Rudy’s Disinformation Campaign Ties Directly with Key Milestones in the Mueller Investigation

In this post, I suggested that Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to broker a complex deal in Ukraine, which dug up dirt on Democrats, undercut the Russian attribution of the 2016 hack, yoked the Republican party to a bizarre Ukrainian gas deal, and have led Volodymyr Zelensky to begin implementation of the Steinmeier Formula, may just be the continuation of a quid pro quo Paul Manafort may have been trying to deliver since August 2, 2016, when he discuss how he planned to win the election in the same secret meeting where he talked about how to carve up Ukraine. That’s all the more likely given three facts:

That is, Mueller suggested that Manafort was using his JDA with the President to conduct other business, and we’re now seeing Trump’s nominal defense attorney pursue precisely the same kind of business, still shielded by a claim to Joint Defense.

In this post, I laid out how the campaign against Marie Yovanovitch appeared to parallel the declining fortunes of Paul Manafort, even in spite of Ukraine’s halt to cooperation on the case against Manafort once Trump sold them some Javelin missiles.

In other words, there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Ukraine grift is just a continuation of the Russian operation, and is perhaps even a payoff of a quid pro quo Manafort entered into to get help winning 2016. But it’s just circumstantial right now.

That said, we now have two temporal ties linking the Russian investigation to Rudy’s Ukraine graft. One has been known from the start of the Ukraine scandal. Just as Trump turned to his request for a “favor” from Zelensky in their July 25 call, he invoked Mueller’s “incompetent performance” the day before.

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you are surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

Trump did so to suggest that much of Mueller’s investigation “started with Ukraine,” which seems to be a reference to the disinformation about DNC efforts (as well as the overlapping efforts of Ali Chalupa) to learn about Manafort’s corruption, and the suggestion that’s the only thing that predicated (or renewed) the investigation into Manafort’s graft.

So the day after Mueller’s testimony seemingly closed his investigation once and for all, Trump got on the phone and extorted Zelensky to provide disinformation undercutting Mueller’s investigation, at the very least (though I think there’s more he was after) the black ledger.

But a WSJ piece on Lev Parnas’ private Instagram account provides another.

It reveals that Ukraine grifter Lev Parnas attended the celebration dinner Trump’s legal team had the day after Bill Barr released a summary about the Mueller Report that was, itself, disinformation. It shows that Parnas, at least, suggested Trump’s legal team deserved some kind of credit for Barr’s roll-out. And it claims that Ukrainian grifter and Trump’s legal team were hard at work moving (and includes notes in the picture that might reveal what Parnas and friends had planned).

So Barr announces the false results of the Mueller investigation and the next day someone involved in the production of disinformation claims credit and looks forward to his next task.

And Mueller provides what Trump claims to be an “incompetent performance” in the House, and the next day Trump extorts a foreign leader for disinformation that Rudy has been concocting with the Ukrainian grifter all summer.

145 replies
  1. Arice says:

    The original cover story for Lev Parnas was that he was just a translator and a Ukraine fixer. A linguistic “coffee boy.” But he sure seems to be present at a lot of meetings and events that have nothing to do with Ukraine. Clearly Parnas has way more juice than originally attributed to him.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      “Fixer” and “translator” are two different things. Fixers are often well-paid or get a piece of the action. Translators get pocket change and an NDA. One would not normally employ or trust someone who did both.

      As you suggest, reporting on Parnas describes both a fixer and a principal, and possibly a cut-out for someone a lot bigger than he is.

      • arice says:

        There’s a reason I listed BOTH translator AND fixer. A translator is, as you describe, typically just a commodity function. But Parnas was described as being hired by diGenova and Toensig as just that. A fixer is valued for their ability to know what levers to pull, palms to grease, places to go, dangers to avoid in a particular country/language/culture like Ukraine. NEITHER ONE of those gets you invited to celebratory parties with the President’s legal team at the Trump hotel in Washington DC. In other words, Parnas is something much more than what he was initially presented as. My gut is that he’s the US-based testaferro for Ukrainian mobsters.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          There’s a reason I said you would never rely on someone performing both roles. The potential conflicts are insurmountable, making trust impossible. But these guys aren’t doing normal.

          I agree that a likely explanation for claiming he did those two jobs was to hide that he did something else. He could have been a principal, possibly an enforcer, and probably a front man for someone much bigger. I was thinking less Vernon Walters, more Wilson Fisk’s Wesley.

          • Arice says:

            I’ve used numerous fixer/translators who did both. But, then again, I wasn’t running an international, sanctions-evading, influence-peddling, felonious money laundering scheme.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              I think the fixer-relationship person is essential in international projects. But adding translation work, where the deal is complex, is problematic. In my experience, American clients preferred it, apparently owing to their preference for the simple and the understaffed.

              The fixer-translators I worked with were eventually pushed to the wayside. Their translations were skewed and it was never clear in whose interests they were fixin’ things.

      • Americana says:

        It seems the two fixers were meant to work in multiple roles to keep the Ukraine operation tight within a very small group of individuals all of whom were linked to Trump’s service. It’s also significant the two men already had significant contacts within Ukrainian criminal circles. Given the American money conduit during the campaign via these two men and what was attempting to be accomplished w/this request for an investigation of the Bidens, that’s a given. It’ll be interesting to see what ties if any these two men had with Trump’s prior criminal Ukrainian partners. Are these two guys a totally separate thread of Ukrainian corruption linked to the Trump organization or simply another part of the previously known web of Ukrainians linked to Trump?

        It seems more likely to me Trump included the denigrating language about Special Counsel Mueller during his phone call to give himself a veneer of legitimacy in this request of Ukraine to undertake this investigation of the DNC server. It was perhaps meant to indicate to Pres. Zelensky that Trump wasn’t discredited or put in legal jeopardy by the Mueller report and that Zelensky should therefore oblige Trump as he was making an official request as POTUS. There’s strategy in Trump’s currying of Zelensky to take Trump’s side and pretending Trump as POTUS was empowered to make this kind of request of another head of state.

