Discuss: Political Madness All the Time


Lynna is your curator. I don’t think this thread will run dry for a long time.

gop-2016-trump

(Previous thread)

Comments

  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Joy Reid, subbing for Rachael Maddow, is reporting that the justice department will be looking at discrimination against white applicants for college admissions. Evidently this has more to do with D vs. R administrations, rather than just the Trumpian assholes.
    I’ll see if I find a link, either before bed or in the morning.

  2. blf says

    ‘Lord of misrule’: Australian thinktank delivers scathing assessment of Trump:

    […]
    Donald Trump’s presidency [sic] is “failing”, and there is little sign that he is learning from his mistakes, according to the executive director of Australia’s respected foreign policy thinktank, the Lowy Institute.

    Michael Fullilove took the opportunity of a speech to the National Press Club in Canberra to provide a swingeing assessment of the American president’s [sic] performance, casting Trump as the “lord of misrule” presiding over a White House entourage “animated by egomania and narcissism and marked by coarseness and ill-discipline”.

    Fullilove said Trump was a radical departure from US presidents since the 1930s who had seen the advantages of global leadership. “Mr Trump presents a very different face to the international community.”

    “He is not persuaded that America does well when others do well. In fact, he seems to prefer that others do badly,” he said on Wednesday.

    “We often refer to the president of the United States as the leader of the free world. Our problem now is that this president [sic] doesn’t really believe in the free world and does not seem to want to lead it.”

    […]

    Fullilove said the character of the man in the White House meant the [USA–Australia] relationship could not be business as usual: “Our officials will need to apply a discount factor to what Mr Trump says.

    […]

    “Just because we are affirming the alliance does not mean that we should go along with Mr Trump’s every whim.

    “Rather, we should add our voices to those in Washington and other allied capitals who are counselling prudence. We should try to nudge the Trump Administration in the direction of normality.

    “We must do what we can in conjunction with our friends to stop America from going full Trump.
    […]

  3. says

    “Tillerson spurns $80 million to counter ISIS, Russian propaganda”:

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is resisting the pleas of State Department officials to spend nearly $80 million allocated by Congress for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation.

    It is highly unusual for a Cabinet secretary to turn down money for his department. But more than five months into his tenure, Tillerson has not issued a simple request for the money earmarked for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, $60 million of which is now parked at the Pentagon. Another $19.8 million sits untouched at the State Department as Tillerson’s aides reject calls from career diplomats and members of Congress to put the money to work against America’s adversaries.

    The $60 million will expire on Sept. 30 if not transferred to State by then, current and former State Department officials told POLITICO.

    …One Tillerson aide, R.C. Hammond, suggested the money is unwelcome because any extra funding for programs to counter Russian media influence would anger Moscow, according to a former senior State Department official.

    Whether to fund the Global Engagement Center is one of numerous decisions on hold at State. Current and former officials told POLITICO that up to 200 “action memos” have piled up in the executive suites at Foggy Bottom. The backlog is unusually large;…

    Tillerson’s inability to fill the vast majority of leadership slots at State, including undersecretaries and assistant secretaries also means more decisions land in his office. At the same time, Tillerson is trying to get a sense of how State uses its resources, and he’s hinted that he’s reluctant to make major decisions on hiring or new programming until he’s developed a plan for reorganizing the department.

    “They use the reorganization as an excuse to not act on anything,” one former State official complained. “That’s why people doubt the motivations of the reorganization. They think it’s all about starving the beast.”…

  4. says

    Politico obtained and published the full transcript of the WSJ interview with Trump last week, which the WSJ sat on for reasons that seem obvious when you read it – their own coziness with Trump and refusal to call him out on the stream of lies he tells throughout, the fact that it makes clear that he’s an imbecile and an ignoramus, his lack of any real policy plan or vision, the exposure of his bad-faith foreign policy rooted in his twisted psychology.

    This part is minor but interesting:

    The word reciprocal, to me, is very important. For instance, we have countries that charge us 100 percent tax to sell a Harley-Davidson into that country. And yet, they sell their motorcycles into us, or their bikes, or anything comparable, and we charge them nothing. There has to be a reciprocal deal. I’m all about that. And you know, it’s very interesting, at the border – people may have problems with border, but when you say reciprocal, everybody says, oh, that’s fair. So people have a problem with charging a 10 percent tax, which they shouldn’t have but they do. But when you say you’re going to charge reciprocal charge – in other words, what they charge we’re going to charge – all of a sudden these same people – it might be much more money – but these same people, all of a sudden they’re OK with it. So we have got to be much smarter.

