On the Exonerating Information Rick Gates Just Provided

Yesterday, the government submitted a notice clarifying the record on the Paul Manafort breach determination. The bulk of the filing describes that, after reading about the dispute in public reporting on the topic, Rick Gates provided additional information on the topic that may corroborate part of Manafort’s story.

The new Gates information necessarily pertains to the sharing of polling data. That’s clearly true because it discusses all the same evidence the government used to substantiate Manafort’s lies about the polling data:

  • Multiple Rick Gates 302s
  • Some other fact about August 2, perhaps the clandestine nature of the meeting
  • Kilimnik emails discussing the polling data (I now realize that the government’s declaration makes it clear they have 8 emails referencing the polling data)
  • A Paul Manafort email telling Gates to print out the polling data, with the polling data attached

Here’s where that evidence shows up in the filing:

In addition, that passage cites paragraphs of the declaration, ¶55 and ¶56, that by structure necessarily deals with the sharing of poll data.

At first, I thought Gates’ new information corroborated the NYT story about Manafort sharing data with Kilimnik twice, once in May and once in August. But I now lean towards the new information corroborating Manafort’s story that he asked Gates to print out that data for a campaign meeting that day.

I say that in part because the order in which the corroboration was treated, with Manafort’s email coming last. In addition, this passage seems to reflect Gates using the poll data to prepare for a meeting.

As to this passage, I suspect it clarifies that just one of the oligarchs that Manafort intended to receive the data was Russian — Oleg Deripaska — and that (as Andrew Weissmann appeared to say at one point) the other recipients were his Ukrainian paymasters.

The transcript appears to have been corrected on that point. If that is the only change, it wouldn’t really change the key fact that Manafort shared data with a guy who was a central player in the election year conspiracy.

ABJ hasn’t demanded any additional briefing on this topic, so she may agree with the government that the issue of the email doesn’t otherwise change her ruling. As the government notes, Gates’ self-correction makes him more credible, and suggests the story he is telling — which appears to sustain the same explanation for the August 2 meeting — is as helpful to Manafort as possible, which is not at all.

Update: In her minute order on this (doing nothing about the breach determination), ABJ did indeed order the passage (page 36 line 16) where she discussed the recipients of the data to be corrected, making it virtually certain Manafort shared the data with one Russian and two Ukrainian oligarchs.

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. 

166 replies
  1. Eureka says:

    Thank you. The saga continues… May be? Or maybe not.

    I enjoyed your NYT Opinion piece today- nice, crisp, clear, as usual- and plan to track down your WHYY Radio (!) and Democracy Now interviews.

  2. I Felt Mark says:

    After downloading the response document, I was able to fit the following in the redactions seamlessly, “… in the February 13 transcript to Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov as Ukrainians should instead identify each as dual citizens. While Oleg Deripaska is Russian, both Lyovochkin and Akmetov [sic] are [redacted].”

    That would confirm the NYT article about the sharing of campaign polling data. But it would further clarify that they are not just Ukrainian oligarchs, they also have Russian citizenship, just as Konstantin Kilimnik does.

    • I Felt Mark says:

      Based on Judge Jackson’s minute order and the updated transcript to (Page 36, Line 16), I believe I’ve cracked the missing redactions with the exact number of letters.

      “Also, the evidence indicates that it was understood that Russians would be seeing from Kilimnik campaign data collected including Deripaska, Lyovochkin, and Akhemtov.”


      • I Felt Mark says:

        I meant the names in the NYT updated article are/were correct, but they shouldn’t have removed Deripaska’s name from the initial report. They erred in omitting that Lyovochkin and Akhmetov aren’t just Ukrainian, they are also Russian citizens.

        Almost all of these high profile Ukrainian Party of Regions/oligarch/intelligence guys are granted dual citizenship.

    • Silence Hand says:

      The NYT relays dubious information about polling data that should properly be treated as a source’s limited hangout. AKA statements that resemble the actual facts of a matter but are selected, partly fabricated, or fudged to conceal the larger truth those facts point to.

      As in all such cases, a limited hangout should serve to highlight the importance of finding out the full and likely damaging information that’s being limited. Unfortunately this involves journalists admitting they’ve been duped, and in doing so possibly losing “privileged access” to an “inside source”. See also “access journalism”.

  3. Swade518 says:

    It’s interesting to see polling data pop up with respect to the shenanigans with the Russians ….. remembering… Cambridge analytical blowing its own horn about their ability to target voters based on what I believe was considered a 1 to 5 score having to do with it registered voters and how often they actually vote… To flush out my personal conspiracy theory that I had put to rest some months ago, that is now reborn – like a swamp thing’s hand surfacing from the muck.
    It seems to me a voting machine hack that wasn’t so much flipping votes as having people that don’t normally vote, vote for your candidate it would seem that the former would probably leave some type of cyber trail where as the later would just look like another vote.
    ….eh…then again maybe it was really about where to stir shit up.

    • P J Evans says:

      And the Ds in Congress, while being concerned about hackers and voting, are apparently still focused entirely on voting machines, and missing the other places where the system has exploitable holes.

    • Jharp says:

      Or getting someone likely to vote for Hillary to not vote.

      Sadly I had to drag a few acquaintances to the voting booth who were buying enough of the Hillary nonsense to stay home.

    • Vinnie Gambone says:

      swade 518. You may be into something that could be verified, not totally, not easily, but with a some certainty. Campaigns constantly query the voter files to create mailing list of most people likely TO vote. They could very easily create target list of those registered who are most likely NOT to vote, then try various messaging to chum for bites in those waters, then release that bait in similar DTO waters elsewhere. That makes a lot of sense. You can verify if it worked by running a post election querry of the places where the DTO population woke from their slumber and voted. Those spikes would be easy to chart. That would not work for a normal candidates because most DTO’s are sick of the inanities of modern electioneering (so am I). But there is no denying that the motivating factor for many Trump voters was ” to stick it to guys like you. ” The drain the swamp thing resonated with them. Be curious to see a map of the counties/ states/ precincts showing the highest increases of people who previously did not turn out and it’s correlation to where the pedophile president won.The numbers always tell a story.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Yes, Vinnie. And, there was a brief discussion here a couple months back about the as-yet-uninvestigated probable hacking of voting machines connected to the Internet.

        • North Jersey John says:

          There was also a discussion a few months ago about the possibilities of hacking/altering registration rolls. It might leave fewer trails if a number of targeted voters “disappeared” from registration books. How many voters showed up, weren’t registered, then left without requesting a provisional ballot?