  2. BobCon says:

    It’s interesting that they didn’t even lay low for a bit, but started the high fives right away.

    I’m curious to what extent this was a reaction to how the news played out, and to what extent it was based on knowing already how the media was going to play it based on a preliminary PR campaign to the White House and DC press corps.

    The lede to this article suggests that the verdict had already been decided by the NY Times:

    “By Carl Hulse WASHINGTON — President Trump was probably never going to be impeached by the House of Representatives before the 2020 elections. The testimony by Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, makes that a near certainty.”

    Contrast that to the headline by the same reporter, Carl Hulse, from two days ago:

    “As Inquiry Widens, McConnell Is Said to See Impeachment Trial as Inevitable”

    Whether it was getting feedback from the media that the issue was buried, or whether it was simply hubris, it seems pretty clear that both the conspirators and the NY Times really misread the basic facts of Trump.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Or the NYT was promoting its preferred framing or storyline. Maggie Habs, like Judith Miller, seems to do that. Sourcing might also affect that, as might extending one’s horizon beyond one’s desk top.

      • P J Evans says:

        Getting out of the diners in PA and WV and visiting some of the other 45 states would help, too. (I’m assuming that NYT’s staff lives in CT, NY, and NJ, even if they have no clue what people in those states think.)

        • Matthew Harris says:

          Unrelated to the main issue, but this is something that has been getting me since the Trump election, NYT and WaPo stories going deep into the heart of rural America…which is usually exurban Pennsylvania.

          I guess references to the famous New Yorker cover make sense here: to people in NYC and its environs, once you have left the NYC metro area, it is all “the middle of the country” and West Virginia and Idaho are pretty much the same thing.

          Among many other reasons it bothers me, it marginalizes lots of groups. References to “rural America” are usually to white, rural America, and places where there are large or majority rural minority communities, like Texas, New Mexico, Alaska or Hawaii, are treated as just oddities or quirks, and the white rural population is treated as somehow the “real” rural America.

          How many NYT and WaPo thinkpieces were reporters visiting steel towns in Ohio? Many. How many NYT and WaPo thinkpieces were reporters visiting an Indian Reservation in the Dakotas? None, as far as I know.

          • P J Evans says:

            They think “California” is Hollywood and San Francisco. (But then, there have been times when I thought that the L.A. mayor couldn’t find the Valley if you dropped him into a car northbound on the 405 at Wilshire, with a driver and a Thomas guide.)

            • Matthew Harris says:

              (I hope this isn’t going too far off-topic)

              I live in California, right now, but it is not what people think of as California. I live in Humboldt County, which is five very long hours from San Francisco. Rural California exists, and in terms of area, and even in terms of gross population, is a pretty big place. But Humboldt County is also not what people denote as “rural” in the US, because the culture is politically pretty liberal, in part because of the cannabis industry. But happy stereotypes about hippies don’t always apply here, because while some people here might seem like nice hippies, not everyone is. Sociopolitical views run the gamut.

              American society can be very fractal like that, full of exceptions and exceptions to the exceptions. I like in one of the most urbanized states, but I live in a very rural part of it. But that rural area is different than most rural areas in the US, except when it isn’t.

              This does tie in a little bit into the disinformation campaign, because one of the worst lies that came about from the 2016 election is that there are basically only three groups in the United States: white “coastal elites”, white people in the rural heartland, and minorities who lived in urban warzones. There are a lot of parts of the United States where that facile grouping doesn’t even make stereotypical sense, but people have been repeating it for a while.

              • Raven Eye says:

                Blue Lake and Fortuna sure aint Arcata. As you point out, it would be inaccurate to attempt to cast even a single county as monolithic.

          • Americana says:

            The NYTimes is trying to do more outreach over rural issues but because that NYT’s effort is being done via computer, those who aren’t computer-linked might not have a voice. There was a broadcast request to participate in a series about water quality related to monoculture cropping agriculture and CAFOs and manufacturing waste. The Times’ interest in the rural water quality issue was likely thanks to fighting over CAFO operations in so many states as well as Trump’s efforts to go after the Waters of the United States rule that was crafted by Pres. Obama’s administration.

            Trump championed that regulatory roll-back as a significant fist bump for small business. It’ll be regarded as such until unregulated small manufacturing plants and fracking operations are determined to have polluted major aquifers then all hell will break loose.



          • BobCon says:

            The NY Times has taken a lot of heat for this, and Dean Baquet’s response is that he doesn’t care.

            One notable case was earlier this year when the Times ran a piece on Trump supporters who remain Trump supporters with the byline Youngstown. Except the diner safari actually took place in a white suburb of Youngstown, because if the Times had asked residents of Youngstown itself, they would have gotten an article that didn’t fit the pre-ordained thesis of the article.

            Youngstown itself voted for Clinton over Trump, it has a much more diverse population than the suburbs, so of course the Times had to pretend like it doesn’t exist and go looking to the suburbs for the latest sequel to the article it’s written a million times.

            • Vince says:

              “Youngstown itself voted for Clinton over Trump”

              Not just Y-Town, but all of Mahoning County, as well as Tim Ryan’s 13th Congressional district.

              Hasn’t stopped the MSM from reporting just the opposite for the last three years.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          When the NYT’s David Brooks went a-dinering for BoBos in Paradise, a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter concluded he faked it: he knew nothing about the places he said he visited. He used the venue as costume, like dressing in middle class clothing, to sell his own opinions.

          NYT’s top editors have a position and they sell it. That would be fine, if they were open about it. Instead, they call it objective and all the news fit to print.

          • rip says:

            That must be what sells “All The News Fit To Print”.
            That must be what their readership wants – gotta collect those subscriptions.
            That is probably not reality and
            that is what the “owners” want to reach the libral readers of the NYT.

      • BobCon says:

        What I’m curious about is the extent to which the NY Times beat reporters were handing over intel on the paper’s consensus take on the situation. Did they go beyond short term tactical trades and hand over more strategic information?

        Were they telling the White House that as far as the DC Bureau was concerned, it was buried? Did they basically tell the White House that as long as they didn’t say anything about X and Y, they were home free — which of course tipped off the White House to cover up X and Y.