    What he’s doing here is developing his sales pitch in the open. He thinks he’s hit on a term – reciprocal – that’s useful for his propaganda, and he’s talking about how he’s going to work it into his rhetoric.

  5. says

    Margaret Sullivan in WaPo – “You don’t have to believe everything in that Seth Rich lawsuit. What’s been confirmed is bad enough.”:

    …Given Wheeler’s mutating role throughout this ugly saga, he cannot be considered a reliable narrator. So, no, you can’t believe everything his suit says.

    But some of it rings true.

    And some of it is now undeniable: An outrageously bogus news story was known about, and apparently not discouraged, within the West Wing well before it was published.

    And once it was published, it become endless fodder for the president’s staunchest defenders: Jones, Gingrich and, more than any other person, Fox’s Sean Hannity — who stopped hammering away at it only when Rich’s parents implored him to stop trashing their son’s name.

    One of the ugliest falsehoods of the current political era may have been cheered on by the White House. At the very least, it got tacit approval.

    And that’s bad enough.

  6. says

    OMG these lines are from the official signing statement (which is missing several apostrophes – they can’t seem to issue a statement without multiple errors):

    “Still, the bill remains seriously flawed particularly because it encroaches on the executive branchs authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking.”

    “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.”

  7. says

    So Wikileaks linked to this youtube video of Rod Wheeler talking about the Seth Rich case.

    It doesn’t appear that Wikileaks had anything to do with making the recording public. It’s important to note that the recording seems to be made from at least 2 different sessions. We don’t have context, but it sounds to me like it’s Rod explaining to someone, possibly his lawyers, the background on how things developed with this whole story.

    It’s 27+ minutes long, so to save you all some time, I took notes of the relevant information. I’m putting them in a block quote just for formatting, and anything in parentheses is me adding information not stated in the recording.

    First he tells the story of how he was hired by Butowsky, and how the family made him sign a contract agreeing not to talk to the press “on behalf of the family”. They only want their spokesperson talking on their behalf, Brad Baumann, who is a DNC PR person. Wheeler implies that Baumann is besmirching his reputation around town.

    Wheeler talks to family to begin the investigation. He acknowledges that the wikileaks angle was already in the press before he even began his investigation, but he wasn’t “following” that story. (The story was making the rounds of the conspiracy sites well before this.) In initial call, Mary and Joe Rich tell him that Aaron was closest to Seth.

    Wheeler talks to Aaron Rich, he and his wife implore him not to talk about emails because they are confident there’s nothing to that story. He goes to the bar Seth was at that night, talks to the bar owner, Phil Capone(sp?) Bar owner said Aaron called him, told him not to talk about emails.

    Wheeler talks to Seth’s girlfriend Casey. She also was told by Aaron not to talk about emails. She says Seth was having problems with 2 of his sups, wouldn’t say who. She also says Seth went to a party before the bar that night.

    Goes on to say Aaron refused to let him look at Seth’s computer. Asks to look at cell phone, Aaron says he doesn’t have it and not to worry about it. Also won’t let him see AT&T records. Aaron also doesn’t want to give him information about the party. Aaron tells Wheeler he only wants him to work on the botched robbery theory. Wheeler implies Aaron is trying to cover up something to do with the emails and the party.

    Wheeler says that Joe the father is much more forthcoming and tells him that Seth had 2 cell phones, and that Aaron has them both.

    Then he starts talking about the Fox reporter Zimmerman, and how she was the one who told him that Fox news had a credible source (former FBI agent) that claims emails were sent from Seth’s computer to Wikileaks. (That source turns out to be Seymour Hersh, who claims to have the FBI source, but won’t reveal who that is.) To Wheeler, this makes sense because Aaron was so protective of the email issue.

    Wheeler calls his friend from the police dept, Keith Newsome(sp?) to try and confirm Zimmerman’s story, he refers Wheeler to the dept Director of Communications. Wheeler tells him about the story that will be coming out. They agree to meet. He has trouble getting in touch with him after that.

    He calls Joe Rich to tell him the story is coming out. Joe says he was contacted already by Fox news about it. Joe wonders what they can do about the pending story. (Again, the family just wants this to go away) Asks if he has any reporter friends who can dispute it or get the truth out. Wheeler says to wait and see what’s in the story first.

    Wheeler later finally meets with PD Comms director who doesn’t tell him anything of consequence, tells Rod that he’s been instructed not to talk to the press about the case.

    From there on out, he tells the story about how Zimmerman lies and says he’s the source of the Wikileaks email story, and it’s inline with what’s been reported about the lawsuit. Fox news lied and made him the source, when he never claimed to be, and that this was all done with the blessing of the White House.

