Rudy Is Relying on Tapes to Claim Buzzfeed Is Phony: But There Aren’t Tapes of Everything

Yesterday, I noted that Rudy could not be sure the Buzzfeed story was phony when Trump’s lawyers called Mueller’s office Friday, because the White House should have no knowledge of what Michael Cohen said in his interviews with law enforcement.

Today, the New Yorker provided Rudy’s latest splutter explaining why he believed he could be sure the story was phony.

Where are we now with Trump and Cohen and the BuzzFeed story, and your response to it?

I guess the BuzzFeed story—I don’t remember what it said about Cohen—but it said there was corroboration that the President talked to Cohen and told him to lie about, I guess it was, the Moscow proposal. There are no tapes, there are no texts, there is no corroboration that the President told him to lie. That’s why the special counsel said that the story was inaccurate. First time the special counsel has ever done that. As a prosecutor, having done that for fifteen years, that is quite a heavy rebuke of BuzzFeed. And the reality is that the President never talked to him and told him to lie. And I don’t know what Cohen is saying, but certainly the idea that two federal agents said that there was corroboration is totally untrue.

Did President Trump’s lawyers or you yourself reach out to the special counsel’s office after the story, as has just been reported?

I can’t discuss that. President Trump would not have done that. If anybody would have done it, obviously it would have been his lawyers, and I really can’t discuss that. That would be confidential.

Do you—

But I can tell you, from the moment I read the story, I knew the story was false.


Because I have been through all the tapes, I have been through all the texts, I have been through all the e-mails, and I knew none existed. And then, basically, when the special counsel said that, just in case there are any others I might not know about, they probably went through others and found the same thing.

Wait, what tapes have you gone through?

I shouldn’t have said tapes. They alleged there were texts and e-mails that corroborated that Cohen was saying the President told him to lie. There were no texts, there were no e-mails, and the President never told him to lie.

So, there were no tapes you listened to, though?

No tapes. Well, I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.

This passage explains everything we need to know both about why Mueller’s office set the bar on Cohen’s testimony where they did, and why the White House responded the way it did.

But it doesn’t mean Rudy can be certain that Cohen didn’t tell authorities that Trump ordered him to lie.

Remember that when Cohen was raided, Trump squealed like having his fixer raided was the biggest constitutional crime of the century. Both Trump Org and Trump himself insisted on paying $1 million to get a special master appointed to conduct the privilege review.

The results were expansive and seemingly an expensive dud for Trump. Special Master Barbara Jones ended up finding just 7,434 items out of boxes and boxes of evidence to be privileged. There were 57 other items Trump and friends wanted to claim were privileged, but not enough to argue why they were publicly.

In her summary, Jones described that altogether 7,434 items had been deemed privileged. Trump and or Cohen had objected to Jones’ designations with regards to 57 items, but were unwilling to fight to have Wood overrule Jones’ designation if their arguments would be public.

It was part way through the Special Master process when Cohen started talking about being abandoned by Trump and warming up to flipping on the guy he had been loyal to for so long.

On July 2 and July 13, Jones started releasing big chunks of non-privileged items. Almost 2.2 million items were turned over. On July 10, Cohen moved to share all these materials with Guy Petrillo. By this point, Cohen felt he had been abandoned by Trump and was preparing to flip against his client. July 23 is when Jones reported that Cohen and Trump had withdrawn designations of privilege with respect to 12 audio files, which were then released to the government (and began to be leaked on cable shows).

I guess I was wrong when I said this process was an expensive dud. Trump’s lawyers weren’t using it to assert privilege over stuff they knew was mostly not.

They were using it to assess how much damage Cohen could do to the President. Once they reviewed that discovery, they recognized they didn’t have to continue to dangle a pardon for Cohen, because there wasn’t documentary or recorded evidence to back up the most damning allegations he might make against the President. It’d just be Cohen’s word against Trump’s.

And that’s the basis on which the White House contacted Mueller’s office Friday: Having reviewed everything seized from Cohen’s raid, including any tapes Cohen made of conversations with Trump, they believed they could assert to Mueller’s office that the Buzzfeed story was not true.

This also explains why Mueller set the bar on Cohen’s allocution where he did. Cohen may well have told Mueller that he believed Trump ordered him to lie. Trump likely did! Certainly, Rudy is not denying that happened. But unless Cohen recorded that conversation — as he did for the hush payments — then Mueller is not going to set himself up to have to prove that. That necessarily partly explains (in addition to the issues I raised here) the difference in how SDNY allocuted Cohen and how Mueller did. SDNY has tapes, courtesy of Cohen, of Trump ordering him to pay off his sex partners; Mueller does not have tapes, courtesy of Cohen, of Trump ordering Cohen to lie to Congress.

That said, Rudy still should have no basis for asserting what Cohen has said to one or another law enforcement agent. While it’s not clear what Cohen’s status was at various times of this process, he would only have been recorded by the FBI if he was in custody. And the White House should not have his 302s (nor might they have all the other materials from others who have been interviewed, though admittedly would have lot from having done Trump Organization’s document production and being in a joint defense agreement with most of the relevant people).

One more thing: The degree to which Rudy emphasizes that Trump would not have reached out to Mueller’s office makes me believe we’re shortly going to learn he did reach out to Big Dick Toilet Salesman Matt Whitaker.

President Trump would not have done that.

That’s one of the most logical explanations for the currently contradictory messages coming from seemingly official DOJ sources about what Rod Rosenstein’s office did.

Epic cheap-ass Donald Trump paid $500,000 to figure out whether Michael Cohen had recorded the most damning conversations between them. But it was worth it! He paid it to be able to do what he did Friday, demand a statement disclaiming what is obviously true: that has Trump repeatedly suborned perjury from his advisors to hide what he did with Russia.

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

202 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    I think this probably spot on right. What I still can’t  figure is “why” Mueller did it. Guess trying to continue sanitizing Cohen is the best explanation, but it is still curious.

  2. Jenny says:

    Thanks Marcy. Just put the link on the last post. Tapes or no tapes for Rudy. Odd, confusing, wacky responses for an interview before getting into the shower.

  3. Trip says:

    I just said this myself in the last thread. But Trump may not have heard/found recordings made AFTER the raid.

    I now found an article:

    President Trump phoned his longtime confidant, Michael D. Cohen, to “check in” on Friday as lawyers for the two men went to court to block the Justice Department from reading seized documents related to Mr. Cohen’s decade of work for Mr. Trump, according to two people familiar with the call.

    It is not clear what else they discussed in a call that came days after a series of F.B.I. raids. Depending on what was said, the call could be problematic for both men, as defense lawyers often advise their clients not to talk to each other during investigations. Mr. Trump and Mr. Cohen still were trying to determine what exactly was seized.

    We don’t know if Trump made any other midnight calls on his personal phone, after this, either ,(which reports say he was in the habit of doing, outside of the earshot of any aides). And since Trump lies so much, he may not even recall specifics himself.

    • Eureka says:

      Re midnight calls, don’t forget Hannity, the convenient *journalist* cut-out (cue Hair Club for Men- “I’m also a client!”).  Besides using lawyers as cut-outs, I suspect this crew may use journalists and or their phones (e.g. Trump in March 2016 using Newsmax CEO Ruddy’s phone to call Stone) more regularly than we know.  Well, pre- Ali Watkins days, for sure.

  4. Trip says:

    I know bmaz won’t like this, but my patience is wearing thin. I’m beginning to get onboard with Chris Hayes who thinks hearings should begin, an investigation conducted out in the open. Especially since Trump Inc are trying to run out the clock, and we know Trump will not be indicted by Mueller.

    • bmaz says:

      Oh, I am not against opening an impeachment investigation in the House, if for no other reason than to keep the various committee inquiries focused. I do think it should be slow and deliberate however so as not to step on Mueller’s toes. As the premature idiocy of Cummings Feb 7 hearing mucks up.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        “…it should be slow and deliberate however so as not to step on Mueller’s toes.”

        Absolutely but did Cummings touch base with Mueller before announcing the Feb 7 hearing?

        Quick OT: do you know if Isaac Chotiner is related to Nixon’s hatchet man and mentor Murray Chotiner?

        • harpie says:

          Norskie, your OT question prompted me to check out Murray Chotiner’s NYT obituary…[I didn’t know anything about him, having been only marginally aware of national politics in the early 70’s.]

          It was very interesting to peruse that paper in their archives on line [included for home delivery customers]…That the price of a gallon of milk went up by one penny actually made the subhead of one article in the business section.

