Below, I wrote about yesterday’s WaPo blockbuster which confirmed what seemed likely: that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey and taking other actions with the aim of ending or diverting the Russia probe. Two other articles came out yesterday evening – one in the Times and another in the Journal – which added a few more details.
The pieces mainly follow and rehash the WaPo piece. But let me focus on a couple points.
First, the Journal article has one passage that jumped out at me. (Ledgett is NSA Chief Rogers former deputy.)
While Mr. Ledgett was still in office, he wrote a memo documenting a phone call that Mr. Rogers had with Mr. Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. During the call, the president questioned the veracity of the intelligence community’s judgment that Russia had interfered with the election and tried to persuade Mr. Rogers to say there was no evidence of collusion between his campaign and Russian officials, they said.
After marveling at the lede of this new Washington Post bombshell – Mueller investigating Trump for obstruction of justice – I went back and read the whole piece again. You would think that news would be enough for a single piece. But when you read it all the way through the picture it paints is actually considerably more dire.
One key point is that Mueller did not start this obstruction investigation. According to the Post, that probe began “days after Comey was fired on May 9…” Mueller was appointed on May 17th. Reading the Post piece closely, I do not think it explicitly says that the probe began prior to the 17th. But the wording and logic of the piece strongly suggests that is the case.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP had almost certainly never heard the name Aaron Zebley before the announcement that the former FBI agent was joining the special counsel investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia. But to those who have followed the arc of the bureau during the past twenty years, Zebley’s is a name that underscores just how far-reaching and dogged—and potentially long—the probe will likely be.
Just ask Steve Gaudin’s ex-girlfriend.
She wasn’t at all happy when Zebley, her boyfriend’s FBI partner, called at 3 one morning in August, 1999. Despite all of Gaudin’s international travel, chasing al Qaeda long before the terrorist group was a household name, he and his girlfriend had managed to settle down in New York City and carve out a life together in between his overseas terrorist hunts. The couple was even looking forward to an imminent, albeit brief, summer vacation.
I mentioned about 50 blogs posts ago that one of the first things I want to know after a mass shooting ----is---how many are dead, and ---what is the heritage and ideology of the shooter.
I think---God I hope he or she---(scratch that--it's never a she).... the shooter is not a Muslim. WHY?---because the poor damn innocent Muslims will get punished for the sins of a few---and I just want them to catch a break.
Second: I hope it's a White Nationalist Trumper. Why? Because they're fucking assholes.
When I heard it was a bunch of Republicans who got shot up I immediately eliminated the White Nationalist Trumpers.
Then I heard the dude was as white as snow---a little chubby White Guy. That eliminated Muslims.
So I'm thinking,,,,, Huh?
When I read the shooter was a Bernie-Bro--- I almost fell out of my chair. Bernie Sanders is the least likely guy to lead an Armed Resurrection. Oh sure the Bern talks Revolution non-stop---but I'm pretty certain it's a non-violent one.
Which leads me to Will Pitt's post.
The Republican critters hit pay dirt with this one. Trust me---they'll try to turn this into the new 9/11. You already got some blaming the Dem's for the attack because of our rhetoric.
We Dem's have been to mean to Trump, hence the reason a cra cra Liberal shot up a 7am baseball practice. BTW: Who the fuck practices baseball at 7am?
Look---I'm glad the only human who died is the dude who tried to kill a bunch of politicians.....and bravo to the 2 Capital Policemen who saved the day.... BUT God Damn---here comes a truckload of Republican Horse Shit!
Earlier I noted that events like this remind us that America is a uniquely violent society when judged against societies and states which have had relative political stability over the last two centuries. As I noted, four of 45 US Presidents have been murdered in office and more than that number again have survived serious assassination attempts. No other countries which have comparable histories over the same period come even close.
But I got an interesting email from TPM Reader VB in Germany.
I still think the overall point holds up well. But VB notes a pretty telling detail. He listed off five attempted or successful assassinations of German politicians or high ranking government leaders since 1990. (He actually noted six but I think the sixth is better termed a government employee.) They weren’t heads of state. They ranged from prominent national politicians to people running for Mayor. Only one of the five died.
Cra Cra with long rifles are simply fucking dangerous.
The shooter at the GOP congressional baseball practice this morning is James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., according to law enforcement officials. Hodgkinson, 66, owns a home inspection business, but his home inspection license expired in November 2016 and was not renewed, state records show.