    So of course the alt-right conspiracy machine is running with the “Aaron Rich is trying to cover up the Wikileaks email scandal” angle on this. Rod Wheeler is even still saying that he believes there is something to it, he’s just denying he was the source that proves it. He even ended a TV interview yesterday with speculation about why Donna Brazile had contacted the family asking why he was snooping around the case.

    Any reasonable interpretation of Aaron’s pushback though, even as relayed by Rod Wheeler, shows that by the time Butowsky paid him to take up the case, the family was already being besieged by the alt-right conspiracy trolls, had already talked to the police about it, and already determined that there was absolutely no connection between Seth and Wikileaks, and only agreed to let Wheeler look into other aspects to try and find the killers, so long as he agreed to not further the false narrative about wikileaks.

    After all, why wouldn’t they let someone pay a PI to try and get justice for Seth? I think allowing him to do so was rather naive on their part however.

  8. says

    For some reason, there are two separate statements (both with numerous errors), posted at the same time. First:

    Today, I have signed into law H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.” While I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed.

    In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions. For instance, although I share the policy views of sections 253 and 257, those provisions purport to displace the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds, in conflict with the Supreme Court’s recent decision in “Zivotofsky v. Kerry”.

    Additionally, section 216 seeks to grant the Congress the ability to change the law outside the constitutionally required process. The bill prescribes a review period that precludes the President from taking certain actions. Certain provisions in section 216, however, conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision in “INS v. Chadha”, because they purport to allow the Congress to extend the review period through procedures that do not satisfy the requirements for changing the law under Article I, section 7 of the Constitution. I nevertheless expect to honor the bill’s extended waiting periods to ensure that the Congress will have afull opportunity to avail itself of the bill’s review procedures.

    Further, certain provisions, such as sections 254 and 257, purport to direct my subordinates in the executive branch to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives, in contravention of the President’s exclusive constitutional authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiations. And other provisions, such as sections 104, 107, 222, 224, 227, 228, and 234, would require me to deny certain individuals entry into the United States, without an exception for the President’s responsibility toreceive ambassadors under ArticleII, section3 of the Constitution. My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions and will implement them ina manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations.

    Finally, my Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies.

    And the one I quoted above:

    Today, I signed into law the Countering Americas Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which enacts new sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. I favor tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization.

    That is why, since taking office, I have enacted tough new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and shored up existing sanctions on Russia.

    Since this bill was first introduced, I have expressed my concerns to Congress about the many ways it improperly encroaches on Executive power, disadvantages American companies, and hurts the interests of our European allies.

    My Administration has attempted to work with Congress to make this bill better. We have made progress and improved the language to give the Treasury Department greater flexibility in granting routine licenses to American businesses, people, and companies. The improved language also reflects feedback from our European allies who have been steadfast partners on Russia sanctions regarding the energy sanctions provided for in the legislation. The new language also ensures our agencies can delay sanctions on the intelligence and defense sectors, because those sanctions could negatively affect American companies and those of our allies.

    Still, the bill remains seriously flawed particularly because it encroaches on the executive branchs authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executives flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together. The Framers of our Constitution put foreign affairs in the hands of the President. This bill will prove the wisdom of that choice.

    Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity. It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues so that these sanctions will no longer be necessary.

    Further, the bill sends a clear message to Iran and North Korea that the American people will not tolerate their dangerous and destabilizing behavior. America will continue to work closely with our friends and allies to check those countries malignant activities.

    I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.

  9. says

    Q: Before he signed the sanctions bill, did Trump have a convo with Putin?

    CONWAY: ‘Oh, I can’t comment on that and I’m not aware of that’.”

    She was asked this on Fox.

  10. says

    These are the Republican health care bills that have failed so far:
    1. Paul Ryan’s plan, which didn’t even make it to the floor for a vote.
    2. Mitch McConnell’s first plan, failed.
    3. Mitch McConnell’s second plan, failed.
    4. “Repeal and Replace” failed.
    5. “Repeal and Delay” failed.
    6. “Skinny Repeal” failed after a close vote.

    One Republican health care bill is still being discussed, and that is the one sponsored by Lindsey Graham, Dean Heller and other Republicans. Vox described this proposal as “radical”:

    The senators are selling this idea as a compromise plan and say it is a way to return power to states, giving local governments more control over how they spend federal dollars.

    “We need to let states take care of themselves and give power back to patients,” Cassidy wrote in a recent op-ed for the Washington Post. “Let a blue state do a blue thing and a red state such as mine take a different, conservative approach.”

