Big Dick Toilet Salesman Matt Whitaker Crams for His Open Book Test

My goodness does Matt Whitaker seem worried about his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday. Between CNN last night and Daily Beast today, there are two DOJ sourced stories claiming that he has been working hard to prepare for his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow. The Daily Beast story notes something I noted last night: DOJ is already late for a Jerry Nadler-imposed 48 hour deadline to invoke executive privilege for tomorrow’s testimony.

On Jan. 22, Nadler sent Whitaker a letter listing questions he plans to ask, including about his talks with President Donald Trump before he fired Jeff Sessions and his role supervising Mueller’s Russia investigation. And, importantly, Nadler also asked Whitaker to tell him at least 48 hours before the hearing if he planned to invoke executive privilege in response to any of those questions. Executive privilege refers to the president’s legal right to have private conversations with his staff about his presidential duties. Though the Constitution doesn’t use the term, the Supreme Court has ruled that this right exists.

The Justice Department did not make Nadler’s 48-hour deadline.

“We’re not aware of any rules that govern a set amount of time when one needs to invoke executive privilege,” one senior DOJ official involved in Whitaker’s preparation told The Daily Beast. “We do intend to respond, fulsomely addressing the executive-privilege issue in a letter before the hearing.”

In spite of DOJ’s effort to make it look as if the Big Dick Toilet Salesman running the joint has been preparing for this, I’ve heard differently.

HJC just pre-authorized a subpoena on a party line vote for Whitaker’s appearance tomorrow, so they can hold him in contempt when he refuses to answer questions.

In response (and after the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance William Barr’s confirmation, also on a party line vote, virtually ensuring DOJ will have a new, qualified Attorney General sometime next week), DOJ said the Big Dick Toilet Salesman won’t show up tomorrow unless he is given assurances he won’t be served with that subpoena.

The Justice Department told the House Judiciary Committee Thursday afternoon that acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker will not appear at Friday’s closely-watched oversight hearing unless he receives a written assurance by 6 p.m. ET Thursday that he will not be served with the subpoena the committee pre-emptively authorized to use if he avoids questions.

I suspect the reason DOJ is making this threat is because these questions that Whitaker is prepared to answer do not address all the questions that Nadler posed in advance.

The Acting Attorney General will testify that at not time did the White House ask for, or did the Acting Attorney General provide, any promises or commitments concerning the Special Counsel’s investigation. He will explain that, since he became Acting Attorney General, the Department has continued to make its law enforcement decisions based upon the facts and law of each individual case, in accordance with established Department practices, and independent of any outside interference. With respect to the Special Counsel investigation, the Department has complied with Special Counsel regulations, and the Acting Attorney General will make it clear that there has been no change in how the Department has worked with the Special Counsel’s office. The Acting Attorney General is also prepared to discuss the process and the conclusions of the ethics review by which he concluded that there was no need for him to recuse himself rom supervising the Special Counsel investigation.

We do not believe, however, that the Committee may legitimately expect the Acting Attorney General to discuss his communications with the President. If there are questions at the hearing that the Acting Attorney General does not answer to the satisfaction of the Committee, then the appropriate next step would be for the Committee to contact this office to initiate a joint effort by the Committee and the Department to negotiate a mutually acceptable accommodation under which the Department can satisfy the Committee’s legitimate oversight needs to the fullest extent, consistent with the Executive Branch’s confidentiality and other institutional interests. Should the branches be unable to reach an acceptable agreement, only then would it be time for the Committee to issue a subpoena and, if necessary and appropriate, for the President to determine whether to invoke executive privilege.

Those answers don’t address the majority of the questions Nadler posed in his January 22 letter.

  • President Trump fired former Attorney General Jeff Sessions November 7, 2018.  On or before that date, did you have any communication with any White House official, including but not limited to President Trump, about the possibility of your appointment as Acting Attorney General?  If so, when and with whom?  Did any of those communications discuss the possibility of your recusal from oversight of the Special Counsel’s investigation?
  • You announced your decision not to recuse yourself from the Special Counsel’s investigation on December 19, 2018.  Did you consult with the White House about that decision, before or after it was announced?  If so, with whom?
  • My understanding is that you consulted with a four-person team of advisors for guidance on the question of your recusal.  Who are these four individuals?  Did any of them consult with the White House about your decision not recuse yourself from the Special Counsel’s investigation?
  • Have you ever received a briefing on the status of the Special Counsel’s investigation?  If so, have you communicated any information you learned in that briefing to any White House official, including but not limited to President Trump, or any member of President Trump’s private legal team? 
  • It has been reported that President Trump “lashed out” at you on at least two occasions: after Michael Cohen pleaded guilty on November 29, 2018, and after federal prosecutors identified President Trump as “Individual 1” in a court filing on December 8, 2018.[1]
    • Did President Trump contact you after Michael Cohen pleaded guilty?  What did he say?  Did you take any action as a result of that conversation?
    • Did President Trump contact you after he was identified as “Individual 1” in documents related to the criminal sentencing of Michael Cohen?  What did he say?  Did you take any action as a result of that conversation?
    • In any of these conversations, did President Trump express concern, anger, or similar frustration with the actions of the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York?
    • In any of these conversations, did President Trump discuss the possibility of firing or reassigning certain personnel who work for the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York?
    • In any of these conversations, did the President discuss the recusal of Geoffrey Berman, the current U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, from the Michael Cohen case and other matters related to the work of the Special Counsel?
  • Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions tasked John Huber, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, with reviewing a wide range of issues related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Have you ever received a briefing on the status of Mr. Huber’s work?  If so, have you communicated any information you learned in such a briefing to any White House official, including but not limited to President Trump, or any member of President Trump’s private legal team? 
  • On January 17, 2018, BuzzFeed News reported that federal prosecutors have evidence, in the form of witness interviews and internal communications, suggesting that President Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.  On January 18, the Special Counsel issued a rare statement describing some aspects of the BuzzFeed story as inaccurate.  Did you have any communication with the White House about the BuzzFeed report or the decision of the Special Counsel’s office to issue its subsequent statement?  If so, with whom?  What was discussed?

