’s offered $1.3B; Trump yelled at him in front of members of Congress and told him, “You just fucked it up!

Was it not the wall’s funding but obstruction by shutdown Mulvaney interfered with by trying to offer a means to reopen the government?

If there is any doubt at all about these points, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is obligated to permit bills through which would end the shutdown or at least extend temporary funding, so that obstruction by shutdown is at an end.

The GOP Senate caucus is likewise obligated to take measures to end the shutdown, including replacement of their Senate Majority Leader if he continues to obstruct government’s operation.

Neither McConnell nor the GOP Senate caucus appear to be acting in good faith about this shutdown. At least Mulvaney made a reasonable, good faith effort before being sworn at and shot down by Trump.

If we thought the GOP Senate was compromised before by Russian-furnished NRA money, they deepen their compromise by refusing to address the obstructive shutdown. Is their “lack of alarm” about the lengthening shutdown due not to their ideology but their resignation to this obstruction?

Why is Mitch McConnell still Senate Majority Leader at this point? Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was asked to step down for supporting a noted racist, and McConnell know this because he was instrumental to Lott’s removal.

Why is the GOP Senate aiding and abetting this obstruction of justice at scale?


Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121

62 replies
  1. Arj says:

    Hard to know to what extent obstruction is a driving factor, or whether it’s merely a useful by-product of the shutdown.  It seems initially to have been deployed as subtly as a hand grenade, in reaction to right-wing anger over the wall/barrier/picket fence/No Trespass sign.

    • Rayne says:


      How difficult would it be to coax right-wing pundits on Fox into a frenzy about immigration and asylum seekers? Seems easy to me.

      • Arj says:

        Absolutely – it’s not far to push ’em.  But it’s hard to imagine Trump ‘knowingly’ signed up to be attacked by the only (Foxy) constituency that counts, into which his base is plugged like a row of Teslas.  He lost the plot live on the Nancy & Chuck Show, while the VP sphinx was staring into the shifting desert sands; of course, cleverer minds in the Grifters Only Party would be quick to see the obstructionist benefits of stalling government with a shutdown.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      This is Donald Trump.  Preventing inquiry into his actions and his businesses is his last redoubt (barring encouraging a people’s revolt, which would harm a lot of people).

      Trump has worked hard to make the government not work domestically.  He has worked hard to make it less effectual internationally, torching associations and institutions the US has relied on since WWII.  All of those actions aid Putin, but they also protect a probable lifelong criminal from investigation.

      Trump’s principal hope to avoid imprisonment is the passage of time.  That works for him only when government doesn’t function normally.  Achieving that end pretty much describes Trump’s entire presidency.

  2. maestro says:

    I don’t really think a conspiracy theory about obstruction is necessary to explain the shutdown or Mitch’s actions.

    Mitch happily teed up a vote on a continuing resolution that passed by voice vote after being assured Trump would sign it. Then Trump got spooked by right wing media and changed his mind. So now Mitch isn’t going to lead his caucus onto a limb that Trump can saw off behind them again. He’s now perfectly happy to let this be a Trump vs. Democrats fight because it shields his caucus from the fallout, and so far there isn’t any pressure on him or the other Rs in the Senate to do anything differently.

    • Rayne says:

      Do  you see the word conspiracy in my post?

      The GOP has engaged in omerta, like that Paul Ryan invoked in a leaked recording after Kevin McCarthy said he thought Dana Rohrabacher and Trump were paid by Putin. There’s no need for conspiracy if they simply adhere to an unwritten rule not to discuss what their mob boss or capoderegime does.

      I guess you’re okay with this being a simple shakedown for money, drawing the line at conspiracy by calling it a theory, and certainly not obstruction. Got it.

      • maestro says:

        I’m sorry I don’t mean to be insulting at all.

        I just think the shutdown is entirely due to partisan politics and Trump’s ego.

        • Rayne says:

          Trump had two years with a GOP majority in both houses of Congress to get his wall. Your claim fails on this point: he couldn’t get it from his own party.

          There was a bipartisan offer in December for the wall. It was rejected. Your claim fails on partisanship again.

          The malignant narcissist had a chance to score a big PR coup and instead he chose a shutdown. Why is a shutdown more important than actually getting a wall funded?

          • maestro says:

            I guess I just don’t really get where the disconnect here is. The reason “the wall” didn’t happen in the first two years of Trump’s administration is because he surrendered control of the policy agenda to Rs in congress and they don’t care about “the wall”. Even the hardcore restrictionists, Cotton, Miller, Kelly, etc recognize “the wall” is meaningless when it comes to actual immigration policy which is why they sabotaged any attempt by Trump to trade something valuable for it.