          Anyway, he died almost exactly 45 years ago. The obituary ran on January 31, 1974. FWIW:

          Murray Chotiner, Nixon Mentor, Dies […] [Murray Chotiner] leaves his fourth wife, the former Nancy Michel; a son by an earlier marriage, Kenneth L., who is a lawyer in Los Angeles; a brother, Jack, who is a retired lawyer, and two adopted daughters, Renee and Julie. […] 

          Also on that date:
          1] Editorial: A Judicial Undertaking “[…] If President Nixon intends to “fight like hell” against impeachment, he faces a committee united in its understanding of its own authority in an impeachment proceeding. Representative Edward Hutchinson of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the committee, has stated that “executive privilege in the face of an impeachment must fail.” His statement accords with the traditional view of legal scholars that a President has no choice but to make documents and information available to the House of Representatives when it considers an impeachment.  […]”
          2] End of Inquiries is Urged by Nixon Vowing Not to Quit, He Says He Will Aid House Panel but With a ‘Limitation’
          3] The President’s Trump Cards “President Nixon played his trump cards tonight. // In his State of the Union Address to Congress, he declared, first, that the chief legacy of his Presidency would be peace. […] Then he declared he had no intention of walking away from the job to which he had been elected by the people of the United States. […]”
          4] Nixon Announces Arab Oil Meeting Reports ‘Urgent’ Session on Lifting Oil Embargo—Kissinger Effort Cited
          5] President to Refuse to Testify at Ehrlichman Trial “The White House said today that President Nixon would refuse to testify personally in the California trial of John D. Ehrlichman but left open the possibility that he would respond to written interrogatories about hie role in setting up the special investigations unit known as the “plumbers.” […]

          Forty Five years!

    • Mister Sterling says:

      Agreed. I feel most Democrats would rather run out the clock as well. By August 2019 it will be too late to start any impeachment process. Harris is already the Democratic 2020 front runner (with Beto strongly favored as her VP). If the Democrats started hearings now, they wouldn’t be stepping on Mueller’s toes. They need to start before summer, or they never will. But I still think Trump will be indicted by both Federal and State prosecutors once he leaves office.  And I still think Don Jr. is being indicted this quarter.

      • bmaz says:

        Harris is not already the Democratic frontrunner. That still, for the time being, belongs to Biden and Sanders. And if more people really understood Harris’ craven history on criminal justice issues, they might think twice about supporting her at all.

        • Trip says:

          I’m glad you say this. I’m not a huge fan of her either. Of course, given the choice between the GOP or Harris, I’d opt for her. I just hope that there is a better choice.

          • bmaz says:

            No, that is NOT what I mean, and you damn well know it. Thanks for all the fishy bullshit. And, for the record, Harris is still whining that she could not prosecute even more people because her career attorneys could actually read the Constitution and ethics guidelines. So, spare me this baloney.

            • CCM says:

              I would like to see you do a post on this, I value your opinion. Do like Harris, she seems to have a fierceness.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Other stuff as well, especially going easy on corporate malfeasance that your article also touched on.  Plus, there were some “me too” issues in her office she claimed she did not know about.

            However, on the whole she’s still better than any GOP of the modern variety as well as Tulsi Gabbard and Biden (think of the credit reform act).  I’d prefer Warren, though.

            Like HRC before her, Harris will face a  blizzard of BS and further attempts to take her down, perhaps something like what happened to Franken.

            While we’re talking about political ladies: AOC for her part has a message that works (quasi-Eisenhower tax schedule – brilliant since it’s the declared GOP golden age) and appears to be fundamentally grounded in reality and serving the most people in her new role.  What she needs to do in my opinion is to tap the experience of Pelosi, Warren,  maybe even DiFi and make sure that her message is heard and effectively received even though the MSM will discount her due to the age and sex.  Pelosi would be really helpful with her proven ability to hold the D caucus together while they were in the wilderness and not on TV.

            AOC will get all of the crap HRC did and more, she would do well to follow the example of Jackie Robinson integrating the big leagues where he did not back down, picked his spots to respond appropriately and made sure that others would be able to follow him.  Look for 4chan or QAnon or Roger or Project Veritas to “find” some video of AOC in some kompromat, since they already tried it with the dance one (only proving that she can dance pretty well).

            • Trip says:

              AOC is great. Everyone telling her not to act “young” is signalling the old fart white guy privilege. I agree that more established Dems also need to pick up the mantle of her policy thoughts. If they don’t, she should continue driving it home.

              When they thought Beto’s punk band photo was kompromat, but actually increased his likeability, you know some of the old guard are out of touch. Millennials need to vote. They are more motivated by youthful vigor than staid civility and same ol’.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              AOC probably scares establishment Dems and their corporate donors as much as she does the GOP and theirs.

              She is an anomaly that is not yet controllable, whose stated priorities would upset a lot of applecarts and turn them into figurative tumbrels.  And she may be a harbinger of many more like her.

              The Dems should pay attention.  She and her approach are immensely attractive.  She appeals constructively to the alienation and angst that drove so many voters into the corrupt arms of Donald Trump.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Hard to tell that Harris is not the front runner from the fawning Guardian’s coverage of her.  It seems to have concluded that she has the best attributes to stir up horse race coverage: talented Democratic woman of color from California, etc.

          The Guardian seems to yawn over the other two main contenders – Warren and Gillibrand- perhaps feeling that they are plain vanilla easterners.  But there will be many more horses in the race.

          I do hope the MSM becomes interested in more than the clickbait potential of the aspirants.  A lot more is at stake and we’re going to be living with this election for a year and a half.  We’ll have to contend with Trump for months after that.  He is not a good loser – odd, given how much experience he has at it – and will trash the frat house before the dean can expel him and send him home.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes on all of that, and also what Rugger9 said above. But if it comes to it in a general, I would easily vote for her. Primary, not so much.

      • Trip says:

        I would not be so sure about indictments after leaving office. This country has a bad history of letting muckety-mucks walk.

        Meanwhile, Trump is holding the gov’t hostage by keeping it closed, biding time, deflecting, starving courts and other offices, and yet it isn’t stopping the GOP agenda. It’s not just a matter of punishment after the fact. It’s about absolute destruction while he remains seated. That should not go on.

    • DWoolly says:

      I agree with Trip.

      I see no reason why the house can’t look into all of this nonsense themselves while waiting for Mueller to finish doing what he’s doing.  At least the wheels will be turning.
      I’m sure most of you read the “Impeach donald trump” article in the Atlantic by now.  As much as I’d like to see trump gone, I was on the fence about impeachment hearings until I read it.  Now it seems like the only responsible thing to do, even if it’s only to get more information out there in a way that isn’t via the “fake news”.  I guess trumpites would still find a way to spin the info coming from the House….”Fake House”?  Doesn’t have the same ring to it, but I’m sure they’d think of something

    • P J Evans says:

      Two different investigations, because the House can’t do what Mueller is doing, and he can’t do what they can: impeach the guy (and, I hope, everyone in government who’s corrupt as f*ck will get the message that they can’t do that and hope to keep the job).

  5. pseudonymous in nc says:

    And the White House should not have his 302s

    Which means it’s worth asking Rudy whether he’s seen them. Who knows what he might say?

    • Trip says:

      Rudy may not have seen them, but the real lawyers might have. So they’d have to ask if anyone in the Trump defense camp did. Or Nunes (who was actively deflecting and obfuscating for a time), or some other fucker. ANYONE.

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    Yep, that is exactly the way things are done in swampland, Marcy. Love how you are so brilliant and willing to share. You are our North star. Hope you are considering cloning your talent.

  7. BobCon says:

    So he’s essentially continuing the kids birthday magician act — he’s telling everyone to keep looking really hard up his left sleeve to make sure there’s no rabbit there as he tries to awkwardly palm the half dollar with his right hand.

  8. Trip says:

    pseudonymous in nc

    There are so many things journalists should be asking in follow-up questions, it boggles the mind. But many of them leave it sitting in the ether because they want to leave mysteries or they aren’t quick enough on their feet to respond.

    • Marinela says:

      To me the most plausible explanation is that the journalist are biased, and/or they are trying to advance some narrative under the pretense they are objective.

      Seems to be a lot of financial interests at play as well, like NPR, they need government funds, although they are trying to appear objective.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        NPR is reliably centrist, a plain vanilla, no cinnamon or nutmeg egg custard flavored news-like organization.  Has been for two decades, ever since a Republican Congress serially threatened its funding, driving leadership, staff and budget changes that made it less useful as a news organization.

        Its coverage today of the Lincoln Memorial confrontation is a good example.  It had a short clip from the Native American elder, paired with a live, much longer interview with a representative of the Catholic school whose students appeared to confront him.

        The representative was NOT at the Memorial and had no firsthand information.  He was an alum, but did not know the students involved.  He was there to defend the school and the boys.  I found the segment unbalanced and uninformative, but comforting and normalizing.