    But the plan does much more than that. The proposal would eliminate the health care law’s subsidies for private insurance and end the Medicaid expansion. The health insurance marketplaces would no longer exist as they are envisioned to continue under other Republican proposals […]

    Cassidy-Graham would arguably be more disruptive, not less, to the current health care system. It would let money currently spent on health insurance go toward other programs, providing no guarantee that the Affordable Care Act programs individuals rely on today would continue into the future.

    The CBO has not yet scored the plan.

    Politico reported that Graham and others “met Monday with top aides to President Donald Trump, and there are efforts also underway to get the endorsement of conservatives Mike Lee of Utah and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows.”

    Yes, there is another bill. There are meetings and conferences trying to push this bill along. Yes, it is horrible and it will take health care insurance away from millions. Yes, the fight goes on.

  11. says

    According to Felix Sater, Trump was working on business deals with Russians as recently as 2015.

    […] Trump business partner Felix Sater told TPM’s Sam Thielman that he was working on a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow in the final months of 2015, after Trump’s presidential campaign was already underway. This seems to have come after the Agalarov deal foundered. And, based on Sater’s account, it focused on new oligarch partners.

    From Thielman’s story:

    “My last Moscow deal [for the Trump Organization] was in October of 2015,” Sater recalled. “It didn’t go through because obviously he became President.” Sater had told the New York Times that he was working on the deal that fall, but over the course of several conversations with TPM, he gave a slightly more detailed timeline. “Once the campaign was really going-going, it was obvious there were going to be no deals internationally,” Sater said. “We were still working on it, doing something with it, November-December.”

    That deal was for “The Trump Tower, to develop in Moscow.” It was a similar proposition to the one Trump himself tried to broker with the Agalarovs, a family of vastly wealthy Russian oligarchs who brought Miss Universe 2013 to Moscow and were behind the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting between the President’s oldest son and an attorney said to work for the Russian government.

    Sater said he never worked with the Agalarovs on a Moscow deal for Trump: “I don’t work with them and I’ve never worked with them.” When asked who he was working with, Sater chuckled. “A couple of people I’d like to continue working with, and that’s why I don’t want their names in the newspaper. People say, ‘I care about you and love you but why do I need my name in the press?’”

    It would be interesting to know who those other hoped for partners were and how direct Trump’s involvement with this separate effort was. The Trump Organization didn’t respond to requests for comment.

    The bigger picture is that contrary to all his denials, Trump did not simply have a history of doing business with Russian investment capital and a clear interest in major building projects in Moscow. That interest seems to have peaked – either from Trump’s side or the Russia side – in the years just before he decided to run for President. Indeed, the Trump-Sater effort to build Trump Tower Moscow continued through the early months of the campaign.

    Link

  12. says

    Trump lied about receiving a congratulatory phone call from the Boy Scouts.

    In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, […] Trump said the Boy Scouts called him after his highly criticized speech at the National Jamboree and told him it was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.”

    But the Boy Scouts told Time that officials are unaware of that phone call. […] Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh apologized for the “political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree.”

    [Trump] claimed the Scouts called him after the speech thanking him for his address. He said the crowd “loved” his speech and there was a “standing ovation” from the time he walked on the stage to the time he left, […]

    “And for five minutes after I had already gone. There was no mix,” Trump said, responding to the reporter’s assertions that there were mixed reactions to his speech. He also claimed it was the “biggest crowd they’ve ever had” at a National Jamboree.

    Link

    The Bullshitter in Chief has spoken.

  13. says

    Trump lied about receiving praise from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Monday:

    The border was a tremendous problem and they’re close to 80 percent stoppage. And even the President of Mexico called me. They said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.

    Peña Nieto pushed back:

    […] In a statement to the Telegraph newspaper, Peña Nieto’s office said the Mexican president “has not recently communicated with President Donald Trump by phone” and last spoke to him at the G20 summit in July. […]

    Link

  14. says

    “An NSC Staffer Is Forced Out Over a Controversial Memo”:

    A top official of the National Security Council was fired last month after arguing in a memo that President Trump is under sustained attack from subversive forces both within and outside the government who are deploying Maoist tactics to defeat President Trump’s nationalist agenda.

    His dismissal marks the latest victory by National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in the ongoing war within Trump’s White House between those who believe the president is under threat from dark forces plotting to undermine him, and those like McMaster who dismiss this as conspiratorial thinking.

    Rich Higgins, a former Pentagon official who served in the NSC’s strategic-planning office as a director for strategic planning, was let go on July 21. Higgins’s memo describes supposed domestic and international threats to Trump’s presidency, including globalists, bankers, the “deep state,” and Islamists. The memo characterizes the Russia story as a plot to sabotage Trump’s nationalist agenda. It asserts that globalists and Islamists are seeking to destroy America. The memo also includes a set of recommendations, arguing that the problem constitutes a national-security priority.