In other words, DOJ seems to be using the fact that Nadler will insist on answers to the questions to refuse to show up.

120 replies
  1. ken abbott says:

    That Jan 17 2018 typo is from Nadler’s letter and it is bothersome.

    [FYI: Though you used username “dufus” on this comment, your username earlier today was “ken abbott.” I am changing the username on this comment for this reason. Please stick to one username so community members get to know you. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  2. firsttimecaller says:

    As usual, this looks like a pretty dumb way to handle the situation, but can BDTS run down the clock here? What happens if Whitaker doesn’t show up and drags it out a week or so until Barr is confirmed?

    • BobCon says:

      They can subpoena him even if he goes back to his old job. The only exception may be if he avails himself of the time travel tech he used to promote.

      The format of some of the questions may change, they might do it in the context of a different hearing, and they may save some for Barr, but they can still call him in to explain himself.

      • Avattoir says:

        It seems so seductively simple, like the first time you heard Taylor’s Mexico, before you caught on to the lyrics:

        Oh oh, just subpoena BDTS
        It sounds so simple, wonder where the trick is

        Just get the thing served, then arrest his tukus

        I guess it’s all over now

        Why would Nadler want this subpoeona in hand before tomorrow?

        Under this president, the Dem Congress lacks categorical assurance of cooperation from federal law enforcement in the service of and/or follow-up on any of its legal process.

        Why is Nadler even pursuing this now?

        If he could, Whitaker would cram that bloated body both big feet first thru a window of the AG’s executive washroom at DoJ, to escape tomorrow. But given the Senate just approved Barr, by as early as Monday Biggus Dickus Commodus will have undergone a magical transition akin to caterpillar to butterfly, or hagfish into slime dumpster, i.e. a material cutback in his official status cutback, to emerge as no longer the senior officer in a major cabinet level portfolio, nor apparently even a lowly civil servant in this administration, but a private di-, uh, citizen.

        In early days NCAA men’s hoop tourney terms, as far as any potentially optimus in their briefly conjoined destiny, This Is It.

        What’s gonna happen?

        Seems like the plan for Team BDTS was for Big to appear, get photo’d, get sworn, get intro’d, sweat thru Nadler’s Overture #1, shed a tear of modest patriotic gratitude to whoever on the minority rebuts (I’ve been so looking forward to witnessing an only too rare invocation of that antiquate term from ye olde medieval times, ‘witch hunt’.), read his prepared statement on the breadth of executive privilege per Chicolini, then leave.

        But given how badly Commodus stumbled and perspired thru his last presser, plus the now vastly-enhanced risk that Nadler might direct the presiding clerk or secretary hand Biggus the subpoena before BDTS even gets the chance to read his screed, I think now “acting AG” dubya just blows off the entire photo op.

        • BobCon says:

          It’s worth adding that there is a price the House can exact if Whitaker demonstrates that he can be served with a subpoena, but nobody can force him to move his mouth parts in a manner which makes intelligible sentences.

          John Dingell was a genius at the art of gaining compliance with requests. It had a lot to do with his ability to master the investigative process, with things like the ability to win media coverage and being able to find and protect whistleblowers. Even monsters like Reagan’s EPA appointees feared Dingell, because they knew he was relentless and never forgot anything.

          It will be a challenge for the Dems to establish Dingell-like fear and respect, but the current batch of chairs should look to him for examples of how to proceed, and at dopes like Gowdy and Goodlatte for examples of how not to proceed. If they can figure things out, Whitaker will be looking over his shoulder for years to come.

  3. RWood says:

    If memory serves, Harriet Miers never made it through the process. Over two years I think it was.

    If it takes that long with BDTS Drump may be out of office and on trial before the subpoena actually gets enforced.