            The original funding bill in December explicitly didn’t have “Wall” funding, which is why it easily passed the Senate and why right wing media freaked out and why Trump reacted with fear.

            • Rayne says:

              The disconnect is between Trump’s ears. He is a Fox News addict and he’s letting them play with his mushroom-shaped narcissistic ego; Ann Coulter (and the Breitbart-type chorus) goes off on a rant about the wall, the Fox parrots repeat her bitchery, and Trump reacts by doubling down reflexively on the fucken wall.

              Meanwhile, nobody sane wants the fucken wall. Even the corrupt and useless GOP senate doesn’t want the fucken wall.

              And he can’t see anything but how Coulter is crushing his ego with her inhuman hands on television.

              Right there is the goddamn problem with our country right now, in a nutshell: the worst of the right-wing are credulous unthinking automatons who let the worst of the moronic right-wing media tell them what to do, and the Russians figured out how to game this sick closed feedback loop.

    • Trip says:

      Based on your comment, there’s no point in allowing people to vote for divided government. Nor for one party to assert and stand up for the will of the people. What you’re saying is that one party is at fault for not conceding to unreasonable demands, that are without compromise or true negotiations, (after that person changed the terms midstream).

      If this is the type governing you think is fair (in assessing bothsides-blame for one individual’s fickleness and obstinance), then you really don’t cotton to democracy.

  3. P J Evans says:

    There’s actually a lot of pressure – his offices aren’t answering their phones any more. (He may be the only one who’s happy about the mess – but that isn’t going to last much longer.)

  4. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Please remember that Mitch McConnell prevented the President, Barak Obama, from notifying the people of the USA that the Russians were actively interfering in the 2016 Presidential election by threatening to scream it was a partisan move to throw the election to Hillary. He was already cashing checks to ensure the Russians threw the election to Donald Trump. Mitch is a big NRA fan and is likely complicit in the funneling of illegal funds from the Russians to the GOP.

    • G Holland says:

      *Barack, not Barak.

      Unlike the current White House occupant (aka Drumpf, tRump, Kaisler Quisling, Himself, DT, Toddler-In-Chief, Individual-1, Mushroom, Dickhead [we can continue ad nauseam but I don’t want to seriously annoy bmaz]), THIS President inspires my respect sufficiently for me to want his name correctly spelled.

      • Jenny says:

        Additions:  Agent Orange, Cheeto von Tweeto, Comrade Trumpski, Don the Con, Groper in Chief, Liar in Chief, Hair Drumpf or Herr Drumpf, Greedy Tweetie

    • Jenny says:

      Also remember Mr. Complicit refused President Obama his Supreme Court nomination, Merrick Garland.

      August speech 2016 in Kentucky, McConnell would say: “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.’ ”


  5. Eureka says:

    I am mildly worried about the intersection of this shutdown with the areally-large storm coming, likely power and internet outages, etc.

    In the meantime, I just saw that the people of twitter are pissed and trying to poke Trump with #PresidentPelosi (there’s all sorts of content, but plenty of people saying they are getting/keeping it trending to troll POTUS)

  6. Rusharuse says:

    Mitch couldnt give a fuck! If things go to shit in USA he can just move to China with Elaine and live like a bloody Mandarin.

    Turtle fact: some have been known to live for 200 yrs!

  7. Tom says:

    So if what Marcy says is accurate, would the greater good be served by the Democrats telling Trump he can have his 5.7 billion dollars for “border security” in order to restart the government and so allow the various investigative processes to go forward, or would that be seen as a major caving-in and a net loss for the Democrats?  Or is Trump secretly hoping for a major catastrophe or some other deus ex machina to occur while the shutdown is on in order to distract the news media & the public and then use the disaster as a cudgel to beat the Democrats with?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      This is Donald Trump.  He walked away from a bipartisan deal that gave him what he asked for before Christmas, screwing McConnell as well as the Dems, not to mention millions of people relying on government to work.

      Trump thrives on chaos.  It disables the competent and makes him look competent.  Trump does not like complex things that work well.  He doesn’t understand them or the people that make them work.

      Trump does not want to resolve issues.  That lessens the drama and dysfunction that keep him the center of attention without having to demonstrate a competence he does not have.

      Trump is a glaringly bad negotiator.  He lacks the information, strategy and discipline to succeed at it.  He hates and fears “compromise,” which he understands as a failure of testosterone and will.