    Higgins, according to another source with direct knowledge of the incident, was called into the White House Counsel’s office the week before last and asked about the memo. On July 21, the Friday of that week, he was informed by McMaster’s deputy Ricky Waddell that he was losing his job.

    Since Higgins’s removal, there have been further changes inside the council. McMaster fired Derek Harvey, the senior director for the Middle East, last week. Also a Bannon ally, Harvey had a difficult relationship with his staff. Though Harvey sent a note over the weekend to contacts and friends sharing his personal contact information and previously confirmed his departure from the council in a statement, he may get another job within the administration. Higgins appears to have been afforded less of a soft landing.

    …[M]ore recently, [McMaster] appears to have wrested back control of personnel decisions. In addition to Harvey and Higgins, he recently moved former Breitbart writer Tera Dahl off of the NSC’s staff. The moves suggest an ongoing struggle within the Trump White House over the nature of the threats facing the United States, and how to address them.

    Imagine if the Flynn-Kislyak exchanges hadn’t been discovered and Flynn was still NSA.

  15. says

    Trump just announced his plan to cut legal immigration. This plan sounds like it will not be good for the economy, let alone fair to immigrants.

    President Donald Trump announced his support Wednesday for legislation that would cut in half the number of legal immigrants allowed into the United States while moving to a “merit-based” system of entry. […]

    The RAISE Act, which [Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue] introduced in February, would scrap the current lottery system to get into the U.S. and instead institute a points-based system for earning a green card. Factors that would be taken into account include English language skills, education, high-paying job offers and age….. Slashing legal immigration is a key feature of the Cotton-Perdue bill. […]

    The quoted text is from NBC News. During the presentation, Senator Tom Cotton was annoying. He kept repeating that immigrants should or will speak English.

  16. says

    Regarding the poll numbers that SC mentioned in comment 22: a lot of Americans see Trump for who he really is.

    Approval ratings:
    Quinnipiac – 33%
    Gallup – 36%
    Rasmussen – 38%

    From Quinnipiac:

    American voters say 54 – 26 percent that they are embarrassed rather than proud to have Trump as president. Voters say 57 – 40 percent he is abusing the powers of his office and say 60 – 36 percent that he believes he is above the law.

    President Trump is not levelheaded, say 71 – 26 percent of voters, his worst score on that character trait. Voter opinions of most other Trump qualities drop to new lows:

    62 – 34 percent that he is not honest;
    63 – 34 percent that he does not have good leadership skills;
    59 – 39 percent that he does not care about average Americans

  17. says

    Elizabeth “Betsy” Southland has resigned from the EPA. She had worked there for 30 years. Here is an excerpt from her resignation letter:

    […] In his first address to EPA staff, the new Administrator [Scott Pruitt, whom Southland refuses to name] admonished us for acting outside legal mandates and running roughshod over states’ rights. The Administrator subsequently assured the states that he will initiate a cooperative federalism approach in which the power to govern is finally shared between EPA and the states.

    In fact, EPA has always followed a cooperative federalism approach since most environmental programs are delegated to states and tribes who carry out the majority of monitoring, permitting, inspections, and enforcement actions. All the federal environmental statutes set national standards for protection of public health and the environment because Congress recognized that some states might be willing, for economic or other reasons, to tolerate much less protection than their neighboring states. To ensure that all states can provide clean air and water not only to their own residents but to the residents of downwind/downstream states, EPA provides funding to states and tribes to support their implementation of the federal statutes.

    Under the new federalism, however, the President’s FY18 budget proposes cuts to state and tribal funding as draconian as the cuts to EPA, while at the same time reassigning a number of EPA responsibilities to the states and tribes. If they want to maintain their current level of monitoring, permitting, inspections, and enforcement, states will have to increase taxes and establish new user fees. Even if they are able to do this over time, the proposed FY18 budget cuts to state, tribal and federal environmental programs would result in thousands of jobs lost in the short term, in EPA, state and tribal governments, and the private environmental consulting firms which support those governmental agencies. […]

    Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth. The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities. It may take a few years and even an environmental disaster, but I am confident that Congress and the courts will eventually restore all the environmental protections repealed by this administration because the majority of the American people recognize that this protection of public health and safety is right and it is just.

