How to Read the Mueller Report

Politico has a piece describing how key players will read the Mueller report that starts by admitting the usual workaround — reading the index — won’t work.

The capital has already evolved one model for processing a big tell-all book: “the Washington read,” where you scan the index (assuming there is one) to find everything it says about you, your boss and your enemies and then fake like you’ve read the rest. But this time that won’t be enough. The goods might not come easily. They might be buried in an obscure subsection. And there’s way more at stake than in the typical gossipy memoir.

Further down, David Litt graciously included me on a list of legal and analytical voices he’ll turn to to help understand the report.

Former Obama White House speechwriter David Litt will have Twitter open while he’s making his way through the report, watching in particular for posts from several of the more prominent legal and analytical voices who have narrated the story’s plot twists as it evolved: Ken White (@popehat), Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1), Renato Mariotti (@Renato_Mariotti), Marcy Wheeler (@emptywheel), Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) “for the definitive word on special-counsel regs” and Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight “to think through the political implications.”

Since most of the methods described by Politico’s sources actually will be counterproductive for anything but rushing a self-serving message to the press, I thought I’d lay out some tips for how I’ll read it.

Understand what the report is and is not

Even before Barr releases the report, those planning on reading it would do well to reflect on what it is — and what it is not. It is, by regulation, a report on the prosecutions and declinations the Mueller team took during their tenure.

It is not supposed to be, contrary to many claims, a report on everything that Mueller discovered. Already there have been hints that it will not include the second half of Rod Rosenstein’s mandate to Mueller — to figure out the nature of links between Trump’s team and Russia. If that stuff is excluded, then it probably will get reported, secretly, to the Intelligence Committees and no further. That’s important because the stuff that would compromise Trump — but would not necessarily implicate him in a crime — may by definition not show up in this report (though the stuff specifically relating to Trump may show up in the obstruction case).

Finally, it’s unclear how much Mueller will include about referrals and ongoing investigations. I expect he’ll include descriptions of the things he and Rosenstein decided deserved further prosecutorial scrutiny but did not fit under the narrow rubric of whether Trump’s team coordinated or conspired with the Russian government on the hack-and-leak. But with the sole exception of three known referrals: the hush payments negotiated by Michael Cohen, the prosecution of Mike Flynn partner Bijan Kian, and the prosecution of Sam Patten, I expect any discussion of these matters to be redacted — appropriately so.

Map out what we already know about prosecutorial decisions

Since the report is by regulation supposed to describe the prosecutorial and declination decisions, we already know much of what will show up in the report, because Mueller has helpfully showed his prosecutorial decisions right here on his webpage. Here are some questions we should expect the report to answer (working from the bottom):


  • Why did Mueller consider George Papadopoulos’ lies to the FBI material to the investigation? [Note, Mueller has already answered this in Papadopoulos’ sentencing memo.]
  • Did Mueller find any evidence that Papadopoulos had passed on news that Russia was planning to dump emails pertaining to Hillary in an effort to help Trump? What did those people do with that information?
  • What did the investigation of Sergei Millian, who started pitching a Trump Tower deal and other seeming intelligence dangles to Papadopoulos in July 2016 reveal? [This is a subject that may either be redacted, referred, or treated as counterintelligence saved for the Intelligence Committees.]

Mike Flynn

  • Why were Flynn’s lies about assuring Sergey Kislyak that Trump would revisit sanctions deemed material to the investigation? [Note, Mueller has already answered this in Flynn’s sentencing memo, but it is significantly redacted]
  • Why did Mueller give Flynn such a sweet plea deal, as compared to his partner Bijan Kian, who was named a foreign agent? What information did he trade to get it? [Some of this is included in his sentencing memo — because he flipped early, it led others to correct their lies — but key parts of it remain redacted.]
  • What other Trump aides (like KT McFarland) lied about the same topics, and why were their attempts to clean that up before being charged deemed sufficient to avoid prosecution?

There’s likely a great deal pertaining to Flynn — likely including the third topic on which he cooperated — that will be deemed counterintelligence information that will be briefed to the Intelligence Committees.

Richard Pinedo

  • Why did Mueller prosecute Pinedo as part of his investigation?
  • How did Mueller determine that Pinedo had not wittingly worked with Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s trolls?

There’s likely some counterintelligence information about how the trolls duped Pinedo and how the US might shore up that vulnerability, but given the focus on the trolls, I expect FBI has already briefed that to the Intelligence Committees in substantial part.

The Internet Research Agency

  • Given that Russia’s activities weren’t under the original scope of Mueller’s investigation; why did the trolls get moved under him? [The answer may be because of the Trump people found to have interacted with the trolls.]
  • Why did Mueller consider prosecuting Concord Management worth the headache?
  • How much of the relationship between Yevgeniy Prigozhin and Putin impacted this prosecution?
  • What did the three Trump campaign officials in Florida described in the indictment do after being contacted by the trolls about events in August 2016? Did any other people in the campaign join in the efforts to coordinate with the trolls? Why weren’t they prosecuted? [Whether the names of these three people are unredacted will be one of the more interesting redaction questions.]
  • Why weren’t the Trump and other political activists prosecuted?

We already know the answer to why Americans (save Richard Pinedo) were not prosecuted in this indictment: because they did not realize they were coordinating with Russian-operated trolls, and because, unlike Pinedo, nothing about their activities was by itself illegal.

There’s likely to be a lot of counterintelligence information on this effort that has been shared with the Intelligence Committees in ongoing fashion.

Alex van der Zwaan

  • Why did Mueller prosecute van der Zwaan himself, rather than referring it (as he did with Greg Craig and the other Manafort-related corruption)? Did that have to do with van der Zwaan’s independent ties with either Konstantin Kilimnik or his father in law, German Khan?

Rick Gates and Paul Manafort

  • Why did Mueller keep both Gates and Manafort prosecutions (the tax fraud prosecuted in EDVA and the FARA and money laundering violations in DC) himself? Was this just an effort to flip both of them, or did it pertain to an effort to understand the nature of their relationship with Kilimnik and a bunch of Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs?
  • What continuity is there between the methods and relationships involved in Manafort’s work in Ukraine with that he did for Trump?
  • What did Mueller get out of the cooperation agreements with Gates? This will be extensive! But a lot of it may be redacted because it pertains to counterintelligence or ongoing investigations.
  • What did Mueller get out of the failed cooperation agreement with Manafort? Part of this, too, is counterintelligence, plus Manafort appears to have made it through one grand jury appearance on November 2 without lying. But that topic may be redacted as either as part of either counterintelligence or ongoing investigations.

Konstantin Kilimnik

Because he charged Kilimnik and Kilimnik was so central to so much of his investigation, Mueller could describe why the government believes Kilimnik has a tie with the GRU. He likely won’t.

GRU hack indictment

  • Russia’s activities weren’t under the original scope of Mueller’s investigation; why did the GRU hack get moved under him? [The answer may be because Roger Stone and Lee Stranahan and Trump — in his encouragement — were implicated.]
  • Why weren’t WikiLeaks and/or Assange charged in the indictment?
  • What was the nature of Stone’s ties to Guccifer 2.0?
  • Was there reason to believe Trump knew GRU would respond to his encouragement?
  • How did the GRU operation link up with the activities of other people suspected to have ties to GRU, like the broker on the Trump Tower deal, Kilimnik, and a Mike Flynn interlocutor?
  • How did Mueller assess whether and how Russia used the data stolen from the Democrats, especially the analytics data stolen in September?
  • Did the data Kilimnik received from Manafort and shared with others make its way into GRU’s hands?

Michael Cohen

  • Why were Cohen’s lies about the Trump Tower deal deemed material to the investigation? [Unlike with Flynn and Papadopoulos, Mueller didn’t really explain this in the sentencing memo.]
  • Why was Cohen charged with lying, but not those he conspired to lie with, including Jay Sekulow, Don Jr,  and the President?
  • What other details of Trump’s business dealings did Cohen share?

Roger Stone

  • Why were Roger Stone’s lies to Congress deemed material to the Mueller investigation?
  • From whom did Stone and Jerome Corsi learn what GRU and WikiLeaks were planning to release?
  • Did Stone succeed in holding the release of the Podesta emails to dampen the Access Hollywood video release, as Corsi alleges?
  • What was Stone trying to hide when he had Corsi write a cover story for him on August 30, 2016?
  • Why didn’t Stone’s coordination to optimize WikiLeaks’ releases amount to coordination with Russia?
  • Why weren’t Corsi and Randy Credico (the latter of whom Stone accuses of lying to the grand jury) charged?
  • Why wasn’t Assange charged in conjunction with Stone?

Stone is still awaiting trial and prosecutors have just told the press that Stone remains under active investigation. So I expect virtually all the Stone section to be redacted.

Map out the big questions about declinations

Mueller will also need to explain why he didn’t charge people he investigated closely. This is another section where the fight over redactions is likely to be really heated.

Trump on obstruction and conspiracy

  • Did Mueller consider Trump’s enthusiastic encouragement of Russia’s operation and his move to offer Russia sanctions relief from a prosecutorial standpoint (that is, a quid pro quo trading the Trump Tower deal and election assistance for sanctions relief)? If so, what were the considerations about potential criminality of it, including considerations of presidential power? If not, was any part of this referred?
  • What was the consideration on Trump and obstruction? Did Mueller intend to leave this decision to Congress? [The report will not answer the second question; if Mueller did intend to leave the decision to Congress, as his predecessors Leon Jaworski and Ken Starr did for good Constitutional reasons, he will not have said so in the report.]

Paul Manafort on quid pro quo

  • Was Mueller able to determine why Manafort shared polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik on August 2, 2016? Did he know it would be shared with Russians close to the election interference operation? Did he agree to a quid pro quo involving the Ukrainian peace deal as sanctions relief he pursued for another 20 months? Did Manafort’s lies prevent Mueller from answering these questions?
  • What was the nature of and what was ultimately done with that polling data?
  • Why didn’t Mueller charge this as conspiracy or coordination? Did it have to do with Manafort’s lies and Gates’ limited credibility?

