Trump’s Excuse for His Promised Speech on Hillary Clinton

On June 21, 2016, the day after Christopher Steele submitted the first installment in his dossier, Guccifer 2.0 published what the persona deemed a dossier on Hillary Clinton. It included a bunch of files — many dating to April 2015 — that summarized potential attacks on Hillary, often providing rebuttals. These documents appear to be the kind of reports campaigns do to prepare for attacks they expect to be hit with.

The “dossier” included four files relating to the Clinton Foundation (two of which were responses to the Peter Schweizer book Clinton Cash), one on defenses to attacks on her email server, another on attacks on Bill and Chelsea, and a summary of the attacks GOP primary candidates had made on her, a number of which focused on national security. While the files were definitely dated (and the financial records, in particular, worthless), it is the closest thing to a “dossier” of “kompromat” released during the entire Russian operation.

The timing of that release and its focus — including on Schweizer’s book — is worth revisiting given the explanation Trump gave Mueller (starting on PDF 427) for his aborted promise, on June 7, 2016 to, “give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”

g. On June 7, 2016, you gave a speech in which you said, in part, “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.”

i. Why did you make that statement?

ii. What information did you plan to share with respect to the Clintons?

iii. What did you believe the source(s) of that information would be?

iv. Did you expect any of the information to have come from the June 9 meeting?

v. Did anyone help draft the speech that you were referring to? If so, who?

v. Why did you ultimately not give the speech you referenced on June 7, 2016?


In remarks I delivered the night I won the California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana, and South Dakota Republican primaries, I said, “I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” In general, l expected to give a speech referencing the publicly available, negative information about the Clintons, including, for example, Mrs. Clinton’s failed policies, the Clintons’ use of the State Department to further their interests and the interests of the Clinton Foundation, Mrs. Clinton’s improper use of a private server for State Department business, the destruction of 33,000 emails on that server, and Mrs. Clinton’s temperamental unsuitability for the office of President.

In the course of preparing to respond to your questions, I have become aware that the Campaign documents already produced to you reflect the drafting, evolution, and sources of information for the speech I expected to give “probably” on the Monday following my June 7, 2016 comments. These documents generally show that the text of the speech was initially drafted by Campaign staff with input from various outside advisors and was based on publicly available material, including, in particular, information from the book Clinton Cash by Peter Schweizer.

The Pulse Nightclub terrorist attack took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016. In light of that tragedy, I gave a speech directed more specifically to national security and terrorism than to the Clintons. That speech was delivered at the Saint Anselm College Institute of Politics in Manchester, New Hampshire, and, as reported, opened with the following:

This was going to be a speech on Hillary Clinton and how bad a President, especially in these times of Radical Islamic Terrorism, she would be. Even her former Secret Service Agent, who has seen her under pressure and in times of stress, has stated that she lacks the temperament and integrity to be president. There will be plenty of opportunity to discuss these important issues at a later time, and I will deliver that speech soon. But today there is only one thing to discuss: the growing threat of terrorism inside of our borders.

I continued to speak about Mrs. Clinton’s failings throughout the campaign, using the information prepared for inclusion in the speech to which I referred on June 7, 2016.

If the documents submitted to Mueller do back his claims that the speech was in preparation ahead of time, then Trump’s answer is one of the most responsive ones he gave Mueller. But we’ve already seen one instance — whether Trump ever declined an invitation to St. Petersburg from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko (if footnotes are understood to be comprehensive, Trump submitted an unsigned letter, but not a signed copy or the emails that supposedly extended the invitation) — where Trump’s written responses claimed that documentation submitted to Mueller substantiated more than they appear to have.

And Trump didn’t really answer the question why he didn’t give a designated speech focused on those topics; he instead simply suggested he covered those topics along the way, generally.

Elsewhere, the report describes a discussion at a meeting that Mueller believes happened on June 6 relayed by Rick Gates at which Don Jr promised damaging information about the Clinton Foundation which — though vague — appears to reference an upcoming meeting.