      If Trump wanted to work with his own party to find a compromise to reopen government, he would have all the help in the world.  He would obviously be working on it, and so would the Dems, who have already offered more than one compromise.  Trump does not know how to do that.  He does not want to do that.

      Trump is, instead, luxuriating in a shutdown that does not affect him.  In fact, it protects him.  Nancy Pelosi is, I suspect, working hard to find things that will put Trump at appropriate risk the longer he prevents government from reopening.

      • Jenny says:

        Well said.  This is Trump’s shutdown now with enabler McConnell. Trump wants to “win” on his terms at any cost.  All about him winning.  A win for him to look like he is saving the country or beating the Democrats.  Mr. Narcissist is exhausting.

      • Rayne says:

        …He walked away from a bipartisan deal that gave him what he asked for before Christmas, screwing McConnell as well as the Dems, not to mention millions of people relying on government to work. …

        Besides being a shit negotiator, why would a malignant narcissist walk away from a massive PR opportunity to say to his base, “Look, I got the Dems to the table and they gave me the wall”?

        Because it’s not about the wall. It’s about something bigger to a malignant narcissist than a PR coup.

      • rolf says:

        Well said, these are key points. Trump at heart (not that he has one) is a reality TV grandstander who plays president on Twitter. He will always seek to disrupt, inflame, destroy, etc., as it divides his opponents into camps competing for acceptance of solutions to problems he himself creates. Divide and conquer. But this strategy has a limited shelf life, and expires once a majority agrees that his removal is the only effective solution. That is my hope, anyway.

    • Pete says:

      Dems trade opening government and the wall for OSC “protection” and the right of unredacted “report(s)” to be released to the public.

      $5.7 billion – heck give him $10 billion.

  8. Eureka says:

    (adding) It seems like people have ‘energy’ about all this, want to keep the story of ~’solution to corruption’ alive heading into the long weekend, and don’t know what else to do with it besides protest in this way.

  9. Alan says:

    @ Tom

    > So if what Marcy says is accurate, would the greater good be served by the Democrats telling Trump he can have his 5.7 billion dollars for “border security” in order to restart the government and so allow the various investigative processes to go forward…

    This would not work. Trump would then pull something even more extreme in 2-4 weeks. You can’t give in to bullies/hostage takers…

  10. Marinela says:

    @ Tom @ Alan

    The number is not 5B for the wall, it is going to be much higher. 5B is for this year alone. Trump once the wall starts, will need more and more money to get it completed.
    So discussing that dems should give in the 5B, is not accurate.
    Another aspect that bothers me, when media is saying that Pelosi should negotiate, they are mentioning about the senate option door as Rayne put it.

    • Hops says:

      Maybe as a compromise, we could pay Mexico to build the wall on their side, at lower labor rates, for a fraction of the price?


  11. Tom says:

    CORRECTION re: me at 5:52 pm above: I should have said, “So if what Rayne says is correct …” Looks like Trump is going to give some major announcement about The Wall tomorrow afternoon.

  12. Fikshun says:

    If true, then I guess we shouldn’t worry about Trump declaring a national emergency tomorrow to build his wall. How would he justify keeping the government shut down over the border wall if he goes around Congress and does it unilaterally? Ignoring the Executive branch overreach, would he be forced to come up with another reason to keep the government shut down? If he does whatever he does tomorrow because he’s feeling pressure over his plummeting polling, keeping the government shuttered afterwards would only be worse for him.

  13. Rapier says:

    Below I will lay out what to most everyone will seem like a nonsensical if not delusional view of how parts of the economy works, particularly the financial markets.  What seems  wrong or impossible however should just be considered a sideways look at how the financial system works. It isn’t wrong because it can’t be wrong because it deals with the exact mechanisms by which the financial system operates.  It just seems odd because hardly anyone looks at it from this angle. Actually most people don’t think of the gigantic flows of money winging around the world as bits, as a mechanism at all. The operation of the system is relegated in most minds to some sort of alchemy practiced by the High Priests of Money.