The June 9 meeting and follow-up

  • What consideration did prosecutors give to charging this as an instance of conspiracy or coordination?
  • What consideration did prosecutors give to charging the public claims about this meeting as an instance of false statements?
  • Did Trump know about this meeting and if so did that change the calculus (because of presidential equities) on a quid pro quo?
  • Did Mueller decide Don Jr is simply too stupid to enter into a conspiracy?
  • Did Mueller consider (and is DOJ still pursuing) prosecutions of some of the members of the Russian side of this meeting? [Note that Barr did not clear all US persons of conspiracy on the hack-and-leak; Emin Agalarov canceled his concert tour this year because his lawyer said he’d be detained, SDNY’s indictment of Natalia Veselnitskaya treats her as a Russian agent, and Rinat Akhmetshin and Ike Kaveladze may both have exposure that the Trump flunkies would not.]

The Seychelles meeting and related graft

  • Did Mueller decide the graft he uncovered was not criminal, not prosecutable, or did he refer it?

Carter Page

I, frankly, am not that interested in why Mueller didn’t prosecute Carter Page, and this section might be redacted for his privacy. But I am interested in whether leaks played a part of it, or whether Russians used him as a decoy to distract from where the really interesting conversations were happening.

Understand referrals and ongoing investigations, to the extent they’re included

As noted above, Mueller may have included a description of the referrals he made and the ongoing investigations that reside with some of his prosecutors and/or the DC AUSAs brought in to pick up his work. This includes, at a minimum:

  • Inauguration graft
  • Potential Don Jr and Jared Kushner graft
  • Mystery Appellant
  • Ongoing Stone investigations
  • The Cohen hush payments
  • Bijan Kian’s prosecution
  • Sam Patten’s prosecution
  • Other Manafort graft, including potential coordination with states
  • Tom Barrack’s graft
  • Greg Craig, Tony Podesta, Vin Weber, Steve Calk
  • Konstantin Kilimnik (which is likely a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal one)

One big question I have is whether any criminal conduct with Russia that doesn’t involve the election would be covered by this report, referred, or considered an ongoing investigation??

While we should expect details of the decision to refer the Cohen, Bijan Kian, and Sam Patten prosecutions, most of the rest of this would likely be redacted (including the Craig prosecution, since it only just got indicted).

Understand the structure of the report

Having prepped yourself for what to expect in the report (and what won’t be there, like the counterintelligence stuff), you can now start by reviewing the structure of the report. Bill Barr claims the report is split into two sections, the Russian interference and Mueller’s thinking on obstruction. That may or may not be true — it’s one thing to assess when first reviewing the report.

One particularly interesting question will be the extent to which Mueller included stuff that might otherwise be counterintelligence information — things Russia did that would compromise or embarrass Trump — in the obstruction section.

Another thing to do while understanding the structure of the report is to see where all the things that must be in there appear. This will be particularly helpful, for example, in figuring out where what is sure to be a lot of redacted content on Roger Stone appears.

Do a first read of the report, paying particular attention to the footnotes

I find it really useful to share screen caps of what I’m finding in a first read, either on Twitter (for crowd sourcing) or in a working thread. The press flacks will do the work of finding the key takeaways and running to the cable news about them. Better to spend the time finding the details that add nuance to claimed takeaways, if only because adding nuance to claimed takeaways quickly helps avoid an erroneous conventional wisdom from forming.

Develop theories for redacted content

You’re not going to be able to prove what lies behind a redaction unless Mueller and DOJ commit redaction fail (they’re not Paul Manafort trying to signal to co-conspirators, so that won’t happen) or unless they accidentally leave one reference out. But based on the grammar of sentences and the structure of the report and — hopefully — Barr’s promised color coding of redactions, you should be able to develop theories about what generally is behind a redaction.

Identify big redacted sections

There may be sections that are both entirely redacted about which no clues as to the content exist. At the very least, identify these, and at least note where, structurally, they appear, as that may help to explain what big questions about the Mueller report are outstanding.

Read it again

I know most editors in DC won’t pay for this, which is why reporting on documents is often less rigorous than journalism involving talking to people. But for documents like this, you really need to read iteratively, in part because you won’t fully understand what you’re looking at until reading the whole thing a first time. So after you read it the first time, read it again.

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. 

218 replies
  1. RWood says:

    Just read that piece and had to laugh a bit.

    I would argue that the first group and the last group are already reading the report. I expect to see well-written spin from the white house as they have already had weeks to prepare. As for the MSM, they will fumble it in a race to be “first”, but hopefully catch up later when cooler heads prevail.

    In the end I doubt it will amount to anything but more questions, a lot of speculation, and eventually a subpoena for the full report, as Captain Coverup will have scrubbed it clean of anything he and his dear leader do not like.

    “Did Mueller decide Don Jr is simply too stupid to enter into a conspiracy?”

    And now I’ve laughed twice already today! Thanks Marcy!

    • BobCon says:

      I think you’re right that the White House and its allies will hit the ground running, and none of the DC press corps will report on how that happened and what it means.

      Obvious questions will be ignored, such as how do they know what is in the report when Congress doesn’t? Were Barr’s secrecy rules followed with the White House sources? What role did Barr himself play in crafting the message? Did he make redactions in response to feedback from the White House press flacks?

      There will be a major pro-Trump campaign in coming weeks complaining about Democrats leaking supposedly off limits information. It is standard operating procedure. The press will play up these complaints. And yet there is almost zero chance the media will cover the initial round of White House leaks with the same concern.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I agree. It beggars belief that Barr or his adjutant has not shared more than scheduling details with the White House Counsel. It would be inconsistent with Barr’s history, inconsistent with the manic attacks that must be coming from Trump, and inconsistent with how Barr rolled out his press-grabbing Trump-exonerating four-pager weeks ahead of a carefully redacted report.

        In any case, Barr knows exactly what kind of information would most worry Trump. Like Mickey Medallions, he won’t need a road map for what to do, only for how to do it with a semblance of credibility.

        As for Trump’s repeated denials that “he” has not read the report, they are laughable. He reads virtually nothing that crosses his desk except the menu. That makes his denial irrelevant to what his White House staff and lawyers know about its contents or the effort to redact its most troubling statements.

        • PeaceRme says:

          Barr is particularly evil in my view. It’s going to be worse than the 4 page summary. He will go for broke to close the door on this investigation. I’d bet the farm if I had one.

          • BobCon says:

            I suspect it’s more of a long term damage control effort. He’s playing for time and hoping he can stretch things into a second Trump term.

            That doesn’t make him less dangerous, but I think it will put his actions into a different light.

    • Herringbone says:

      Here’s what I don’t get with regard to Barr’s evasive answers on whether or not he’s provided information to the report to the White House: what authority does he have to provide no answer when asked if the DOJ has briefed the President or his staff? Even if Barr hasn’t given them more information to them than he’s given the public and Congress, I don’t understand how he has the authority to conceal whether or not he’s told them anything at all. Withholding the content I guess he could defend on executive privilege grounds. But declining to inform Congress about the number of communications (even if that number is zero) seems like a stretch.

      The more I think about it, in fact, the more it bothers me. Not knowing what the DOJ has told to whom at the White House puts Jerry Nadler, for example, in a weak position: If the White House’s confidence is based on solid information, then Nadler probably needs to stay low key. But if he could know that Trump and his people are bluffing, then he might feel free to move more quickly and more forcefully—or at least speak more forcefully, even if he needs to slow-roll a subpoena as he builds a court case.

    • Avattoir says:

      Maybe I’m thick on this front, but as I understood that particular leak, it seemed to me that it was trying to describe something more along the lines of the Watergate Road Map along with an assessment as to why the particular approach was declined (or pursued), with the primary author(s) being those SCO attorneys directly involved with the matter, with Mueller indicating his approval of that judgment by his including the assessment in his report to the A.G.
      Such would not be INconsistent with what might be called a “summary”, tho strictly to meet the purpose identified in the material passage of the regulation, only data that goes to the decision to prosecute or not would require summation (E.g. should one of the SCO attorneys have written more broadly than the reg requires, that would leave an opening for Trump’s legal weasels to pressure Barr to edit out broader content.).

      2 related comments:
      1. The POLITICO list fails to include southpaw and LL2’s Susan Simpson, (to name but 2 with greater value than any of Mariotti’s Captain Obvious observations).
      2. It’d be wrong to close out any comment on this thread without noting what a superb approach to the Barr Treatment that Fearless has provided us here.

      • Hops says:

        Maybe Team Mueller wrote summaries that should not need redactions as a way to prevent Barr from just redacting anything Trump doesn’t like.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Barr would not have risen above the associate lawyer rank were he unwary enough to let such summaries become public. He would find a reason to redact them or the awkward references in them.

      • Eureka says:

        Re: 2: I think we’re going to be even more dependent on EW’s expertise and content expectations with this next Barr round. At the very least, I expect ample tricks with the purported color-coding and having to suss the political advantages of coloring a redaction one way when it may be multiply attributable (e.g. CI covering ‘third parties’).

        Also, I am not expecting the space of what is presented to have been redacted to (consistently) match the space that is actually redacted. And so on. I’d even wondered if chunks could be omitted unmarked as such, just to create a different frame.

        ETA: I hope I am wrong in my suspicions re Barr’s ‘treatment.’

    • kirkaracha says:

      Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have reported that the report includes summaries of each section that were written for public release.

      Limited information Barr has shared about Russia investigation frustrated some on Mueller’s team

      Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed

  2. viget says:

    I hate to say it, but other than the conclusions that the Mueller team supposedly wrote specifically for public consumption, I have a feeling that everything that isn’t already public knowledge will be scrubbed, whether it’s warranted or not.

    As a case in point, go read the Carter Page FISA applications and warrants. There is not one iota of information that was disclosed in those documents that wasn’t already publicly known. Even though the classification markings were struck through (indicating to me at least, that the info wasn’t classified any more), the underlying info was still redacted, unless it was already public knowledge.

    I do think that the crumbs from this report will be in the footnotes, and also any classification markings (if they’re left unredacted), as well as where and exactly how extensive the redactions are. I hope that the redactions aren’t made like Beryl Howell’s redactions in the Mystery Appellant briefs, with just [REDACTED] tags, thereby limiting our knowledge of how much was actually redacted.