        I think one of the more insidious things Miller did with Iraq was more than simply transactional — give me this and I’ll write that. She was also helping Cheney et al to know what the position of the Times editors was on the war, and helped the White House craft their message in a way that fit in with and reinforced the view of the Times DC bureau.

  3. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    “… in some kind (of) ridiculous nest of interlocking privileges with a Russian mobster…”

    Now THAT is poetry of the highest order…

    Wow… just… wow

    Did you ever in your entire life think you’d see someone say something like that about a sitting POTUS, and for good reason?

  4. misteranderson says:

    Amateur questions: 1) is there any chance Manafort will talk because it looks like the Ukraine operation might fail because of its discovery? 2) is there any chance that people on Mueller’s team will talk (e.g. Andrew Weismann? Everyone who’s in the comments section know so much I just thought I’d ask people.

    • Drew says:

      I think the most likely major player in all this to talk will be Giuliani. First, because he does nothing else but talk and talk and talk when he should shut up. However the thing that makes me say this is that Giuliani seems to be getting set up as the scapegoat for everybody else (Justice, State Dept, White House, Congressional Republicans, etc) and I just don’t see him sitting still and taking the blame for others, esp. if he can reduce his own accountability by blaming somebody else.

      I appreciate Marcy’s analysis of the ways in which Giuliani is continuing Manafort’s work, and it seems quite true, there are many ways in which Rudy is filling Michael Cohen’s ecological niche, both in character and methodology. There’s no reason to think that he won’t similarly turn on Trump when the pressure hits him hard enough.

      Manafort has a very different character-he knows how to keep his own counsel, at least to some extent. He would only do something that would help his own situation, i.e. reduce his prison term substantially. I doubt that even helping out his own family would sway him much. So Manafort talking would require incentives I don’t see coming about, unless there’s a huge prosecution over Ukraine, but Yuge like that, doesn’t seem likely.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No, and no.

      Manafort has no incentive to talk, and much to fear from former clients, Trump being the least violent of them. He and Trump share overweening egos and endless optimism, though Manafort is infinitely smarter. I think his position is that balls are made to be juggled, and sometimes one drops. But deals are always fluid and about to fall apart, until they don’t.

      Mueller’s people just wouldn’t.

      • misteranderson says:

        Would Mueller’s people do it on background? Is there any wriggle room, like maybe they get so pissed of about what’s happening or what’s being said about their work? What if Manafort were presented with life behind jail or witness protection? I just have this fantasy about finding out everything about the conspiracy for which there is circumstantial evidence (i.e. Aug 2016).

  5. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    When is this whole business gunna lead us back to Stone and 2016? It seems to me that the more the impeachment investigation turns light on the the current Ukrainian mess, the more we learn about the connection of all the players back to 2015-16. And I wonder about the convergence of the Flynn sentencing, the Stone trial and the impeachment process in the house. Anybody got a timeline on Flynn’s sentencing and the Stone trial?

    • Stephen says:

      As far as I know, Stone’s trial is still set to begin on November 5th. And Flynn’s sentencing is scheduled for December 18th. If the trial moves expeditiously, they could occur at practically the same time. As of now, the House seems unlikely to file articles of impeachment by Thanksgiving as originally hoped, mainly (it seems) because every witness they interview & every document they review reveals new complex layers of skullduggery and misfeasance. So the three hoped-for Blessed Events (a conviction, a prison term, and an impeachment) may or may not arrive in harmonic convergence.

        • NorskieFlamethrower says:

          Thanx, so if a guilty verdict in the Stone trial and all the evidence therein becomes public before the House concludes impeachment, we could finally get articles that complete the circle back to 2015-16?

          • bmaz says:

            No, none of this is known enough to be clear. These are evidentiary matters, and they are always in flux until they are not.

            • TooLoose LeTruck says:

              Could explain for me what ‘evidentiary’ means in this setting?

              I’m not a lawyer and one of the reasons I come by and read the comments is because some of you are… I’ll come back and check here to see if you do leave an explanation and if you do, thank you in advance…

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Capable of being admitted into court as evidence for the trier of fact, usually a jury, to weigh in reaching its decision.

                The rules are lengthy for what may be admitted as “evidence.” The rules attempt to limit it to claims of fact by persons with firsthand knowledge of them. Evidence can be testimony by a witness, physical objects, occasionally the opinion of an expert.

                Apart from a basic understanding about how the world works, the jury is meant to base its decision solely on evidence admitted and produced in court.

                An essential part of that process is that the opposing party have a chance to dispute the evidence for bias, accuracy, and relevance.

      • joel fisher says:

        I don’t know how the House concludes its investigation when subpoenas are being ignored without the final resolution of their validity in the courts. Don’t I remember back in Watergate times the grand jury subpoena for the tapes went all the way to the Supreme Court? It took 4 months and resulted in a pretty clear precedent. Nixon coughed up the tapes when ordered, but whether Trump will obey a Supreme Court order is another thing.

        • timbo says:

          They just punt it to the Senate… where the subpoenas have a lot more teeth? Alas, though, in a political climate like this, the House likely needs to get this information so the GOP Senate cannot ignore the evidence…

          • Stephen says:

            Ready to be corrected on this, but I don’t think that would help at all. When the House impeaches, it doesn’t trigger a higher-level Senate investigation. Rather, the Senate acts as a jury before whom the House leadership presents the case for the prosecution. So any evidence strong enough to compel the unwilling attention of 20+ Senate Republicans needs to be locked and loaded before the trial begins.

            • bmaz says:

              No, that is correct. The evidence will have to be put up in the Senate trial, but it needs to be marshaled ahead of it. The trial is NOT an investigatory phase.

              • timbo says:

                Thanks, Rayne. Read the document you linked to.