    We need to get out the vote.

    https://www.peer.org/assets/docs/epa/8_1_17_Betsy_farewell_message.pdf

  18. says

    Russian Extremists Are Training Right-Wing Terrorists From Western Europe

    A few months before they tried to blow up a home for asylum seekers here in Sweden’s second largest city, and succeeded in seriously injuring the cleaning man, 23-year-old Viktor Melin and 20-year-old Anton Thulin complained to each other over Skype that the white supremacist hate group they were part of wasn’t tough enough for them anymore.

    Faced with spending another summer doing combat training with rubber swords, they decided to go to Russia to play with Kalashnikov rifles and Makarov pistols and live ammunition instead.

    “Partisan” is a paramilitary course set up by the ultranationalist Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) that claims to train civilians for upcoming “global chaos.” […]

    Mats Ljungqvist, the Swedish attorney who last month finished prosecuting Melin, Thulin, and their sidekick, 51-year-old Jimmy Jonasson, for a series of bomb attacks [said] “Attending this paramilitary camp in St. Petersburg was a key step in Melin and Thulin’s radicalization […] We also believe it may be the place where they learned to manufacture the bombs that they used in Gothenburg.” […]

    Melin and Thulin told the police they didn’t see anything strange about their Russia trip—after all, other people from their movement had attended Partisan as well. This seems weird, given that the ultra-right in Sweden is traditionally more skeptical of the Kremlin than far-right fringe groups in the rest of Europe.

    But according to Jonathan Leman, a researcher for the anti-racist pressure group EXPO, there was a tactical shift of consciousness within movements like Nordic Resistance over the course of the Ukraine crisis.

    “As the role of the EU and the United States in the war becomes more apparent,” he told us, “you could see that pro-Kremlin propaganda was having a greater impact on far right websites in Sweden.”[…]

    Yeah, that sounds a lot like the changes in attitudes toward Russia that are taking place in rightwing groups based in the USA.

    […] The focus of Partisan, its website says, is to prepare civilians for “the collapse of civilization.”
    That could mean literally anything, but when RIM’s leader, Stanislav Vorobyov, came to speak at a summit that was organized by Nordic Resistance in 2015, he turned up in uniform (which he said should be regarded as a symbol of their joint fight against the “Jewish oligarchs in Ukraine”) and warned about “a full-scale war against the traditional values of Western civilization.” He then made a big deal about donating money to Nordic Resistance, so that they could set up their own political party. […]

  19. says

    Professional figurehead Medvedev is taunting Trump on Twitter, one corrupt authoritarian to another:

    “The US President’s signing of the package of new Russia sanctions ends hopes for improving our relations.”

    “The Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way.”

    “The US establishment fully outwitted Trump. The President is not happy about the sanctions, yet he could not but sign the bill.”

  20. says

    From SC’s link in comment 44: “The Grand Canyon is a minor crevice compared to the vast chasm of ignorance of that man,” Salmond said of Trump.”

  21. blf says

    (Cross-posted from poopyhead’s Who does Trump want in charge of the USDA?)

    An article in today’s Grauniad on this loon, Sam Clovis: Trump’s pick for top science job called progressives race traitors:

    Donald Trump’s nominee to be the department of agriculture’s lead scientist used to run a blog that also likened Obama to a communist and dictator
    […]
    Clovis, previously a college professor and radio talk show host in Iowa, wrote the blog for his show Impact with Clovis. The website has been taken down but is archived.

    In a September 2011 post, Clovis said that Obama was brought up by socialists to be a socialist. His associations were socialists or worse, criminal dissidents who were bent on overthrowing the government of the United States.

    Warming to the theme, Clovis claimed in subsequent posts that Obama had a communist father, socialist mother” and has designs on being a dictator. Obama’s followers, Clovis claimed are progressive, Maoist, anti-colonist.

    Clovis […] turned his attention to race in August 2011, labeling progressives as liars, race traders and race traitors. He also accused progressives of keeping minorities in this country enslaved to government with a supposed desire to essentially eliminate people of color from the American landscape.

    […]

    Apparently, in addition to being an AGW-denier and closely-connected to the Muslim ban, and lacking much of a scientific background, he’s also a racist and suffers from Obama Derangement Syndrome.

  22. blf says

    Norway’s kooks are exceptional eejits, Bus seats mistaken for burqas by members of anti-immigrant group: “Comments posted on Norwegian Fatherland first Facebook group call empty seats on bus terrifying” (picture at link). What makes it particularly amusing is Johan Slåttavik — the self-described “Norway’s worst web troll and proud of it” — posted the image to “highlight the difference between legitimate criticism of immigration and blind racism”. The eejits swallowed the bait (which Mr Slåttavik labeled with a neutral caption), plus the hook, line, sinker, fishing boat & crew, and several of the spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars.