Hodgkinson was charged in April 2006 with battery and aiding damage to a motor vehicle, according to online records in St. Clair County, Ill. The charges were dismissed, records show. link
To be very rich is to have the luxury of constructing a plausible theory of morality that allows you to hold on to everything you have. It is to believe that you can sit in the shoeshine booth and drive a $300,000 McLaren and raise money for Donald Trump and lobby for a zillion-dollar tax cut paid for on the backs of the poor and still be a good American. And to never have to think twice about it.
-- Hamilton Nolan
Raise your hand if you remember the "Panama Papers" scandal. Don't feel bad if the details don't immediately leap to mind; this particular story, after it broke, was buried at record speed with no headstone to mark the grave. The reasons for that become manifestly clear pretty quickly. I first wrote about it more than a year ago:
It was recently revealed by way of a massive document leak that the wealthiest of the global wealthy have taken trillions of dollars and, through the services of a secretive Panamanian law firm, squirrelled that money away inside virtual coffee cans in tax havens all over the world. The "Panama Papers" scandal, as it has come to be called, has ensnared a large number of world leaders, and cost Iceland's prime minister his job. Those 11 million pages contain the names of hundreds of Americans who also used the services of that Panamanian firm to hide their money.
The grim fact of the matter is that this nation's billionaires -- a few of whom own pretty much the entirety of the corporate "news" media -- have absolutely no interest whatsoever having their dirty financial laundry aired. By the time the names of some Americans listed in the Panama Papers were released, the report had been put on Ignore by virtually every major news outlet in the country. Thus, not with a bang but a whimper, one of the most important stories of the era was quietly stuffed under the couch cushions with the potato chip crumbs and the lost dimes.
President Trump can’t keep the ghost of Russia out of the White House—the man who helped Paul Manafort work with the Russians is still on the scene.
Rick Gates, the longtime lobbying partner of ousted Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is still making multiple visits to the White House—even though the Trump administration has sought to distance itself from Manafort.
Manafort may be under investigation for alleged Russia ties, and thus persona non grata at the Trump White House. However, his top deputy Gates—who also worked on behalf of Russian interests—has managed to wedge himself back into Trump-world. having landed a sweet new gig with one of President Donald Trump’s best and wealthiest friends.
After leaving the Trump-boosting nonprofit America First Policies in March—as former FBI Director James Comey officially announced an investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign team and Russian officials—Gates is now working directly for Tom Barrack, according to eight sources in and around the Trump White House.
Barrack, a millionaire and former Trump fundraiser who went on to lead the presidential inaugural committee, is a longtime friend of the president who still sends Trump friendly emails to remind him that, “YOU ROCK!” The Trump ally was also instrumental in bringing Manafort into Trump’s political orbit during the campaign.
a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/despite-russia-controversy-paul-manaforts-partner-is-still-lurking-around-the-white-house"]Read More:[/a]
A former aide to President Donald Trump got schooled live on CNN after his sexist dismissal of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).
Jason Miller, now one of Trump’s in-house surrogates at the network, accused Harris of “hysteria” for her dogged line of questioning during Tuesday’s testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers wouldn’t let him get away with it.
“How was Sen. Harris hysterical?” she asked on “Anderson Cooper 360” on Tuesday night. “I don’t really understand that. I mean, she was asking some tough questions.”
Miller claimed Harris’ questions amounted to a “completely partisan screed.”
On Sunday night, Fox-turned-NBC News star-anchor Megyn Kelly announced that in a week she would be airing an interview with Alex Jones, the well-known purveyor of foul and dangerous conspiracy theories. Within a nanosecond or two, folks on Twitter went wild, bashing Kelly for giving Jones a platform for slinging his loathsome swill. Much pointed and passionate criticism came from those who rightfully noted that Jones has claimed that the horrific massacre in 2012 at Sandy Hook elementary never happened and that it was some sort of false-flag fraud perpetuated by a gun-grabbing government to justify tougher firearms restrictions. (A gun violence prevention group founded by family members of Sandy Hook shooting victims dropped Kelly as host of its annual gala.)
Those who have contended that Kelly ought not treat Jones, a carnival barker of paranoia, as a public figure warranting serious treatment have a legitimate gripe. But this episode is part of that ongoing debate over how much respect and attention the media should grant to extremists of the fringe—say, white supremacists or anti-Muslim bigots—who espouse hate and prejudice. Do such people deserve to be placed in the media spotlight to expose their vile views, or does that enable the hate-mongers? Yet in this particular case, the true story is not so much Jones and his crazy and contemptible notions, but a more important matter: President Donald Trump’s relationship to Jones.