            • Doug R says:

              Or all of a sudden weren’t an “exact match” and flagged by Crosscheck. Or became one of thousands of presidential “undervotes” in Detroit or Flint.

      • Vicks says:

        The commIttee that was sent up to investigate “voter fraud” has always made me itchy.
        They seemed content never to meet, the only thing they DID accomplish was to convince a number of states to turn over voter data.

        • P J Evans says:

          IIRC, as Kansas Secretary of State Kobach wasn’t allowed to turn over his state’s information. (I’ve wondered if he actually gave it to his committee anyway. I’d be surprised if he let the laws get in his way.)

    • Rugger9 says:

      Let’s not forget about the caging (for which the GOP was then under a prior consent order to avoid doing) and the purging of the voter rolls using Kobach’s Crosscheck program riddled with errors and anti-D bias.

      It all fits as a unified assault on democracy, so only the “right” people vote (and I should point out that most if not all of the voter fraudsters were RW, including Anne Coulter). That also means Stalin was correct about being the ones to count the votes is more important that the ones voting. If one goes through the sordid history of voting in FitzWalkerstan (aka WI) they will discover a couple of registrars “finding” open ballot bags that were just enough to “win” elections including Snott Walker’s recall.

      Semi OT, I see Cohen is going back to testify. Also, Felix is finally going to testify in public. That should be interesting.

      • Democritus says:

        Sater’s testimony could blow up that whole Seychelles meeting that is studiously ignored by far too many, though not here!

      • P J Evans says:

        they will discover a couple of registrars “finding” open ballot bags that were just enough to “win” elections

        IIRC at least one was using Excel on a personal computer. They haven’t been able to prove that those voting results were hinky – but it’s not the action of an honest official.

  4. pseudonymous in nc says:

    The scheduling meeting thing was my best guess as well, though that just tells you that the data was sufficiently detailed that it could be used to send the candidate to places like West Bend, WI and Dimondale, MI.

  5. Reader 21 says:

    What a day—started off getting to hear EW on Democracy Now (a terrific interview!) and just read your NYT op-ed. Not sure when you sleep, but you are a national treasure. Thanks for all you do.

  6. P J Evans says:

    Somewhat OT: I understand that Stone has been running off at the mouth about Cohen’s testimony yesterday. I assume that ABJ is aware of it.

    • horses says:

      Texts to Buzzfeed and TDB. He left a digital trail.

      A fool cannot overcome his nature.

      Her Honor will not be pleased. Sucks to be him.

      • P J Evans says:

        I wonder if Madame Speaker’s office was checking with whatever committees Gaetz is still officially on, to see where he was supposed to be, while he was actually harassing Cohen. He had to have given them some excuses.

      • Willis Warren says:

        For what it’s worth, I’m only mildly curious. Unless the “FBI sources” for their April story about this have no connection to Brennan, then it’s just a muse. Considering their “What does Brennan know story” appeared right before the april story, it’s not out of the question… Kosachev and Cohen deny being there, but the whole thing goes back to the dossier, which is IMO disinformation.

        You have to admit that the dossier story from McClatchy is weird and it’s interesting that no one has verified it.

  7. Badger Robert says:

    Good story. Does this indicate Mr. Gates’ attorney now wants to get his client to the outside of the conspiracy, possibly in preparation for Cong. testimony?

  8. Willis Warren says:

    On Topic: So, the “I only printed that out for the meeting, and I just happened to be showing off to the Russians when I handed it to them” defense has an interesting smoking gun possibility…

    if the Russians used the data that he gave them in any way, it would be pretty bad for the trump campaign. I guess we’ll find out pretty soon if there’s any evidence it was weaponized.

  9. InfiniteLoop says:

    If the main justification for thinking this clarification is about printing polling data for a campaign meeting is the statement that “[Gates] remembered that he used [redacted] in preparing for [redacted]”, I’d like to suggest an alternative interpretation.

    1. Gates met with Kilimnik in May and shared mostly public polling data, which he printed in preparation, meant to be passed to the Ukrainians and Deripaska.
    2. Manafort met with Kilimnik on August 2 and shared detailed private polling data, which Gates printed in preparation, meant to be passed to Deripaska.

    In short, while I might be off on some details, my hypothesis is two Kilimnik meetings, two printouts, two sets of data, two sets of recipients; Manafort largely told the truth about the less-incriminating May meeting but lied about the August one (in part by “confusing” and conflating the two).

    In support, first, it’s clear that Gates and OSC crossed wires somehow on the polling data sharing, and Gates became aware of this through the Jan. 8-9 NYT reporting. (Of note, Voleg’s story with the “two meetings” narrative appeared a week after Gates straightened out OSC.) The focus of both the 1/8 and 2/23 stories is timing, data content, and recipients, and it seems likely that’s what Gates would have reacted to in reaching out to OSC.

    Second, Gates seems to have credibly explained the confusion. It’s easier to imagine OSC buying, “Oh, I thought you were only asking about the August meeting, because Manafort wasn’t at the May meeting” than “Oh, I got mixed up between the perfectly ordinary campaign scheduling meeting and the cloak-and-dagger one where folks discussed illegal stuff in a literal smoke-filled room.”

    Third, OSC found documentary evidence already in their possession that corroborated Gates’ new information, and they characterized it in the same [redacted] way as evidence the court was familiar with (which doesn’t seem to fit campaign scheduling documentation). It most likely parallels one of the four items in the list of evidence for Manafort’s lies, but two of those don’t rely on documents and the redaction is too long for “emails”. The best fit is #4, the polling data attachment for printing purposes. I suspect redacted Exhibit B is the 76 pages from August and redacted Exhibit C is a different set of polling data from a different date that corroborates Gates’ new info.

    Finally, Gates’ new information relates to something that OSC hadn’t realized or wasn’t sure existed (see pg 4 of the notice). Marcy has already questioned whether prosecutors knew about the May meeting. https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/02/26/did-mueller-ask-manafort-any-questions-about-his-early-may-2016-meeting-with-kilimnik/ It’s less plausible they would consider the existence of a campaign meeting to be a revelation.

    So, I believe Gates told OSC about a relatively (for these guys) innocuous May meeting, which turned on some OSC lightbulbs and corroborated parts of Manafort’s story — while clarifying the nature of Manafort’s lies about the August 2 meeting.

    • BobCon says:

      I’m still thinking that “polling data” is another version of “adoption policy” — it’s a shorthand for talking about something more substantial in an indirect way.

      I think it’s in Manafort’s interest to try to minimize whatever the “something” is, and I think it’s also in Mueller’s interest to minimize it so that he doesn’t reveal how much he knows until he needs to.