    I can accept that my view that these matters are the most important determinant of the direction of the financial markets is over stated.  That they are an influence cannot be denied, unless it is alchemy performed by High Priests whose power includes inducing a mystical ‘confidence’ in the ‘economy’ exactly akin to encouraging faith in whatever God they favor. In fact however the markets and the economy don’t work over any long term on faith.  For the economy it isn’t faith that drives things it’s money.  As in, show me the money. It’s a ‘show me the money Jerry’ economy

    The biggest general effect of the shutdown has been the stock market rally.  Because outlays have been curtailed the Treasury has almost totally stopped new borrowing.  The amount of Treasury Bills not auctioned since the shutdown started exceeds $100bn.  That is $100 billion that the banking giants and the investment world have not bought so the money had to go somewhere else. It has gone into stocks and until this week,  other already issued Treasury paper. etc. I say until this week because this week longer dated Treasury paper declined in price. A sure sign that demand fell since supply did not expand.

    Here is the Treasuries schedule this month. Note the negative numbers (). Those are places where instead of borrowing more they actually borrowed less. The buyers not having new bills to ‘roll over’  into.  Absent the shutdown those numbers would be approaching +$100bn.

    The huge stock market rally has been a stupendous boon to Trump’s confidence because he sees the market as reflecting on him, when it is strong, and on the Fed or anyone else he can think of when it goes down.

    The Treasury had built up a gigantic $349bn balance in its checking account,as of 1/9. For a couple of years the TBAC (look it up) has been advising the Treasury to build $500bn ‘rainy day’ fund. The total has ebbed and flowed and is now at that very large 350 number. When the shutdown ends the Treasury will quickly be sending out right away, easily, $100bn in checks for unpaid bills and salaries. They could use the cushion of the $350bn and not bother to go into the market and borrow back that $100bn. If they do return to the market to quickly rebuild their account it will cause the markets to fall quickly. In any case they still will have to go back to pay as you go and be pounding the markets with supply which is a strong reason why the whole fall selloff happened, in conjunction with the Feds ‘normalization, ie bloodletting, of $50bn a month and an extension of the rally will falter sooner or later. Let’s say by the second half. Remember the deficit has exploded post tax cut and this year should exceed $1TN.

    The stock market was due to rally in any case after the cratering of the fall. It’s sheer scale is attributable to the favorable liquidity situation caused by the dearth of Treasury paper supply.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s not just the loss of US’ bond buying that caused market uptick. Uncertainty due to Brexit has made US market look more stable in contrast.

      This won’t last. Consumer confidence cratered within the last month; if it weren’t for relatively low gasoline prices it would be even worse. Apple has good reason to forecast lower sales ahead and not just because of market saturation.

    • P J Evans says:

      Consumers aren’t confident because we have a president who has no effing clue about anything, including the US economy, and a Congress where one house has “leadership” that refuses to lead anything anywhere. I’ve been expecting the economy to crater for two years now.

  14. rip says:

    “Maybe as a compromise, we could pay Mexico to build the wall on their side, at lower labor rates, for a fraction of the price?”

    What a great idea! And the Mexicans could dictate who was allowed in or out. Superb.

    (Pity that this web site is so disabled for comments. But I understand there are more important things to deal with.

  15. Rapier says:

    Re: Rayne

    “This won’t last. Consumer confidence…..”

    Consumer confidence mirrors the stock market. People have been taught for 100 years that the stock market foretells the economy. It is said to ‘discount the future’. It’s all a load of pseudo mystical crap but no matter, people believe it. Of course after the fall off of the markets from October through Christmas those confidence numbers to fell. They will rebound if the stock market holds it gains.

    Only one time that I know of has ConCon ever diverged from the stock market. That was in later 07 and into 08 as the market was generally strong and the ConCon numbers fell. Besides the stock market people get their signals of the economy from the residential real estate market. When that started falling in 06 it eventually overwhelmed the signals the stock market was giving. The people were right because soon the economy and the markets collapsed, because of, you guessed it real estate. RE didn’t ever decline nationally like it did 06 to 12. Except in the 1840s’

    The ConCon numbers contain little information. They pretend to foretell things but they are a derivative of the recent past, in the stock market.

    • Rayne says:

      Consumer confidence mirrors the stock market.

      I could swear you just said the stock market reflected what’s happening in the bond market. LOL

      Think I’ll go have another cup of tea before I get snarky about moving averages, real consumer expenditures and the VIX. Ta-ta.

      • Rapier says:

        I  am saying the stock and bond markets are driven by overall liquidity. money, in the financial/banking system. The absence of Treasury supply served as a sort of artificial boost to liquidity which has been deteriorating ever since the Central banks quit QE, first the Fed, then the ECB and the BOJ slowing it, and then the Fed reversing QE with ‘normalization’,  destroying the money it ‘printed’ with QE.