Rick Gates, who was the deputy campaign chairman, stated during interviews with the Office that in the days before June 9, 2016 Trump Jr. announced at a regular morning meeting of senior campaign staff and Trump family members that he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation.703 Gates believed that Trump Jr. said the information was coming from a group in Kyrgyzstan and that he was introduced to the group by a friend. 704 Gates recalled that the meeting was attended by Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Paul Manafort, Hope Hicks, and, joining late, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. According to Gates, Manafort warned the group that the meeting likely would not yield vital information and they should be careful.705 Hicks denied any knowledge of the June 9 meeting before 2017,706 and Kushner did not recall if the planned June 9 meeting came up at all earlier that week.707 [my emphasis]

Which is why I find it interesting that Guccifer 2.0 released a set of documents that — while not all that exciting, were nevertheless directly on point regarding the topics Trump claimed were already being drafted into a speech he’d give.

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. 

72 replies
  1. Bay State Librul says:

    The AP reports…

    “So far, Mueller has largely let the report speak for itself and left the chattering class to provide the commentary.
    He did send Barr a letter in March complaining about how Barr had summarized the report’s key findings, writing that he had left “public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation.”
    Beyond that, though, all the public has gotten of Mueller in the past few weeks is fleeting glimpses of him exiting a Georgetown tavern, walking into church on Easter Sunday, driving to his office…”

    Can someone explain to me what the fuck Mueller is doing?
    I don’t get his silence.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes. That is easy. It is how someone in Mueller’s posture is actually supposed to act.

        • Joe Student says:

          Mueller is still a government employee, working under the attorney general. Until he leaves, he is restricted in what he can say publicly.

        • CapeCodFisher says:

          Elliot Richardson moved to my hometown on Cape Cod after he resigned. He and George Shultz were the only 2 people in history to hold 4 different cabinet positions.

        • emptywheel says:

          He’s still a DOJ employee. Until he’s gone, he doesn’t have liberty to say more, even to HJC, unless Bill Barr says he can. And even then he’s still going to be Robert Mueller.

        • Bay State Librul says:

          OK, but, I’m sure he has read Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage?
          The only thing left for me to do is watch the Bruins, and listen to Doc, and have a Heiny

        • bmaz says:

          Earl, it is absolutely legitimate that Mueller is seeing through the wrap up of his remit and office. Which is what he appears to be doing.

        • Marinela says:

          Good question.
          Yes, would like to understand why he is still working for DOJ after he submitted the report.
          He was done, he submitted the report, unless he is not done yet.
          Also, why would you submit a report if not done.
          It is confusing to me.

        • bmaz says:

          This is not a difficult question in the least. The SCO was a huge undertaking, and it takes some time to intelligently wind it down. Why in the world people find this surprising or scandalous, is beyond imagination.

        • P J Evans says:

          That’s a lot of material that has to be archived somewhere. (I hope it’s not going to that giant warehouse with the Ark of the Covenant. /s)

        • horses says:

          Respectfully, if you come at a narcissist in a position of power relying on accepted rules, you’re going to lose badly. Ask me how I know.

        • emptywheel says:

          Responding to myself in hopes both BSL and EOH see it.

          I suspect he may be staying until both the Mystery Appellant and Andrew Miller have been completed.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Thanks for your response. The two specific matters you suggest make sense. I can also imagine a lot of wrangling over personnel and the archiving of materials that neither the president nor Barr want found again. The usual Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse comes to mind.

          Responding to bmaz, I’m neither surprised nor scandalized about Mueller’s continued stay. I’m sure there’s a lot of work. The question is whether Barr would let it be done in a responsible manner. His staying on does seem to make it harder for Congress to interview him if – despite their repeated public comments not to stand in the way of his testifying – Trump-Barr tell him no.

        • timbo says:

          Hmm. It seems to me that Mueller is following DoJ policy to some serious degree, particularly OLC opinions. Since we do not know all OLC opinions that may be involved here, it’s always wise to be cautious here where Mueller’s responsiveness is concerned.

          On a positive note, Mueller has been a commissioned officer, and commissioned officers are given their commission by Congress, not the President. This is one of the wisest points that the Framers insisted upon… and let’s Mueller and many, many officers still take the oath they must go through on being commissioned, incredibly seriously.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          While Mueller remains a subordinate DoJ employee, such decisions are not his to make. They are Barr’s.

        • Desider says:

          That’s what I expected long ago, though thought that Miller & Appellido Incognito would then lead to new and re-examinations – including possibly the Trump family, but always figured that was a step further once super solid smoking guns were found.
          Not sure why it makes sense or any difference for him to hang around to hear from these 2 and just leave after (and presumably someone else could finish this process anyway – AFAIK he usually had a designee from his team spearheading particular efforts?).
          Then there’s the question whether he would feel a need to resign or not to be able to testify to Congress (and resist Trump/Barr interference).