                So, in the case of the Senate’s conduct of impeachment trials of the President, the gist is that the Senate can do whatever it wants with the Articles of Impeachment it seems, although the writer of the document recommends that the Senate follow the examples of the two Presidential impeachment trials.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect Trump would intentionally get into a shooting war with Turkey only after he marches on Moscow. I read that as Pompeo blowing smoke. There’s so much of it about the White House these days, one might think there’s a fire.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Per Heidi Przybyla on MSNBC, Nancy Pelosi has apparently chosen to use a single article of impeachment, “abuse of power.” If it fits under that umbrella – like Ukraine, obstruction, and contempt of Congress – good deal.

    Everything else is right out, which would mean Trump gets away with it – and the public record goes undocumented – unless federal or state prosecutors follow-up on it. No mention of whether Pence’s pardon power enters into the strategery.

    That must be the Danny Kaffee approach, “It doesn’t matter what I believe. It only matters what I can prove,” without exposing too much dirty linen.

    More generously, it is keeping the impeachment as simple as possible, to force Senators to put their names on their vote, and in hopes of getting twenty GOP Senators to vote for Trump’s removal from office. I can see the For Sale signs going up on the Brooklyn Bridge from here.

    • bmaz says:

      This is beyond ignorant of Pelosi. By making a single catchall, you give too much room for both House members, but later Senate members to deny the aggregate whole. Pelosi is a derelict coward.

      • pdaly says:

        Frustrating to hear.
        If Pelosi won’t allow a completely wide open impeachment inquiry with a list of articles of impeachment, then I wish the House, given the Senate’s presumed determination not to find Trump guilty of impeachment article(s), would at least send an article of impeachment per month to the Senate until Trump is out of the WH. Whether that be before or after the next presidential election, drag out impeachment inquiries as long as needed to keep the oversight role of the House of Representatives in the news.

        • P J Evans says:

          Obstruction should be an easy article: there’s Mueller’s report, and Trmp’s own tweets and videos about telling people not to testify.
          And then there’s the bribery with Ukraine, withholding appropriated funding for political gain. (Do we even know if those funds have been sent to Ukraine?)

          • bmaz says:

            Sigh. Yes. But this has all been coming since long before the suddenly “key Ukraine call” case came to be in the public discourse. Pelosi, from day one of her reclaimed Speakership, has been determined to undermine and underplay any impeachment activity. She still is, and is still cravenly blocking what ought be done as to true accountability. It is simply who Pelosi, and her Number Two, Hoyer, are.

            • NorskieFlamethrower says:

              I’m afraid I must agree with you Bmaz, and the certainty that the next election will be completely compromised not just by the Russians but with the overt complicity of the corporate media. The incredible concentration of money since 2002 that keeps being laundered back and forth through our treasury has made the people of the country completely defenseless through the federal government.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I would have thought it better to give Senators a handful of articles to choose from, which might help get the necessary majority for one of them, which is all they need. Fast moving events may alter which one that is.

        It’s not as if any Democratic restraint in this process would restrain a future GOP-controlled Congress. If they felt like it, they would impeach a Democratic president; it’s what they do.

        And as @digby56 points out, why not delay presenting articles to the Senate until it’s too late for the GOP to primary a Yes voter?

        • pdaly says:

          That’s great advice by digby. I wonder, though, how many GOP Senators would still be reluctant to vote yes.

        • timbo says:

          Or how about forwarding one article one month and then dribbling them out as the months wear on? But that’s unlikely with Pelosi in charge…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump is a pinata full of crimes. A whiff would pop him open and spread their evidence across the town square for all to see. Instead of using a major league baseball bat or a spiked two-by-four, Ms. Pelosi has decided to use a Popsicle stick.

      • FunnyDiva says:

        Thereby also basically normalizing ALL THE REST OF THE LAWBREAKING by this administration. By refusing to investigate or censure any of the rest of it–much of which to my mind is far worse than “abuse of power”.
        WTF, Democrats. W. T. F.? ALWAYS with the bringing a butter knife to a gunfight.

        • BobCon says:

          I see no point to the timing on this as well. Trump is almost certain to be acquitted by the Senate GOP along a complete or near complete party line vote. And then what?

          He will have all of 2020 to claim exoneration. He will use acquittal as a club against the Democratic contenders all through the primaries and into the general. He will mock the nominee for lacking the clout to force through a full docket of charges.

          And he will spend all of 2020 stonewalling and committing more crimes. Why let him off the hook so soon?

          Pelosi had her hand forced when she finally had to admit that Trump was never going to follow the plan she hoped for. He will, never, ever follow the law, and if she thinks ending impeachment soon will make a difference a year from now, she’s nuts. The press will have long forgotten all of it. They will go back to yawning at the scattershot reports of his law brwaking and they will be blowing up fake controversies about the Democratic nominee fed to them by the GOP.

          This is a huge strategic blunder by a bunch of weak thinkers.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            And she will have squandered any will to more fully document Trump’s crimes for later prosecution or use in crafting legislation to avoid their repetition and to preserve congressional authority.

            Documenting crimes, however, increases pressure to do something about them, which is not what Ms. Pelosi seems to want to do.

            I hate to think that’s because the first rule of being an insider is never to tell tales about other insiders, or to expose them to accountability. Shirley, a better explanation from Ms. Pelosi will be forthcoming.

            • BobCon says:

              I strongly suspect she and Neal have either an explicit or tacit understanding with big donor Democrats that they will slow walk any efforts at tax reform or IRS enforcement reform if a Democrat wins in 2020.

              She is deeply embedded in the current campaign finance arrangement where Democrats get 30-40% of what big donors give, and she cannot bear the thought of anything that upsets that arrangement, no matter how bad it is for the Democrats.

              Investigating Trump’s taxes risks the understanding she has reached. It emboldens the Democrats wanting to know why developers can pay no taxes while kindergarteners don’t get school lunches. And Pelosi fears Democrats asking questions far more than she fears the GOP.