    Also, I hope that the exhibits are also presented and redacted if appropriate. It will be good to know exactly how many pages of those there were.

    • MattyG says:

      From the moment of it’s surprise release announcement the Mueller report had SCOTUS written all over it. Barr signaled from the beginning he’s running interference for DT so if Congress want’s to see the report as written – they will need assistance from the highest court.

      • Kathleen says:

        On Ari Melber’s Neal Katyal stated that Ken Starr asked the “court” if he could release his report. That the public should be listening to whether Barr would do the same. Of course during the hearing he said “he had no reason to do so” or something like that. Barr went onto say that Congress could make such a request. So whose responsibility is it to ask the “court” for alleged permission to release the report?

        All of these discussions on outlets about how investigation reports and if and how they would be provided to the public changed a great deal after Starr’s National Enquirer kind of charade. That laws were changed as to how and if a report would make it to the public. Who pushed for changing those laws?

        Also heard from one of the many legal analyst on MSNBC that after those release laws were changed that there really is nothing binding the Attorney General to release to public. Any truth to this?

  3. Rita says:

    Well done.

    Barr has done the public a small favor in color-coding the redactions. If there are significantly large numbers of redactions for counter-intelligence (sources and methods, etc.) and on-going investigations that could tells us that the Mueller Report is perhaps a limited part of the story.

    I will pay close attention to how the Report describes its scope and purpose. And I will be looking for expert guidance on legal or counterintelligence terms of art. Example: “the evidence did not establish”.

    And I’ll look for explanations of questions like why didn’t Manafort report or suggest reporting to the FBI the Russian overtures to the Trump Campaign in the Trump Tower meeting? After all, he is a lawyer, someone with a lot of experience in the foreign and domestic political campaigns, and was very knowledgeable about the ways Russia insinuates itself into other country’s affairs. Christopher Steele did the right thing. Manafort didn’t.

    And, how much did Trump or his Campaign know about Russian interference and when did they learn of it? We know the Trump Campaign was generally briefed in August, 2016. How general was that briefing? Shouldn’t that have triggered a briefing to the FBI about the June 9th meeting?

    After the Barr March 24th letter experience, I may have to ignore the news media for the 24 hours after the Report.

    • Rugger9 says:

      That of course assumes AG Barr is honest about the reasons for redaction. Keep in mind this is a very savvy operator with respect to burying evidence of malfeasance (i.e. Iran-Contra) skirting just along the limits of truthiness, so while it is nice to have just understand that until we see what is actually there I would expect “sources and methods” color coding would be frequently used to cover for more than a few “embarrassing to Kaiser Quisling” redactions.

      • Greg Hunter says:

        Yes this. Some analysis of whether the color redaction makes sense is in order.

        Oops addressed in the next comment…..

      • Rugger9 says:

        Something like 50 – 70% is to be redacted according to Raw Story’s sources, but since we will know for certain allegedly on Thursday it’s a waste of time to speculate now (which is why I’m not linking to it).

        AG Barr is a tool, we just don’t know how much yet.

      • Eureka says:

        Agree re color tricks- just noted something similar upthread.

        ETA: and I now see Oldguy noted similar below. Lots of us with the same concerns…

  4. Report Counselor says:

    Hi Marcy
    Should we expect to see anything related specifically to how Trump answered the special counsel’s questions or will this be baked into the narrative they report out?

  5. Oldguy says:

    One question I have relative to the redaction and its color coding is how passages that could be redacted for several reasons will be handled. Barr seems to be skillful at using something that pretends to create transparency to obscure. He could hide a specific redacted item relative to CI in a longer redaction for grand jury exclusion. The whole color coding could be used to create multiple red herrings (with pun intended).

      • J Barker says:


        Seems like there’s significant potential for overlap between the “reputational interests of uncharged third-parties” category and the executive privilege category, especially in the obstruction section. This could allow Barr to hide exactly how extensive his pre-emptive executive privilege claims are.

    • viget says:

      Like I said above, the classification markings MUST not be redacted. If there’s a CI concern in a paragraph, then the para should be marked S or TS. So if Barr redacts it for GJ reasons, then we know there’s also a CI concern too.

      Again, the Carter Page FISA applications are a good example of this. As far as I could tell, while there was a whole lot of redacted material, they did not redact the classification markings.

      • JAFive says:

        Is there something that precludes redacting the classification markings in this context? In the archival and FOIA context, I’ve often seen cases where the classification markings had (apparently) been redacted.

      • RWood says:

        I believe it will be Green for Money Laundering, Red for Russia, Black for anything cyber related (and Eric Prince), Yellow for Stone, and, of course, Orange for anything that implicates Trump.

  6. Buford says:

    thank you all here at EW…and Marcy, thank you for the clarity we need for figuring this all out….

  7. ItTollsForYou says:

    It’ll be hilarious when the color-coded redactions are copied and released in black-and-white.

  8. jaango says:

    Today and Tomorrow’s Muellar Report is a Joke when consideration is being given to the Latino Perspective, wirt large.

    And yes, I know that I am blowing smoke into the political winds that energize the Anglo Community, even writ larger. Why?

    The Muellar Report and which is supposedly ‘documenting’ the somewhat restricted “information flow” from today’s political arena, and failing to address the view that incorporates the Latino Perspective, speaks to the relative dismissal that has been historically practiced in our America and in particular, practiced within our wonderful Sonoran Desert.

    Consequently, the presupposed “collusion” between Putin and his minions and Trump and his minions, has done no “damage” to this, my Latino Perspective or the civic engagement practiced by Latinos and Native Americans.

    Regardless, the yardstick for any political measurement continues to be and remains, from the historical standpoint, “Decency Personified.” And unfortunately, this rhetorical flourish pertains to both the Republicans and Democrats as well as the non-aligned Independent voters, and which remains derogatory in large part. And unfortunately, “wallowing” in the political sewer, does not speak well of anyone.

    And yet, this Latino Perspective for the “long game” continues to remain when addressing the cadre of “Si Se Puede” and which developed shortly after the end of World War Two, and continues to be practiced by the over 7,000 Elected and Appointed Officials representing this, our “Decency Personified” mindset.

    In closing, the Anglo Community, writ large, is immune to this embodied rhetorical flourish, since the notional for: “honor achieved…honor acknowledged…honor reciprocated” is forlornly recognized and posited and despite its substantive rejection by the much larger community of our fellow citizens.

    Therefore, feel free to ignore or reject this, my rant on both frustration an common sense.

    • Rayne says:

      jaango, you’re not helping your cause with rambling comments like this. Be concise. If you can’t express your point in under 280 characters — a tweet’s length — you haven’t thought it out well.

      ^^ that’s 195 characters and I can cut out 10.^^

      • jaango says:


        I don’t do tweet since I feel that competing with the Dumb and the Dumber, is not my zeitgeist.

        However, the Mueller Report will not address the absence of Latino-oriented white/brown collar criminals of today’s politics, and the pundits, sages and gurus, will continue their ‘tweet practice’ for continuing to ignore this Latino Perspective. As such, this lack of inclusion by the over 7,000 Elected and Appointed Officials will never be “officially” recognized by the Mueller mindset.

        And of course, I am progressive-oriented Democrat, and Latino-oriented progressives well out-number the progressive-oriented white Democrats. And my continuing political cue is in this regard. And needless to say, but I will, the Democrats need a “fiftieth” liberal senator, otherwise, the next president will forthrightly encounter her legacy, that being the Era of Not-so-Much, and which is Obama’s legacy relative to the Latino Perspective.

        • P J Evans says:

          None of that has anything to do with Mueller’s authorization to investigate the Russian interference with the 2016 elections.

          • jaango says:

            The Trump campaign was all about the annualized national wealth and how it was to be spent. And the same can be said of the Clinton campaign. To wit, the Russian=American relationship is premised on both economics and finance. And as such, the Mueller Report is the icon for the “disaster” in this regard.

            Need more be said?

            • punaise says:

              Lo siento – you may raise some valid issues, but I don’t really get why/how this has to fit through your particular prism.

  9. MattyG says:

    I’m really curious to see what, if anything, is revealed about Flynn’s cooperation. His activities seem tied directly to what government level “tacit agreement” team DT may have made to trade Russia-favorable policy in exchange for election support – Manafort as at least one of the campaign data couriers and director of editing the GOP convention platform language favorable to Russia, and of course the juicy tidbit of Kushner/Kysliak’s secret communications back channel down at the old Russian Embassy…

  10. flounder2 says:

    I am really interested in whether Barr came in and walled off Mueller from investigating anything that occurred during the presidential transition, as this is where a lot of the quid pro quo activity happens, and Barr’s not-summary explicitly mentions the campaign (and Barr is on record as believing in a very expansively powerful and untouchable executive branch when Republicans are in power).

  11. Peter says:

    I have two specific declinations and one broad topic about which I’m interested to see what, if anything, the report says.

    First, why did he not charge Carter Page and Erik Prince with lying to Congress, while he did charge Michael Cohen and Roger Stone?

    And second, what happened to the Psygroup thread? Mueller was reportedly keenly interested in this, gained the cooperation of two key players, and even seized company computers in a foreign country.

    My prediction: these issues will be heavily redacted or not discussed due to ongoing criminal and CI investigations. Ironically, if you were a Mueller subject, you should hope to see as much derogatory info about yourself in the report as possible.

    [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a modified version of your username for future comments as we do have more than one ‘Peter’ within the community. A unique variant will help community members get to know you. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  12. Rugger9 says:

    Allegedly, the Palace is preparing a 140 page or so rebuttal. If Kaiser Quisling is so “exonerated” why is any rebuttal necessary?

    OT but interesting in its own right: it seems the use of “Acting” secretaries avoids the oversight and confirmation process, but IIRC there is a limit to how long one can be “”Acting” in a Senate-confirmed role?