    • William Bennett says:

      What I don’t get–well, actually I sort of do–is why people assume Mueller is somehow “our guy” or on “our side.” All of his “confusing” behaviors are only confusing if you’re viewing him from that point of view, but it’s not a valid one. He has been assigned a job and is keeping his head down and doing it as strictly by the book as possible, the book in question includes DOJ rules as well as standard investigative procedures. He is decidedly not taking sides; he’s scrupulously avoiding the appearance of doing so, all the more because the Trumpublicans have been relentlessly accusing him of having an anti-Trump agenda. “Why isn’t he out there shouting Trump’s guilt to the rooftops!?!” A: because that’s not his job.

      The “he’s our guy, isn’t he???” thing is understandable, but it isn’t going to work out that way going forward. I expect his testimony in Congress, if and when, will be very much the same. What I DO expect is that he will respond factually, fully, and non-evasively. Anything else would seem highly uncharacteristic. Which means it will be down to the questioners to ask the questions that will allow him to tie the narrative together. He has strongly indicated he thinks it’s their job, not his, to draw the conclusions and decide on right action, and I don’t think he’ll veer from that one iota, but if they can shut up the goddamned “Lookit me Ah’m on TV, hear me blather!” crap they always indulge in, they have a chance of getting clarity on what Barr and the Trumpists are trying so desperately hard to obfuscate.

      • Phil says:

        I expect that Mueller will testify like the Chairman of the Fed. Just like everyone wants to know if the Fed will raise interest rates, but the Chairman will never answer directly, everyone wants to know if Mueller thinks Trump committed obstruction, but Mueller will not answer directly.

        • bmaz says:

          Hi there. You have now interchangeably used three screen names here: Yette, HRHTish, and Phil.

          Can you please pick one and stick to it? It would be much appreciated, and is only fair to all the other commenters that do not vacillate with their personas.

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    In the meantime, Rome burns.
    It is a fucking constitutional crisis, we don’t need no silence.
    We don’t need no redactions.
    We don’t need no secrets.
    We need action.
    We need balls
    We need a whistleblower.

    • CapeCodFisher says:

      Hey fellow commonwealth citizen. Patriot Nation. What I don’t get is why nobody mentions that the reason no conspiracy was found is that Donald Sr obstructed the investigation. Giuliani and his like minded republicans are all so fond of saying “there was no obstruction because there was no underlying collusion”. Well yeah, no kidding, there was no underlying crime because Don Sr used the power of the Oval Office to obstruct the investigation into it…

      • P J Evans says:

        They’re trying to claim there was no crime – but anyone who’s been following this story anyplace other than Fox (and maybe NYT) knows that that’s a BIG lie. Obstructing justice doesn’t actually make the underlying crime disappear.

        • CapeCodFisher says:

          Yeah but when you obstruct the investigation enough so that not enough evidence of the crime is uncovered, then the underlying crime is difficult to determine. In this case the obstruction did seem to make the underlying crime disappear. That’s why obstruction is supposed to be against the law even without the underlying crime.

    • AitchD says:

      A comparable, though dissimilar, situation had arisen in 2007 after the midterm elections, when Nancy Pelosi became Speaker. Impeachment had been mentioned often prior to the 2006 midterms. Impeachment was “off the table” when Bush sent a carrier fleet to Iran.

  3. Rita says:

    Are you suggesting that Trump’s team had research materials pilfered from the DNC before Guccifer 2.0 started leaking?

    • MattyG says:

      I read it that way too; June 21 dump vs the ‘…in the days before the June 9 meeting…’

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Or they were aware of the availability of the research and amenable to receiving it, even gleeful at the prospect of receipt, despite it being hacked by a foreign, adversarial country. This seems like it could tie back into the reason Mueller included the information about the June 9 meeting under obstruction.

  4. Steve Hooker says:

    v. Did anyone help draft the speech that you were referring to? If so, who?

    Who was his speechwriter during this time? This part of Trump’s 7th June 2016 speech came directly from the teleprompter, “Hillary Clinton turned the State Department into her private hedge fund. The Russians, the Saudis, the Chinese all gave money to Bill and Hillary and got favourable treatment in return. It’s a sad day in America when foreign governments with deep pockets have more influence in our own country than our great citizens.”