      That’s not to say that polling data isn’t a piece of it — I believe it’s also true that genuine bits about adoption policy were discussed during the Trump Tower meeting and elsewhere. But by and large I think it’s a phrase used to establish a cover story to minimize a whole raft of other activities.

      • Rayne says:

        There’s still the matter of NRA donations — which districts’ reps received $$ and how was it spent. We haven’t yet seen where broadcast ad buys (versus digital) were directed to key districts nor have we seen details about street teams. These are just few places where polling data intersected other possible criminal acts in a larger effort to affect all federal elections, not just POTUS in 2016.

      • InfiniteLoop says:

        Except we only know about the polling data because of the redaction fail. Also, as Rayne points out, polling data actually makes sense in criminal context.

        Besides, they’d already established “Ukraine peace plan” as the code phrase for these contacts.

        • BobCon says:

          I’m not sure I follow.

          Why would co-conspirators working on a bunch of issues feel the need for only one cover story? You want cover stories for each element.

          And I’m not sure why the redaction fail would matter — are cover stories only hatched if they anticipate being revealed in a later court filing? They are developed any time you think you might be caught.

          I’m not denying a printout of polling data might have some value. But all by itself it seems awfully thin. It’s very possible it plugs in to something much bigger — a disinformation campaign, campaign cash, etc. “Publicly available polling data” seems as weak to me as “adoption policy.”

          • quickbread says:

            But if public polling data was cross-referenced with Facebook data, it would have been enough to target ad buys for a disinformation campaign for both parties’ voters. Six months is a good amount of time to change perceptions.

            • quickbread says:

              And to take this speculation a few steps further, the first (public) data handoff was in May 2016. Facebook admitted Russia began to create false accounts and run ads as early as June 2016. So they got the data, went to work on a marketing strategy, then launched the disinformation campaign.

              As a buyer of Facebook ads or an owner of a group/commercial page, you can buy analytics on your ad performance. You can see who’s reading, if not to the person then where they are located, who’s viewed your page and shared your posts, how many times, and so on. And that’s just the data available legitimately. There’s no telling how specifically Russia could’ve measured their campaign’s performance metrics if they had access to Facebook’s servers.

              A second (voter) data handoff near the election would have allowed Russia to identify which and how many registered voters had engaged with or spread their propaganda. And so they would have been able to project voter choices, get more specific with their targeting, pinpoint where DT should hold rallies and also identify which registered voters were most likely to stay home on voting day, so those individuals’ votes could be safely stolen.

              It may be speculation, but it’s also feasible.

              • Democritus says:

                Facebook is a perfect attack vector.
                So now that people are a bit aware about that, is Instagram the next attack vector?

                And will they continue using Twitter knowingly how often journalists use Twitter reactions as a substitute for finding a real live person.

          • Troutwaxer says:

            >>> “Why would co-conspirators working on a bunch of issues feel the need for only one cover story? You want cover stories for each element.”

            Because none of the conspirators was very bright? What point is there to having multiple cover stories if your primary conspirator, “In-duh-vidual Number 1” can’t keep them straight?

          • InfiniteLoop says:

            Who do you think “polling data” would be meant to mislead? Not the public, we didn’t know about it and still wouldn’t if not for the screwup. Not Mueller, either; since the redaction fail was in response to an OSC filing, it’s safe to assume _Mueller himself_ was the first to put the term on the table.

            To your other point, I’d meant to acknowledge you were right about a code phrase. There’s just no evidence to suggest polling data isn’t meant literally and plenty to suggest it is — Marcy’s laid it out better than I could.

            • InfiniteLoop says:

              Several comments have focused on public polling data, so I think one of the key points from my original post might have gotten lost.

              I think Manafort is using a May meeting where Gates shared PUBLIC polling data as a beard for the August meeting where Manafort shared PRIVATE polling data.

  10. Savage Librarian says:

    Marcy and Rayne,
    Thank you so much for all the valuable info. The NYT article and the live interviews were very rewarding.

    This is OT but relevant to show one interesting way in which capitalism has gone awry. It is the real history behind the game of Monopoly.

    I can’t help but wonder if DT was adversely impacted by the distorted version of what this game became. I know a Trump supporter who idolized this game as a child.

    A story about how “facts” shift, how truth is distorted and how intentions become twisted.


    Monopoly Was Designed to Teach the 99% About Income Inequality
    The story you’ve heard about the creation of the famous board game is far from true

    • Cathy says:

      “The Landlord’s Game was sold for a while by a New York-based publisher, but it spread freely in passed-along homemade versions: among intellectuals along the Eastern Seaboard, fraternity brothers at Williams College, Quakers living in Atlantic City, writers and radicals like Upton Sinclair.”

      Williams, eh? Ahh…those Western Mass liberal arts colleges….at least Williams went co-ed five years before its offshoot… ;-)

    • Cathy says:

      Seriously though, @SL, nifty article. We release our ideas out into the universe…some take sail…and some come back to us inside-out and upside-down.

    • Tom says:

      My mother used to tell me that she and her siblings played Monopoly when they were kids during the Depression. She said that one game would sometimes last for days. My own experience playing the game decades ago was that it actually encouraged socialist/wealth redistribution habits. In most games, there would come a tipping point where one player–usually the owner of Park Place and (I forget the other blue property on that corner) would start raking in the cash from rents etc. and pretty soon the other players would be bled dry and the game would end. To avoid that outcome and to promote the continued communal enjoyment of playing the game, we would tweak the rules to allow a poorer player to inherit money from the bank, or have all the $ from fines placed in the centre of the board and go to whomever landed on Free Parking, or a richer player would sell properties at a loss to other players who weren’t doing so well. In general, we found there was more fun in transforming Monopoly into a cooperative game than a play-to-win (and gloat) competition. Maybe that’s why my mother’s games during the Depression lasted so long.

  11. harpie says:

    Zoe Tillman:
    https://twitter.com/ZoeTillman/status/1101556694658752513 10:55 AM – 1 Mar 2019
    [quote] Paul Manafort’s sentencing memo is due by 5pm in his EDVA case. It’s not in yet, but his lawyers filed a report addressing the redacted materials in his DC case from Mueller’s office that led to a correction in the record re: Manafort’s plea deal breach / Manafort’s lawyer say that whatever the new info was about (it was from Rick Gates on 2/15, responding to recent media coverage) it was helpful to Manafort re: whether he intentionally lied, and they want the EDVA judge to take note / Manafort’s lawyers say he doesn’t know what effect the new info will have on the DC judge’s 2/13 finding that Manafort lied after signing his plea deal. The judge had ordered a correction to “an inaccurate description of an individual or individuals” in one line of the transcript [end quote]
    Includes link and screenshots.