        The only thing to remember from my sketch of how these mechanisms work on the prices of financial assets is that there are going to be other swoons in those markets because liquidity is faltering and when they get bad enough the Fed will end ‘normalization’ and then when bad enough will ‘print’ again. (The ECB and BOJ play their parts too. It’s one big pool of money in the dollar based financial trading system) That should work to reflate the financial markets. You don’t want to be around if ‘printing’ does not reflate the markets.

  16. Anon says:

    Rayne, while I have no doubt that The Donald sees the obstruction as a benefit, It is worth remembering that for a generation of Republicans the government is and has been the enemy. From their perspective a shutdown just isn’t as bad because they believe in their hearts that the government is, must be, worse than other things. While I do not doubt that McConnell and others are seeing benefits in obstruction, I also think that many of the lower ranks are going along with it because they just don’t see it as an issue and even if they do, they are pretrained to blame Democrats. That vengeful screed in the Daily Caller did not occur in a vacuum.

    • Rayne says:

      Recall that the 115th Congress’ GOP House caucus was corralled into a closed door meeting with so-called economics guru Stephen Moore who proceeded to tell them they were no longer the party of Reagan and instead a populist party. But Moore was completely snowed by the Trump campaign — they aren’t doing much of anything for the working class. Instead they are using a captured government as if it they were a crime syndicate. Hello, omerta.

      The problem for the public is that the red state working class hasn’t a clue this shift has happened. They are as snowed as Stephen Moore but they will go along because they are incurious authoritarian personalities who believe what Fox pundits — and the POS Daily Caller — tell them.

      (I’d probably be a little less terse about this right now if I hadn’t had two RL arguments with a Kool-Aid drinker this evening. Gah.)

      • P J Evans says:

        The people who somehow have managed to miss – or have convinced themselves – that SS and Medicare are not government-run plans remind me of the guy on my train who worked for the city’s water&power department – fairly powerful in itself – and who told me that he didn’t work for the city. (I still don’t know how he managed to convince himself that the city emblem on their vehicles didn’t mean that they were part of the city. Or that his paychecks from the city didn’t mean that he worked for them. People are strange sometimes.)

  17. JD12 says:

    Rayne asking the hard questions, and they definitely need to be asked. Obstruction has to be a factor, how much is hard to tell.

    I’m as outraged about the shutdown as anyone else, but I’m now of the belief that Trump mostly just miscalculated and followed bad advice. He likes to project, and in his speech at the Pentagon last week he had a line about Democrats being hostage to the fringe elements of their party, but really it’s the opposite. The immigration stalemate essentially goes back to 2013 when the Senate passed the bipartisan immigration reform bill that would have doubled the current border fence as well as the number of Border Patrol agents, but it was the Freedom Caucus who prevented the House from passing it. And Trump has made numerous tentative deals with Democrats until Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton torpedoed them.

    Pelosi on the other knows exactly what she’s doing and the fringe isn’t a factor. The immediate consequences of the shutdown are getting all of the attention right now like they should be, but sometime in the future we’re going to see how well she’s played it IMO. Not everyone will credit Pelosi but she’s letting him dig a hole for himself. Now that workers are missing checks he’s literally taken food out of their children’s mouths. Trump is too deep in that hole to win in 2020 now. His base loves the shutdown but he’s lost hundreds of thousands of independents that he’ll never get back.

    On the obstruction part it’s probably something Trump is happy with and it’s a factor in his thinking for sure, but it sounds like quite a few GOP members of Congress are reaching their limits on how much they can support him. The national media is presenting it as like a false dilemma where it’s either Trump or Democrats who are responsible for the shutdown, so MM could be laying low because he doesn’t want people to realize how much of this is on him. But who knows with that diabolical bastard.

    Also, is the shutdown hindering House committee investigations? I know they haven’t started the hearings yet, is that just a scheduling thing?

  18. Charles says:

    Rayne asks, “are there IRS staff on duty who may respond to subpoenas for tax returns?”

    The the president’s tax forms are held in the Commissioner’s safe. A letter to the Commissioner should be all that it takes to receive copies. He would presumably not be on furlough.

    Rayne also asks, “Why is the GOP Senate aiding and abetting this obstruction of justice at scale?”

    While it’s impossible to read minds, a good guess is that there is blackmail information on them. The National Enquirer would be a perfect vehicle for a blackmail operation, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Trump has copies of whatever the Enquirer has in its safe. Alternatively, payoffs.

    • Rayne says:

      Oh, I know the executives’ shell game; I wouldn’t bet on the Commissioner producing the returns immediately while in shutdown. The documents may be in an executive’s safe but the executive assistant has the other portion of the protocol needed to unlock, or some other form of obstructive bullshit.