    Those written answers from Trump’s lawyers didn’t state the name of a corroborating source. That is the speechwriter(s).

    • P J Evans says:

      The projection in that makes multicinemas jealous. (If there’s anyone in government who’s taking money from all those governments, it’s him.)

  5. Bay State Librul says:

    Look. Mueller is 73 years old. For shit’s sake, Mueller has the pulse. Time is of the essence. Do something!
    What has he to lose!
    Thank God the Bruins are saving my arse.
    “We want the Cup” “We want the Cup” We want Trump indicted.
    I can’t believe he got played by Barr.
    I hope I’m missing something.
    Fuck the Canes and Fuck Don the Con!

    • bmaz says:

      There is everything about this comment that is so preternaturally wrong I cannot even describe it. This is not what we do, and who we are, here. You are better than this, and would scream if floated by the other side. And have done so in the past.

      • Bay State Librul says:

        The Bruins are a blue collar, scrappy bunch that plays as a team. With Trump, I haven’t seen anyone step up to the plate. I feel Mueller had the chance, but for the last month, my faith has diminished and is shaken to the core. I hope you are right, but all I get is platitudes.
        My fear is that the remaining investigations will be deep sixed by Barr and friends. They do not think like us, they are five steps ahead, plotting the next moves. Hopefully, when Mueller testifies he will move the nation. But shit, he is moving very slowly.
        We are dealing with a tyrant and drastic measures are necessary.

        • marksb says:

          I’d love to see someone step up and burn these criminals down. But having lived through Nixon, actually being active-duty during the October ’73 weekend when we were put on one-hour, return-to-base alert because he was ordered to turn over the tapes, I want to believe, to trust, that good people will win out.

          What’s also true is that we have a year and a half until the next election. If the next 18 months are anything like the last, I expect the crimes, lies, and violations of the Constitution to accelerate as the walls get closer and the panic grows. Whomever the Democratic nominee turns out to be (and I’d like to see a certain woman prosecutor/AG/Senator there), I really believe that Trump (“stupid Nixon”) will burn himself and his admin so completely that he’ll be lucky to get 40, maybe 45% of the popular vote, and that pretty much all Democrats, even those who are angry because their savior lost the primaries (again), will turn out to vote. I don’t think they are 5 steps ahead and it’s only the GOP Senators fear of exposure of their money sins and losing their grip on power that keeps the sordid machine running–and the clock is running on that as the NRA gets its time in the barrel.

          I know it’s a dream. It’s what I do.

        • P J Evans says:

          It helps, sometimes, to look at the approval ratings from Tr*mp, Congress in general, and the GOP-T in particular (they’re running about 30% approval). They aren’t really winning in much of the country, as loud as they are. But their gerrymandering and voter-suppression work doesn’t help us.

      • BobCon says:

        I’m not impressed by the way the many of the Democrats have played their hand so far, but I would also want to make a few points.

        Trump is not happy that this is still alive. Not happy at all. Barr was supposed to have driven a stake through the heart, but seems to have only slowed it down for a bit.

        Barr has lost a lot of credibility. Not all of it — headline writers will still quote him uncritically if he can come up with something new — but his ability to control the narrative is seriously diminished.

        New threats are out there. NY State is inching closer to releasing Trump’s taxes, and NY State has other investigations happening. Mueller will probably testify at some point. Don Jr. is being brought back. Stone’s trial will continue to fester. Summer Zervos’s case is still alive. Rosenstein may well be subpoenaed. Trump’s being stuck in a position of opposing every congressional demand, and that’s not ideal legally. He may still get Supreme Court backing, but he’s made it a lot harder by his absolutist position.

        Dragging this out hurts Trump. In 2016 he largely controlled the narrative as Wikileaks and Comey lobbed bombs at Clinton, but now he is in the position of not knowing when new fires will flare. Wikileaks and Comey didn’t hurt Clinton because of any substance — it was only the constant release of new information, no matter how trivial.

        The Democrats are not using a good PR strategy to explain where they stand on impeachment proceedings, but they have at least stumbled into a defense against being overly agressive against Trump. Better preparation would have gotten them to the same place and also gotten them in a better position to advance investigations, but at least they haven’t made a lot of unforced errors.