    • fastenbulbous says:

      They should pursue Whitaker even if Trump is already in prison, dead, whatever. If we don’t prosecute all these rats to the fullest, they’ll keep coming back. Prime example of this is that ghoul Eliot Abrams.

      We need to clean up this mess completely, no holding back “for the good of the country”. (We are not fucking children)

      I hope nobody thinks this will be less than war…..

      • arbusto says:

        Don’t hold your breath waiting for justice from Congress.  Eric Stalwell, who sits on both Intel and Justice committees, has started Dem talking points that elections are the proper vehicle to remove even the worst offenders of law and/or Constitution. Only took a month for Dems to start tacking away from impeachment.

  4. flounder2 says:

    Do we know which of BDTS’s buddies were used to vet his potential recusal from Mueller in lieu of the standard ethic panel? I would love to see them giving some Congressional testimony.

  5. pseudonymous in nc says:

    “I won’t show up if you subpoena me” is the new “I’m waving around executive privilege without formally invoking it.”

    • chash12 says:

      Exactly right. Sounds like they sent something less than “fulsomely addressing the executive-privilege issue in a letter before the hearing.” There is no way they will let this guy appear until they have exhausted all possible means to avoid it.

    • DaBrownOne says:

      I think the point Nadler is making is that Trump associates have refused all along to answer certain questions ‘in case’ Trump wants to assert Executive Privilege, without actually asserting it. So Nadler is saying, if Trump does not claim privilege, we will compel you to testify. Pick your poison

  6. Milton Wiltmellow says:

    These questions cannot be avoided. They also cannot be honestly answered without incriminating Individual 1. Why would Individual 1 assign a stooge as acting AG and then allow the stooge to independently — without supervision — manage a very complex threat?

    Maybe Barr has the knowledge and institutional backing to manage a cover up without supervision, but Whitaker? Further, surely Nadler knows the answers to his questions already.

    Therefore stonewalling seems the only viable strategy for Individual 1 and his co-conspirators. (The American ones, not the Russian ones.)

    By pre-emptively denying — or forcing invocation of — executive privilege, Nadler appears to be trying to cut off this dodge. In order to prevent it, Nadler must imply/implicate crimes by Individual 1’s legal team.

    Suppose Whitaker suddenly falls on his sword and pleads the fifth somehow?

    In his statement Whitaker could confess to lapses of judgment which he regrets of course. Then he clams up and waits a couple of years for the pardon Individual one promised him.

    Executive privilege seems the most effective way to stonewall, but surely Nadler anticipates and has prepared for this.

    Is Whitaker pleading the fifth a viable means for Individual 1 and his co-conspirators to stonewall?

    • Avattoir says:

      This is beyond speculative, it’s theoretical. I don’t expect him to get within 4 amendments of the 5th.

      Go back a bit and consider what all Transational Trump offered this clown as the reward for taking on this wankery. The only remaining even faint hope BDTS has for a lifetime sinecure on a federal court connected to Iowa or anywhere is how he performs between now and the committee closing for the day tomorrow. My money’s on him going with Barely Legal With Extreme Brevity, i.e. a no-show.

      • Milton Wiltmellow says:

        Refusing a Congressional subpeona isn’t new.

        Nadler isn’t unaware of this.  I think he was a member of the Judiciary Committee at the time.

        Thus the point of his questions are presumably for political impact.  If that’s all he has, it’s a weak hand to play.

        But what if — and this is, yes, speculative — he has considered this problem of refusal for the last ten years.  What if he has a countermove prepared?

        Whitaker is as expendable as anyone else.  If I were him (I wouldn’t be) I would have had some sort of iron guarantee for which I’ve sacrificed my career (such as it is).  Hiding out in the bowels of the DoJ like that staffer in the WH or an appointment as federal judge like Jay Bybee seem unavailable to him because he remains subject to testimony.

        If I were Nadler, I would try to maneuver him into a legally vulnerable position.  Can his refusal to testify apply when he’s not a DoJ employee? Could he be charged as part of the obstruction charge?

        That’s the question, I think.  What was he promised?

        Is the fifth (yes, theoretical) a failsafe?

  7. Tom says:

    “[F]ulsomely addressing”? Sounds like the DOJ official quoted above doesn’t know the actual meaning of the word “fulsome”. But it probably sounded good at the time.

    • Avattoir says:

      If I were free of this dilemma

      If this were Saturday

      You’d see how fast these 2 big feet

      Could scoot to Ioway

      Far from “fulsome” phrasing

      That’s where I want to stay

      And I’d let that BD toilet

      Flush my blues away

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Let’s not forget Johnny Cash when it comes to fulsome (Folsom)

      “I hear the train a comin’

      It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
      And I ain’t seen the sunshine
      Since, I don’t know when
      I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
      And time keeps draggin’ on
      But that train keeps a-rollin’
      On down to San Antone”

      • icancho says:

        Fulsome.   Lots of room to manoeuvre:
        Acc. OED (omitting rare or obsolete meanings):
        A. adj.