  23. says

    In other coincidences, when I looked at the Russian Twitter propaganda dashboard yesterday I noticed that Ben Rhodes was among the trending topics in the previous 48 hours. Yesterday, Circa and the Trump-followers were all over the baseless story that Rhodes is under some sort of investigation for unmasking. The past 48 hours’ trends include Jim Acosta and the smear campaign “McMaster facts” (there’s a plan afoot to get people to call the WH today to tell Trump to fire McMaster).

  24. says

    “Mueller’s job would be protected by bipartisan Senate bill”:

    Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job, putting forth legislation that aims to ensure the integrity of current and future independent investigations.

    Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware plan to introduce the legislation Thursday. The bill would allow any special counsel for the Department of Justice to challenge his or her removal in court, with a review by a three-judge panel within 14 days of the challenge.

    The bill would be retroactive to May 17, 2017 – the day Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Donald Trump’s campaign….

  25. says

    In his exchange with Turnbull, Trump mentions his “pleasant” conversation with Putin. There are rumors he talked to Putin this week before signing the sanctions bill. I wonder if the transcripts of his conversations with Putin have been leaked….

  26. says

    “Exclusive: Top FBI officials could testify against Trump: The acting head of the bureau told top officials to prepare.”

    NYT*: “Mr. Trump, according to several administration officials, has been considering a shake-up that could include appointing Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, to take over as national security adviser, while sending General McMaster to command forces in Afghanistan. Such a move could earn General McMaster a fourth star.”

    *JFC get this out of your prepared copy: “Mr. Flynn resigned in February after it was disclosed that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others about a telephone call with Russia’s ambassador.”

  27. blf says

    The on-going deliberate genocide by Saudi Arabia in Yemen — there’s really nothing else to call it — which is supported and assisted by USAnnihilate!Annihilate!Annihilate! (dating from before hair furor’s reign of morans† & daleks) is getting worse, Yemen: more than 1 million children at risk of cholera:

    […]
    More than 1 million malnourished children aged under five in Yemen are living in areas with high levels of cholera, the charity Save The Children warned […]

    Save the Children said children under the age of 15 are now accounting for about 44% of new cases and 32% of fatalities in Yemen where a devastating civil war and economic collapse has left millions on the brink of starvation.

    “The tragedy is both malnutrition and cholera are easily treatable if you have access to basic healthcare,” said Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director for Yemen.

    “But hospitals and clinics have been destroyed, government health workers haven’t been paid for almost a year, and the delivery of vital aid is being obstructed.”

    […]

    The cholera outbreak prompted the United Nations last week to revise its humanitarian assessment and it now calculates 20.7 million Yemenis are in need of assistance, up from the previous figure of 18.8 million in a population of 28 million.

    […]

    Blame the Saudis for Yemen’s cholera outbreak — they are targeting the people:

    The cholera crisis in Yemen is due largely to the Saudi-led coalition’s strategy of deliberately attacking civilians and infrastructure in rebel-held areas
    […]
    UN agencies, respected media outlets — including the BBC and New York Times — and influential medical journals such as the Lancet all argue that two years of conflict have created conditions conducive to a cholera outbreak. This narrative, while true, tells only part of the story. It fails to account for the possibility that one party might be more culpable for the outbreak and the other more affected by it.

    […]

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of Sunni Arab states that has attempted to restore the government using airstrikes, an air and naval blockade, and ground troops. The US and UK provide the coalition with logistical support and military equipment. The Saudis have accused Iran of assisting the rebels, but there is limited evidence for this claim and it is denied by the Houthis [Yemen] and Iran.

    The above underplays USAnnihilate!Annihilate!Annihilate! involvement (at least, I’m unsure of the UK’s antics other than the sale of weapons) since USAnnihilate!Annihilate!Annihilate! has conducted airstrikes (mostly by drone), killing both civilians and Navy Seals.

    […]
    The Saudi air force has carried out indiscriminate attacks that have caused the majority of civilian deaths and injuries during the conflict. Airstrikes have targeted civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, farms, schools, water infrastructure, markets and the main port of Hodeida. They complement a Saudi-led naval and air blockade of rebel-controlled areas that has caused shortages of many essential items, including food, fuel and medical supplies.

    […]

      † Deliberate misspelling. You know why.

  28. says

    Matt Pearce: “Trump administration getting a nasty case of seeing what it’s like to have their internal communications dumped for public consumption.”

    Matthew Miller: “If you’ve spent a year excusing a foreign govt stealing an opponent’s emails, your complaints about classified leaks sound pretty hollow.”

  29. says

    SC @52, just when you think Trump can’t come across as any worse than he has already ….