        I don’t think that any of this by itself will be enough to unseat Trump, unfortunately. The Democrats will still need to come up with a compelling message to add to it. But it’s not nothing, either, and like I said, Trump is not happy with how the Mueller investigation continues to live.

        • P J Evans says:

          I tried to edit this in, but it timed out without saving it:
          They’re using Tr*mp’s birther statements to show how similar his tax-form responses are.

        • Gnome de Plume says:

          Projection. I keep forgetting – these people have no imagination because they are incurious. Thus they have to plagiarize. The only controversial things they can think of are the things they have done themselves.

        • bmaz says:

          BobCon – Agree with most all of that. Has been a bit ugly to watch, but the House Dems seem to be getting there. We shall see!

        • fpo says:

          Agree with BC, here. It’s not pretty – but from where Trump’s sitting, the ‘Russia thing’ is still here and not going away anytime soon. A judicial resolution(s) to the blanket executive privilege claims will ultimately direct Dem strategy and timing. Let’s see how the judge rules on the House subpoena of Mnuchin this week.

          Meanwhile, infrastructure is going nowhere, farm bankruptcies are up 30% in six Midwestern states due to flooding and inept China tariffs, Georgia and Alabama are poised to piss off women nationwide with inane anti-abortion legislation, his crack diplomatic and finance Cabinet teams can’t agree on what’s going on in Venezuela (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter) or who’s really paying for higher costs due to Chinese sanctions, the Dow is down around 500 points this morning…

          And then there’s the little matter of Pompeo and Bolton seeing if they can’t find a way to get ugly with Iran and get a little “USA! USA!’ wave going.

          “Saudi oil tankers show ‘significant damage’ after sabotage attack, says Riyadh”

          “One vessel was bound for the US and comes after warnings that Iran or its proxies could target shipping in region”

          “No side has taken responsibility for the sabotage, and mystery surrounds the identity of the ships.”

          [ ]

          Why let a pre-planned naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman ‘opportunity’ go to waste, right? And surely we can trust the Saudis to let us know what really happened to those ships – they’re our friends.

          So…seek the truth. Get the facts – and tell your neighbors.

        • P J Evans says:

          Ohio’s doing the same thing with abortion – and the other GOP-run states are watching.

    • Mister Sterling says:

      Even with the Bruins poised to win the second cup of my lifetime, I still can’t stop thinking that team Trump has burned down the Republic with its broad, never-ending obstruction.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      From what I read, the FBI claim they were there only to observe. That’s not a credible claim, given that their presence for the raid and post-raid interviews and examination of materials would imply their approval of the process. I think there remain a lot of unanswered questions about what the SFO police told the state court judge who signed the search warrant.

      The raid has the appearance of being ominous payback for non-cooperation – of the kind no professional journalist not in the bag for the intelligence services (several in the UK come to mind) would have consented to. I’m reminded of the laundry list of MSM and independent journalists who gave EW grief over talking with the FBI about a source whose errant behavior might have put lives in jeopardy.

      That this journalist works freelance is also troublesome. He hasn’t the resources of a major organization behind him. Rights are lost when they die at the margins. The MSM should make a stink about this case or it will be next.

      • P J Evans says:

        It bothers me that they’re looking at him for getting the story and selling it (for less than what he asked) and they took all his computers and cameras, so he’s having trouble working.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      “First they came for the journalists. We don’t know what happened after that”

  6. Bay State Librul says:

    Final thoughts

    In an executive report, you usually put your conclusions up front, in clear, direct and understandable language, what you find and believe.

    Robert Mueller could have said, “Although it is DOJ policy not to indict a sitting President, I conclude that Donald J Trump did in fact obstruct justice.”
    As a criminal prosecutor, I recommend that the Congress consider appropriate action.
    I will be available to consult with the House and Senate on my 448 page report.
    It has been a pleasure to take on this review for the American people.”

  7. Tom says:

    Re: the June 9th Trump Tower meeting, I wonder if Donald Trump Jr. had any other option but to accept the invitation to see these representatives of the Russian gov’t who were offering information to help candidate Trump get elected. Donald Jr. certainly seems to have accepted the meeting proposal with alacrity, but it’s hard to see how he could have turned it down. After all, the Trump Organization was already working with the Russians regarding the Trump Tower Moscow project, so having almost literally booked the motel room it was a little late for Junior to protest to the Russians that, “I’m not that kind of girl!” (Incidentally, how can Donald Jr. claim he was only “peripherally aware” of the Trump Tower Moscow project when he is described on p. 67 of the Mueller report as “the prime negotiator on behalf of the Trump Organization”?)