        If you want candid informed news coverage, NPR, like Wiki, is a snack to make you hungry, but not much of a meal.

  9. Hops says:

    Important as it may be, the issue of Trump suborning perjury is minor compared to the question of whether POTUS is under the influence of Russia.

    He’s certainly doing a lot of damage. That we know. I want answers…

  10. hester says:

    why? do you think it’s answered by what Marcy says here:

    then Mueller is not going to set himself up to have to prove that.

  11. Trip says:

    ABC via rawstory:

    US banker with ties to Putin’s inner circle sought access to Trump transition: Sources

    Foresman was listed on Barrack’s schedule after a series of other meetings Barrack had that day – including a 10 a.m. sit-down with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and a 3 p.m. meeting with the president-elect. Foresman’s name appears without a scheduled time, and a notation, “Mark Burnett contact,” next to it. A spokesperson for Burnett declined to comment.

    There was a Feinstein inquiry last year. Seriously, the shit is leaking in a flood now, just hold hearings.

    • Remy says:

      That’s a dead link. Try this one:

      US banker with ties to Putin’s inner circle sought access to Trump transition

      More fun stuff:

      In January, he secured a meeting with retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, according to two sources familiar with Foresman’s contacts. An attorney for Flynn, Robert Kelner, declined to comment. Flynn was one of six co-chairs of Trump’s transition team.

      Also during the transition, Foresman held a December meeting in New York with the chairman of a state-owned Russian development bank, Sergei Gorkov, according to a recent court filing in an unrelated case. Gorkov was the same banker who flew from Moscow to New York for one day that month to meet with Kushner.

  12. Pat Neomi says:

    Can someone explain to me why tf Trump thought it was a good idea— in the first place, AND continues to think it a good idea—to have Rudy represent him? He seems to cause more detriment than benefit. All I can think is Trump likes what he charges him.

    Also, it seems exceedingly unlikely that Cohen would be deft enough to pull it off, but is there any chance he had any incriminating evidence that wasn’t seized during the raid that he would have been able to turn over once he began cooperating? If extant, would that have been excluded from the privilege review?

    • Pat Neomi says:

      I’ve woken up enough now to realize that anything Cohen had would per se need to be reviewed for privilege. My bad.

    • CCM says:

      Because Rudy is great on TV. All the gaffs make dominate the discussion but have no bearing legally. Like watching a slow motion car accident.

  13. Trip says:

    Pat Neomi says:
    January 22, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Rudy’s ex-law office may have exposure in facilitating money laundering. He’s invested personally, perhaps. Someone similarly compromised promises greater loyalty to Trump. But he also plays a good court jester. He throws out curve-balls no one adequately counters in real time. The confusion permits the GOP to feign nothing is clear or precise, that it’s just noise. It clouds up the more solid reporting that gets swept aside. Even though there are bits and pieces that seep out through Rudy. Then everyone claims, “He’s just confused”, which then conveniently absolves him of his fuckery and any facts he may reveal.

  14. Phil says:

    What if Cohen and Trump discussed Cohen’s testimony to Congress and Cohen said I will tell them that Trump Tower negotiations broke off well before the election and then Trump says, “OK, that sounds good, go with it.” Does that mean trump told him to lie? While Cohen tries to portray himself as a victim, he was as much a coconspirator as Manafort, and the rest of the gang–Just following orders doesn’t cut it.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, that does constitute telling him to lie. Did you not read any of the prior posts where I laid out the implications of 18 USC 2? And where do you think cooperating witnesses come from, some pure field of virginity? Come on man.

  15. Trip says:

    January 22, 2019 at 9:45 am Willis Warren says:

    People are finally starting to realize, “holy shit, this fucker really did make a deal with the Russians”

    Has anyone checked in with Glenn to see if he still has the deep state vapors? That might be when you know the tide has turned, when his suspension of disbelief is gone.

  16. pseudonymous in nc says:

    Trip: the Chotiner interview was useful because he got Rudy911 to say on record that he’s not going to talk about specific discussions with King Idiot, citing attorney-client privilege. But given that Rudes has forgotten that on multiple occasions for PR purposes, no harm in asking again.

    I think EW’s right that the Special Master process is at the heart of this — and yeah, most people forgot about it until she reminded us because it was finished 15 years, I mean five months ago. When that process ended, things moved swiftly with SDNY, presumably because voluminous receipts were picked up in the raid.

    If Cohen does testify to Congress (and I agree with bmaz that it’s a bad idea) then the focus really needs to be on the 2016 payoffs, and how many other single-purpose LLCs Cohen might have set up for various fixing jobs.

    • Trip says:

      Yep, I came to the conclusion this AM about the raid material as well.

      Also left out there, who did Flynn convince to cooperate early? Remember that was a big mitigating point made by OSC ? Was someone else cooperating who may have had interactions with Cohen vis a vis his testimony, or was a witness to it?

    • timbo says:

      What’s more interesting to me is if Rudy ever has to be compelled to testify before Congress… #holdmybeerexpressunlimited

      Suggested Curriculum:

      Executive Privilege Theory 303A
      Attorney-Client Privilege 101 Express Offramp Edition
      Obstruction of Justice Prosecutions Refresher 99C
      How And When Not: The 5th 455 On-going Seminar

  17. Luis says:

    It’s still possible that SCO has documentary evidence that Trump directed Cohen to lie, but it just didn’t come from Cohen, right?

    • BobCon says:

      I frequently have to remind myself to take a step back and limit my thinking about what Mueller does and does nit have.

      Giuliani’s statement is both carefully parsed and contradictory, so I won’t assume it rules out some other kind of evidence. However, I also think we are in the middle of another episode where Trump’s team is trying to make the case about obstruction because that’s the ground on which they feel is least bad to take a stand.

  18. Savage Librarian says:

    Would be nice to see Biden and Bernie meet in Bellows Falls on the Vermont Vilas Bridge (in New Hampshire.) There is a plaque there with a stanza from Will Allen Dromgoule’s poem, The Bridge Builder. It’s all about passing the torch, guys.
    @bmaz 9:34 – “craven”??!!! And I thought EW was all about the evidence. Words are important, man. Such a hangry tone. Time for a snack?!

    • bmaz says:

      I don’t need any snack, jack. I have known about Harris and her policies since she was first SF DA 15 years ago and other NACDL members starting pointing out how atrocious she was.

      • ernesto1581 says:

        Thank you for sticking to your memory, bmaz.
        I think Harris’s candidacy (as well as Booker’s, should he get around to starting his engine) calls for a quick reprise & consideration of Adolph Reed’s indictment of Obama on the campaign trail in April 2008:

        “He struck me then [on arriving in Chicago] as a vacuous opportunist, a good performer with an ear for how to make white liberals like him. I argued at the time that his fundamental political center of gravity, beneath an empty rhetoric of hope and change and new directions, is neoliberal.”

    • P J Evans says:

      They seem to figure that rules are for the rest of us, those who are neither rich nor Republican, to follow. Remember that they had no problem with Newt’s marital history, any more than they did with Trump’s. (This is one of the reasons why I read Slacktivist. Fred notices stuff like this.)

      • Trip says:

        Yeah. I think the religious component is merely a cover for tyranny: To have control over and dominant other groups. Putin supplanted communist ideology with the Orthodox Church, when the Soviet Union died. It’s a way of claiming moral superiority as justification for repression.

        Those not in power are to be condemned. Those with special/exclusive connections to ‘the god’ are forgiven when they sin, because they have a special pipeline or some shit.

  19. Rapier says:

    I forget. Were the IPods from Cohen’s world record collection of IPods encrypted? Do we know?
    I am sure this is a dumb question, I apologize.

    • BobCon says:

      You’re thinking of Manafort’s iPods?

      I think the recent filing suggested Mueller’s guys got into devices with passwords that Manafort didn’t give up, although it didn’t get more specific about which devices they cracked

  20. Pat says:

    gedouttahear says: “(Harris) is a law’n’order dem, and we don’t need those.”

    With all due respect, so is Sonia Sotomayer, and her perspective on criminal justice is exactly something that we do need.

    • gedouttahear says:

      Labels always make trouble. My mistake.

      But, did you read the piece by Ms. Bazelon? If not, shhhhh.

      Basically, Harris has supported unjust  — as in UNJUST  — judicial outcomes and has opposed remedying those unjust results when the remedies reflected poorly on her office. In other words, her career above the rights of others. 

      • Pat says:

        It’s a pretty detailed article, and I’ll agree that as a former director of the Project for the Innocent, Ms. Bazelon probably knows her stuff pretty well.  Let me play devil’s advocate for a moment.