      • Old Antarctic Explorer says:

        From Lawfare:

        [quote] The FVRA also limits how long an acting officer can hold a vacant Senate-confirmed position. An acting officer may serve “no longer than 210 days beginning on the date the vacancy occurs,” or “once a first or second nomination for the office is submitted to the Senate, from the date of such nomination for the period that the nomination is pending in the Senate.” (The time limits do not apply to vacancies “caused by sickness,” per 5 U.S.C. §3356(a).) [endquote]

        There are exceptions galore naturally and if an acting secretary is nominated and declined by the Senate they can server another 210 days (and once again for a total of 630 days!). Trump could string these guys out forever.

    • splitbamboo says:

      140 page rebuttal to a 4 page summary? Obviously the WH has more than the public on this if they can be working on a 140 page rebuttal before this new information is released.

  13. Vicks says:

    My brain can’t seem to file away things that don’t make sense. Two of those are related.
    1. Rudy’s statements that Trump wasn’t going to answer any questions on obstruction and Mueller’s seeming willingness to go along.
    2. Barr’s odd wording on the issue of obstruction and his perceived power grab claiming the right to declare a verdict.
    My question is, could the fact that investigation into the president of the United States for obstruction was NOT included in Rosenstein’s instruction to Mueller fill in some of my blanks?
    It seems pretty basic so I have a feeling I am missing something but it IS a pretty big deal to investigate Trump directly on this, am I correct to assume adding it to Mueller’s list was one of the things Rosenstein would be required to sign off on?

  14. RedRover says:

    Marcy – I love the way your mind works – this is a a great field guide to what we will see soon.

    To webmaster – I’m sorry that I’ve posted once or twice before with different names. No intent to deceive, just forgetfulness of what name I used. I’ll use this one going forward.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This country prosecutes and sentences to death the mentally infirm, although not for being infirm. So does Texas. How could a prosecutor legitimately conclude, then, that Don Jr was too stupid to conspire with Russians?

    • Fran of the North says:

      I read that comment as tongue-in-cheek, and am hopeful that Junior’s time in the barrel* is coming.

      *Self-edited in order to avoid a well deserved bmaz smackdown over the right of presumed innocence. :)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think it was both. The right has argued that “defense” for some time, as to both the campaign and its players, though it is usually phrased as “inexperience.”

        • CitizenCrone says:

          Everyone was too innocent and inexperienced to realize they shouldn’t be meeting with all those helpful Russians…until the media began asking questions. Then everyone was innocent, inexperienced and memory impaired!

  16. Jenny says:

    Many thanks Marcy for your in-depth perspective and questions. I look forward to your views after you have read the Mueller report. With so much material and characters, I could use cliff notes.
    Color-coded redactions, just might perk up the report.
    “Did Mueller decide Don Jr is simply too stupid to enter into a conspiracy?” Ha Ha Ha!

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As EW notes in twtr, this comment by Ward Q. Normal [] perfectly captures Mr. Barr’s reputation as editor:

    Bill Barr’s “A Tale of Two Cities”: “It was the best of times,… it was the age of wisdom,…it was the epoch of belief,…it was the season of Light,…it was the spring of hope,…we had everything before us,…we were all going direct to Heaven,…- in short, the period was so…good…in the superlative degree….”

    Compared to the original, one might argue that something was lost in translation, including this fragment from three paragraphs later. []

    “It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses..[in] the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered… rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But …no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread.”

  18. cfost says:

    Marcy has given us excellent advice. Useful for critical reading of any document.
    This piece by Ryan Goodman makes me suspicious that the GOP will be playing games with the Mueller report for some time to come. Barr’s history, both legally and politically, is not impressive. He’s just an old-fashioned errand boy with a fancy title. He’s done his job. Will he now retire (again)?

  19. Tom says:

    According to Jonathan Karl’s twitter feed, the WH has been briefed on the Mueller report and has “significant concerns” about its contents. I saw a brief YouTube clip of JK from a weekend political panel on “This Week”. He said that Emmett Floyd has been given a “broad brush” description of the report. What JK said surprised him is that no one at the WH debriefed Don McGahn after he spent 30 hours or more being interviewed by the Mueller team (but would he have been able to talk about that?). The tone of JK’s comments suggested the WH is bracing for bad news.

  20. harpie says:

    [Lost a comment, this may be a repeat]
    Marcy links to Ryan Goodman’s article from this morning:
    Barr’s Playbook: He Misled Congress When Omitting Parts of Justice Dep’t Memo in 1989
    and says:
    10:49 AM – 15 Apr 2019

    Two thoughts after reading this in depth:
    1) It raises questions abt whether Barr fiddled with OLC between March 4 and 24 on charging POTUS.
    2) It makes me more enthusiastic to use impeachment inquiry for BARR as premise to get full Mueller report.

    Also, Philip Bump interviewed Goodman here:
    The 1989 precedent that raises questions about how Barr will redact the Mueller report
    Philip Bump April 15 at 12:04 PM

    • harpie says:

      From the interview:
      [quote] […] Asked if he felt Barr was acting in good faith in 1989, Goodman hesitated.
      “I think it’s difficult to imagine that Barr didn’t know what he was doing in failing to inform the Congress that he had concluded that the president of the United States could violate the U.N. Charter,” he said.
      “In fact, that proposition has proved to be highly controversial ever since the OLC opinion was publicly released and significant executive branch practice turns on that proposition.”
      He later added that the OLC opinion has come to be seen as “a notorious opinion or a infamous, highly controversial opinion.” […] [end quote]

  21. OldTulsaDude says:

    What’s next? Will AG Barr claim that he really would like to release the full Mueller report but unfortunately it is still under audit?

  22. Margo Schulter says:

    Mueller Report Release Anthem

    It’s a grand night for Mueller,
    Pelosi’s riding high;
    And somewhere a bird
    Who is bound to be heard
    Is singing to SDNY.

    It’s a grand night for Marcy
    And all us breadcrumb freaks:
    Who “directed” (yup, yup)
    That campaign higher-up
    To call Stone on WikiLeaks?

    It’s a grand night for Nancy,
    She’s weighing her next move:
    On obstruction we learn
    As we ardently yearn
    What Bob thinks the facts might prove.

    But it’s all up to Congress,
    As Bob well understands:
    Now his nuance and tact,
    And his map, fact by fact,
    Are set free from Barr’s heavy hands.

    It’s a grand night for Roger,
    Rat-Copulator chief:
    Are we led by his fights,
    His Nixonian sleights,
    To the Gemstone of his beef?

    It’s a grand night for bmaz:
    That sage and legal wit
    Reads the signs of the times
    And dissects all the crimes,
    Showing RICO just ain’t it.

    • tinao says:

      I am very sorry to be off topic, but well I’m reading now, and like Schiff I want to see who. So, OK, Here’s one I want everyone to take a good look at…(sorry for the spacing , but I copied and pasted.)

      Vote count: 51 votes were necessary to confirm William Barr.

      54 Yes 45 No

      Democrats 3 44
      Republicans 51 1

      Make hay folks!
      Now, what I want to know… how did that fire in Notre Dame start?

      [FYI, this post was hung up in auto-moderation because of excessive length. It has been cropped and edited to the summary only. No source citation was provided, either. I recommend for the information you attempted to post. Keep in mind there was NO way for Dems to stop Barr’s nomination even if the three Dems had voted No. /~Rayne]

      • tinao says:

        Sorry about that, and thank you Rayne. I do realize we did not have the numbers to stop his confirmation on straight party votes, but my point is, the senators of both parties who voted for him with his track record, were voting for continued obstruction!

        • tinao says:

          And yes, your citation from Politico was where I got the entire list. I figured people need to know who and where the senators are from and their names, and whether we should retain them.

        • Rayne says:

          They may have had ‘permission’ from Schumer to vote as they did because of their states’ polling. There are problems with finding a Dem who can successfully run against Manchin in WV, too, where conserva-Dems have been the norm up to now. A better answer is to replace at least half of the 20 GOP senators up for re-election — this would not only provide a veto-proof majority but allow a few to slide the other way for extenuating reasons.

  23. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Instead of tweeting the Parisian fire services about how to put out the blaze engulfing the roof of Notre Dame de Paris, Mr. Trump could put air tankers to better use putting out the incendiary political flames he is casting Ms. Omar’s way.


    • P J Evans says:

      He’s demonstrating that he knows about as much about firefighting in large, ancient buildings as he does about firefighting anywhere else. (And remember, he didn’t want to install smoke detectors and fire alarms in his buildings.)

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It appears that the spire and whole roof will be destroyed. Presumably le grande developer M. le Trump will offer to rebuild it at cost-plus. M. Macron would be wise to refuse the offer. The destruction will take years and hundreds of millions of dollars or more to repair.

    • harpie says:

      He’s at a business round table in Minnesota [of ALL places!], and this is what he said about the Notre Dame fire:
      11:46 AM – 15 Apr 2019 [VIDEO]
      [quote]Trump begins by calling the Notre Dame Cathedral “almost better than any museum in the world.”[end quote]
      11:47 AM – 15 Apr 2019 [VIDEO]
      [quote] Trump on Notre Dame Cathedral fire: “They think it was caused by renovation. I hope that’s the reason. Renovation, what’s that all about?” [end quote]

      • Rayne says:

        His piggish ignorance is such an embarassment to the U.S.; if the French didn’t grasp what an utter ass he was, they will now. His stupidity will probably help Macron’s approval numbers by comparison between the two men.

      • P J Evans says:

        Before or after he suggested using tankers to drop water on it? (To which most people are responding “STFU, Donny”.)
        I’d be surprised if he’s even been there. (I wish I’d been able to go and see it.)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          To state the obvious, those aircraft are often designed for more open spaces with access to open water for rapid refueling. Flying low over a large urban space, let alone the complicated environs of central Paris, would be extraordinarily dangerous.

          Even if they hit their target in such dense urban space, the heavy loads would likely do more, not less, damage to an ancient building, and likely injure firefighters. If they missed their target, the heavy loads could injure or kill passersby and damage other buildings.

          Trump is an idiot. But Ms. Sanders will hurriedly dismount her broom, put on her pointed cap and black gown, and attempt to extricate once more from his stupidity.