I got a feeling the reason old Beauregard clammed up was because if he revealed what he and the Donald spoke about in private...Trump would Twitter him to death with denials. Sessions is clearly scared to death of Trump.
WASHINGTON ― The man acting as the nation’s top law enforcer when it comes to the Russian hacking investigation said Tuesday that it’s “theoretically” possible for him to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but he’d never listen to an unlawful order to do so from President Donald Trump.
“I’m not going to follow any orders unless I believe that those are lawful and appropriate orders,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller and is in charge of the Russia probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself after failing to disclose his own contacts with Russians.
After reports surfaced Monday that Trump is considering trying to fire Mueller, Rosenstein got questions from senators on both sides of the aisle about whether the president can do so.
Before he was roundly denounced for dropping the n-word, Bill Maher made another egregious error: He welcomed Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO program. Yiannopoulos, an outré performance artist and alt-right fellow traveler, was given a platform on Real Time to promote his book and espouse his hateful views, which range from transmisogyny to outright racism. Instead of challenging his guest, however, Maher mostly acquiesced, praising the provocateur’s anti-PC shtick and gushing, “I think a lot of people do miss your humor.”
Days later, when it came to light that Yiannopoulos had repeatedly defended hebephilia, he was dropped from Breitbart News and excoriated by the left- and right-wing press. And Maher, ever the egotist, took a victory lap—claiming credit for his guest’s downfall by asserting that an appearance on a major cable network helped expose the troll for what he was. “As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant,” offered Maher, adding, “You’re welcome.”
It increasingly looks like Russian hackers may have affected actual vote totals.
The last outpost of moderate opinion on the subject of the Russian ratfcking during the 2016 presidential election seems to be that, yes, there was mischief done and steps should be taken both to reveal its extent and to prevent it from happening again in the future, but that the ratfcking, thank baby Jesus, did not materially affect the vote totals anywhere in the country. This is a calm, measured, evidence-based judgment. It is also a kind of prayer. If the Russian cyber-assault managed to change the vote totals anywhere, then the 2016 presidential election is wholly illegitimate. That rocks too many comfort zones in too many places.
(Bear in mind, for the moment, that we are discussing Russian ratfcking, and not the myriad problems with how we ourselves manage our elections. That's for another time, except in the context of how those inherent problems facilitated the Russian chicanery.)
It may well be that the Russians didn't affect the actual numbers last November but, as Bloomberg points out, that was not for lack of trying.
In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said. The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step -- complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day "red phone." In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia's role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict.
It didn’t take the Golden State Warriors long to decide to skip the traditional championship White House visit.
Less than 24 hours after winning the 2017 NBA Finals on Monday night, the Warriors unanimously voted to decline the White House ceremony honoring their Finals win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to several reports including one by CNBC analyst Josh Brown.
Neither the Warriors organization nor players have released any comment about the report.
The Warriors attended the White House ceremony to honor their 2015 NBA Finals title when former President Barack Obama was in the White House.
I watched a 60 second segment of the Megyn Kelly/Alex Jones interview where they discussed the Sandy Hook tragedy---AND--- I had a small bit of hope that Kelly would go full on Mike Wallace on the Deplorable.
Not even close!
When Kelly told Jones that people get very angry when he says that Sandy Hook parents faked their Children's death---the asshole immediately garbled something about people not getting angry over Iraqis sanctions. WTF!
Her Pit Bull reply. "That's a Dodge". That's was it---not much more.
Again---from the looks of the video---She took a whole 60 seconds to go after the Sandy Hook Truther.
This is why you don't give shit bags like this a platform. They are good at deflection and Critters like Kelly have no clue on how to drill through the deflection and zero in for the kill.
Oh and far as the Photo Op's---please for the love of God Megyn---knock it the fuck off!
Note that this Pic was taken off the InfoWar's website. Notoriety is Popeye Spinach to Douchebags like Jones---and believe me--- he got plenty of it thanks to Ms. Kelly and MSNBC.
Senators on Monday evening reached a bipartisan deal to impose new sanctions on Russia over its attempts to meddle in the 2016 election, its involvement in the conflict in Syria and its invasion of Crimea.
The deal would also allow Congress to review any attempts by President Donald Trump to ease U.S. sanctions on Russia.
The deal, which was negotiated by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), will come up for a vote in the Senate on Wednesday, according to Politico. McConnell filed the deal Monday evening as an amendment to a bill upping sanctions on Iran, according to the Washington Post.