        How many cases go through a district attorney’s office in 7 years, especially in some place like SF?  How much time and attention does the DA have to devote to each one?  Each office is going to end up convicting some innocent people – the system unfortunately works that way, and it’s a tragedy each time it happens.

        Was Harris better or worse about this compared to the previous DA? How about to the following one?

        I think the most troubling accusations have to do with reining in unprofessional, unjustified use of force by the police, an issue that plagues our country.  Certainly there are new prosecutors that are doing a better job than Harris is reported to have done.  The problems are that the DA’s office and the police have to work together, making DA oversight of the police difficult.  It will be interesting to hear what Harris has to say about these issues.

        The fact that Ms. Bazelon published her piece in the NYT is also troubling, as their track record in covering women seeking the Presidency is extremely bad.

        My comparison with Sotormayer still holds.  No person holding the office of DA can be spotless in their judicial outcomes.  How Harris plans to use what she learned, from both mistakes and triumphs, is key.  That’s something worthwhile to ask her.

        • Daddy Frank says:

          I believe the preceding DA was Terence (Kayo) Hallinan, a former defense attorney.  Next to him, any DA is liable to resemble Atilla the Hun.

  21. Jim_46 says:

    EW: “Having reviewed everything seized from Cohen’s raid, including any tapes Cohen made of conversations with Trump, they believed they could assert to Mueller’s office that the Buzzfeed story was not true.”

    They “believed they could assert.” Trip @January 22, 2019 at 8:45 am is undoubtedly correct. They “believe,” but the White House is very, very nervously not entirely sure. So on Friday in a panic they contacted the SCO. Mueller huddled with aides. They decided to say in response, “Nope, we don’t have corroboration, and we have no idea who BuzzFeed’s sources are, and we don’t know what ‘interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents’ could possibly be referring to.” Later another call comes in, maybe, this time from the DOJ: “We just heard what you told the president’s lawyers. We think it’d be good to issue a statement. Don’t you?” Mueller huddles with aides again … a conversation in which EW thinks a decision was reached to issue an opaque, impenetrable, vague statement on the BuzzFeed article, in order to ratchet down public expectations (those future jurors, remember) that Cohen would testify and Mueller can provide evidence corroborating that testimony that Cohen got told, point blank, by Trump to lie about the Moscow project.

    I understand the hypothesis. I get that it has its own logic arising from a singular focus by the SCO on getting indictments and convictions. But it doesn’t really add up, not for me. It’s one thing to reassure the White House, for this or that reason. It’s another thing to issue that public statement after a thousand instances of “No comment.” And it’s just strange that whatever benefit the White House might have gained from that SCO statement, they immediately throw away by having Rudy Giuliani take credit, on Trump’s behalf, for wringing that statement from Mueller.

    It just doesn’t add up, not neatly, not yet.

    • Rayne says:

      You know what doesn’t add up? After all the indictments and convictions to date, not seeing where this is going, and not seeing how incredibly nervous the White House has been since Friday morning.

  22. Rugger9 says:

    Another OT but reflective of the standard held by the Palace and Kaiser Quisling regarding their privileges (i.e. Leona’s “Only little people pay taxes”).  These are fundamental requirements and accounting standards, so how did this stay hidden for 2 years?

    Why it was hidden is no surprise, since it is to hide the foreign money used by KQ to get elected. IIRC one of the Russian oligarchs was so unhappy with his seating at one of the events he threatened campaign lackeys.

  23. Savage Librarian says:

    bmaz @ 10:46 – Sounds like just the kind of law enforcement we might need to clean up the mess we’re in.

    • bmaz says:

      Sounds like you are an authoritarian with insufficient concern for due process and the Constitution. But thanks for identifying yourself as such so that we can know who we are dealing with.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      “Sounds like just the kind of law enforcement we might need to clean up the mess we’re in.” That kinda law enforcement is what has brought us the mess we have right now. But thanks anyway.

      • P J Evans says:

        Probably judges DAs (and DA candidates) by conviction rate. Conviction rate tells you mostly how much the prosecutor likes sending people to prison. It’s not about actual justice. [It’s getting a young Latino to take a deal for two years for illegal possession of a firearm that he picked up from the weeds where a driveby shooter threw it, when the only witness on your side is a retired cop from the other side of the country who was looking diagonally across the 6-lane street through a window, and the cops and you didn’t bother to look for the people who were closer because all of them were Hispanic. The first jury hung, the family couldn’t afford another trial, and the prosecutor told them that they’d keep trying the kid until they got a guilty verdict. Actual case. THAT’S NOT JUSTICE.]

  24. BroD says:

    Ok, can someone point me to a clear, brief and copy-edited statement of the case for cancelling/postponing Cohen’s appearance before the HOC?  I’d like to bring it to the attention of my congressman, EEC.   Tia.

    • timbo says:

      A short list?

      —Discovering that the guest speaker might be asked hard questions.
      —Subpeona required by witness counsel
      —Assertion of 5th by witness known to be garanteed.
      —Executive Branch claims Executive Privilege in advance.
      —SCO believes that this will harm other prosecutions or investigations that Committee is not fully briefed on yet
      —Chairperson of Committee easily distracted by other shiny
      —Leadership of House have suddenly other plans for that day
      —SSCI negotiating with Committee to hold joint private deposition prior to public testimony
      —Unexpected request by witness that they be granted full or partial immunity prior to their testifying

      Basically, you’d think that pulling a tooth would be easy but there are so many dentists that…

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Rudy 9/11’s argument is that Trump may have told Cohen to lie to a federal official, but because he doesn’t think the SCO has enough evidence of it, he feels safe in categorically denying that he did?

    I’m sure Trump likes the outcome of that logic, which is the only part of the argument he’ll see. But he won’t much like it if Rudy is wrong about what evidence Mueller has.

  26. orionATL says:

    jesus h. christ. kamela harris for democratic party presidential nominee? harris is a P.R. fraud of the first rank.

    in addition to bmaz’s defense lawyer observations, check out what harris actually did as california attny general for victims of the great subprime house-purchase-and-foreclosure-scam conducted by financial corporations.

    harris is all mouth and promises. the nation deserves better from the democratic party.

    • P J Evans says:

      There’s an opinion piece on her at the Sacramento Bee, which would be a little more familiar with her than the eastern news media. I don’t think that they’re crazy about her either. (I really think that those who want inspiring leaders should step back and ask themselves what they really are looking for, because “inspiring” is not at all the same as “good” or even “competent”.)

      • Trip says:

        You know who I see complaining about likeability or non/inspirational more than anyone else?  The never-Trumper conservative talking heads that MSNBC or CNN puts on. They are the ones calling Warren boring or question her likeability. Meanwhile, I watched a video of her campaigning with people in Iowa and I saw an inspiring woman rallying up the people. I wondered if they even watched. They probably don’t like her politics much, so their perception might come with some hidden agendas.

        Say something enough and it becomes a consensus?

        They are also ratcheting up the immaturity line about AOC.

        • Rayne says:

          Massive mistakes. Big. Right-wing whether Trumpists or NeverTrumpers do NOT understand the simmering rage among women, persons of color, and LGBTQ Americans (this morning’s SCOTUS news didn’t help).

          Keep talking about “likeability”? Every instance sounds like the patriarchy talking about “fuckability.”

          If they keep talking about AOC’s age we will likewise hear references to her “fuckability,” i.e. “She’s fuckable but too young for anything else.”

          Every time they call Warren “boring” or make a snide reference to race we’re going to hear McConnell droning, “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

          They woke a sleeping dragon and she’s coming soon. She’s already stuck her nose in the door of Congress with 2018’s pink wave.

          • Trip says:

            What I find troubling is that there isn’t enough push back on these types.

            And a side note rant:

            Then you have someone like Kornacki (sp?) who is enthralled with the political tactics of McConnell. Maybe that’s all he’s invested in, the strategy. But it becomes insufferable when he tends not to condemn the damage while immersed in his political admiration. We’ve seen this in the past when “left-sided” cable people held Paul Ryan in regard for policy wonk-ness. I’m not saying Kornacki is anywhere near left, just that he appears on MSNBC.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      IMO, “Harris is all mouth and promises. the nation deserves better…” She is a smarter and more “photogenic” Diane Feinstein but her politics and those who determine her politics are the same. But worrying about who is going to be the Dem nominee and tryin’ to fix the odds on the horse race 2 years out in this moment is ridiculous. Events and the process of dealing with them will expose ALL candidates before this thing is settled.

  27. Rugger9 says:

    Something we already knew in CA, orion. However, my point above still stands: she’s still better than any GOP, Biden or Tulsi. I think Warren’s the better POTUS and Harris is better as a Senator for now.