            • P J Evans says:

              I’ve seen analyses of cathedrals that show that the flying buttresses are there to keep the roof from flattening the structure underneath – they brace it and spread the load over a larger ground area. Without the roof – the walls are less stable.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Pretty much. The buttresses are load-bearing. With them, the walls be can taller and thinner and allow for larger windows, which were filled with often exquisite stained-glass. (Notre Dame just lost its 13th century glass rose windows.)

                The wall-buttress combination supports the roof. But as you say, the roof helps hold the walls together. Without it, the building is likely to be less stable, especially given the height of Notre Dame’s walls.

                Macron has already said that the stone building was saved, presumably relying on a quick professional assessment. Inspections will have to verify that, especially of the upper reaches of the bell towers, their bells, and wooden support beams.

                In any rebuilding, every stone and mortar joint will have to be inspected, all the surviving wood, and all the new wood/roof supports.

                Another problem is air pollution. Apart from accumulated deposits from modern pollution, the roof surface would have been made of metal – lead most probably, tin and/or copper. All that was aerosolized by the fire.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I heard that the tweet responding to Trump’s foolish suggestion was the only one the French government released about the fire in English. It was important to get as wide an audience as possible when it refuted Trump’s ignorance.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Regarding an air drop of water or retardant, water weighs about 8 lbs/gallon. It would disperse in streams of varying volumes and masses. An aircraft would be lucky to maneuver 500 feet above the bell towers, 600 feet or so above the former roof line.

            Dropped water, like everything else, accelerates vertically at 32 feet/second/second. So it’s not just the tons of water that would impact the roof. It is the force that mass accumulates accelerating over a 600 foot drop. And there would have been planeload after planeload of it.

            You can do the math, but Trump’s suggestion was not well thought out.

            • bmaz says:

              “Not well thought out”. That there be an understatement. Jeebus, it is not a forest fire in the boonies.

            • Rayne says:

              Not to mention such air drops are imprecise and the surrounding neighborhood contains buildings more than 100 years old. It was a ridiculous idea to entertain, just a means for Trump to be a dick toward Macron and Paris.

        • Kai-Lee says:

          If only more people has said STFU to him all along.
          It’s mind-blowing how he has emerged physically unscathed, never mind alive, given his disgusting character (as yellow as his fake hair) and what comes out of his mouth. I can only conclude it’s the money – or the mafia.

    • harpie says:

      The French History Podcast:
      11:40 AM – 15 Apr 2019

      I know many of you are crying for Notre-Dame de Paris, but remember she is resilient. Notre-Dame de Paris survived when Prussia bombed Paris with artillery. She survived Two World Wars. If you think one fire will destroy her, then you don’t know Notre-Dame de Paris.

          • P J Evans says:

            I’ve seen photos from inside – the firefighters have gone in. It’s not completely gone. But it’s hard to tell how much damage there is.

            • phaedrus says:

              First comment.

              If you look at this image that is spreading around the net you can see the cross and three stone statues that seem to have survived the fire.


              One thing I see that in very hopeful is the candles that are either side of the cross are still intact. Yes those small white vertical objects either side of the altar are candles.

              The candles closer to us along the columns show some deformation due to heat, but are still recognizable as candles.

              Notre Dame like most cathedrals have a stone barrel vault between the floor and wooden roof,which failed in two places but held in most places which allowed the roof to collapse but not allowed the roof to fall to the floor. The reason this is important is to damage stone and mortar, the heat would have to get to a degree that would melt candles many times over.

              This image shows the collapsed roof lying on the vault burning, not on the floor burning;


              The area near the front of the image in showing one place the vault failed, due to the spire collapse. This is why those candles are deformed, and the ones in the background on the altar aren’t.

              The fact the candles are in the shape they are gives my lots of hope the interior damage isn’t near as bad one would think it would have been given the fire on the roof.

          • harpie says:

            You’re right again, Rayne. That account has been suspended.
            I’m really sorry and don’t know HOW I’m not more cynical about this stuff. I should know better by now! :-(

            • Rayne says:

              Heh. No problem, harpie. That’s why I’m the resident comment security freak — I’m the backstop. It’s interesting that the entity also had a Facebook page, though; I wonder if that was suspended, too? Was worth sharing that tweet just to see how easily even an event like this can be used for information collection.

              I’m still skeptical about photos showing the interior because there is no way firemen can *safely* enter that facility right now. (Most photos appear to have been shot from the doorway.) Every piece of masonry overhead is questionable because of exposure to heat and water. The tweet thread by CZEwards I posted here elsewhere did a nice job explaining how the conditions compromised structural integrity. It will only be safe once stout scaffolding has been built from the facade inward for inspection and repair.

              • P J Evans says:

                The firefighters were inside last night, to the extent that they safely could go in, at the west end. The link in the previous comment has some photos of the interior as well as one of some of the rescued objects (apparently they were carried out while the evacuation was going on. There actually were smoke alarms in the roof structure.)

    • Doug Fir says:

      One of the ways I make a living is by dropping water onto forest fires. The suggestion to do tanker drops on a burning building in the middle of a city is… Amusing. It’s the sort of thing Jane-or-Joe Citizen might consider reasonable in passing, but as has been demonstrated up-thread, it’s not an idea that bears up to scrutiny.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks. This Twitter thread spells out the problem of dumping water on an antique edifice in more detail:

        • Doug Fir says:

          Damage to the subject structure is only one of a number of serious safety and logistical hurdles that would have been nearly impossible to overcome in a reasonable timeframe.

          The orange clown flapped his lips, sounds came out, and someone mistook those sounds for intelligent speech.

          • Rayne says:

            I think this Twitter thread did a remarkable job explaining the challenges firefighters faced yesterday:

  24. Bay State Librul says:

    If it pleases the court, Trump has violated the Clean Water Act by illegally discharging pollutants into the 2016 campaign. The samples taken from the report will conclusively prove that.
    It is so ordered: If you vote for Mayor Pete, he will perform the clean-up.

    • Vicks says:

      I’ve had my eye on that Pete fella for a while now.
      I know I lot of folks think that the answer to the problems created by this administration is a candidate with an aggressive liberal agenda to swing things back the other way, but I am (strongly) of the opinion that this country needs to heal first. Unfortunately for those that are impatient I think that means a candidate that is difficult for the opposition to whip up the hate and fear they need for another electoral college win. Hell who knows, if someone like him wins politics could be boring again.

      • Rayne says:

        We’re going to have to multitask, have people at the leading edge as well as nurse the moderates along the way. The planet is burning down and it’s not going to wait for centrists to lick their political wounds.

        Seriously, I don’t think Americans have wrapped their heads around the damage already done to multiple crops this year from the two bomb cyclones inside a five week timeframe and the flooding from the second one not yet fully manifest. We’re going to see crop failures accelerate and more climate refugees in short order — moderation isn’t going to address this slowly mounting global crisis.

        I’ll go further: being a moderate is privilege — it signifies the comfortable illusion that things are manageable when in truth for nearly half the population things are and have been untenable, unlivable for some time.

        • P J Evans says:

          The area that got hit this year is wheat, corn, soybeans. (Corn is also fed to cattle, besides food for people and feedstock for ethanol.)

        • cfost says:

          Things I’m looking for in a candidate and in a political party:
          1. What are you going to do to make sure the 2020 election can not be rigged? (Now is the time to make paper ballots the law of the land.)
          2. What are you going to do to counter the staggering amount of corruption in DC and in many of the states?

          • Jenny says:

            A candidate who will honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights. An individual who understands serving in politics is a public civic duty. An individual who cares about the whole nation, who is for ALL, not just the few. An individual understanding the power of the presidency is to inspire and uplift people. An individual who unites the country. An individual who is a role model for children being mindful that words, behavior and actions have consequences. An individual who respects all people in selecting a diverse cabinet sharing many viewpoints for the good of the nation. An individual who has a sense of the self, is conscious, caring, compassionate and confident with integrity.

        • Vicks says:

          I agree that radical steps must be taken on several issues however we will never get anything accomplished if it requires jamming it down the throats of those who (think) they don’t want it.
          Look at the freaking resistance to Obama care and the stupid time and energy spent on overturning it.
          It has become all too predictable.
          In 2019 the arguments on climate change should be on the various policies being implemented to stop/slow down climate change yet here were are, stuck arguing if climate change is a freaking “thing” or not.
          Maybe it’s time to quit banging heads against the greedy lawmakers in Congress and get to the people that sent them there, keep your eye on the prize and make sure you all always taking steps no matter how incremental towards that goal.
          The new green deal is glorious however it’s terrifying to those whose culture is to resist change and cling to the past, BUT now suddenly Floridians are outraged (OMG our beaches MUST be saved!) over Trump’s willingness to sell drilling rights.
          Perfect teaching moment right? Show how the problem is actually the high demand for oil, show the various ways the Trump admin is deliberately ramping up the demand and sitting on their hand instead of pushing for alternatives.
          SO FAR mayor Pete has done a great job of explaining sh*t in a way that strikes a chord yet doesn’t offend or alienate and folks seem to be leaning into listen. Hell I’m an atheist but I hear him talk about how important his religion is to him and instead it making me itchy because he is mixing it with politics I get it.
          What if we had a leader that more people were at least willing to hear out? In turn wouldn’t it require a thoughtful alternate be presented?

          • Rayne says:

            First, the “freaking resistance to Obama care [sic]” in 2009 was manufactured by Kochs, Murdochs, ALEC, USCOC and the panoply of right-wing broadcast media in their thrall, at a time when Dems had neoliberals in White House staff and a weak majority in the Senate (hello, Joe Lieberman). The same right-wing corporatist elements will reuse the same tools, augmented by what they learned from the Russians when publicly-funded health care AND the Green New Deal come up. We already know their game.

            Work hard on replacing the 20 GOP senators up for reelection with Dems and the caluculus changes altogether, at a time when the White House and GOP Senate refuse to do dick about opioid overdose rates and insulin pricing as well as skyrocketing health care costs, as well as undermining any efforts related to climate change.

            And Jesus Christ, not doing something about climate change is costing lives. It’s not rich Floridians’ beaches, it’s 3000 dead Puerto Ricans and the Paradise, Californians who were trapped in their homes and died in flames. This isn’t an inconvenience to to tourists, it’s life-and-death, the total loss of one’s home and assets like residents of Mexico Beach, Florida suffered after Hurricane Michael. Democrats’ biggest problem may be their lousy ability to frame the situation.