  12. klynn says:

    OT: Roger is going to enjoy a small enclosure soon.
    Zoe Tillman
    NEW: It appears there may be a book coming out that implicates the gag order in Roger Stone’s case, and the judge wants to know why this is the first she’s hearing about it (a redacted filing will be coming, right now this is all we have). March 4 deadline to respond.

    • bmaz says:

      I am not so sure about that. ABJ will be VERY concerned about prior restraint. She is more concerned that Stone did not disclose this. I very much doubt this gets his release conditions revoked.

  13. Bay State Librul says:

    What is a seven letter word that is like a full-moon viewing?……………


    Can we have a discussion of the role obscene, sleazy lawyers played, are playing, and are about to play, in the Mueller Probe.

    I’m talking about Dersh, Abbe Lowell, etc. etc.

    • RobBob says:

      It’s funny, Abbe Lowell doesn’t really have a reputation for being a sleaze, he’s a very well respected beltway lawyer. I was shocked he agreed to take Kushner on as a client.

      Marcy, do you think there’s any chance Lowell would dump Kushner after this most recent revelation? The wording of his most recent statement seemed to throw Jared under the bus a little.

      • bmaz says:

        Good lawyers take on all kinds of clients. Some may be less than optimal in character. That is okay.

        The kind of attorney that sheepishly says “no, I will not represent you because you are evil” is one incompetent and weak lawyer that ought get out of the business.

        And, no, Abbe shouldn’t dump Kushner right now. To do so would almost be an unethical abandonment and comment on Kushner’s position. Never leave your client to hang out and dry like that, never. You cannot do that. In the longer term, we shall see.

  14. Badger Robert says:

    With the Democrats in charge of the House, the Special Counsel can probably end the investigation part of his assignment. This should lead to the redactions being ended or severely reduced. The investigation of the inauguration committee should provide plenty of high dollar disclosures about crude corruption, and the Republican Senators may be nervous about the President raiding the DOJ to shut it down.
    The Special Counsel should be able to write a report showing the available data, the application of the data through social media and some targeted money. This should be joined with a forensic analysis of results, but the Democrats may have to do that themselves.
    The report can avoid the issues central to an impeachment vote, and yet still show the vulnerabilities of the system in states that are within a margin small enough to be determined by manipulations.
    The report, if there is one, relates to the central issue of whether President Trump was fairly elected. That also relates to fabricating poll results that provide evidence that he continues to be viable. If he fails to remain viable, the new money disappears and asset values begin to decline. A Ponzi scheme always needs new money.
    The fantasy that the Republicans needed Trump, is dying. He was using what they had constructed: he did not construct it. As soon as the 2018 results are conclusively seen to apply to the 2020 Presidential and Senate elections, Trump becomes a lame duck.

    • BobCon says:

      Congressional investigations are a different beast from DOJ investigations.

      Congress has a much broader mandate — they don’t have to stick to criminal investigations and can look into policy issues. However, Congress has much, much less investigative capacity. Also, DOJ is not going to drop anything that they feel would be productive for further prosecutions.

      For example, Elijah Cummings has maybe two dozen staff positions for investigators, give or take a few. That covers his entire jurisdiction, which includes all federal government operations. By necessity, most of his staff needs to be generalists covering a number of areas. In contrast, Mueller is able to call upon a much greater number of experts within the FBI and other parts of the government, with many years of specialized expertise.

      It’s not impossible for a Congressional committee to dig into highly complex issues, but it’s inherently harder for them to carry out, say, an investigation into specific acts of Russian money laundering. And the reality is that they have limited bandwidth — if a committee devotes three or four investigators to something as straightforward as security clearance issues at the White House, that’s a major chunk of staffpower that will be taken off of other cases.

      There is so much dirt going on with Trump that it’s going to be a difficult job simply assigning priorities, and there is simply no way the House can pick up a lot of slack from DOJ, even if DOJ felt that was an option.

      • Badger Robert says:

        You said better than I could. I speculate that they at least feel the emergency is passed. The people have some remedy.

  15. Michael Keenan says:

    Lying is one thing but sharing public polling data with anyone is a crime?

    Stone never went to London. The wiki-leak dump was also public knowledge. Only after the dump did Dear Donald even ask for Russia assistance.

    I would like to see from Marcy a definitive response to Binney and McGovern’s leak vs hack. http://theduran.com/why-the-dnc-was-not-hacked-by-the-russians/ **

    And speaking of NYT’s is the Cover Up General William Barr here to shut down Mueller’s investigation? Seems too coincidental. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/25/us/pardons-text-president-bush-s-statement-pardon-weinberger-others.html

    But what really bothers me is why was Podesta given immunity over Manafort when the whole wikileaks other dump was about Podesta – not Manafort?

    And Bmaz please get over harping about Assange. He did us a yhuge favor! If you would take the time. Pretty please. https://www.projectcensored.org/2-open-source-intelligence-secrets-sold-to-highest-bidders/

    [** Link edited to remove tracking. When sharing links here, remove any portion of URL identifying you or your session before doing so. /~Rayne]

    • Rayne says:

      Insisting on particular responses or behavior from contributors/editors based on one’s own perceptions and biases doesn’t encourage positive reactions.

    • viget says:

      Wrong Podesta, MK. Tony is the lobbyist, John is the campaign manager.

      Tony was implicated in the Manafort filings and may have gotten immunity, John’s emails were the hacked ones.

    • bmaz says:

      Dear Mr. Keenan,

      What is a crime is up to the circumstances. Could it be here, sure, if you understand that multiple factors can come into play in conspiracy cases. You do not seem to realize that.

      Next, no. I will say what I think about that dirtbag Assange. Your cite is absolute crap. But, hey, thanks!

      Thirdly, your claimed timeline may, or may not, be true. And you have no real clue. Like the rest of us, you do not know squat about what Mueller has and why he has proceeded apace. Despite your proclamation to the contrary.

      Lastly, this blog, and its proprietors do not owe you, or anyone else, a response to the cranks at IIPA.

      Also, your link is crap (and I went and otherwise found it despite you posting a junk version here that Rayne had to clip). Please do not pull this junk here.

      • P J Evans says:

        Thanks! (I thought most of that comment was crap, but decided you could do a much better job of handling it.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      if this were nakedcapitalism, you’d already be bounced. Enjoy your second chance. As Auric Goldfinger said to the prostrate before the laser James Bond, “Choose your next witticism carefully.”