    Already the knives are out so the GOP is scared. FWIW, Harris was born in Oakland and the 14th Amendment applies to her, regardless of where her parents came from.

  28. AitchD says:

    At the least, Harris wants Biden and Sanders gone except as fundraisers. If those three are on the debate stage together, she has to ask Joe if he thinks she’s also “clean and articulate” and ask Bernie why he hasn’t released his taxes.

  29. orionATL says:

    rugger 1/22  @12:05p

    warren is better potus by far if she ever gets the chance, yet of all candidates she has been given the ho-hum-what-a-bore treatment by the media.  the media are once again on the verge of doing the nation a grave disservice in “chosing” candidates.

    as for the 14th amend comment, that goes over my head. what is that all about? is harris another american pol norn in the panama canal zone, hawaii, canada, phillipines, alpha centauri 😕😁?

    • BobCon says:

      Dave Weigel at the Washington Post is a good alternative to the regular press covering elective politics. He followed Warren’s recent trip to Iowa and noted that people were very interested in seeing her and that she was connecting very well. He’s also very blunt about how it’s far too early to think about front runners.

      He relentlessly mocks the tropes of the pack journalists — one of his favorites is dunking on the classic diner interview that parachuting journalists do. Last year prior to the election he was constantly pointing out how the GOP was misreading the electorate by attacking Pelosi and trying to take down universal health care.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Jacob Wohl took some time off from sliming Mueller to claim Kamala is not a US citizen because her parents were not native born.

      For me, if the GOP is wasting attention on her now they are worried about her like they are with Warren.

      • Jenny says:

        GOP  have little respect for women.  Their leader is Groper in Chief.  That speaks volumes about lack of respect for women.  They will go after all Democratic woman running for president.

        GOP – Old energy hanging onto old beliefs.

      • Avattoir says:

        The thing about Dem senators from large population states such as CA and NY is that multiple millions of voters are already used to pulling the lever for them. Voter comfort to that level of commitment carries big value with the folks directly engaged in machinery of getting Dems elected.

        So it should come as no surprise that GOP early recon ratfuckers are always working to pick away at whatever might be the marketable ideas of ‘weakness’ among the members of this category of candidates for the DNC nom.

        • timbo says:

          Yep, Harris is the front-runner under traditional convention and electoral college simple calculations.  Biden is the wild card again here for 2020.  Is he in or is he not?  If Biden knows he’s not but doesn’t say anything then it benefits whomever Team O is unofficially backing… At the very least one has to give Harris’ credit for throwing >her< cards on the table first.  I wonder if she asked anyone for any advice about that from Team O before declaring… I’m thinking she didn’t hear a “No” but it’s not clear precisely what she was expecting she might hear instead.

          A good politician asks questions to which they know the answer to in advance, it is often said.  What is not often missed is that it is how one frames the question that gets one the answer one wants to hear…

  30. Trip says:

    FBI agents are now publicly lamenting that they have no money for investigations, even while they work without pay.

    This is a feature of the shutdown, not a bug. McConnell is intentionally keeping the gov’t shutdown to prevent criminal investigations. All of this bullshit filed under shutting down because we want to “Keep Americans safe”.

      • Trip says:

        Yes, but this is new, from today, specific stories in a thread/report:

        FBI Agents Association‏ @FBIAgentsAssoc 3h3 hours ago

        Today at 11:30 am, members of FBIAA’s National Executive Board gather for a press conference to discuss the current and lasting impacts of the #GovernmentShutdown on FBI operations and national security. Updates will be shared on this thread…Regarding the future of the FBI, @tfoconnor83 says, “The failure to fund the FBI is creating long-term problems by making it more difficult to recruit and retain skilled and experienced Special Agents.” Below are excerpts from Voices from the Field on this topic.

        • Rayne says:

          They may be talking about it today but the effect this shutdown was having on investigations could be seen — Jesus, it’s weeks ago already. The effect on recruiting/hiring/clearing personnel is *now* personal, not just institutional.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Gee, sounds like the last two years at the State Department.  Now it’s the DoJ (along with every other USG department).  What could the president be thinking?

  31. viget says:

    As we say in science all the time, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Gotta think Buzzfeed’s story is somewhat right.  Likely the same sources were used as were for the big May 2018 Trump Tower story which was pretty much correct to a T.  Certainly it’s possible that new evidence has come to light since the Cohen raids, perhaps maybe emails and texts from the Trump org that were recovered by the FBI forensics teams?  Or documents destroyed by Cohen that were recovered?

    Another possibility that might explain  this is Weisselberg (or other Trump org sources)  has brought new evidence to bear in the SDNY investigation, and NYC FBI has been following up with it but hasn’t shared it with SCO yet?  Seems unlikely, but might explain some of the confusion.  Maybe it’s Mueller’s play to avoid having some of the more incriminating evidence go through his office, for fear of Big Dick Toilet hoovering up and reporting back to the boss?

    Whenever this is all said and done, I would love to know the backstory behind how SDNY managed to get the Trump handpicked US Atty recused off this case.  I don’t think that story has been told yet.

  32. firsttimecaller says:

    bmaz: “What I still can’t figure is “why” Mueller did it. Guess trying to continue sanitizing Cohen is the best explanation, but it is still curious.”

    Is there any chance OSC issued its vaguely-worded statement to take advantage of Trump’s apparent lack of complete candor with his legal team, who frequently seem unsure of what they are holding back or going to defend next? I think it’s weird that the Trump team’s response over the weekend has been more about conceding damaging facts and moving the goal posts than a full-throated “even Mueller said this was fake news!!!”

    I also agree with Marcy’s analyses of why it mightn’t help Mueller to have the BF scoop’s narrative floating around, but I find OSC choosing this story to push back on and Trumpworld’s hesitancy to make more out of it very curious. I tend to believe Mueller using Rube Goldberg maneuvers to ensnare Trump is wishful thinking, but it does seem like Trump’s (public) defenses managed to get even flimsier since Friday afternoon.

  33. Watson says:

    I like the idea of a crowded and vigorous Dem primary, but it will inevitably be personality-focused, so how about accompanying it with some sort of process, perhaps initiated by the DNC, which seeks to identify issues which Dems should address, and recommend policies that they should advocate. (I assume that this would produce some regional variations.)

  34. Savage Librarian says:

    bmaz @12:33 – I see that you have adopted DT’s techniques down to an art form. Na na na boo boo. Maybe you would benefit from a little time out.
    In truth, I have spent tens of thousands of my own hard earned cash to defend individuals and institutions from white supremacists.
    Kept my car for 23 years and brought my lunch to work every day. Cut my own hair too. All for the 1st Amendment plus some.
    You’d like the whole story, I’m pretty sure. So would Joe & Bernie.
    What do you say? Can we call a truce? In the end, I believe we are more on the same side than not.

  35. BobCon says:

    Question for the lawyers — Josh Gerstein reports on the mystery company fighting a Mueller subpoena. He says it is wholly owned by a foreign government, and the company claims in effect that makes it an arm of the government. Also, much of the company’s argument warns of a “foreign-policy nightmare that would ensue if American courts started enmeshing foreign states in domestic criminal proceedings.”

    What I’m wondering is why this wasn’t settled long ago? I struggle to believe there haven’t been criminal subpoenas issued against wholly owned state businesses in the past. I’m thinking there must be state banks implicated in financial crimes, or state owned airlines in smuggling cases. Is there some other wrinkle that makes this case unprecedented? Or is this actually a first time?

    • SteveB says:

      I fear that to opine on the claim of foreign sovereign immunity relating to wholly owned businesses is difficult due amongst other things to the exception to immunity relating to commercial activity, the applicability of which requires looking at the act not the state’s purpose behind them. Thus a foreign wholly owned bank which ostensibly conducts banking business then launders money, does not have the immunity. It is possible to imagine a huge variety of circumstances and organisational relationships where the organ in question has activities that are more or less commercial and are more or less a conduit for foreign policy action in process. So “wholly owned” adds a bit to the scant public knowledge, but doesn’t add much to our understanding of the competing claims at issue.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The Sovereign Immunities Act provides immunity from prosecution for foreign states acting in their governmental capacity. They can be sued only when they consent to it.

      Exclusions from that immunity include traditional, non-governmental activity, such as commerce.  Banking is a traditional commercial activity.  A foreign state-owned entity engaged in banking activity in the US could be sued in connection with that activity.

      If this mystery entity is wholly-owned by a foreign state and engages in the US in banking activity, it’s hard to see how it is not subject to personal and subject matter jurisdiction and suit for claims connected to that banking activity.

      Like any other defendant, it is entitled to raise its defenses to suit and to make the DoJ prove its case: here, that the DoJ has personal and subject matter jurisdiction over it because its claims relate to commercial, non-governmental activity.