              • timbo says:

                What bunk. Pelosi fears GOP asking questions about DP fundraising much more than she fears the DP itself in that regard. Right now, the GOP lead Senate has been quiescent when it comes to investigating anything related to campaign money flow (for obvious reasons) but you can bet that the DP has some dirt on itself, even if it doesn’t rise to the level of corruption we see in the GOP. No, the GOP can do a lot of damage to the DP if it wants to. So far, as long as Pelosi seems reticent to do much more than be compelled to act, the GOP has no wish to end the detente they have in campaign finance investigations. The current Congress, like many before this one, seem to not be interested in figuring out where all their own election warchest money comes from. In fact, we can see that the GOP is basically moving to supporting openly the use of foreign money in our elections… and the DP has gotten similar moneys as well.

                • Rayne says:

                  A bunch of bunk here, too, when the FEC doesn’t have quorum and will probably not have a quorum for the rest of Trump’s term in office.

                  …the GOP is basically moving to supporting openly the use of foreign money in our elections… and the DP has gotten similar moneys as well.

                  Citations, please. Produce sources. Point to the money trail. You’re not going to swag this.

                  • timbo says:

                    The reference to the DP harkens back to the Clinton-Gore era where it turned out that money from China was being funnelled into their campaign. I don’t claim that the DP was aware of that being a problem before it was discovered but it strains credulity to imagine that all the money flowing into our elections is coming from inside the US.

                    Looking further back, during Iran-Contra, the joint committee investigating that scandal moved quickly away from the campaign finance problems that were uncovered. A few folks went to jail and/or were fined for that but the gist was that the DP controlled Congress wasn’t deeply interested into looking into that aspect of the scandal at all.

                    And as for the FEC, as you point out, yeah, it’s no longer fully functional. And that’s not just benefiting the GOP… or do you have some proof yourself that it is only benefiting the GOP?

                    So, basically, you’re saying that if Mitch & Co were to look into the DP money flows that they’d find nothing? If that’s true then why would we need an FEC in the first place?

                    And we haven’t touched on what Citizens United now permits as legal… let me guess, Pelosi is for a Constitutional amendment to get rid of Citizen United? Or no?

                    No, what we see here are politicians that are too afraid to tackle the big issues that ail our Republic. They’re either too vested in the current situation on the ground or lack the imagination and chutzpah/acumen to tackle these issues head on. And they’re trying hard to keep those who do have the cajones to espouse the needed corrections on the sidelines.

                    • Rayne says:

                      The reference to the DP harkens back to the Clinton-Gore era

                      You have not paid much attention if you think China’s attempts to influence the election of Democrats more than two decades ago compare to what the Russians have done to the GOP since 2010.

                      The case of Charlie Trie is a good example; Clinton’s legal defense fund refused $70K, accepted $380K but reported the donations and asked for an investigation into the source. The $380K was returned. Other donations by Chinese-affiliated persons to donate to Democrats were refused or returned.

                      Compare to the case of the NRA which donated tens of millions of dollars to nearly the entire GOP Congressional caucus — and one Democrat, IIRC — since the 2010 Citizens United decision. Not one goddamned cent has been returned to the NRA even though the NRA is now in financial difficulty.

                      source: (I had to add this because it’s so fucking obvious the GOP alone is being bought.)

                      The Trump administration has only enabled Russia’s ability to continue dark money donations to the GOP by weakening oversight at the IRS and FEC, while Senate Majority Leader plays dumb while a once-sanctioned-until-they-wanted-to-build-an-aluminum-plant-in-Kentucky Rusal dumps cash into McConnell’s backyard. WaPo’s Paul Waldman wrote a nice summary of the problem.

                      There’s no comparison. None. No Democrat could get away with this kind of wholesale sellout to foreign powers since the GOP took the majority in Congress in 2010.

                      This, “No, what we see here are politicians that are too afraid to tackle the big issues that ail our Republic” is ridiculously facile. Look at the numbers. Roughly 500 bills are sitting on McConnell’s desk including HR-1 which expands voting rights, limits partisan gerrymandering, strengthens ethics rules, and limits the influence of private donor money in politics, all of which would go a long way toward resolving the corruption we see. Six House committees are also investigating Trump and they are not receiving cooperation from the White House. This is one wholly corrupt party gatekeeping the entire little d democratic process; 20 GOP senators could fix this mess in a heartbeat but here we are. And you can’t do the math.

                • BobCon says:

                  This description of the GOP as a group which doesn’t launch an attack unless provoked doesn’t match the reality of the GOP for years. They don’t care about claims of hypocrisy, as shown by their position on the deficit, national security, and more. Campaign finance is no different. If they have a line of attack, they will use it.

                  Pelosi is not showing the characteristics of a chess player, thinking about moves and countermoves. She is showing the characteristics of a late stage Castro or Franco, more worried about internal dissent than anything else, and reacting by refusing to play any game with the external world at all. She is simply responding to the demands of her limited power base — in this case, the traditional Democratic donors — and concerns about going back in the minority are secondary.

                  Necessary steps to consolidating a Democratic majority — building grassroots networks, developing a clear set of priorities, encouraging more candidates on the state and local level — all threaten the hold that the existing system has on the current Democratic leadership. As a result, the leadership has been determined to limit its exposure to internal challenges, even at the expense of its longterm viability.

      • pdaly says:

        Here’s hoping Pelosi’s surgical precision impeachment popsicle stick works similarly to a scalpel plunged into a boil: a sudden explosion of pus and putrid odor flying forth from built up pressure.
        Best to bring safety glasses and a rain poncho.

        My biggest fear until now was that after succeeding in removing both Trump and Pence from office, Pres. Pelosi would pull a Ford and pardon everyone and then pull an Obama and look forward and not backward.

    • Pete T says:

      I don’t like extremes. This does not warrant 100 or even 10 articles though Lord knows there may be that many that could be drafted.

      One is an extreme and puts all one’s egg(s) in one basket to paraphrase.

      I can see 3-5 that would be succinct enough to be explainable to the broader population:

      1) Abuse of power – the egg now – re: Ukraine so it seems

      2) Maybe emolumants?

      3) Maybe illegal campaign contributions – ala huhn money payments?

      Help Nancy. What say you all?