      • Vern says:

        Actually, that comment is typical of the proprietors and commentariat at NC on these issues. NC has been a cesspool of Trump nastiness/Anti-Clinton hate since 2015. Mostly along the lines of: Trump and his chaos and disruption are the path to our socialist paradise!

        I’m a socialist, these people appear to be Stalinists.

        I’ve also noted more than a few alt-right commenters there.

      • P J Evans says:

        The one that kind of got me was Tr*mp claiming that he was watching the doors and no one was leaving, even though Dale could see people leaving. (I’m wondering how many people were on their phones rather than listen to Tr*mp babbling.)

        • Tom says:

          I recall reading a story last year in which a reporter said that on the fringes of Trump’s rallies you can see empty chairs, people yawning, checking their watches, texting, and looking bored because they’ve heard it all before. On the other hand, I also remember Jim Acosta reporting recently that the mood at Trump’s rallies is actually getting uglier.

          • P J Evans says:

            Apparently he’s not getting the expected responses now that he was before – or CPAC isn’t full of willing responders to his cues.

    • harpie says:

      At 9:59 AM – 2 Mar 2019 in the speech, Dale writes:
      [quote] Trump on immigration and Congress: "They have to be people that can love our country, not hate our country. We have people in Congress, right now, that hate our country." / Trump says, of either immigrants or unspecified Democratic members of Congress he is accusing of hating America – I'm not sure on first listen – "How did they do in their country?…Not so good." He says he knows some people will say it's "terrible" he says this. [end quote]
      At 10:10 AM – 2 Mar 2019 he adds: https://twitter.com/ddale8/status/1101907559898902529

      [quote] On second listen, seems like Trump was indeed talking Democratic about members of Congress who immigrated from elsewhere. He referred to their birth country, not the U.S., as "their country." [end quote]
      Now please look at the poster described in this tweet from 3/1/19:
      [quote] This poster is in your Capitol on a booth sponsored by @WVGOP “When someone shows you who they are, believe them” / At the WV State Capitol as part of “WV GOP Day” [end quote]
      The Congress woman pictured on that poster is Ilhan Omar, "Mom, Refugee, Intersectional Feminist, 2017 Top Angler of the Governor's Fishing Opener and Congresswoman for Mn5"

    • harpie says:

      At 10:20 AM – 2 Mar 2019 Dale writes:
      [quote] Trump says that nobody in Hollywood could play US generals, “These guys are like perfect people.” He says he met a general named “Raisin Kane.” He said he was incredulous but that yes, the guy said, his name is Raisin “like the fruit.” ??? someone help me with this one / This should probably be Raisin Cane. I have no idea. This speech is bonkers. / Trump says Raisin Cain gave him advice on how quickly they can beat ISIS, and he said, “I’m gonna get back to you soon, Raisin, I think you’re great. I like you, Raisin Cain.”
      I don’t believe this actually happened, but if I were on Twitter, I would suggest to Dale that perhaps the name was “Raisin’ Kane”, as in “raising hell”. He IS talking about the movies, right?

      • harpie says:

        Later, Dale says that Trump said:
        [quote] Trump says the generals are right out of central casting, and you could put them in a movie, and he liked all of them, not just Raisin Cain. He says one time a general was put in a movie but didn’t get an Academy Award “because Hollywood discriminates against our people.” [end quote]
        …OUR PEOPLE?

      • Eureka says:

        LOL, one of the replies to the “…This speech is bonkers.” tweet is ~~ ‘He’s loved the military ever since he met General Foods’

      • harpie says:

        When I Googled “raisin kaine”, these two article came up:
        1] The conspiracy to make Tim Kaine president | Law of Markets
        Apr 14, 2018 – When it comes to Tim Kaine, you need to bear this in mind: … my post from November 1, 2016: Raisin’ Kaine to the highest office in the land.
        2] Raisin’ Kaine!: Tim Kaine’s son and seditious agent provocateur [On Reddit]
        May 27, 2017 – 2 posts – ‎1 author Open Source Investigations related to George Webb’s Thesis.

        • Tom says:

          Perhaps Trump–or somebody–got confused with the movie “Citizen Kane” and the main character Charles Foster Kane (who actually resembles Donald Trump in some ways except that in the movie Kane’s political career is brought down by an extramarital scandal whereas Trump’s survived). I believe there was a book written about the making of “Citizen Kane” called “Raising Kane”. Either that or an album of the Bernard Herrmann soundtrack.

    • harpie says:

      At 10:29 AM – 2 Mar 2019, Dale writes:
      [quote] Trump: “The crazy female senator from the state of Ohio.” (People: the state of Ohio?) Trump: “The state of Hawaii. She’s like a crazed person.”
      He must be talking about Senator Mazie K. Hirono, of the state of Hawaii.
      On 2/15, Trump tweeted:
      [quote] 2019 Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies AFTER birth…./ ….This will be remembered as one of the most shocking votes in the history of Congress. If there is one thing we should all agree on, it’s protecting the lives of innocent babies. [end quote]
      Hirono responded:
      [quote] Let me be clear: infanticide is already illegal. This bill continues Republicans’ ceaseless efforts to push a false narrative to achieve their goals of shaming women, criminalizing doctors, and ending a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion. [end quote]
      Doesn’t seem crazed to me.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’d love to have been the fly on the wall when he heard/read about that. (Also that he thinks that Tr*mp is extremely smart. Somehow I doubt that.)

      • punaise says:

        Trump just makes shit up with no compunction.

        Gavin, perhaps in the interest of cajoling the needed fire relief funding, may downplay it – but jeeez louise.

  16. Jenny says:

    “Donald Trump has been spinning you in a tumble dryer full of turd. It’s all lies. All of it!”
    -Stephen Colbert

  17. Tom says:

    Speaking of turds in a dryer (or a microwave or a toaster or a food processor or any other household appliance), did you know that Kim Jong-Un carries his own personal toilet with him wherever he goes so that his Number One and Number Two don’t fall into the wrong (shudder) hands? Apparently he’s worried about foreigners analyzing his pee & poo to gather information about his health and eating habits. See the TOPIC website for April 26, 2018.

    • Jenny says:

      Portable potty for Kim Jong Un – Have Throne will Travel.
      Just can’t make this poop up. Ha.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump tells ecstatic CPAC crowd that, “Democratic oversight is ‘bullshit’.”


    That’s the current Republican president fulfilling his oath of office: “I do solemnly swear…that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Apropos of the photo that accompanies that Guardian article, “When fascism arrives in America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” It is the contemporary Republican Party and the man it slavishly follows that are bullshit.