      If those are the facts, this appears to be a delaying action.  It would further many goals.  In finance, time is money.  Delay, unless adequately compensated for through interest and penalties, lowers the cost.

      Delay is also useful as cover while diplomatic or other negotiations or actions take place.  One of the latter could be making documents or personnel unavailable.  That could lead to sanctions and/or a default judgment, but it would avoid disclosures that might cost the foreign state more.  I suspect there’s a lot more to come.

      • Rayne says:

        Which leads me to ask if this is a wholly-owned development bank or a wholly-owned commercial bank? The former would likely be immune because development business would reflect the owner-country’s policies. And if the U.S. is punitively nicking their monetary assets for failure to comply, I have to think it’s the latter and not the former.

        Kind of narrows down the likely entities.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Agree.  A development bank would more likely be considered an arm of foreign state assistance, a foreign policy activity that would be covered by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

          But states often play games with what they classify as “development.”  It is sometimes a cover for a deal that benefits a few specific foreigners and corrupt elements of a regime, which have a piece of the action.

          If the development at issue is a Trump Tower-like deal somewhere, I’d love to see the briefs on how that benefits the common weal.

        • harpie says:

          Jed Sugarman and Wendy Siegelman have threads today which end up focusing on VEB and the Qatar Investment Authority [QIA]
          edited to add: according to WS, VEB manages Russian pension funds [a pension fund entity was mentioned in dossier], and “Feb ’17 @McClatchyDC reported US investigators were examining if Russian intel agency FSB sent payments disguised as pension benefits to US-based operatives who hacked Democrats & undermined HRC”

              • Rayne says:

                LOL I deleted the two test replies you and Trip posted. Hope nobody thinks there’s some kind of encrypted messaging system going on in comments here.

                • harpie says:

                  I’m so sorry for making extra work for you, Rayne. Usually I can delete the test comment, but not always. If you’d rather me not try that tactic for replying, just let me know. Thanks. :-) [bmaz, too!]

      • BobCon says:

        Another thing I’m puzzling over is the involvement of the Supreme Court. They only consider a small number of issues brought to the lower courts. This says to me either this is a case where justices want to insert themselves for political reasons, it truly covers some kind of groundbreaking issue, or possibly Mueller wants this wrestled to the ground and has pushed the SC to take it up.

        I assume it’s too early in the process for Fed Soc goons to muck up the case, but I don’t really know and I wonder how this will play out.

    • maestro says:

      The Supreme Court in fact denied the company’s request for a stay of the penalties, so they are ongoing and accruing. All the Court did today was allow the company to file their petition for cert under seal and a redacted version publicly. The fact that they declined to stay the penalties is a strong hint that they will not hear the case on the merits.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I would find a $50,000 a day fine a little disconcerting, but for a big banking house or commercial entity, especially one with full government backing, it’s chump change.

        • maestro says:

          I’ve wondered about that. I think it does add up eventually; sure the company as a whole may be worth X hundred billion dollars, but available cash on hand isn’t the same thing. Plus who knows how the company’s internal accounting works–sanctions accruing at $50k per day can potentially blow through the company’s legal budget for the year pretty fast. I think there may also be other indirect effects–for example, various professional or regulatory licenses, approvals, permits, etc. may be based on the entity having a clean record.

          I do actually expect the company to comply eventually, once their remedy at SCOTUS gets closed off.

          • Drew says:

            Unless not complying is important enough to the government/company that the company just folds up tents on their U.S. operations.

            • Alan says:

              Maybe. The court could however continue to sanction the company and possibly the country for not complying, and possibly authorize the seizure of any assets in the USA or within reach of US law.

  36. Vern says:

    @BobCon: Marcy thinks it’s the UAE or Qatar (in a recent post), if that helps. So far I haven’t seen (may have missed it) her rationale. But these countries as players in the mystery appeal suggest a completely separate dark and winding rabbit hole for Mueller and us.

  37. Rugger9 says:

    My bets are the Soviets Russians, the Saudis or the People’s Republic of China (keep in mind that many Chinese “companies” are actually state-owned shells) since those are the nations with money that Kaiser Quisling has been bowing and scraping to since the inauguration.

    Alternatively, one could look at the usual suspects in the Panama Papers, but many of those are not state-owned.

  38. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The MSM is deeply into its usual “both sides are digging in” coverage.  The meme is as sagging and tired as Donald Trump’s waistline.

    This is not a both sides problem.  Trump invented this shutdown, he invented its reasons and why this shutdown is so painful to millions.

    Trump does not want a resolution.  Any resolution restarts government, makes him look a failure, and empowers and shines the spotlight on the new Democratic House.  It refocuses attention on Mueller’s investigation.

    Trump is personally unaffected by the shutdown: his McDonald’s sandwiches continue to show up like clockwork.  He cares as much for the federal workers he is responsible for as much as he cared for the literal boatload of undocumented workers he brought to Manhattan to build one of his early towers, workers he fought for a decade not to pay.

    Trump has a long track record on such issues and on this shutdown.  He has refused earlier compromises and reneged on earlier deals.  He refuses now to work on one.  Instead, he waits like a mad King George for someone to bring him a solution he can call his own, which will make him look like Solomon, Aurelius and Charlemagne combined.  Then there’s the court fool, Mitch McConnell, who just waits.

    Only one side is trying to find a solution here.  It’s not Trump or the GOP.

    • Trip says:

      Agreed earl. It’s bullshit sports coverage again. McConnell can open the gov’t at a moment’s notice. And if you notice, no member of the GOP is expressing empathy toward the fed workers, save for Murkowsi.

      Joanie Ernst was asked about the workers not making rent, standing in soup lines, and the only thing she could respond with was “Why no complaints about gov’t shutdowns in past presidencies?”.  Not, “I really feel for those suffering” or “I hope we can resolve it soon for their sake”.  Just naked political jabbing with no humanity.

      I really think there should be a collective walk-out at this point.

    • Marinela says:

      About MSM coverage. I was afraid this would happen. It is just rotten.

      Don’t understand why democrats are not able to get their messaging through.

      Democrats didn’t campaign for the immoral wall.

      So how could they sign to fund the wall, since they don’t believe in the need for the wall?

      MSM almost suggests that they should somehow cave in. Is the media job to state the facts not side with one party.

      • timbo says:

        They don’t need to.  Fact is that Trump and the GOP had two years to get their Wall and they blew it.  Obama and the Democrats got the ACA passed when they controlled the Congress in 2009-10… over complete opposition from the GOP.  Dems opposed the Wall and it didn’t happen…with the GOP in charge of the Congress that spent a lot more time wasted trying to repeal ACA.  Now the GOP wants the Dems to cave when the GOP lost in the last Congressional election?  Not going to happen.  The lesson needs to be learned.  Finally, the DP has got a backbone again.  And Trump has given it to them.  No more rolling over for GOP cry-babies.  I’m guessing that the party leaderships on both sides are now trying desperately to crack the other party.  The DP has a much stronger position currently.  Trump’s position is weak.  McConnell’s position is weak.  In fact, I’d suggest that McConnell’s position is suffering minute by minute at this point.  Every time someone sez “Great, let all these works be unemployed—who needs the government at all anyways?” McConnell’s position in the Senate tears further…

  39. anaphoristand says:

    I’m hung up on the inference that it was in determining that Cohen DID NOT have the most potentially damning evidence on Trump memorialized in audio/textual format that would have freed the Trump team to cut him loose. I’d previously considered the calculation to’ve likely been the opposite — the fact that Cohen (and, post-raid, SDNY/Mueller) DID have so much damning documentation of potential Trump criminality rendered dangling the pardon less strategically practical. Otherwise, why the double-standard RE: pardon dangling for Flynn and Manafort, especially when considering they’d both actually entered into cooperation agreements?

    • Eureka says:

      Unless I’ve misunderstood, you may have answered your own question:  the pardon-dangling for Flynn and Manafort makes sense _because_ they have or are tied to strong evidence against Trump, as far as Trump knows.  So it’s not a double standard for such friendliness to have been withdrawn from Cohen, once team Trump reviewed enough of the tapes, etc., to determine that they were in the (relative) clear.

      • anaphoristand says:

        So is the insinuation then, that Flynn/Manafort have documentary evidence in their possession that the SCO has not yet gained access to and that implicates Trump in criminal behavior? I’ve not seen such an assertion anywhere, and presuming that is NOT the case, both Flynn & Manafort would be in relatively the same position vis a vis the danger they represent to Trump that Cohen is — they have knowledge of his criminal exposure, and would presumably be able to testify to it, but any physical evidence corroborating their testimony would already be in the possession of the SCO. So my question still stands, why the different standard? Trump has as yet suffered no consequences for his serial pardon floating, so why pull back with respect to Cohen, when continuing to do so ostensibly costs him nothing, and keeps Cohen quiet?