  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On a lighter note, here’s an easy Halloween costume: Black leggings, socks, and shoes, a black Guinness or Jack Daniels logo t-shirt. Wear a “bottle cap” hat made from a flat, round foil pan or the rounded pan from under an electric burner. Darken your face, hands, and “hat” if you like. Attach a bottle opener to a lanyard, hang round your neck or from your waist.

    • P J Evans says:

      Aluminum foil cake pan would be better than the drip pan. Certainly be easier to crimp a little.
      (At one time I had an Anchor Steam Bear shirt. That would also be good for this.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If time is short, you could find a tea towel or print out a logo and attach it to the front and/or back of a black sweatshirt. The all-black Guinness look most closely resembles a bottle.

        • P J Evans says:

          One year I went to work as a redshirt. Red tee over smaller black tee, with an archery target printed on letter-sized paper, cut out, and taped to the back. (One of my co-workers took his badge, scanned it, and printed it as large as the paper would allow, taped it to a big piece of scrap cardboard, and cut out the picture. Yes, he came as his own badge!)

  8. MattyG says:

    Is it know when Rudy started working for DT? They’re aquainted from New York days yes, but when did Rudy start getting into the weeds for him. Did Rudy participate in any pre-election Russia/Ukraine work on DT’s belhalf for instance? Does Rudy’s name come up in context of any funny business in the pre-obstruction phase of the investigation?

    • BobCon says:

      He was the 2016 go between for anti-Clinton NYC FBI agents and Trump. Comey feared Giuliani-connected leaks from these agents and Comey used the leaks to justify breaking FBI conventions about not acknowledging investigations during an election year.

      We don’t know much because DOJ has been dragging its feet on investigating anyone backing Trump in 2016.

      • MattyG says:

        Rudy’s security consultacy has been around for some time – and he seems to have fairly deep roots in Ukraine and Turkey. Did he really just sprout those in the last year and half since Putin I mean DT directed his efforts there? Flynn was grabbing the headlines, but it would seem to make sense that Rudy was involved given the depth of his current committments.

      • P J Evans says:

        DOJ has been dragging its feet on investigating anyone backing Trump in 2016

        They’re probably afraid of what they’d be dredging up, like those FBI agents who were feeding information to Rudy.

        • timbo says:

          Comey seemed to be afraid of investigating that too…not sure why. It should have been an issue immediately and folks at FBI should likely have been prosecuted for such leaks.

  9. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    Has anyone done a really deep dive on the extent of the connections between Barr and DiGenova/Toensing? If not, now is particularly useful time to do that.

    • Vicks says:

      Funny, I was on the google last week trying to tie those two to Barr as well, actually I was doing searches that paired any combination of DiGenova/Toensing, Barr, and Flynn’s lawyer.
      It may be old news to some but I learned that Toensing’s son has a track record of being a real “go-getter” and just recently was given a job in the justice department that no one seems to want to go on the record to describe.

      • bmaz says:

        Oh golly, a “real go getter”? How dare he! Because no attorneys should be able to be aggressive early on and learn their jobs.

        Seriously, do yo have anything else but this unsourced antidote or are you blowing bunk again?

        • Vicks says:

          Mr. BMAZ you are correct, every kid should have the ability to be “aggressive early on and learn their jobs.” but what is not clear is why you are applying that sentiment in advocating for Brady Toensing?
          Victoria Toensing’s son is a 51 year old political hack who ran Trump’s campaign in Vermont and is most famous for his leading role in smearing Bernie’s wife Jane.
          It seems as it you have made an investment in smearing me as well, so lay out your logic on this one, or apologize and leave me the hell alone.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes, sure, lawyers should only represent people YOU approve of. I’ll bet I have known about the Toensings/DiGenovas a lot longer than you. But go ahead and pull some more bullshit. I will give you one warning: Today may not be the best day for that. Also, get lost and out.

            • timbo says:

              Hmm. It’s not like the attorney client “privilege” hasn’t been abused in the past. Certainly, if one is going to defend good government, one should be skeptical when a pattern of defending abuses of our elections systems is what a lawyer enjoys doing. Should there be fair trials… absolutely. Should one just assume that any particular lawyer (or politician, etc) is not on the take? No.

              • bmaz says:

                Oh, seriously, PLEASE explain to me about “attorney/client privilege” and when it applies, and when not in various legal proceedings. I will be waiting for you primer.

                Short of that, do stop blowing bullshit in this site’s comment section.

                • timbo says:

                  So you’re maintaining that claims of attorney-client privilege have not been abused in the past? Or just requiring me to do more research on the basics of attorney-client privilege to some indefinite level until you’ll agree with my straight-forward assertion that is has been abused at times?

            • Vicks says:

              I asked you why you are advocating for a 51 year old as if he were a kid and your response is to change the subject and make up shit about what you think, I think about lawyers and their clients. That’s not defense Mr. BMAZ that’s a tell of a weak hand.
              I didn’t know a thing about the guy until I started reading up on him and it’s freaking obvious that you didn’t know much about him either.
              I have no clue why that stirs up all shades of ass-h*le in you and honestly I don’t much care.
              The last word is yours if you want it.

              • bmaz says:

                Here is my “last word” since you oh so benevolently gave it to me. How nice of you.

                You are a pain in the ass. You spew Fox News talking points. And you misrepresent what you have said when you are trying to backtrack and cover your bullshit.

                You have been here about eight whole months. Please try to make cogent, non-Fox News based comments, and stop thinking you get to direct how the proprietors here should process this blog.

    • Naargh Nargo says:

      Maddow was on fire about this last night. Close to a half hour trademark-Rachel civics lesson on the overall theme of “pattern recognition” and the MSM’s nigh-pathological inability/refusal to see the pattern staring them in the face. I ran out of popcorn.
      Check it out at (can’t extract the URL for the clip, but it’s the first segment, clocking in at 28:17).

      • Eureka says:

        Yes, I caught some of that segment last night and it was great. Found myself puzzled (sarcasm; fine, pissed) that such good sense is not the Fourth Estate baseline.

        Quite frankly, they could all have ample ratings and clicks from the properly-framed truth these days, so why not have at it?