  19. harpie says:

    At 5:08 AM – 1 Mar 2019 Trump tweets:
    [quote] Congress must demand the transcript of Michael Cohen’s new book, given to publishers a short time ago. Your heads will spin when you see the lies, misrepresentations and contradictions against his Thursday testimony. Like a different person! He is totally discredited!] [end quote]
    On March 1 at 10:28 PM, Washington Post publishes:
    Judge orders Roger Stone to explain imminent release of book that may violate gag order
    [quote] PM […] In the new controversy, Jackson, in a brief order posted on the court’s electronic docket after office hours Friday […] […] Jackson said Stone’s attorneys could have told the court about the unidentified book either in a February court filing or the Feb. 21 hearing on whether she should impose a gag order to limit prejudicial pretrial publicity and ensure Stone’s right to a fair trial. […]

    • harpie says:

      Manuel Roig-Franzia tweets an excerpt of Stone’s book:
      [quote tweet]Meanwhile, be interesting to see how Judge Amy Berman Jackson reacts to passages like this in Roger Stone’s book—written & announced before her beefed up gag order, but published after the gag order. [screen shot] [end tweet]
      This is the text from the screenshot of Stone’s book:
      of this conspiracy. I now find myself on Crooked Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s hit list because I’ve advised Donald Trump for the past forty years. I am being targeted not because I committed a crime, but because the Deep State liberals want to silence me and pressure me to testify against my good friend.
      For months, Mueller’s Russian investigation has tried to implicate me by saying I had direct knowledge of plans by WikiLeaks to release information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. There is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim, even after at least twelve of my current and former associates have been browbeaten by the FBI and at least six of them were dragged before Mueller’s grand jury.

  20. Rusharuse says:

    Watch Cpac and tell me the “cold civil war” isn’t going to get hot real soon. These people have jumped a fucking whale!

  21. harpie says:

    At CPAC, Trump revisits the “Russia. if your’re listening” episode:
    [quote] […] Trump criticizes “the fake news” for not treating his jokes as jokes. / ! Trump, shouting and gesturing, re-enacts his call for Russia to obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails. He suggests this was a joke the media unfairly didn’t treat as a joke. There is a loud LOCK HER UP chant. / Trump mocks CNN, in his mocking voice, for accurately reporting in 2016 that “he asked Russia to come get the emails.” He says, “These people are sick.” [end quote]
    There’s a screen shot here of the conversation about this between Trump and Katy Tur:
    [quote] Trump at #CPAC19 now says he was joking during that July 2016 press conference when he called on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails. But @KatyTurNBC pressed him on it at the time, and he wasn’t joking. “They probably have them. I’d like to have them released,” he told her. [screenshot] [end quote]

  22. harpie says:

    Trump on Rosenstein/Comey/Mueller:
    [quote] Tump is criticizing Sessions and Rosenstein at length, complaining that they, and Mueller, weren’t elected, unlike him. He appointed both of them after he was elected. / Trump says he told Melania that he was going to fire James Comey because: “He’s bad. He’s a bad, bad guy.” He says again that he thought it would be a popular move with both parties. “So bipartisan.” [end quote]
    To which Brad Moss responds: https://twitter.com/BradMossEsq/status/1101901652083331072
    [quote] He just made Melania a witness [end quote]

  23. harpie says:

    At CPAC, more false claims:
    [quote] Trump is falsely claiming, again, that John Podesta called for Comey’s ouster. Podesta criticized Comey the day of the firing, saying “the American public is getting mildly nauseous listening to Jim Comey,” but didn’t call for Comey to go. [end quote]
    Roger Stone did, though. Here’s a 5/11/17 interview where he admits it: https://www.mediamatters.org/video/2017/05/11/roger-stone-hits-morning-shows-contradict-white-house-claims-comey-firing-claims-he-spoke-trump/216399
    [quote] GUTHRIE (CO-HOST): Just to button it up, fair to say you’re not denying that you recommended to the president that he fire Comey? You’re not denying that.
    STONE: Well, I’m an inveterate memo writer as well. So no, I’m not. [end quote]

    • Jenny says:

      This man does not have any oars in the water. Again he ranted about women being raped at the southern border. Blathering of fear, anger and hate.

      “Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border. Think of that. True story told to me by the Border Patrol. Think of how evil that is.”

  24. harpie says:

    He’s hitting all his greatest hits.
    [quote] Trump: “We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness, and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas.” He calls for free speech, “online and on campus.” [end quote]
    To which RVAWonk responds: https://twitter.com/RVAwonk/status/1101956493644124160
    [quote] This is chilling, given what “free speech” means to the right-wing crowd. As I wrote about recently, the right-wing “free speech” movement is being bankrolled by conservative billionaires who want to indoctrinate young people & force their views where they aren’t wanted. [WaPo link] / The “free speech” legislation being pushed on college campuses is based on a model bill developed by the right-wing Goldwater Institute. It not only forces colleges to let unwanted speakers onto campus, but actually prohibits peaceful protests when such speakers are talking. [end quote]

    • Cathy says:

      My wide-eyed high-schooler brought the following to my attention this week:
      “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” (George Orwell, 1984)

      Our apparent tolerance of Trump is starting to really freak the kid out.

      At least once a week we have The Discussion: “The ship of state does not turn on a dime…” “Yeah, but shouldn’t we at least be doing life boat drills, or something?”

  25. harpie says:

    Congressmen Trump likes/loves:
    [quote] Trump is now talking about Ron DeSantis’s race. Can he make it to two hours??? / Trump says of Ron DeSantis: “When people defend me, I defend them. That’s why I like Mark (Meadows)…and I’m not sure a lot of people like him. He’s tough as hell. But I like him I love him.” [end quote]
    …and https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1101922277707390976
    [quote] TRUMP: “The ones that love Trump, the ones that are really the Trumpers — like Meadows, Jordan, Gaetz, so many of them — they are the ones that win. It’s the ones that are a little shy about embracing what we’re all about, they get clobbered. Take a look.” [end quote]
    …to which Laura Rozen responds: https://twitter.com/lrozen/status/1101923065691361280
    [quote] quid pro quo that led gaetz to threaten cohen. [end quote]

      • cat herder says:

        Here’s an interesting experiment: if you have family or friends who are MAGA-curious, read out loud to them part of a transcript from one of T’s insane rants. Not mocking, not imitating, just his batshit words coming from a sane person’s mouth. They hear it different when it’s coming from somebody they know who is in the same room with them. It makes the crazy really obvious in a way that half-hearing a soundbite from a TV in the other room doesn’t.