      And we’ve all speculated on party-wide kompromat but again, that’s why they should throw the freshest Class I senator at the majority leadership slot — less kompromat. Hell, they use the role as a form of kompromat itself, a quid pro quo: we’ll fund your re-election if you do this now.

  19. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Why is the GOP Senate aiding and abetting this obstruction of justice at scale?

    Why?  Because Trump, and very likely Putin, has ’em by the shorts ones…

    For whatever reason, the GOP let Trump bully, lie, and smear his way into their primary process and take over, then followed him gladly into that box canyon…

    And now, they’re farked…

    They made their deal w/ that devil because they thought they were going to take over the country, perhaps permanently…

    It’s like they lost their minds playing high stakes poker and let him push all their chips into one pot while holding a pair of twos…

    I’ve wondered for quite some time that if Putin has compromat on Trump, did he also give Trump compromat on the GOP, to help him keep them all in line?

    Just asking… I don’t know… but seeing how no GOP emails have been leaked like Dem ones were (that I know of), I really have to wonder…

    • Marinela says:

      Believe that Trump himself uses compromat of others to control.

      May or may not come from Putin.

      This is why he hates Adam Schiff. He is squicky clean and competent.

  20. Michael says:

    voice of Onslow (of Keeping Up Appearances): “Aww, nice.”
    Donald Duck à l’Orange plans a “major address” to the nation this afternoon to “lay out details of a deal the White House believes can end the partial government shutdown”. I first heard this last night from PBS’ News Hour, and now I see that The Guardian is running the same sticky wicket.

    Here we go again with another “major address” that will, like others before it, morph into a diatribe tarring those awful Democrats and lauding the Great Republicans. Oh, with a double-down on way-too-many billions for his damned wall.

    I’m not going to arrange my Saturday afternoon to accommodate the Bozo and to be verbally abused. Read the above quote again: it does not say this “deal” is different from his previous demand. We are packing our touring skiis and heading out for some Real Entertainment…. without smart phones.

  21. Tom Poe says:

    Autocracy requires total submission of the Senate to carry out the directives of the President/Leader. McConnell has publicly announced his allegiance to the self-confessed sexual predator/wannabe autocratic leader. Pelosi now stands squarely between our present form of governance, preventing the overthrow by McConnell to an autocratic rule. I believe that McConnell’s legacy as a failed agent in search of an autocratic government is already cemented in place, and deservedly so.

  22. Marinela says:

    Today I suspect Trump will  attempt to offer DACA for the wall.

    Could be something else, but if he offers DACA deal …

    He expects /wants dems to say no, because DACA now has some protection from the courts, so in reality is not such a deal to accept.

    Would be inttersting to see how Pelosi handles it.

    I do think Trump has this immigration situation the way he wanted. DACA should never been broken by Trump in the first place, meaning he undid the Obama protection. He brakes things, then he comes to negociate and he says I alone can fix some of the things I broke in the first place, but the options are two fake solutions for stuff he broke.

    And he makes sure to get the credit for all this incompetency show. MSM really needs to cut through all this fogginess.

    MSM seems to be really quick to repeating the GOP spins, but is not pointing out the obvious explanations. Where is the darn two side thing coverage?

    Wish we would have a really independent MSM, not the ‘controlled opposition’ we now get.

    I am sure there are lots of capable journalists that can fact check real time and provide quick follow ups, but they are not given the spot.

  23. Tom says:

    Instead of a wall, how about a moat on the southern border? And Trump’s supporters could shovel it out. “Dig that Moat! Dig that Moat!”

  24. P J Evans says:

    Reports are that the “compromise” is “Give me X billion for the wall and I’ll allow DACA for three years, and no citizenship pathway”.
    Only a fool would believe that that’s how it’s going to go in reality: he has a history of refusing even his own side’s deals, when they don’t give him whatever he wants at that moment.
    This is also a guy who’s a micromanager and who believes that conflicts between underlings is the best way to run a business. (He’s a sh*tty manager.)

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t know which one, several, or all of the White House and GOP are involved in this debacle but they are over their heads. They created this monster and now they want to tame it? Bah.

  25. Dan Letterman says:

    Folks, republicans play the long “game”.

    Grover Norquist is laughing his head off and Ted Cruz’s gang are gleefully proving government is dysfunctional by destroying it from the inside.

    I swear that in just over 10 years, the stars on the flag will be replaced with “Sponsors of America”(tm) logos.

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