        1.a. Characterized by being full of some commodity or material; abundant, plentiful; providing a copious supply, rich; (in later use also) complete, comprehensive.

        b. Chiefly of a person or (a part of) the body: full and plump; fleshy, corpulent; oversized, overfed; (in later use) full-figured; voluptuous.

        4.a. Physically disgusting; filthy, dirty, foul, loathsome.

        b. Offensive to the sense of smell, foul-smelling, rank.

        5. Of language or behaviour, or of a person with regard to this.

        a. Offensive or objectionable owing to excess or lack of moderation; esp. excessively effusive or complimentary; too lavish, overdone.

        b. Unrestrained, exuberant; effusive; lavish; wholehearted.

  8. Trip says:

    How can anyone in their right mind not think that there is serious fuckery going on behind the stonewalling?

  9. P J Evans says:

    Does DOJ even understand the powers that the House actually has in this kind of thing? Because it doesn’t sound like they do, and they really should.

    • Geoff says:

      BDTS surely does not. The question is, whether anyone under him with any authority does (perhaps someone who knows how to use the word “fulsome” in a sentence) and if so, will any of the ignorant crime family listen to such a person?

      • Arj says:

        But this far down the line, what alternative does the family in question have (other than confessing all)?  It’s all about obstruction, avoidance, distraction, &c., &c. It remains to be seen what effect Barr will have, and I hope I’m misjudging him…

    • Geoff says:

      I keep picturing him showing up at the hearing with those two black stripes under his eyes, because, ya know, all the glare.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If the play isn’t written on his wrist band, he won’t remember what it is after the first, “Hike.”

      BDTS’s handlers will tell him to ignore Nadler’s threat – claiming it exceeds his authority, which would be wrong – and refuse to answer, preferably without naming a rationale.  That would make the obvious follow-on litigation more complex.  It would inevitably end up at the Supremes.  I suspect Nadler and his peers are working jointly to prepare for that.  They have lots of committees and more unanswered questions.  Answering them with anything but silence would probably imperil his majesty.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Nadler is indeed laying groundwork for a SCOTUS challenge by tying this hearing into specific legislation.  Thus, the oversight would be allowed.

        Then again, we go with the SCOTUS we have instead of the SCOTUS we should have had courtesy of McTurtle.

  10. Raven Eye says:

    I will gladly defer to our members of the bar on these items:

    1.  I’m not necessarily labeling BDTS as a shyster, but his behaviors, past and present, are certainly consistent with the legal branch of the occupational category “Con Artists”.

    2.  On the Cornell Law site, their plain language definition of Executive Privilege is

    “The privilege that allows the president and other high officials of the executive branch to keep certain communications private if disclosing those communications would disrupt the functions or decision-making processes of the executive branch.”

    Does a person testifying before a Congressional committee just say that he/she is invoking executive privilege, or is a little more detail required?

    3.  Looking at the questions that could potentially NOT be answered, some of those look serious enough that Whitaker (and others) would still be accountable for their actions, to the extent that material from the investigation/hearings, if sufficient, would likely be referred to DOJ.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Useful start, but keep digging.  Presidential privilege is not a Linus Blanket that Trump can throw around himself or anyone else whenever he feels the need for the comfort of silence.  It is layered and complicated, it varies in strength depending on the topic and the presidential action under review.  There are many exceptions to it, engaging in criminal conduct being one of them.

      • Raven Eye says:

        I caught the criminal investigation point…So (and considering that buying time is probably the first tactic for folks like Whitaker) is a Congressional investigation considered in and of itself a criminal investigation — and therefore not attenuated by a claim of executive privilege?  Or does the effort only become a criminal investigation when it is taken up by a government entity that has the authority to charge and prosecute?

        It seems that Whitaker would like us to believe that executive privilege comes into effect by a simple statement from him, or a memo from some person(s) at DOJ.  Do we have Whitaker playing Linus, but Lucy (Nadler) getting ready to pull the football?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I would guess the meme comes from Trump’s minders, who know there are deep problems with asserting broad claims of executive privilege, especially when Trump himself couldn’t define privilege in an open-book test.  (And bigger problems with disclosure of the underlying conversations.)

          They want to create an aura of reasonable non-compliance when there is probably little law and few facts backing up their claims.  I see it as a delaying tactic, an attempt to run out the clock.  Meanwhile, they are working hard to create the false impression that the Dems are being mean in an unprecedented way, while trying to stop his majesty from properly running his gubmint.

          It’s not a legal tactic they are likely to win with.  Politically, only the Base will buy it, but it might confuse a few other low-information voters and the MSM.