  10. Bay State Librul says:

    Derelict coward!
    Powerful words.
    I like Nancy.
    She is Brave enough to eat in the boomtown saloon called Trump World.
    A better example would be Susan Collins….

    • bmaz says:

      They are also perfectly appropriate words. Pelosi, Hoyer and Jeffries have been uniformly pathetic since assuming majority leadership in January as to accountability of the executive branch. Disgraceful and contra to their oath of office.

      • Bri2k says:

        I’ve been trying to parse Ms Pelosi for a while now and I understand those feelings. I’ve got them myself sometimes. When I’m feeling generous, I think she might be attempting to appear as non-partisan as possible. This makes sense to me since the impeachment process needs to be seen as about malfeasance and not politics to be supported by most of the public.

        However, if her last two pressers were any indication, she’s not convincing me and I doubt many others. While she’s got a lot of experience in politics, she’s a terrible messenger and I really wish she’d either just hand the pressers off to Adam Schiff or get a spokesperson who’s more adept.

        And what’s up with those things always starting way late? This seems like a tactical error to me. It’s a bad look (how many average people can just show up to scheduled events almost an hour late?) and I doubt keeping the press waiting makes them any friendlier.

        • bmaz says:

          I respect Pelosi immensely. She has had a remarkable and trailblazing career, the proportions of which are hard to overstate. But she has been horrible as to supporting the Article I branch accountability on Trump. She has been timid, slow, and has consistently chosen her and caucus political expediency over the oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

          • Bay State Librul says:

            But how can you respect her and then call her a coward.
            The words don’t mix, in my opinion.
            “Coward” is one helluva explosive word

            • bmaz says:

              Easy, because she has been a fucking coward to her Constitutional prerogative. Full stop. You can respect a career and also understand that what she has done since January is disgraceful as to her duty.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Ms. Pelosi is exceptionally and highly accomplished in the most old boy of old boy professions. After five decades in office, she understands and uses power expertly. She can cajole and arm-twist with the best of them. She leads and can make opinion more than she follows it.

          If that describes her, then she is doing precisely what she wants to do, and appealing to the interests that most promote her vision for the Democratic Party. That vision is heavily oriented toward existing power arrangements and the large donors that fund and benefit from them. That puts her at odds with her popular (but aspirational rather than “practical”) young Turks, like AOC and her peers.

          Holding the most senior government officials to account threatens to expose those power interests, the way they influence officials, and what they get in turn.

          My concern is that not upsetting that applecart trumps holding a wildly errant and destructive president to account. Her progressive wing and the public vitality that supports it are valuable, too, but they also threaten her establishment and conservative wings and the patronage network that supports them.

          Her resolution to that conflict seems to be to force the accountability camel through the eye of of a process needle. Not much of it will emerge on the other side. But that would not be by accident.

          • bmaz says:

            Yeah, I almost used the “threading the needle” analogy before in a response to BSL. But she is not a campaign manager or head of the DCCC or whatever, she is a leader in the nation. Governance is about much more than just the next election. I am not sure Pelosi is acting like it.

          • Ken Muldrew says:

            That puts her at odds with her popular (but aspirational rather than “practical”) young Turks, like AOC and her peers.

            During periods where practical politics are unable to solve social problems (the run up to the French Revolution being the most obvious, but by no means the only, historical example), ideological power becomes ascendant, often swamping the other sources of social power (political, economic, and military). This may be such a time. We are about 30 years too late to solve the climate crisis using standard tools like Pigovian taxes; inequality is rising and likely to keep rising; democracies, already much fouled by individual wealth, are under severe stress in the West.

            It’s always hard to see these things clearly from inside, but if I may borrow a phrase from one this site’s Russian agitators from a couple of years ago, it may be that AOC and company are having Power poured upon them at a miraculous pace.

            • bmaz says:

              I do not give a flying fuck what they think. I actually give a shit about what Constitutional imperatives and oaths of office mean. Maybe you and “San Francisco” do not, but that is your problem. I am so sick of this kind of bleating crap, I could puke. What a load of slop and rot.

              • Bay State Librul says:

                All I’m saying is that I like Nancy, and her approach seems reasonable to me.
                She does not do all that well in press conferences, etc, but she has a good heart.

            • timbo says:

              What is Pelosi’s legacy at this point? She basically has been too timid to go after corrupt administrations, both Trump’s and GWB’s during the latter’s torture/kidnapping regime. She’s good at accruing power but not good at actually correcting the course of the enterprise in any significant way. I truly hope that she knows how to get the impeachment process handled appropriately

  11. klynn says:

    1. Grassley must have Putin’s team managing his Tweets. “Deep” is his word of the day…

    2. I am doubting the polling DT is tweeting about. I live in a battleground state and know many of my GOP acquaintances hate Trump and are embarrassed by him.

    • Bay State Librul says:

      Yeah, I just heard him mouthing off on CNBC….
      Reading from his talking points….
      He is not a smart man!

      • harpie says:
        8:10 AM – 28 Jun 2019

        Jimmy Carter on Russian interference:
        “If fully investigated, it would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election and he was put in office because the Russians interfered on his behalf.” Via CSPAN [VIDEO]

        Q: So do you believe President Trump is an illegitimate president?
        Jimmy Carter: “Based on what I said, which I can’t retract.” [Then he laughs] [VIDEO]

  12. klynn says:

    My hope is the fracture is an “in place” fracture and that he experiences the impact of the healing process in 4 weeks and we get to see him up and about.

    • Eureka says:

      Looks like ~that’s the case, from the Carter Center statement that he looks forward to recovering “at home.”

      Thank goodness.

    • P J Evans says:

      They may tell him to slow down some.
      (My grandmother fell and broke hers at about 93 or 94, but she didn’t get as good care as Jimmie will. She did live to 97.)

    • klynn says:

      More that Rudy’s timeline in the context of the Mueller investigation proves the investigation was correct on Russia and obstruction — if I read this post correctly.