  40. I Felt Mark says:

    Here’s what seems the most likely scenario based on public reporting and Giuliani’s comments to Jake Tapper over the weekend: Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and the man with the most intimate knowledge of Trump Tower Moscow, drew up a statement/story to minimize the damage. He coordinated with Trump’s lawyers and spawn to nail down a coherent narrative and get everyone on the same page (e.g. The plan died in January ’16, no contact with Russians, etc.).

    After the final story was agreed upon, Trump gave a thumbs up to his legal team, and the story was distributed to all necessary witnesses (Trump Org employees, Felix Sater, etc.). Knowingly encouraging false testimony would still be illegal on Trump’s part, but one could split hairs about whether Trump “directed” Cohen to lie or merely gave tacit approval to move forward with the plan.

    This would be a different scenario than when Trump drew up the adoptions statement about the Trump Tower meeting himself on Air Force One. This would be more of him sitting back and giving a nod than getting into the weeds with it.

    • anaphoristand says:

      As Jennifer Taub argued earlier today, and I believe bmaz has here previously, “Trump [likely] aided and abetted (under 18 USC § 2) making a false statement to Congress in violation of 18 USC § 1001… (a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal… Accordingly, a direct oral or written statement from Trump to Cohen is not necessary to have to prove the crime under 18 USC 2.”

  41. Rugger9 says:

    Semi-related, Jerry Nadler sent his questions over to the BDTS acting as AG, and I expect the hearing to be either entertaining as they come or a litany of “executive privilege” and “I don’t recall” in a CSPAN snoozefest.  However, I don’t think Rep. Nadler is going to buy any drive-by “we’re gonna do it” executive privilege claims, he will force BDTS to formally assert it.

  42. PR says:

    The GOP impeached Clinton for lying about a blowjob. Why is the current bar Nixonian? It’s not like we have haven’t already exceeded that bar anyhow, but let’s place blame squarely where it belongs: the GOP and Congressional Republicans – the party of Un-Americans. They have failed to uphold the oaths of their offices by being a basic balance of power all in the name of party before country. ENOUGH.

    America cannot afford to be beholden to traitors and billionaires like Erik Prince and his sister Devos who seek to fleece America and trash equal education for all Americans.  More private company no-bid contracts, more money for the rich, less oversight, less regulations, which brings us to them allowing RICH RACIST HATERS tear down department / agency expertise piece by piece by the Clown parading as “president” via Russian hacking.

    We’re being butchered by Russia and China and Republicans. Is this the moral majority? Stormy Daniels? Photoshopping Trump’s large pannus and small fingers? And what of his ill-gotten Russian money via Deutsche Bank? Trashing all IC reports? Trashing international bodies/allies? I blame McConnell because he is straight up guilty. A guilty piece of shit who failed his country in its darkest hours.

    The Republicans whether they be cowards, whores to corporate America, or power-seeking pigs, all deserve to be on trial for treason. This is not a Trump-sphere only operation. We’re in a much bigger mess because of the GOP and SCOTUS (Citizens United). More like Enemies United. To all my haters. FUCK YOU. I told all IC agencies in July 2016 about Russian hacking. They knew. I was right. I TOLD YOU SO. So here we are Myanmar, Poland, Belarus, Philippines, Turkey, Russia, China, Brazil …and more aligning in what’s WWIII. Wake up ppl.

    [FYI – blank lines inserted to improve readability. Long, unbroken swaths of text are difficult on readers and come across as breathless./~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      A little more interaction with the post’s content would be appreciated — in this case, the post was about Rudy Giuliani’s work as Trump’s lawyer.

      This bit in particular, “We’re being butchered by Russia and China and Republicans” needs citations to support this claim or clarification that it’s hyperbole.

  43. Rusharuse says:

    What does Putin know and when did he know it? Versus-what don’t American voters know and when the fuck will they know it!

  44. Eureka says:

    OT re the sanctions:  Jackie Speier with Hakeem Jeffries was just on Chris Matthews talking about the Deripaska-Blavatnik-Mnuchin relationships, including how ‘vote-whipper’ Mnuchin sold his studio stake to Blavatnik; Blavatnik is the second biggest holder of Rusal stock; she got into the inauguration monies from Blavatnik a little bit… the circle goes round and round.

    I have posted this article before which covers some of these details and relationships, re-posting it FYI:

    Why Is Warner Music Group Owner Len Blavatnik In the Russia Probe? | Hollywood Reporter

  45. Savage Librarian says:

    Trip, thanks for cleaning up the link! I don’t know how that happened. I copied & pasted it from the drop down link box at the top of the article, on my cell phone. I appreciate your fixing it.

  46. Trip says:

    Claire McCaskill made an excellent point or rather it was how she made it.

    McConnell put a poison pill in his bill. He knowingly sabotaged any chance that the  Democrats could or would sign the bill to open the government. That needs to be reportedly widely in this language. It is a cynical and devious plot to PRETEND that he even gives one shit about opening the government. It’s a dupe for the dupes who would vote for Republicans in jeopardy. He’s hoodwinking them with “well I tried”, but really he’s fucking everyone over…just for Trump.

    The guy is operating in completely bad faith, while people working for him in the government have to visit soup kitchens.

    He’s doing this because he’s worried about HIS job and well being ONLY.

    • harpie says:

      OK…this made me lol:

      [Rep Hakeem] Jeffries [D-NY8] on the Senate voting this week: “It’s a good thing Mitch McConnell has finally exited the witness protection program.

    • Fran of the North says:


      Although Cohen’s attorneys statement eliminates the voyeuristic spectacle that will get eyeballs, discussion and the 4th estate ALL wound up, this is actually a very good thing.

      We can all appreciate the upside of Cohen dishing on how deeply cynical and criminal Individual 1 is. The downside is that Cohen sits and responds to ‘feed the base’ sound bites for the cameras as set up by ‘Pubs.

      Ultimately that comes back to bite any serious attempt to explain to the general population exactly how corrupt this group is. The Union is best served by a organized and straight forward explanation of how a complicated, almost impossible story to follow is actually proof that Individual 1 and his cronies deserve serious time in the pokey.

      Other than Cohen’s lawyers saying that they aren’t going to show up, this is probably the second best option.

      • BobCon says:

        I think one challenge is that the GOP will be firing endless questions that he can’t answer during their time trying to set up Cohen to look like he’s evasive and even shiftier than he is.

        Another is that they’ll be shooting to set up a narrative of Mueller’s investigation with misleading questions that Cohen feels obligated to decline, giving them possible opportunities to fill in the blanks.

        It’s always possible that Cohen swats them down, I guess, since most of Jim Jordan’s crew are idiots. And he may control the narrative by dropping some nuggets to keep the jackals in the press busy for a while, stuff about Trump’s illegal hiring of immigrants or dating undocumented immigrants or something like that. I guess we’ll see.

  47. Eureka says:




    (Sorry I obviated your test by replying ;), I just could not *bare* the existential weight of your deletion.)

    ADD: and because I am _not_ punaise, yes I did have to homonymically mark myself. Craft is craft.

    • punaise says:

      A bit of hinkyness on the intertubes keeps us honest.

      My previous comment never made it: something about tapes – Trump(ism) is the tapeworm in the body politic.

      • Eureka says:

        LOL punaise, I thought your test post was a ‘punaise test’ when I saw no other comment on this page.  So I thought you were playing on the situation of people making test posts, and on the word ‘test’ — like a test to see if that comment got deleted (when you didn’t intend for it to be deleted, but to be a pun.  And a different kind of ‘test’).

        Entertainment on the ew blog once again.

  48. Rusharuse says:

    Re Cohen – the Mueller “landscape” could change dramatically tween now and Feb 7. Come the day Repo’s may prefer to keep their gobs shut!

  49. pseudonymous in nc says:

    From the AP story on Rudes, perhaps the only interesting thing in tonight’s torrent of palace gossip:

    Part of his confusion is that while Giuliani frequently speaks to his client, the president’s legal team has had a difficult time corralling [him] for a lengthy debriefing about the facts of the case, particularly from events stemming before the presidency, according to one official and a Republican close to the White House.

    The lawyers don’t know what they don’t know.

  50. OldTulsaDude says:

    @pseudonymous in nc “The lawyers don’t know what they don’t know.”

    Maybe they should hire Rumsfeld.

    • Arj says:

      Never thought I’d be nostalgic for the clarity & incisive analysis of that other Donald.  Perspective is everything.