  11. gedouttahear says:

    It seems that Nadler never expected he would get  answers to his very pertinent questions from BDTS, but that the posing of the questions would be important and the invocation of executive privilege would appear to be akin to the invocation of the 5th which will make the prez look — as it should — bad and afraid to answer.  I think the question now will be whether BDTS’s ploy of not showing up will look worse than his showing up and claiming executive privilege or as is the wont of these creeps, to claim that it may be claimed and therefore the witness refuses to answer (a ploy that Nadler has pre-empted.) Obviously if BDTS doesn’t show up he will be subpoenaed and the question of the enforceability  of the subpoena will wind its way through the courts. It remains to be seen what evidence can be shown otherwise — without BDTS’s testimony — as to his being in cahoots with the WH.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think for purposes of a first hearing, BDTS could terminate a voluntary interview at will, presumably when the questions made him too hot under the collar or when his ear bud starts screetching.

      If he’s there in response to a subpoena, he has to sit and take it until the committee is through with him.  That creates the potential for deep embarrassment of BDTS, the president, and the DoJ.  To paraphrase a famous maxim, politics is becoming the pursuit of war by other means.

  12. Barry says:

    As it now seems most likely that Whitaker won’t show and that the HJC will issue a subpoena, what then? How might this play out? I assume the subpoena would set a date for him to appear. Is there something the DOJ could do to resist/delay? If yes, how? Underlying my questions is this: Can Nadler accomplish what I imagine his realistic goal to be – that is, to force Trump to explicitly claim executive privilege to keep an appointee from answering politically and legally touchy questions.

      • Barry says:

        Not sure why my questions can’t be pondered here, but that’s fine. I’ll just have to sit tight and watch what happens.

        • bmaz says:

          There is no issue with you pondering your questions here, none whatsoever. But, if you are expecting answers, as opposed to more speculation, that kind of response is simply not available yet.

  13. yogarhythms says:


    Thank for this mooring line of a thread. “DOJ said the Big Dick Toilet Salesman won’t show up tomorrow unless he is given assurances he won’t be served with that subpoena.”

    i don’t have a crystal ball but I would bet money House Dems cave like low tide sand castle at spring tide and don’t serve BDTS with subpoena. We the people will be deprived of oath attested witness testimony again. Or I’m wrong and the road to impeachment begins.

    • Avattoir says:

      On the list of All Things That Happen ranked by probability, this falls between the office of “the acting A.G.” delivers the committee a BDT wrapped in soggy newspapers and Whitaker resigns to explore a career in ballet.

  14. Tom says:

    So Whittaker’s basic position seems to be that he will voluntarily agree not to answer certain questions of the HJC as long as he is not served with a subpoena to try and force him to answer those questions.    Might as well cut to the chase, fire a shot across Whittaker’s bow, and serve him with a subpoena this afternoon.

    • getouttahere says:

      Now it’s theater and public perception.

      I suspect it would be better to respond to BDTS’s ridiculous letter stating the reasons his letter (it’s not really DOJ’s ) is ridiculous and “re-invite” him. Then tomorrow, have the hearing ready to go — on national TV — and then when he doesn’t show, issue the subpoena.

  15. Geoff says:

    I generally agree. You take the course of action that makes it most likely that their actions are interpreted as still more obstruction. The alternative is they get to obstruct but make it look like they have the right to take the action they do. That is pretty much all the blathering in those memos is about. This executive privilege stuff is just rubbish.

    • Geoff says:

      Same thing when Trump’s former lawyer was giving him the grilling in prep for answering Mueller’s question. (Dowd?) No way he was going to put someone that dangerous in the line of fire. Would be game/set/match. Whitaker would flop sweat so badly he might pull his own version of a Kavanaugh, and that, my friends, would get very ugly. (and probably include something like, “I’m giving it 110% here, come on!”)

  16. CherokeeNative says:

    The Committee should just serve the subpoena on Whittaker and when he fails to appear, conduct their “meet and confer” obligation and then let it wind its way through the Court. If Barr is confirmed in the meantime (and he will), the Committee should send the same letter to Barr with an accompanying service of a subpoena and follow the same process if Barr fails to appear or appears and refuses to answer questions. It is obvious that Trump intends to obstruct the House Committees’ oversight investigations, so they should challenge those obstruction attempts through the Court as they occur. Not only will it make clear to all of America that Trump has MUCH to hide, the Court can finally make precedence on Trump’s attempt to be above the rule of law. In the meantime, Trump’s polling will hopefully drop significantly, Mueller will render his findings and the American voters will vote this crook and complicit GOP out of office.

    • Geoff says:

      Im with you. Attempt to carry out oversight and the law, and use justice to the extent you can. Push stuff into the courts, and if it has to go to the SCOTUS, so be it. If justice takes time, oh well…do you have a better option?  We have to get to the point where we decide we are a country of laws, or a country of grifters. So far, it’s increasingly looking like the latter. And we have to know that the judiciary has not been spoiled by this crime family, including all the dark $ republicans.