      Man Trump’s RNC platform change on Ukraine was quite the “in plain sight” act. Add in EW’s source tweeting election night re: Syria policy change…

      It has me trying to figure out who the A1 source was for the Syria info. Both policy changes are of interest to Putin.

      • klynn says:

        I did not read this as Mueller not giving his best as the conclusion.

        My take on EW’s piece came from this portion:
        “In other words, there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that the Ukraine grift is just a continuation of the Russian operation, and is perhaps even a payoff of a quid pro quo Manafort entered into to get help winning 2016. But it’s just circumstantial right now.

        That said, we now have two temporal ties linking the Russian investigation to Rudy’s Ukraine graft.”

        However, based on the chart EW just put up about DOJ knew what when, perhaps I AM reading this wrong.

        I read this as graft taking advantage of aspects of the investigation challenged and made weak by criminal actions/back channels difficult to check and hold accountable.

        Mueller’s most important point was, “They’re doing it as we sit here.”

        I took that quote to be meddling – not just election meddling. I don’t think Mueller had any control over the JDA’s or Rudy – that’s how slimy the meddling is.

        Are we to interpret those factors as Mueller not giving his best effort?

        The one who gave effort to the graft is Barr and his intentionally dishonest summary.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I was responding to Buford’s comment. I agreed with yours.

          Mueller is conservative, in the traditional sense of the word. By all accounts, he is very good, but a by-the-book kind of guy.

          As a well-known quantity, he was effectively hemmed in by Trump’s Attorneys General and their direct reports. Barr, in particular, effortlessly abused his work and apparently stopped it prior to completion.

          None of that is on Mueller, it lays at the feet of Trump’s systematic corruption and those who enable it.

          • timbo says:

            Blaming Mueller here is getting a little late in the game. The Congress (ie Pelosi and the House leadership) has the ability to begin an impeachment inquiry at the beginning of this year into the issues raised in that report. Instead, the DP leadership did not to. Apparently, Mueller didn’t convince them that the evidence of campaign finance violations (Cohen/Manafort) and obstruction of Justice (Trump & Co) were just not important enough to worry our little heads over, even though there were parts of the report that screamed “IMPEACHMENT” all over it.

  13. sand says:

    As the march toward both Trump’s impeachment and the 2020 election proceed, I made a short list of crimes for which I’d like to see a thorough aggregation of the evidence against Trump, regardless of whether or not he could be indicted. Apologies to the lawyers for any errors. Feel free to correct, add, or subtract from the list.

    I haven’t added any supporting details, and there are many separate instances of most of these (e.g., conspiracy). I understand that the statute of limitations may have run on many instances, but I’d still like to see the full list of details aggregated and published in a convenient source for the Senate and the electorate.

    Again, I see substantial evidence for all of these (e.g., as to battery, we have Trump’s admission. “I just start kissing them. . . . I don’t even wait. . . . Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” and we have had statements from victims and witnesses, so it’s on the list.)

    Here’s the current high-level list:

    Crimes Against Property and Financial Crimes
    – Bribery
    – Campaign Finance Violations
    – Embezzlement
    – Fraud, Banking
    – Fraud, Consumer
    – Fraud, Securities
    – Insider Trading
    – Money Laundering
    – Tax Evasion, Federal
    – Tax Evasion, State

    Crimes Against the Person
    – Assault
    – Battery
    – Rape
    – Statutory Rape

    Obstruction Crimes
    – False Statements
    – Witness Tampering

    Inchoate Crimes
    – Conspiracy
    – Solicitation

    Abuse of Office
    – Congressional Subpoena Violations
    – Court Order Violations
    – Emoluments Violations
    – Misappropriation of Public Funds and Resources
    – Treaty Violations

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump’s “I’m a victim of lynching” script is racist dog whistle. He’s not appealing to the survivors of the lynched. He is appealing to those who did the lynching, the ones who celebrated by the hundreds with beer and picnics and family photos.

    The Greatest Success Evuh! is afraid. He is attempting to rile his base, to make them feel as vulnerable and afraid as he is. He knows they already are, owing to a lifetime of predation by those like him. But now he wants to use that fear to help himself. He wants to persuade his base to rise up and defend him by any means necessary. They should do it, he argues, to avoid the reversal of fortune Dems have in store for them – a reversal of power and social status between being lynched and those perpetrating it.

    Donald Trump is afraid he might learn what most of us already know: “Freedom’s [often] just another word for nothing left to lose.” Except that he wants to use his power and lack of accountability to keep everything he’s got. He should be denied that opportunity.

    • Tom says:

      The next thing we’ll hear is that it’s a crucifixion. That will be after all the Judases have testified before Congress and Lindsey Graham finally declares, “I know not the man!”

  15. Pete T says:

    Would there be any advantage – or disadvantage – to opening an IQ on Barr? I assume there would be justification for it, but that’s a ASS U ME. Would it slow down or stop his globetrotting?

    Of course, even if it weren’t “political” the howling would be about it being “political” and so perhaps a distraction from the task at hand.

    I suppose I worry about him “publishing” a 9th hour faux distraction.

    • Eureka says:

      HJC has had their eyes on Barr the whole while (filing notes, perhaps, in case they can do anything). But I don’t see any way leadership goes for any procedure against Barr unless more about him washes in with the tides. My guess (hey, you do have ME up there, too) is that Barr is kind of hedging around what may come out while on his ‘expedition’ (i.e. buying some time to craft around the ongoing shitstorm) before he/affiliates (he’s already grafting more folks into his “investigation”) spring their junk on us (the ‘9th hour faux distraction’, as you put it).

      (I’m guessing by the title of Marcy’s next post that some of this comes up there.)

  16. Bay State Librul says:

    Let’s be clear, the only person I know that “can thread the needle” is Tom Brady.
    History will judge her leadership, but to call Nancy a “coward” is not smart.
    The Stones “You Cant Always Get What You Want” wins the day
    Political activism is a bitch.
    Abuse of power might win the day.

  17. P J Evans says:

    Rudy’s apparently looking for a defense lawyer.
    I’d expect that his local Russian Mafia guy could find one for him, as long as Rudy’s working for them anyway.

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