    • Tom says:

      The photo of Trump hugging the flag reminds me of Samuel Johnson’s remark that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

  26. Bay State Librul says:


    Can you take on Ross D?


    Bmaz — On sleazy lawyers


    Can you take on Ross Douhaht


    Bmaz — On sleazy lawyers

    “The kind of attorney that sheepishly says “no, I will not represent you because you are evil” is one incompetent and weak lawyer that ought get out of the business.”

    Comment: I think this sets a real low bar for lawyers. If you mean by evil – a person that lies, cheats, and threatens, and that his lawyer knows that, and has lied to him, then I think he should tell him to go fuck himself. To me, this is not a sign of weakness or incompetence… but a sign of strength and courage. I guess it depends on what you mean by “evil”

    • pizza says:

      Fuck yeah! Every human being needs to have and exercise some sense of decency no matter how high or low that is. Even lawyers. Lying thugs are not worth the effort of decent attorneys.

    • P J Evans says:

      So you’re saying that bad people don’t deserve to have legal representation at trials? That’s not how it works.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Try giving the group your own take on Ross Douthat. It’s possible that EW and bmaz are busy just now.

      That Douthat was given a plot in the most expensive OpEd real estate in the land at such a tender age, that he knew so little then and knows so much less now, is a testament to the NYT’s desperation to appeal to those who prefer the WSJ. Whereas CNN is addicted to raging conservatives past their prime, the NYT is addicted to conservatives of any age who make Caspar Milquetoast appear to rage.

      • Bay State Librul says:

        My own initial take is since Ross is a conservative, he has swayed the argument. That is my prejudicial view.
        I have no idea about the Dossier (although I have my suspicions). I asked Emptywheel, because she has the pulse.
        Have I sinned?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          No, but I suspect that if EW has the time and interest to respond to a particular comment, it’s easier to respond to a full comment than a request that she fill in the blanks.

          I find Douthat’s pinched catholicism and humanity useless. He is less informed and more conservative than Stephens, not as smooth but equally as distracting as David Brooks. The Steele dossier, for example, is a useless distraction long since made redundant by the wider and fuller investigations by team Mueller.

          • Bay State Librul says:

            I would agree that the dossier is a distraction. I’m not convinced that it is useless.

            • bmaz says:

              Naw, it is a completely useless red herring, and always has been. You are biting off on Trumpian bullshit.

    • Tom says:

      Even the worst criminal has the right to the best legal defense. Once we decide that some people don’t deserve a good lawyer, we undermine the integrity of the legal system and place all of us at risk. As Robert Bolt has Sir Thomas More say in “A Man For All Seasons”: “Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”

        • Tom says:

          I’m not a lawyer but I’d say yes, if I thought I had the skills, knowledge, and experience to help him. If I didn’t, I’d refer him to others who did. It’s all part of being a professional: you do the job without letting your personal feelings interfere, like doctors who save the lives of drunk drivers who have been in car accidents.

  27. pizza says:

    Why can’t one person, just one brave, pissed off individual stand in front of that asshole when the cameras are on (so many opportunities) and tell him he’s a goddamn liar?

    Like: “You, sir are a liar! You are nothing but a liar! You lie about everything! Everything! You are incapable of telling even a shred of truth! NOTHING you say is the truth. You nothing but a liar!!!”

    Why not just one person? It needs to happen. This person would instantly become a national hero to everyone outside his loony tunes base.

    • P J Evans says:

      They’d probably be a DEAD hero. That “loony tunes base” is quite capable of killing someone.

      • pizza says:

        Good point. Lots of NRA folks in that group, among other. And the MSM would cover it for about 2 minutes then move on to something unimportant.

    • Marinela says:

      All republicans left are fixers for DT. They put themselves in this spot. Too late now to reverse course. The ones that could act as republicans, retired already.

      On these events (CPAC, rallies, media events), I think they screen people really good, so the chance for a sane person to stand up to the lies is really small.

      Media would be the one area where somebody could try to challenge Trump, but so far, they give him soft ball questions.

      Trump acts as a ruler disconnected from the people, more and more isolated. All such rulers, ended up losing in the end. The history tells us this much.

      Concerned that if he wins re-election, the statute of limitations for some investigations may expire.

      • P J Evans says:

        The screening stuff goes back at least to 1970. They give out more tickets than they have seats, so they can keep out the people who don’t fit the image by telling them there’s not space inside.

    • Tom says:

      Remember that teenage boy who was briefly famous last year as “The plaid shirt guy” or something like that? He was caught on camera at one Trump rally standing in the bleachers behind the President frowning and shaking his head in disagreement with what Trump was speechifying about. One of Trump’s people eventually saw him and told him to leave, or at least get out of camera range.

  28. harpie says:

    TrumpTweetsDaily for 3/3/2019
    Today, Trump tweeted two related tweets, but in reverse order and 17 minutes apart.
    1] https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1102233209708924930 7:44 AM – 3 Mar 2019
    [quote] …said was a total lie, but Fake Media won’t show it. I am an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted & corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal & should never have been allowed to start – And only because I won the Election! Despite this, great success! [end quote]
    ……..17 minutes……>>>
    2] https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1102237752744120322 8:02 AM – 3 Mar 2019
    [quote] After more than two years of Presidential Harassment, the only things that have been proven is that Democrats and other broke the law. The hostile Cohen testimony, given by a liar to reduce his prison time, proved no Collusion! His just written book manuscript showed what he….. [end quote]

      • Cathy says:

        Yup. At my house the confusion about why the country hasn’t ejected the crazy man from the Oval Office has reached a pitch of generational betrayal. Hopefully those of voting age will redeem ourselves at the next available opportunity.

        In the meantime Trump has chosen his venue and his weapons – that he is now using them to great effect against himself may be a great relief to R’s:

        Seems to make it easier for them to make the case that they were willing to give the voters’ choice a chance, but how, they can ask in simulated innocence, can they be expected to get anything done when this is what they are forced to work with…makes them the latest victims of the con, bless their duplicitous and rapacious hearts.

    • harpie says:

      As for WITCHHUNT, Steve Vladeck reminds Trump:
      [quote] A friendly reminder that the D.C. Circuit just ruled, unanimously, that Special Counsel Mueller’s appointment and investigation are lawful: [link] // Every single federal judge to consider the matter, including a Trump appointee, has reached the same conclusion. [end quote]
      …and as for “great success!”, you might want to check out what your friend Vlad is saying:
      6:58 AM – 3 Mar 2019 from Moscow
      [quote] Russian TV declares the Trump-Kim summit “one more failure” for the US President & slams his record in office: “Trump worsened relations with the EU, China & Russia. There’s failure in Syria & with Turkey, with Iran & Venezuela… wherever you turn, it’s bad.” [end quote]

  29. Bay State Librul says:


    I’m not saying they can’t have legal representatives.
    I’m asking when does ethics kick in?
    To me, Jay S, Rudi, Dersch, et al. maybe crossing the line and hurting our democracy.