            Second, I get it. You’re sold on Buttigueg. Do NOT start pushing your one candidate in threads here now, or you’re going to find yourself pushed to answer why Buttigueg’s 1000 Houses in 1000 Days program was so detrimental to black and Latinx home-owning residents. Or why a gay white man went “All Lives Matter” in 2015 — the “All Lives Matter” has been part of the Russian information warfare campaign, suggesting Buttigueg is vulnerable to manipulation.

            Lastly, ask yourself if you’re imputing resistance to progressives’ call to save Americans’ lives with Medicare for All and a Green New Deal to some other nebulous Democrats when it may be you who are resisting.

              • Rayne says:

                Yup, exactly, but I think I alluded to that in another comment. I suppose I’ll have to put together a comprehensive cost of climate change post some time soon.

            • Vicks says:

              Wow, big egos DO have little ears.
              You don’t know me or a thing about me yet you feel you have the right to go on a rant as if you could actually intuit someone’s beliefs from a handful of words they post on a website?
              I called the green new deal “glorious”, I said nothing about medicare for all.
              I clearly stated I had been “watching” mayor Pete. I didn’t say a damn thing about his policies.
              I spoke of his ability to communicate in a clear and concise way that doesn’t alienate.
              You, my friend simply helped me make my case that there is a huge advantage to NOT BEING AN ASSHOLE if you want to be heard.

              • bmaz says:

                Oh, Hi. Initially, this blog is not going to be a battleground for the primary season. The first primaries/caucuses are not even this year.

                This blog is not going to be where that plays out. I have seen your commentary to date, and appreciate it. I remember the primary wars of 2016 well. We have made a conscious decision to not engage in that, at least for now. Maybe until there is a nominee for the general. I know it is something on everybody’s minds, but the battle with 10-20 different candidates does not bode well for the coherence of this blog. We are not going to do that.

                • vicks says:

                  Message received.
                  It’s once again obvious that my writing skills lag behind my thinking.
                  It’s was not my intention to pimp a candidate, (It’s way to soon for that) it was an attempt to convince people that just as sitting back and doing nothing on issues like climate change is stupid AND immoral, ignoring the fact that our current “ruling party” is acting in ways NOT in the best interest of our country and deliberately using division in ways we have never seen before while they (not so quietly) build power is equally foolish and inexcusable.
                  This next election could tear this country apart, if democrats win, imagine the viciousness of Trump’s lame duck session. Now imagine if Trump wins.
                  I am more than ready to put my country over party, and I believe that a candidate that is hard to hate will be kryptonite to Trump. People can’t think when they are being pumped with hate and fear. Turn off that noise and the possibilities are wide open for the democratic party to make some serious progress. Put in a candidate with a big ole target on their back for the maga machine to entertain itself with and best case the casualties will be low and not much gets done, worst case we are one step closer to the civil war that would delight many of Trump’s cronies.
                  I think that there may be a few candidates that could have a shot at pulling this off, but the key will be to lead with their brains and NOT their egos. I will continue to watch ALL of them but share elsewhere.
                  I appreciate the feedback

        • Stacey says:

          1000% agree!
          Being moderate is a privilege! And as we can see from those young enough to perceive their role in fixing it or dying FROM it sooner rather than later, it is a privilege that we have all lost any right to claim at this point! One of the Parkland (Cameron Kasky) kids made a statement in an interview on Bill Maher’s pre-show interview months ago (March 2018).

          It’s very near the end of the segment, he says: “To all of the generations before us, we sincerely accept your apology, and we appreciate that you are willing to let us rebuild the world that you fucked up!”
          If I had his life expectancy left on this planet that we and all the moderate ‘we’s’ that went before us, thought we had the privilege of time to pretend to care about one day, I would have–as they do–all the privilege in the world…to shove moderation and moving at the pace of the slowest, most conservative person among us the hell off the road and would feel no compunction for any apology to the bruised egos who bare all the responsibility for our collective predicament. At some point, this shit has gotten real, and the most authoritative person in the room is the one who says “fuck your fee-fees, this is going to be my problem longer than you’ve had to fix it. Get out of the damn way!”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        There is little center to hold, and no healing can begin before plausible reform is in the offing and Trumpism is left behind. Voters are desperate for change – it’s one reason those on the right chose Trump. He has few gifts, but short-term marketing hype is one of them.

        A forgiving healer without a hard platform of substantial reforms would get lost in the rush toward a rightwing hero who promises to do something for the common man: to protect him from the clamoring hordes – domestic and foreign – to keep him on top of American culture, and to beat down the change that threatens it. The hero’s lies are nothing compared to his dedication to the task.

        The left’s candidate has to be vibrant more than forgiving. A credible program of jobs, health care, education, and debt relief is more likely to succeed than practiced performance art goodwill.

  25. Bay State Librul says:

    Barr is landing the plane on Thursday.
    I’m expecting a crash landing, with multiple injuries to the rule of law.

    • Jockobadger says:

      tr*mp just likes the idea of lots of vid/photos of a smiling Tiger in the Oval as he receives his medal. I’m delighted for Tiger and so is my Dad, but this is just more moonshine from the chief swine. I sure hope I’m not completely disheartened by Thurs evening.

      • Vern says:

        There’s video of Trump talking re the Masters last week, juxtaposed with other of his statements. I think I saw on AM Joy. Clearly, he lives for golf. He was like a child anticipating XMAS.

            • Jockobadger says:

              Wayyyy too much reading involved. Boring. Never wanted the job in the first place. Should be running Tr*mp teevee right now.

              • P J Evans says:

                Shouldn’t have run in the first place – there will always be that question about why you ran if you didn’t want the job. in the first place.

                • Stacey says:

                  He wanted the ‘after party’.
                  He wanted his erection in Moscow.
                  He wanted to milk his victimized supporters until the day he dies after ‘they’ lost in the rigged election against that evil queen hillary! That, I believe, WAS the plan. I think that’s part of why it may have been hard to prove collusion DURING THE ELECTION, only late in the election did Putin even think Trump could win, and Trump never thought he would win, nor did he want to. Losing was going to be so MUCH MORE FUN!

  26. Kick the darkness says:

    After reading this went back and re-read Marcy’s 11/5/18 post on possible similarities between what Mueller, at the time, might have been trying to lock down prior to the midterms and the Watergate road map. And the possible questions Trump was answering on his open book test (10/12/18 post).

    1) If Mueller, like Jaworski, was using a draft indictment to frame his questions for Trump’s open book text, I wonder if that would come through in the structure of the declination part of the report, irrespective of what piece of evidence were crossed out.

    2) Mueller’s requirements are to give the AG a report explaining decisions on what he did and didn’t prosecute. Jaworski, if I understand the history correctly, had the grand jury request a judge to authorize their findings, in the form of the roadmap, to be sent directly to the house judiciary committee. Impeachment proceedings were already underway. If Mueller did something like that separate from his report to Barr, we’d know about it because there would be a record of a court proceeding, right? Would anything Mueller wanted to share with congress, say through his congressional liaison, had to have been first approved by Rosenstein/Barr?

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ryan Goodman analyzes a highly controversial 1989 opinion by Bill Barr, then head of the OLC. He reviews his misleading testimony to Congress about it, his incorrect claims to Congress as to its conclusions, reach and analyses, and his misleading claims about why he was precluded from giving the opinion to Congress. []

    The opinion controversially overruled a prior OLC opinion from 1980. It held that the US could legally and extraordinarily render a target on foreign soil without the host state’s consent. Shortly thereafter, George H.W. Bush ordered the rendition of a foreign head of state – Manuel Noriega of Panama. Noriega was abducted in Panama, brought to the US, tried, and imprisoned for drug, racketeering and financial crimes. Once a longtime ally of the US – who must have worn out his welcome with the CIA – Noriega spent the rest of his life in prison (in the US, France and Panama).

    At the time of his 1989 opinion and congressional testimony, Barr was the newly-appointed head of the OLC. Not long afterwards, Barr became Deputy then Attorney General, all under George H. W. Bush.

    As Attorney General, Barr also gave Bush what he wanted, most spectacularly when he advised Bush to pardon the top Reagan and Bush senior officials who ran the Iran-Contra program. (Pardons which also protected Bush and ended a nearly seven-year independent counsel’s investigation.) John Yoo had precedent to rely on when advising BushCheney about torture and the Iraq war, even if his ambition to become Attorney General was foiled.

    The many wise men who opined publicly that Bill Barr would change his stripes – and restrain Donald Trump or persuade him to do the right thing – were simply not paying the slightest attention.

  28. Bay State Librul says:

    Pulitzer Pulitzer, Pulitzer

    “WSJ team, led by Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo, WSJ reporting team wins for coverage of payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal before 2016 election.”

    Comment: Fuck …. Emptywheel should hit the jackpot for her hard work

    • BobCon says:

      The Times won for its Trump tax fraud reporting — given to reporters who were *not* part of the Times DC/politics bureaus.

      Haberman and Schmidt — nada.

      If Baquet and the Washington bureau had a clue, they’d see this as an omen. I am sure, though, they’ll see it as a sign they need to take it even easier on Trump and obsess more on thumb sucking, research-free pieces about how the Democrats need to move right.

  29. Bill Smith says:

    In regard to the “The Internet Research Agency” why wouldn’t covered by Rosenstein’s memo to Mueller “The Scope of Investigation and Definition of Authority” dated August 2, 2017? Likely in the first redacted paragraph?

    As he said the May 2 memo was for public consumption. But the title of that was “Appointment or Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters”

  30. anaphoristand says:

    RE: Kilimnik, do you expect any discussion of Mueller’s negotiations with the Ukraine government over either his extradition or their larger cooperation with the probe?

  31. johno says:

    I was expecting them to instead of blacking out the original report they would just reformat and make redactions one line that says [REDACTED] – thereby depriving the internet sleuths the opportunity of measuring space, counting characters, and arguing if that little bump is part of a T or a K.