      Part of all this obstruction is playing the long game, delay tactics, while in the background, the courts are slowly being undermined at every level to put people in who think we should never have rich and powerful folks face justice. I’m not OK with that. And this is what worries me about the choices we have. If we DO wait, as I stated above, they have more time to undermine the system. But as fastenbulbous said above, this has to be war, we can’t pull yet another, awww, lets not look back and worry about who did what to whom. We have to clean up the mess this time. All the years of letting people off the hook for white collar crime and grifting has brought us to this moment. We face it, or we are lost. Im not optimistic, but Im still hopeful.

  17. Wajim says:

    @bmaz re: @yogarhythms: I’d take it, too. Nadler is no chump, and like Pelosi likely smells blood in the water.

    • paulpfixion says:

      Yeah, the “weak Dems cave” trope seems a bit outdated in the post tea party age of hyper partisanship. The Dems “caving” was also called “the third way,” “triangulation,” or simply good old-fashioned “compromise,” in other circles. Since there isn’t a GPS in existence that could peel off anyone across the aisle, my money is with bmaz–behold the unveiling of a new political animal: The Great Spinous Democrat.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    David Fahrenthold of the WaPo made a basic error in describing Trump’s interest in the Trump International Hotel in DC.  He said repeatedly on MSNBC that “Trump owns this hotel.”  Not.

    Trump’s apparently wholly-owned business is party to a lease from the GSA and operates a hotel on the property known as the Old Post Office, on Pennsylvania Avenue a few blocks from the White House and across the road from the once better known grande dame of DC hotels, the Willard [InterContinental].

    Fahrenthold knows that detail because it is fundamental to claims that Trump violated the terms of his lease upon taking up elected office.  It’s also an important part of Trump’s business model, in that he puts as little cash into a property as possible, which dictates licensing deals and leases rather than outright ownership interests in property.  That is, apart from his curious assortment of global golf courses, into which he throws mountains of cash whose origins might be of interest to Bob Mueller.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t know that Fahrenthold is wrong. Trump International Hotel-DC is a business and the Trump org owns that business even if it doesn’t own the site. If Trump International Hotel-DC moved to another leased building, Trump org would still own that business. Don’t know if the Trump org entity which signed the lease with GSA has capital lease (treated as an asset on the books) or an operating lease (treated as a liability on the books) — this may also color how ownership is characterized.

      Trump has still likely violated the Emoluments Clause even if Trump org did/didn’t violate the terms of the GSA’s lease since he has profited from sales to foreign nation-states.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Owning the hotel” is not the same as owning a business operating on land and in a building owned by the Feds.   I think the distinction is important, especially regarding such signature physical space, Trump’s curious finances, and such a real estate-dependent business.  Moreover, Trump’s compliance with the lease terms is itself a continuing controversy, with the GSA’s review being reviewed for being negligent.

      If Terry Benedict tells his bank in a loan app, “I own the Bellagio, the MGM Grand Las Vegas, and the Mirage,” when he only owns the names and manages the hotels using leased space, his banker might consider the loan application deficient.  (Not that he would challenge a guy like Benedict.)

      It’s an easy enough distinction to make, which is why I think Fahrenthold should have made it.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The recently departed GOP-led House did its best to provide blanket immunity for Trump, and to obfuscate the meaning of what it could not keep from being printed.  The hearings Nadler and his peers are preparing are meant in large part to educate a public deluged by Trumpian falsehoods, echoed by Faux News, which the MSM has been spotty, at best, in countering.  They are a necessary precursor to further political or legal action against a deeply compromised president.

    They are a necessary to document the public record, to justify reforms intended to avoid another Trump.  They are necessary to make clear why the Dems make the policy choices they should make when they run in 2020.

  20. TomVet says:

    Their misuse of the word fulsome here jumped out at me also. Way back when I was in school I had a teacher for whom this was a particular pet peeve and who hammered anyone who dared misuse it in his presence. The lesson stuck with me.

    So I went to see what Webster’s has to say about this. (Bold and italics mine.)

    ME fulsom, abundant, disgustingly excessive < ful, FULL + -som, -SOME, but infl. by ful, FOUL

    1. disgusting or offensive, esp. because excessive or insincere [fulsome praise]

    2. apparent revival of the orig. sense, obs. since 16th c. full; ample; abundant: usage objected to by some

    Possibly, in this case they’ve used it correctly.

    • TomVet says:

      Huh. When I posted this it was formatted correctly, i.e. the last sentence was below the quote and not indented.

      When I come back to it now it is awkward. Don’t have any idea how this occurred.

        • TomVet says:

          My inexperience w/ the system. At the end of the blockquote the cursor was returned and linefeed advanced inside the quote space. Unclicking the quote icon moved it to the margin, so I assumed it was out of quote mode.

          No biggie. At least the reply button never gives me any trouble.

  21. ernesto1581 says:

    “…have you communicated any information you learned in that briefing to any White House official, including but not limited to President Trump, or any member of President Trump’s private legal team?”