    Having no high-minded or principled reasons for refusing to meet with the Russians, Donald Jr. had no practical reasons for turning it down either. To have rebuffed the Russian offer of dirt on Hillary at this point would have at the least have created bad feelings between Russia and the Trump Organization, and at the worst might have sown doubts in the minds of the Russians as to how seriously Trump really wanted to become President; i.e., was Trump trying to play the Russians by working with them to get his Moscow project off the ground without any intention of winning the Presidency in order to give them sanctions relief. As for the Russians, they achieved their goal simply by having Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meet with them at the Trump Tower. The Mueller Report’s description of Kushner’s “aggravated” behaviour during the June 9th meeting, his question as to “What are we doing here?”, his message to Manafort that the meeting was a “waste of time” and the fact that Kushner left the meeting early suggest the exasperated reaction of someone who realized that his dumb brother-in-law had let them be manipulated into a situation where they were compromised by meeting with reported agents of the Russian government without receiving anything to show for it. But to me, it’s not clear how Donald Jr. could have turned down the meeting unless it was to suggest some more devious and clandestine way of getting the information the Russians claimed to have.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Let’s not let something so petty as illegality get in the way of keeping up good relations.

      That the Trumps would turn down help from the Russians, that there was any hesitancy or debate about accepting such help, does not square with Trump’s routine business practices or with his pseudo-Roy Cohn mentality.

      What I do doubt is the idea that Jr did anything campaign related without telling his old man.

      • Tom says:

        I agree that Old Man Trump had to have known about the June 9th meeting beforehand. According to pp. 187-’88 of the report, Mueller didn’t think that the government had sufficient evidence that Donald Jr. and Jared Kushner “knowingly and willfully” broke the law, but Jared’s reaction to the meeting conveys to me the sense of a person with perhaps not a guilty conscience about the face-to-face discussion with the Russians, but the understanding that, as Talleyrand might have put it: “It’s worse than a crime, it’s a mistake.”

  8. harpie says:

    Bay State Librul at 8:35pm, above:

    […] My fear is that the remaining investigations will be deep sixed by Barr and friends. They do not think like us, they are five steps ahead, plotting the next moves. […]

    Last night, Trump tweeted a quote from Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch:
    7:00 PM – 12 May 2019

    “Just another abuse of power in a long series of abuses of power by the Democrats that began during the Obama Administration, continued through the Mueller FBI operation, & now the baton has been passed to Jerry Nadler to continue to abuse power to harass President Trump.. […] The FBI has no leadership. The Director is protecting the same gang…..that tried to…. / ….overthrow the President through an illegal coup.” (Recommended by previous DOJ) @TomFitton @JudicialWatch

    …to which Ryan Goodman responded:
    7:17 PM – 12 May 2019

    President Trump appears to be turning to target FBI Director Wray.
    The timing is notable as we’ve learned that Wray’s FBI retained the counterintelligence investigation of Trump’s circle, while Mueller principally pursued the criminal probe.

    • viget says:

      Surely, another firing of an FBI director, would really turn heads here. At that point, can anyone really say there’s no obstruction any more?

      • harpie says:

        Who knows anymore? I was just reading yesterday somewhere…can’t locate it…someone trying to be reassuring about the courts and Stare Decisis…and I’m pretty sure that’s what Breyer is talking about in his “warning” dissent [my next comment].

    • harpie says:

      …also we have a Supreme Court Justice sounding an alarm:
      7:38 AM – 13 May 2019

      Today is a good reminder of how much news #SCOTUS can make even without high-profile rulings: […]
      Breyer’s warning about the new majority’s willingness to overrule precedent.
      7:27 AM – 13 May 2019

      A Supreme Court Justice is never going to send a bigger warning siren than Breyer does in his dissent today. [screenshot]

      Part of what Breyer said:

      “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next. I respectfully dissent.”

      • harpie says:

        Chris Geidner links to the case, here:
        8:22 AM – 13 May 2019

        Justice Breyer’s warning this morning is as stark as others are saying. / This is a justice who loves nothing more than to go down a rabbit hole of complication and conditions and hypothetical situations. Today, he resisted that temptation — to borrow his phrase — in order to make his point unavoidably clear. [link to case]

        Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan join Breyer’s dissent.