  32. mister bunny says:

    If EW is correct that Mueller is essentially sending a second, secret report to the intelligence committees, then
    a) when would that be delivered, if not by now?
    b) what could the house / senate intelligence committees do with it given its classified nature?
    (Schiff is still pointing to “collusion in plain sight,” rather than information from Mueller.)
    c) does the Gang of Eight get access to these hypothetical briefs as well?

    If there’s damning evidence of non-criminal but clearly corrupt/negligent/unpatriotic action to benefit the Trump campaign, but that evidence is kept secret because it’s not part of the criminal investigation, then how the hell is the country supposed to rid itself of corrupt leaders who knowingly benefit from hostile foreign interventions in the electoral process?

    I’m happy to accept Mueller’s criminal prosecution decisions, but the lack of process for sharing the big-picture story for what happened to our election in 2016 is demoralizing.

  33. orionATL says:

    bay state liberal, et al @2:32pm

    it would be uncharacteristically wise of democrats listening too much to media drivel if they would stop using labels (moderate, centrist, leftist) to characterize other democrats of whom they suddenly disapprove.

    last November the Democrats (and lots of moderate Republican women ) gave the Republican party its worst defeat since the 1970’s. there were probably all gradations of individual opinion on a lot of issues, but it was trump that was the target.

    since then the tea party left has been loudly celebrating “their” victory and the media have been egging schismatics on. post victory, one finds that some vague groups of democratic voters are deemed less wise, less worthy than others. this is a surefire path to defeat. for some reason I haven’t heard as much contumely from those ignorant, deadhead centrists, nor from those horrible, expedient blue dogs, nor from those Republican women who targeted Donald Trump’s meanness, sexism, and incompetence.

    that sly old blowhard windmill, senator Sanders, has already given the party a free lesson in what happens when righteous progressives are collected together and turned loose on the democratic party – not at all unlike when fox media gives the righteous rightwing a sense of social acceptability.

    it would be a shame if those howling, slobbering “hounds of emptywheel” which made this blog disgusting for a long period in 2016 but slowly were rendered extinct rose from the dead to curse it again.

    warning :

    not even something as important as climate change or the improvement of incomes can or should rule all political cohesiveness and cooperation in a two year short run.

    • orionATL says:

      Democrats would do well to keep the behavior of the tobacco companies in the 1970’s in mind when considering who is a “good” presidential candidate. the tobacco companies realized that old smokers were, ahem, dying off. they needed to recruit a younger generation and so Joe camel was born. it is a gruesome story of corporate self-interest and lying about intent.

      the print and electronic media seem to have come to this same realization and are suddenly pandering to a group of young, i assume, Americans called “millenials”. the very sturdy guardian has fallen pray to this even installing a “brand strategist” as a columnist (mahdawi). the nytimes is full-on cool; the post slightly more staid. I don’t watch electronic media except for sports but I am confident that this sector of news is responsible for the rise of two guys who have nothing but cute to offer- beto o’Rourke and Pete buttigieg.

      the second group the news media has suddenly discovered is the outraged, “I’ve had enough”, American woman. for those the media target is an American exotic, California attorney general Kamala Harris.

      I recall the media response in 2000 to the manly, brush-clearing , ranch-owning George w. Bush and the effete, lying vice-president al gore. or in 2008 to the small-money, ultra liberal, gifted-speaker Barack Obama vs the plodding centrist, big-money candidate Hillary clinton. the fact that neither Bush nor Obama had extensive experience governing was beside the point.

      • timbo says:

        Uh, you do realize that Obama was to the right of Clinton in the 2008 primary, right? It’s why H Clinton tried to move more to the right in the following years before getting the nomination in 2016. If Sanders hadn’t been there, she would have been much further to the right during the general.

  34. orionATL says:

    Notre dame cathedral is one of the most beautiful, one of the most graceful, buildings in the world. the cathedral suffered a fire today which did substantial damage to the structure but did not destroy it. I can only hope paintings and books and archival records inside were also not destroyed.

    my wife tells me on her last trip there she and a colleague walked into the cathedral on a warm spring day and sat in a pew at the back of a mass. the cathedral was cool and the windows were gorgeous in their colors. one never knows everything about another, even one you have lived with for +50 years :)

    I think of the work of the masons, the carpenters, the blacksmiths, the masters of stained glass, the engineers from 700 years ago.

    • Eureka says:

      What a lovely comment, orion– the unspoken, incidentally hidden details of life that emerge after the decades, nested in those from over the centuries…

      • orionATL says:

        thank you, eureka. you comment is itself a beautiful and thoughtful compliment (in the sense of ‘addition to’, rather than ‘praise’. language can be a tricky thing :) ).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A “spiritual solidarity without precedent.” More than 750 million euros pledged to the rebuilding of Notre-Dame de Paris.


      Estimates for rebuilding are from 10-20 years. I would double that, owing to collecting pledged money, inevitable cost overruns, engineering problems, architectural disputes, finding and keeping skilled artisans and rare hand-made materials in sufficient quantity and craftsmanship (large timbers, stained glass, sculpted stone).

      • orionATL says:

        thank you.

        I too expect it will take many years, but they must get the roof back up post haste. finding the artisans will take some effort. amazingly, they still exist but they are rare.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          More likely, they will erect robust but temporary support structures to stabilize the remaining roofing, walls, buttresses, etc., while they perform a detailed assessment of what can be saved and what replaced or rebuilt. (Stone and mortar do not react well to high heat and rapid cooling.) They would need to do that before deciding on a restoration plan.

          While the perils to N-D readily capture the global imagination, there are three burnt out churches down South that need rebuilding.

      • P J Evans says:

        Two things they actually have to start with: 3D models of the building (laser imagery), and very detailed drawings (and photos). Viollet-le-Duc would have killed for that kind of information.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As others have noted, N-D (like Chartres) is among the rarest of buildings. It is a stand-in for many other buildings and sites of great historical and emotional significance. Ancient cities are often full of those that haven’t yet been ravaged by bombs, pollution or development.

      N-D has become a symbol of more than the power of a church, a city, or a merchant class, of more than its stone and glass or the artistry that makes them beautiful together. It has become a symbol of hope and recovery. It is about people finding a reason to come together in the face of those who profit from tearing us apart.

      N-D stands as a reminder that for every destructive Trump, there are a thousand people who would gladly chip in and help their fellow men and women, even if they never mention it again. As Meredith Willson wrote about hawkeyed Iowans, they “can stand touchin’ noses for a week at a time, and never see eye to eye,” but they’ll give you their shirt and “a back to go with it.”

  35. FB1848 says:

    This is a terrific post; it will be extraordinarily helpful later this week. But I will be looking for some additional findings–specifically, did Trump or any members of his campaign ever take action to *discourage* Russian interference in the election? Did they ever rebuff Russian overtures? Apparently, the investigation could not establish a criminal conspiracy. But did it find any affirmative evidence that contradicts the conspiracy narrative?

    • timbo says:

      It’s not clear whether or not the investigation could establish a criminal conspiracy. The only thing apparent at this point is that the President and his closest family members were not charged with such. Flynn and Manafort were charged with other crimes other than general conspiracy involving the President and his family but that sez nothing about what there is solid evidence about or not. This was a counterintel investigation undoubtedly depending on extra-legal intelligence resources at times; evidence gathered in that way is hard to use in court if it risk disclosure of intelligence resources and methods that are super-secret, etc, etc, blah blah blah, please, please, PLEASE stop assuming that there isn’t good evidence because there are no indictments!

      • FB1848 says:

        Timbo, your points are well taken but please note that I did not assume that there isn’t good evidence a conspiracy occurred. I just restated some of the few words that we actually have from the Mueller report; that the investigation did not “establish” a criminal conspiracy. If you scoured the comments sections of mainstream outlets, you’d find that in fact I have been somewhat of an accuracy vigilante against exactly the assumption you accuse me of.

      • Tyler says:

        No, this is exactly the kind of thinking that clear thinking opponents of Trump must avoid. If there was sufficient evidence to support a conspiracy charge, it would have been brought against the members of that conspiracy (except any who are sitting presidents, though they would almost surely appear in the charging documents as Individuals).
        There are already laws in place that protects classified information when it must be used as evidence in criminal trials. And if the government isn’t happy with the pretrial evidentiary rulings it gets, they can dismiss or reduce the charges. But they certainly don’t decline to indict altogether, given how few prosecutions make it to trial.
        It’s possible, I suppose, that there is tons of good evidence, and no indictments. But the best and most likely explanation for lack of indictments is lack of evidence.

        • Rayne says:

          “But the best and most likely explanation for lack of indictments is lack of evidence.” Oh what twaddle. How do you think obstruction works?

        • bmaz says:

          Okay, you were right on another comment, but this is not correct. If the hub of the conspiracy is indeed the POTUS, and the prosecutor is constrained by existing DOJ policy that sitting POTUS cannot be indicted, then your proclamation here is not necessarily correct at all.

  36. Vicks says:

    Quick question
    Does anyone see a connection in;
    Trump/Rudy declaring Trump would not answer questions involving obstruction of justice and Mueller not seeming to object.
    What’s is being called over-reach in Barr’s handling of the obstruction of justice issue.
    My difficulty locating a public document showing Rosenstein ever gave Muller permission to investigate the President of the United States for obstruction of justice.
    I apologize, I have asked the question before and did not get a response if I am missing something I’d appreciate someone pointing it out.

    • Tyler says:

      Eh? Any obstruction of the investigation of any links between Russian interference and the Trump campaign is a matter “arising directly from that investigation”.

      Mueller was explicitly authorized to investigate such matters. Therefore Mueller was explicitly authorized to investigate obstruction. Am I missing something?

      • Vicks says:

        A valid scrabble word btw
        It appears Mueller needed approval from Rosenstein to spend additional energy into investigating Manafort so I’m not sure that your position is as solid as you present.
        If approval on Manafort was required, there is no way in hell Mueller could make the President of the United States a named target of an obstruction investigation without running it by his boss first.
        Rosenstein’s memo on Manafort is a public document I see nothing on Trump.
        If Mueller never had the authority to investigate trump on obstruction it would explain why Trump wasn’t pushed by Mueller (even a bit) to answer questions on the topic, and why there was not enough evidence to convict AND Barr’s odd wording that surrounds the whole thing.