    Tell me if this is a silly knit to pick, but this list doesn’t seem to include any of la famiglia, Javanka or either of the vampire twins, none of whom are “WH officials,” daughter & Kushner having little other than an informal “appointment” from Individual-1. Persons, therefore, with whom BDTS may well have communicated, but who would stand at one remove from Trump and/or Trump’s legal beagle brigade such that he could “truthfully” respond to Nadler’s questions that no, he hadn’t…?

  22. P J Evans says:

    @arbusto February 7, 2019 at 4:44 pm
    Realistically, impeachment would die in the Senate, under the current leadership – remember that the Democrats are the minority party in that chamber, and can’t even get bills on the floor without permission from McTurtle (the chances of that happening are slim and none, and Slim is on the next train out of town).
    So Swalwell is going for the attainable goal, not the ideal we’d prefer.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The House still might do it (there are bills floating about) but they would rather wait until more is laid out in the Congressional Record to minimize the “witch hunt” defense.  The base isn’t going to care, the fundies still will be hypocrites where the ends justify the means, but the rest of the GOP will see the light or be electorally slaughtered like they were in California.  Besides, it’s going to be more fun to see Kaiser Quisling twist in the wind in 2020 when he can’t bury it in time before the general election.

      OT, WTH is going on in Virginia, apparently the GOP Majority Leader also did some (ahem) minstrel-style shows?  Not surprising, but still.

      Score card for me: Northam should go, The LtGov should move on and/or defer (until and unless he can clear his name) to the AG who shouldn’t go anywhere for coming clean on something now 39 years old.  Charlie Pierce is right about what’s really behind this.  Expect more (like Warren’s Texas Bar application, nice coinkydink, eh?).

    • arbusto says:

      Is it the House’s responsibility to second guess what a moribund and highly partisan Senate may or may not do?  Just as McConnell will not introduce bills Trump say’s he’ll veto, even if the Senate were ready to override, the dems seem ready to institute their old play book of pre-caving.  Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage written today would be an a one tweet message and a short one a that.

  23. Arj says:

    @TomVet 4:48 pm

    Oxford advises: ‘fulsome’ praise means ‘excessive, not generous’ – thereby uncannily anticipating the DOJ’s correct usage.

  24. Tom says:

    @getouttahere at 3:21 pm above – I see your point and can understand how it makes sense for the Democrats to be perceived as (a) allowing Whittaker every chance to do ‘the right thing’ before dropping the subpoena on him, while (b) demolishing any arguments he puts forward re: executive privilege or other reasons for keeping mum. If he doesn’t show up tomorrow, the TV picture of an empty chair with Whittaker’s name plate in front of it will be a powerful visual as well.

  25. CCM says:

    Can we stop with the BDTS? Toilets do not sell themselves and those whose job it is need not be demeaned.  And those of us who are well endowed may not appreciate the comparison to MW.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      I wouldn’t worry.  As soon as BDTS gets his ass kicked by the HJC, he will most likely be looking for a new title as big butt bidet broker.

      • Avattoir says:

        Hey, THAT was where I considered going in the closing 2 line of my J. Cash tribute above! Like so:
        And I’d convert that BD toilet
        To a Trumpster Blues bidet

  26. Trip says:

    OT, but I do not know where to put this. After reading Marcy’s twitter notes on Manafort, and then reading Southpaw’s on AMI, I have to wonder if these people ever stop committing crimes, even after getting deals.

    Did AMI try to extort Bezos?

    Thread and link to Bezos on Medium:
    southpaw‏ @nycsouthpaw

    well holy shit…

    Jeff Bezos
    Feb 7
    No thank you, Mr.Pecker

    • Trip says:


      In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”
      If we do not agree to affirmatively publicize that specific lie, they say they’ll publish the photos, and quickly. And there’s an associated threat: They’ll keep the photos on hand and publish them in the future if we ever deviate from that lie.

      So is this another layer of fuckery that Trump is involved in, or did Pecker go out on a limb to help Trump on his own?

      • Rugger9 says:

        Probably something along the lines of “will no one rid me of this impudent priest?!?” and a promise to cover the legal bills from Kaiser Quisling.  Pecker’s pretty compromised as well although not necessarily by Vlad (I wouldn’t be surprised if he was, though).

          • pseudonymous in nc says:

            Certainly enough to hire the best investigator in the business. Certainly enough to face down that shitty little princeling in Riyadh.

            (Someone noted that the National Enquirer is hosted on AWS. [thinking-face emoji])

          • Trip says:

            I don’t really get their endgame. Sure they might’ve spurred on a divorce and splitting up the assets, but the assets are dense. Did they really think that somehow the affair would crush WaPo? Or maybe they were planning on digging up more in the future that might impact the businesses (depending on the methods of attaining the texts, etc).