      • harpie says:

        And I think this is exactly right [except for the “veiled” part]:
        7:17 AM – 13 May 2019

        From Justice Breyer’s dissent in Franchise Tax Board. Hard not to read this as a veiled warning about Roe v. Wade.

        Rep. Nadler, the other day:
        1:51 PM – 10 May 2019

        Unprecedented attacks this week on women’s rights. The bizarre and cruel laws and bills in GA and AL are designed to test #RoevWade in Trump’s SCOTUS & to punish women for exerting their right to access reproductive health care. We will keep up the fight. [links to NYT article]

    • Anvil Leucippus says:

      From Jeff Colgan – “First, the incumbent political parties take advantage of their position through greed and hypocrisy. Second, the country experiences a nasty economic shock.”

      Trump is adhering to a proven model to take you to authoritarianism: Characterize democratic institutions and executive oversight as a coup, blunder into harmful economic policies.

      After it crashes down, I bet it will seem quaint to look back on “Ooh should we start impeachment articles now, or maybe a little later?”.

  9. 200Toros says:

    Regarding comments that Dems need a better message, I’d suggest this:

    “Oh My God. This is Terrible. This is the End of My Presidency. I’m Fucked.”

  10. AitchD says:

    Speaking of SCOTUS rulings, Reuters reports that Justice Kavanaugh joined the four pro-consumer, anti-monopolistic votes against Apple, Inc., and that the Trump Administration supported Apple in the case.

    How about that.

  11. viget says:

    June 14th 2016 to me is the operative date we need to keep in mind. That’s the day the Ellen Nakashima WaPo scoop ran about the DNC hack.

    Per the Mueller report and BuzzFeed’s reporting, that’s also the day that Cohen abruptly broke off negotiations with Sater and the Russians for TT Moscow.

    Surely, not a coincidence. My WAG: Cohen, the Russians and other Trump officials, must have thought that the US IC (or allied foreign Intel services) was up on their comms with the Russians at that time.

    My question is this: did Peter Strozk and the FBI know about the DNC hack in real time as well, or did they only become aware of it after the WaPo article, and that it tied to the Trump Campaign after the Australians told them about Papa in late July?

    Also: Why did the DNC go public so soon with WaPo? Surely the FBI or other IC members would have liked some time to learn more about why the Russians were hacking the DNC.

  12. P J Evans says:

    today’s xkcd seems to be describing the world we’re now living in – somewhere several universes removed from where we *thought* we were living.

  13. Molly Pitcher says:

    The Washington Post is reporting that Jr has agreed to a “limited appearance in June” before the Senate Intelligence Committee again. Too bad it is before the Senate and not the House. I can hardly wait to see the softball questions the Senate R’s lob at him.

  14. orionATL says:

    this is a very interesting post.

    on Tuesday June 7, 2016 trump promised publicly to give a speech criticizing Clinton in detail on or about monday, June 13. in between those dates was the June 9 meeting between trump campaign bigwigs, e.g., Manafort, trump jr., et al, and three russians freelancing for the Russian government of putin.

    the promised speech was not given due to the interruption of another mass shooting, but apparently trump used parts of it in later speeches.

    I’m willing to infer a couple of things from this info:

    – trump knew about the june 9 meeting, he knew about it days before hand, and he already had in hand the “dirt on clinton” that rob Goldstein’s letter to trump, jr. had promised to deliver at that meeting. veselnitskaya’s orphan presentation was about the Russian “pro quo” of sanctions relief.

    – that Russian military intelligence (the gru) creature gucifer 2.0 published docs stolen from the democratic national committee that included republican attacks on clinton two weeks after the promised trump speech attacking Clinton suggest to me a connection between the trump campaign and the gru. this could have been “indirectly” thru roger stone or directly thru Paul Manafort who had become trump campaign manager on may 19, two weeks before the June 9 meeting between the trump campaign and the russians.

    yes, this is thin stuff, but the history of the trump-russian collusion suggests that one should follow this promising lead. i’m willing to bet that somewhere in the voluminous documentation is more corroborating info that trump knew about the meeting and knowingly used material provided by the Russian gru thru the connection of Manafort and kilimnik or thru roger stone.

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