      • bmaz says:

        No Tyler, that is correct. Also, the original tasking by Rosenstein has been supplemented. This has been tested in court. Vicks is grasping at vapor.

        • Vicks says:

          I can’t locate the “supplement tasking” regarding Trump and obstruction all I come up with is the memo from Rosenstein regarding Manafort. The only “court testing” I can find is regarding Manafort and Concord and Miller none refer to the president and obstruction of justice.
          Rosenstein wrote a letter giving Trump fuel to fire Comey, he didn’t recuse himself. Lordy, don’t ya think there better be a memo clearing him to oversee an obstruction investigation into the president of the United States if he was part of it?
          And give me a break, I am not grasping, I am asking a question that I do not see the answers too, I am fully aware that there is a 99% chance I am wrong, who the hell talks for two years about investigation into obstruction If obstruction isn’t even on the table?
          If, as you claim there is a magic document that sheds light on all of this I respectfully ask you to share it with me.

            • Vicks says:

              MaCabe said he started an investigation into obstruction right after Trump fired Comey.
              IF that is the case, on what planet would it not make sense to CONSIDER the upside of NOT rolling that investigation into Mueller’s and instead run a parallel investigation into obstruction?
              Among other things, it would explain
              1. Why Rosenstein didn’t recuse himself
              2. Why Trump got away with not answering questions on obstruction
              3. Why Mueller didn’t give a final answer on obstruction.
              If they believed Trump was obstructing justice, considered the tools at Trump’s disposal and had a sense of the dirty tricks that could be in store, consider the minefield they may have created by challenging Trump not just to shut down the work Mueller was doing, but a second investigation where he is the named target for obstruction.
              I will ask you again, but maybe not so respectfully, to point me in the direction of what you have that shows Mueller’s directive/scope includes targeting the president of the United States for obstruction of justice.
              To clarify I have no reason to doubt that you have the information I am simply asking for you to help me prove or disprove my theory by sharing it.

              • bmaz says:

                I am not your research assistant if you are insufficiently informed. Maybe try reading some of the hundreds of posts here and articles elsewhere. I do not owe you squat just because you are clueless.

  37. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Foresight is better than hindsight, from a superb thread:

    If you ever doubt that France is the home of Civilisation: The beams in the roof of Notre Dame were replaced 160 years ago. Afterwards, an avenue of oaks was planted at Versailles, so that they would have wood of the right age when the job next needed doing. The oaks are ready.


    Neoliberals, like the grasshopper in Aesop’s, “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” (a fable 2600 years old), would long ago have clearcut those oaks for fun and profit.

    • P J Evans says:

      I remember reading about one of the English colleges that found that the beams in their great hall had wood beetles, and someone called in the college forester, who told them that they’d planted trees a couple of centuries earlier, because replacing beams is inevitable. (I’ve heard that the US Navy has a forest for maintaining USS Constitution.)

      • Jockobadger says:

        There are forests of Adirondack or Red Spruce planted in the NE specifically for guitar tops. Much of the Red Spruce was logged prior to and during WWII for propellers, spars, etc. Luthiers recognized the loss and planted more. The trees have only been getting better. I have a ’96 Huss & Dalton 12-fret with a Red Spruce top that is incredible. Now if I was just a better player. Playing is a nice retreat from daily sh-t storm of tr*mp, et al.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, remember when Gibson got in very hot water with DOJ for illegal use of wood from Madagascar and India?

          • Jockobadger says:

            Yep, and Brazilian Rosewood for backs and fretboards. You can still get it, but it has to be CITES certified as logged before the ban went into effect – ’92 I believe. More recently, all rosewood subspecies have to be CITE certified – a good thing but hard to enforce.

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, I always thought DOJ was a tad harsh on Gibson. But they really were violating. Seem to have made it out of that mostly. Though, like Fender, their guitars are not what they used to be. I have a maybe ten to twelve year old Mexican Strat. It is pretty sweet, but will not stay in tune like the old ones will.

              • RWood says:

                Have you considered a Heritage bmaz? Made by the old salts at Gibson who refused to leave Kalamazoo when the company moved south and started their own company. Got mine in 87 and it’s still going strong.

                • bmaz says:

                  Heh, no. The sad fact is I am an absolutely terrible guitar player. I probably peaked when I was in college, and that was a long time ago. I have the aforementioned Mexican Fender Strat and an acoustic my wife once bought. Also a 2×12 Crate tube amp. I always wanted a Marshall head and short stack, but don’t think it would make me sound any better.

                  • Jockobadger says:

                    I have a ’96 Mexi and it’s a seriously really great player. Those early Mexican strats and teles were really nicely made with good wood. But I’ve changed out the p’ups, wiring and tuning pegs just to modify the sound a bit. I do it myself and enjoy it. I hardly play elec anymore except to jam with buddies once in awhile. I really do love my acoustic – best trade I ever made. I’d love a Marshall Plexi, bmaz, but too old for that stuff. Those Heritage LPs are awesome RWood, but sounds like bmaz is a strat guy like me. I do love a good Les Paul – Gibby or Heritage.

                    I’m a lousy player but I sure enjoy it.

                    • bmaz says:

                      Ooof. I had a Les Paul for a bit, a black one (but not the original Black Beauty). Actually kind of preferred the SG I traded it for. Although that thing did not stay in tune that well either. All seriously great guitars though. Frankly, I liked the SG better than the Paul because of the less weight and slightly different/better fretboard.

              • Jockobadger says:

                Remember when Fender made a Tele out of a solid piece of Braz rosewood and gave it to George Harrison? I believe they made two, actually. He played it on the roof at Apple Records. That’s a cool vid. I guess they have a nice stash of great wood and they’ll make you anything you want. Same with Gibby. $

      • Tom says:

        In the 18th century, English country gentlemen and retired admirals would walk about their estates with pockets full of acorns to plant in the ground. This was to ensure there would be enough Heart of Oak on hand for future ships of the Royal Navy.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s the thread that one is responding to:
      2:00 PM – 15 Apr 2019

      The fire department in Paris followed a protocol: Save the people, save the art, save the altar, save what furniture you can, then focus on the structure, in that order.
      They know what can be rebuilt and what can’t.
      This protocol has been in place since the last time the cathedral was destroyed, sacked during the French revolution.
      The steeple and the beams supporting it are 160 years old, and oaks for new beams awaits at Versailles, the grown replacements for oaks cut to rebuild after the revolution. […more]

      Later in the thread is the photo: “Versailles oaks. They’re ready”
      The next tweet is a photo of the interior of Notre Dame, today, titled:
      “This is why there is a protocol.”

      Seeing the two photos together is quite moving.

      • harpie says:

        Someone responds to the writer of that thread, asking where he heard about this Protocol. This is the answer:

        5:20 PM – 15 Apr 2019 Replying to @ericbkennedy
        It was a lecture I attended at Versailles on disaster recovery and long term planning. Once per century events have to be planned for in a city where structures are a thousand years old.

        I wouldn’t know where to begin investigating if this information is correct.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I’m reading different accounts of how old the “forest” in N-D’s roofing is. One thread say it was original, another that most or all of it had been replaced during the renovations in the mid-19th century. In any case, the picture of that avenue of oaks at Versailles does not look sufficient to replace the 13,000 old growth oaks that went into the original construction.

        I’m happy to read that a few billionaires have ponied up substantial charitable contributions in lieu of taxes to help rebuild it. It is a grand and appropriate use of their money for which many are thankful. It will ensure that rebuilding starts promptly before further damage is done owing to delay. Those with smaller contributions to give will have many projects closer to home to finance.

        Almost thankfully, I imagine one of those contributors will not be from the super wealthy Donald Trump. He never gives to any cause but his own, but is happy to claim credit for someone else’s gift. The world will be better off when the presidency is behind him.

  38. Margo Schulter says:

    Jockobadger at 2:01 pm, it’s an honor to meet a lutenist here. Somehow my reaction was to imagine the opening words of John Dowland’s “Can She Excuse,” also the Earl of Essex Galliard, “Can she excuse my wrongs/With virtue’s cloak” as applying to Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” and the like.

    It’s one of my all-time favorite pieces, and somehow seems a fitting musical prelude to the Mueller Report.

    • Jockobadger says:

      Very nice of you to say so, Margo, but I’m really not much of a lutenist. I didn’t know that meant any plucked instrument that’s hollow and with a neck. Cool! I thought it referred to lutes only. I’ll listen to your recommendations tonight, though I’m loathe to think about Kellyanne much. Ick. I’ll do it anyway and enjoy it. I used to have a mandolin, but was never very good with it. Now I mostly like flat-pick and finger style (or the Allman Brothers at Fillmore East of course.) Thanks again!

  39. timbo says:

    “O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright.”

    – (Act I, Scene V) by some guy a longtime ago

  40. Barbara Dunsmore says:

    Marci, what do you make of these filings today:
    Mueller prosecutor Jeannie Rhee just filed notice in federal court she’s withdrawing as an attorney of record from the Concord/IRA case.

    Rhee has also filed notices on Tuesday withdrawing as an attorney of record from the Roger Stone and mystery grand jury subpoena cases.

    And SCO prosecutor Rush Atkinson just filed notice he’s withdrawing from the special counsel’s case against the Russian GRU officials accused of hacking the Dems in 2016. US attorneys in DC now handling that one.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please make sure to use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. Thanks./~Rayne]

    • bmaz says:

      I cannot speak for Marcy, much less Marci, but the SCO is shutting down and has tasked ongoing investigations to various US Attorney offices. There is nothing suspicious about this.

  41. Willis Warren says:

    Prediction: The Mueller report will feature significant testimony from Don McGahn about how much Trump wanted and tried to fire Mueller, testimony that will amount to significant desire and willingness to obstruct justice. Mueller’s punt on obstruction will be due to conflict of interest on this.

  42. Hope says:

    It would probably be good to read the thing 3-4 times. That way if you miss anything because something distracted you in the middle like it tends to do me, you’ll be able to go back and catch it. Also we’ve seen redaction fail before, remember? I love redaction fail! It’s like someone went to lunch at that very second.

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