  51. anaphoristand says:

    @ Trip January 22, 2019 at 8:01 pm
    Something I noticed in that Reuters piece on the Rosneft sale was the mention of Deutsche Bank as a lender who’d historically have financed such a transaction, but was now hesitant to do business with Russia in the wake of the post-Crimea sanctions. It made me wonder about the date range of the money laundering behaviors DB was penalized by DOJ/EU for, and whether if they really were unwilling to deal with Russia under the newly enacted sanctions regime, and presuming (hypothetically) that their prior willingness to serve as Trump’s chief backer for the better part of a decade’d been a largely Russian-backed endeavor, what the new global financial landscape post-2014 Russian invasion of Crimea would’ve meant for Trump Org’s finances?

  52. CD54 says:

    @anaphoristand January 23, 2019 at 3:22 am

    Hence, maybe, all the Trump Org money laundering/road to compromised?

    • anaphoristand says:

      Well yeah, I’d always considered it likely that the long-term relationships with Deutsche/Bayrock represented some level of Russian financial kompromat on Trump, what I’d not really considered previously is that beyond the mere quid pro quo easing of Russian sanctions toward cashing in on Trump Tower Moscow, there might well be a more directly self-interested need to do so — to maintain the generously unorthodox lending patterns of his primary creditor.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump can parse the few words that he cares about as well as Bill Clinton.

      Trump didn’t need or want a “plan”, so his disclaimer is a throwaway.  He needed commitments from partners as to scale, and financial and political support.  He needed architectural renderings – pictures – for marketing.  But building blueprints that would disclose whether the project was buildable and at what cost were someone else’s problem that he wanted no part of.

      Trump’s usual gig was to license his name and control the marketing, which highlighted Trump and only secondarily the individual property.  Sometimes he was engaged to “manage” the property, usually staffed by a third party.  He hadn’t the capital to be an owner and wanted no part of financing that would make him liable to repay the tab.

      For that, Trump took a massive fee.  It included a piece of every bit of action on the floor or in the rooms, restaurants and casinos.  It included office leases and condo sales, a cut from the mini-bars and the overpriced laundry.  He required global immunity and indemnity clauses by which he attempted to park all liability with the putative owners.

  53. Trip says:

    In case anyone has not read this, it is a primer on Russian money laundering. From 2017

    To get the money out, the scheme’s organizers devised a clever misdirection. They created a fake debt among some of these core shell companies and then got a Moldovan judge to order the Russian company seeking to launder funds to pay that debt to a court-controlled account. Moldindconbank in Moldova held those accounts. The companies involved in the fake debt also had accounts at the same bank. Soon, Moldindconbank was deluged with cash sent in from the Russian companies. About $8 billion was then withdrawn directly from these accounts in Moldova and spent around the world.
    The Big Banks

    The Laundromat illustrates that the world’s banking system has been impotent, unable to stanch massive flows of illicit money. Bank officials offer a number of reasons as to why this is so – including that their Russian counterparts have not been helpful. Still, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Bank of China, Bank of America, Danske Bank, and Emirates NBD Bank all ended up with tainted money.

    50 Bank families receiving the most money (Laundromat)

  54. Trip says:

    Ru-day, Ru-day, Ru-day (in the voice of Cary Grant)

    Human Rights Group Calls for Investigation of Giuliani, Trump Money-Laundering Scheme

    Prosecutors Asked to Probe Dutch Middlemen Washing Billions in Dirty Kazakh Cash for Real Estate Deals in US and Europe

    A human rights organization has asked Dutch prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into multi-billion dollar money laundering schemes that they say were aided by Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and his old law firm.
    The complaint is clearly aimed at examining how much money stolen from a former Soviet satellite ended up benefitting (sic) Trump. He is named 16 times in the complaint’s footnotes….The complaint is aimed at uncovering the full details of Russian money flowing to various Trump projects using so-called anonymous wealth companies. Those are shell companies created to hide the identities of the owners. Trump and his family are known to have received vast sums from shell companies and have bragged about how much of it came from people in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet empire. Trump contends the deals were all lawful and he has no knowledge of any money laundering.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I never knowingly visit g*ggle or fcbk.  Their business models mandate their predatory abuse of personal data.

  55. Trip says:

    GOP/Trump slogan:

    Let them “eat a bit of pain”.

    Marie Antoinette ain’t got nothing on the heartlessness of this group. (at least she contemplated cake, FFS)

    • Rayne says:

      That’s a nifty double entendre.

      That quote attributed to Marie Antoinette as an adult was supposed to have been something she said as a child; the quote in French was, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.” Brioche is a sweet, yeast-raised, flour-based baked good which walks the line between bread and cake. The word cake in French is gateau.

      But bread is pain.

  56. Trip says:

    Okay last one, I promise. I’ve decided I could help the GOP with some bumper stickers and slick catch phrases:

    Yell “Build the wall!’ for investigations to stall!
    Let them eat pain, for Putin’s gain!

    Anyone want to contribute to my start-up (I’m looking at you, Punaise)?

  57. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Marie Antoinette was ignorant and incredulous that her subjects could not as readily as she substitute brioche for their daily bread. Ignorance is curable and she learned the hard way.

    Trump is stupid. His problem is incurable; it is bound in a Gordian knot to his narcissism and cruel willfulness.

    His party appears tied to Trump by the same knot. It’s one reason the GOP Senate cannot disagree with him. It has leapt into the same leaky rowboat as Trump. The swells are high and getting higher, they have no compass, sail, or rudder, only a grim determination to hang together.

    • Trip says:

      Now, now, earl, Trump doesn’t deserve all of the credit, the GOP is a greedy and sadistic organization on its own.

      Look to McConnell.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If you’re only client was Donald Trump and he wasn’t paying, wouldn’t you?

      But keeping the Don as a client requires never being on TV more than Trump.  Rudy is violating the rules.

    • Trip says:

      I thought he looked tranquilized.

      Hey, next time he’s on a blabber roll, maybe someone could ask him about the money laundering operation for Trump, that he has been accused of. That would be fun. “So what, I laundered money!”.

    • Drew says:

      I find Nate to be very, very helpful when he is interpreting data & statistics, and when he sticks to concrete facts. The discussion linked here is good & addresses issues well (note that there are a number of commenters in the discussion).

      I find that whenever Nate listens to his gut and starts prognosticating apart from statistics, etc. he’s particularly bad. Nate is not used to working intuitively & he’s bad when he does it. There are others who are much better in using intuition for analysis–those who do so, see the patterns & then check the facts–Nate doesn’t understand how that works. His failures (Trump in 2015 & the early primaries) are when he does this. In the 2016 general election, he returned to looking at statistics mathematically and was much better than others in interpreting the polling.

      • Willis Warren says:

        I don’t see discounting trump in the primaries as a failure.  I see it as a pretty good bet.  Trump was a terrible candidate and we’re still not sure how much he was being propped up by the russkies.  Granted, the only good thing about trump is that he wasn’t Ted Cruz…

        I see trump as the byproduct, ironically, of American billionaires creating distrust in gov’t.  They produced this idiot by ruining gov’t and then blaming gov’t for their own destruction.  The dumbasses who voted for trump don’t know the difference.  They actually voted for a billionaire.

  58. Manqueman says:

    The BuzzFeed affair is exactly everything wrong with the corporate media.

    The primary thing is that the SOC/Carr response to the BuzzFeed isn’t what the media — and Trump — are making it appear to be: A statement that Cohen said Trump told him to lie.

    BuzzFeed’s sources spoke to one or both of the BuzzFeed reporters and to no other reporters. So right there, the rest media have no basis to dispute the claim. And contrary to the media (and the Mobster Thug-in-Chief), the SOC response is not a complete denial of the BF story. Saying it’s not accurate means, well, who knows? A little? Everything?

    It’s sort of like the coverage of the Steele dossier from almost the start. Steele was initially financed by a Republican candidate — Jeb, IRC — and only when they no longer wanted or needed it did Clinton finance Steele’s work. More importantly, the dossier was a compilation of talk about Trump, not hard proof of the claims.

    I know, all this messes up what the water carriers in the press want to report.

    All this being Chapter Nigh-Infinite on how the corporate media abjures their responsibility and fail us.

  59. Alan Charbonneau says:

    Marcy, you wrote back in April that Sean Hannity may not have wanted his name disclosed as a client of Michael Cohen since he feared Cohen might have a recording of Hannity’s obvious obstruction activities: “But given the effort Cohen made to protect those conversations from the eyes of the FBI, they also might involve coordination on some of the more insidious pushback on the Russian story.”

    Am I correct to presume that if
    1- Trump’s legal team heard the tapes long ago and
    2 – since that time there have been no leaks about Sean Hannity being on a recording
    Then he might, like Trump, be in the clear, at least in this instance?

    I do want to see him go down.

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