    • P J Evans says:

      Ethics should be doing the best for the client, but not lying, cheating, or breaking the law for them.
      (Which is why Cohen isn’t a lawyer any more.)

      • Bay State Librul says:

        Cohen is the only person who was caught and is now disbarred.
        What I’m saying is Rudi probably should be disbarred, maybe
        Jay S, etc….. My guess is that they will find “technical” points to save their lying asses.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect you’re right.

      The GOP knows it is in a shrinking minority. It has nothing in common and much in conflict with the people whose votes it counts on. To hide that, the GOP will stir its base with an elixir of anger, fear and loathing.

      Once the GOP has lost power, its base loses a useless lottery ticket and the GOP can no longer replace it. Deprived of the forlorn hope offered by that ticket, its base will vent its anger. The GOP will encourage it so as to make the state ungovernable without them.

      Trump’s GOP is not Eisenhower’s GOP. It will burn the playing field and the town around it rather than let the other team win, rather than let the Democrats show that government can be made to work by and for the people.

  30. Tom says:

    Bearing in mind that we all carry some Neanderthal genes, I think the Republicans facing the new freshman Democrats in the House must feel about the same as the Neanderthals did when Cro-Magnon people started encroaching on their territory. Also, bad news for white supremacists, if you Google “Neanderthal genes in modern humans” you’ll come up with an assortment of articles pointing out that pale skin, particularly red hair and freckles, is one of those traits we inherited from the Neanderthals.

    • Cathy says:

      Gingers of the World: we owe you so much. Now get out of the way. ;-)

      I’m hoping for a healthy skepticism of Republicans (seeded by the inability of the two most recent R Admins to hand off the country in better shape than they found it) to overcome an incredulity that the Democrats ignored in 2016 the message in 2008 that the U.S. electorate is done with dynasties.

      Apologies – I sometimes find oversimplification comforting.

      • P J Evans says:

        yeah, that’s why there are people backing Biden – or one of the Kennedys. /s
        Clinton wasn’t a “dynasty” candidate – she was much better qualified than her husband, ferGhussake. I don’t see any of the people currently running for the D nomination as being nearly as well-qualified.

        • Cathy says:

          A dose of rationality…and yet those qualifications weren’t persuasive…enough. Maybe qualifications that make for a good commander-in-chief don’t translate as well as we could hope to a campaign?

          One of the truisms that gets bandied about during election season is the double-edged sword of experience: it burnishes candidates’ potential to serve effectively in office at the same time it weighs them down with the baggage of past mistakes or notoriety.

          As a tenured public figure Clinton brought both qualifications and baggage to her candidacy – the qualifications are her own, but I would submit that the baggage includes that inherited from her husband. The opposition exploited suggestions of a political dynasty replete with insider imagery.

          Maybe Trump’s extra large dose of outsider-ness will put the lie to the messaging “outsider = agent of change = good” and its corollary “insider = business as usual = bad.”

          How big an ask is that – for voters to be rational? ;-)

          • david_l says:

            Voters are “irrational” when they do not have a very powerful rational basis for choosing.

            There is a rational, factual, easily understood i.e., Grade 12 financial, economic, quality of life, and personal empowerment argument for the short term value and long term value of the five or six major components of the progressive agenda, which large segments of the population want anyway e.g., around 70% for universal health care and free college tuition and 50+% for a jobs for all program and carbon emission reduction/green energy.

            If Democrats 1) realized this, 2) could put the argument together, distill, and concentrate it, and 3) could all stay tenaciously on message from now until 11/20 (folding in can-win foreign policy and state and local issues as appropriate) then the vast majority of voters would have a powerful rational basis for choosing and would be able to act rationally.

            “He lies and he’s a bully and he’s horrible for America” and “Pinko Commie Socialist” is the fuel for voter “politics as entertainment”, “politics as ethnic and class warfare”, and ballot box “irrationality”.

            If the Democrats did 1,2,3 and the Republicans do what we know they will, voters will, I believe, act rationally.

            I’m not optimistic the Democrats will 1,2,3 but if they did…

            • P J Evans says:

              You apparently haven’t been paying attention to the Democrats: they’re doing all those things right now. The media are still stuck in their rut of “Dems in Disarray” and not covering it as they should. (They’re also ignoring the logjam of McTurtle in the Senate.)

            • Cathy says:

              Take heart! The Dems have about a year and a half to refine the message (with demonstrated voter response to messaging in the midterms available as a baseline) + to establish a ground game (that leverages suburban disaffectation with GOP-T). It’s entirely possible they won’t flub it.

  31. Watson says:

    My two cents on lawyers who represent (alleged) villains:

    (With heartfelt respect to practitioners like bmaz who toil in the hostile trenches of US criminal courts, where judges typically view their pro-prosecution bias as a patriotic norm, and where systemic racism is viewed as inconceivable. And keeping in mind that a case wouldn’t be in criminal court unless the alleged conduct was considered to be seriously morally wrong.)

    • A defendant’s right to an effective defense is essential to a civilized society.
    • Effective defense means not only a competent attorney who has sufficient time to devote to the case; it also means investigators, forensic analysts, and expert witnesses.
    • We are extremely fortunate to have a very honorable tradition of lawyers who courageously represent vilified defendants.
    • But one-per-centers like Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump routinely employ lawyers (not least criminal lawyers) to maintain their predatory life styles.
    • And there is a small ‘white collar’ bar, e.g., Marc Mukasey and Christopher Wray, which caters to these predators.
    • There is a significant difference between defendants like Weinstein and Trump who can afford to pay for lawyers and, say, the Scottsboro Boys who couldn’t.
    • Likewise, there is a significant difference between our current white collar bar and, say, Clarence Darrow.
    • Therefore we should recognize our debt to our honorable criminal defense lawyers, and recognize that these attorneys must typically maintain their practices by appearing as assigned counsel for run-of-the-mill ‘blue collar’ defendants who cannot afford to pay for their own lawyers; and acknowledge that most of these attorneys can survive only by representing the occasional client (often a drug dealer) who can afford to pay.

    And so, my hat is sincerely off to bmaz, et al; but not so much to Mukasey, Wray, et al.

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