            I suppose there is also the possibility that Ms Sanchez was a honeypot set-up, like Kushner’s father used on his brother-in-law. At any rate, they already killed any leverage they had by already publishing about the affair, so their ‘demands’ afterward seem incredibly stupid.

            • Trip says:

              The Daily Beast reports that Sanchez (the brother, and Trump supporter) is connected to Roger Stone and Carter Page.

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    There’s been some discussion, and EW mentions it on twtr, that the Don is unhappy that the House is hiring away some of his WH staff for its planned investigations.  He calls it poaching, as if the frequent movement of staff from one branch of the federal government to another was an unusual occurrence invented to vex Trump.  More likely, he’s worried about whether they will keep schtum about what they know about the Don, one of the obsessions he has about every former employee.

    A foolish consistency is not a hobgoblin of Mr. Trump’s little mind.  He just poached Kash Patel, who once worked for Devin Nunes’ House committee.  He is expected to join Bolton’s staff at the NSC in a stellar example of wingnut welfare.  Mr. Patel’s experience and credentials are decidedly modest for such assignments, so his patrons have a lot of juice.  I wonder how long it will take him to get the requisite permanent security clearance.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One person Oversight or Ways & Means should consider hiring is David Cay Johnston.  He’s followed Donald Trump and his evasive tax returns for three decades.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A source for the poaching controversy is this WaPo article.  Contrary to the administration’s concerns, this sort of hiring by a new majority in the House or Senate is routine. As one Capitol Hill staffer put it to the WaPo:

      “It happens every day….It’s the normal way things operate.”

      So is the reverse, as in the Kash Patel case, where staff for former majority and now minority members are cut and have to find work elsewhere.  Members try to keep their own staffs intact, but staff employed by a committee are there at the discretion of its majority leadership.  Something else Mr. Trump doesn’t know about normal life inside the Beltway.

      • BobCon says:

        It sounds from that article like the former White House staffer Schiff hired is an analyst rather than an investigator.  I’m sure, though, in Trump’s mind all government employees are political operatives. Even the White House, though, is loaded with career types who really do work in an even handed manner.

        Maybe it’s a sign that things at the White House are so shaky that he has reason to think even the slightest revelation about anything happening there is trouble. I would guess, though, it’s just paranoia on his part.

    • Fran of the North says:

      Security Clearance for the anointed under this GrOTUS (Grifter Of The United States) is a farce at best.

      I was listening to an NPR article on the government shutdown a week or more ago, and they mentioned how a non-payment of monthly credit liabilities could impact your security clearance. At least for the plebes.

      If you are wunderkind(TM), a half billion dollar debt on the devil’s property (666) is just part of the landscape.

  28. Yogarhythms says:

    Thank you Representative Nadler “My response to Acting AG Whitaker regarding the use of a subpoena for tomorrow’s @HouseJudiciary hearing.” No subpoena for BDTS tomorrow. Bettors may cash my Venmo yogarhythms. 

    • Geoff says:

      Yup, sure as I say, Issue the damn subpoena, nope, not gonna do it. I hope those guys are big wagerers. Haha.

      It appears that Dingell will not get to watch the debacle. Maybe that is best. RIP.

      Now we can place bets for the Fifth vs Executive Privilege. Exciting!!! Grrrrrr

  29. P J Evans says:

    @Yogarhythms February 7, 2019 at 9:12 pm
    I guess you missed that BDTS caved and will show up. The subpoena was the threat if he didn’t show. And it’s still there.

  30. Yogarhythms says:

    BDTS will volunteer his porcelain testimony scrubbing away stains faster than hydrogen peroxide on blood. Alas the privilege not the 5th is the favorite to win. Nothing keeps the viewers like the witness sweating then struggling and hiding behind area man shittweeting privilege.

  31. pseudonymous in nc says:

    OT: I’ve been trying to parse out the Manafort transcript, and that August 7th meeting with Kilimnik seems to look a lot more significant.

    Also, the Winston Wolcott piece in Vanity Fair throws Barrack under the bus, as well as Gates but Gates already flipped. My speculation the other day about Gates proffering about the inauguration and triggering Winston Wolcott’s firing might have more weight to it.

  32. Ewan says:

    OT, but relevant to the Trump quagmire. In this article,  Robert Mintz, former federal prosecutor in NJ,  suggests that Bezos’ claim actually harms the cooperation agreement with SDNY, since it  shows AMI did not change its spots, and SDNY could have to investigate AMI after all.
    I searched, but I did not find anywhere mentioned that Pecker was also collaborating with Mueller: am I thus right to think that it has no effect on Mueller’s house of cards?

  33. Trip says:

    Marcy, yesterday on twitter you posted excerpts from the Manafort filing, and I noticed that the “Ukraine Peace Plan” between Kilimnik and Manafort extended into the Winter of 2018 (1 1/2 months ago?). What good is a plan without communications with those who have the power to advocate it? Given that Rudy said they all had a JDA, even after Manafort ‘cooperated’, might we assume that the plan was shared with Trump?

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