    Excerpts:

    “You cannot say that to the press,” [a reference to the President of Mexico saying that Mexico would not pay for the wall.] Trump made clear that he realized the funding would have to come from other sources but threatened to cut off contact if Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto continued to make defiant statements.

    The funding “will work out in the formula somehow,” Trump said, adding later that “it will come out in the wash, and that is okay.” But “if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that.” […]

    “On the wall, you and I both have a political problem,” Trump said. “My people stand up and say, ‘Mexico will pay for the wall,’ and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language.”

    Trump seemed to acknowledge that his threats to make Mexico pay had left him cornered politically. “I have to have Mexico pay for the wall — I have to,” he said. “I have been talking about it for a two-year period.”

    To solve that problem, Trump pressured Peña Nieto to suppress the issue. When pressed on who would pay for the wall, “We should both say, ‘We will work it out.’ It will work out in the formula somehow,” Trump said. “As opposed to you saying, ‘We will not pay,’ and me saying, ‘We will not pay.’ ”

    Peña Nieto resisted, saying that Trump’s repeated threats had placed “a very big mark on our back, Mr. President.” He warned that “my position has been and will continue to be very firm, saying that Mexico cannot pay for the wall.”

    Trump objected: “But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that.” […]

    Trump also threatened to impose tariffs of up to 35 percent on imports from Mexico, saying that as president he had been given “tremendous taxation powers for trade,” even though tariffs are mainly the province of Congress. […]

    […] an unfiltered glimpse of Trump’s approach to the diplomatic aspect of his job, subjecting even a close neighbor and long-standing ally to streams of threats and invective as if aimed at U.S. adversaries.

    The Jan. 28 call with Turnbull became particularly acrimonious. “I have had it,” Trump erupted after the two argued about an agreement on refugees. “I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day.”

    Before ending the call, Trump noted that at least one of his conversations that day had gone far more smoothly. “Putin was a pleasant call,” Trump said, referring to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. “This is ridiculous.”

    “This is going to kill me,” he said to Turnbull. “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people.” […]

    “I hate taking these people,” Trump said. “I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people” — an apparent reference to U.S. dairy farms.

    Turnbull tried to salvage the deal, noting that the detainees were economic refugees who had not been accused of crimes. He explained that they were being denied entry into Australia because of a policy aimed at discouraging human smuggling.

    “There is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal,” Turnbull said. “You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.”

    Trump only became angrier, saying the refugees could “become the Boston bomber in five years.”

    “I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made,” Trump said. “As far as I am concerned, that is enough, Malcolm. I have had it.”

    Turnbull tried to turn to Syria and other subjects. But Trump refused. The call, which began at 5:05 p.m., ended 24 minutes later with Turnbull thanking the still-fuming Trump for his commitment.

    “You can count on me,” Turnbull said. “I will be there again and again.” […]

  30. says

    Steve Benen summarized team Trump’s approach to North Korea:

    […] So to recap, the Trump administration is for, and against, and for, and against direct diplomatic discussions with North Korea.

    The president, meanwhile, insists he has this all figured out.

    Responding to a reporter’s question at a White House event this week, Trump said, “We’ll handle North Korea. We’re going to be able to handle them. It will be handled. We handle everything.”

    I feel better already.

    Team Trump has issued conflicting statements from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, from Trump himself, from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and from Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

  31. says

    Shortly after a(n accurate) summary of Trump’s hostile exchange with Turnbull was leaked to the media, Trump tweeted: “Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!”

  32. blf says

    Trump’s great feat? Making Romney look the epitome of common sense (“The normalisation of the US president’s behaviour is worrying — but more terrifying is the normalisation of Republicans we once considered screwballs”) concludes with “When Trump goes, the next Republican candidate will merely have to be sane to qualify as an immeasurable improvement.”

    Snicker… but that’s related to a concern I’m increasingly worried about: The denazification of whatever remains of the States’s government and institutions (not to mention robustly rebuilding). Other then the especial problem of the judiciary, I’ve not seen any coherent discussion of removing the staff† and policies, and of robustly reversing the policies, nor of implementing / removing what should have been implemented / removed.

      † By “staff” I mean civil servants and like, not nominated- / approved-by-Senate positions.

  33. says

    Trump says he’ll be making a big announcement at his WV rally tonight, on the eve of his 17-day vacation. Hannity is “ticktock”ing on Twitter, which is…unoriginal.

  34. Pierce R. Butler says

    This probably doesn’t qualify as a technical issue, so I’ll put it here instead of to that linky up there:

    The “(Previous thread)” link above time-travels back to April-May, not to July.

    Who’s in charge around here??!?

  35. blf says

    Pierce R. Butler@67, That is correct (proper) albeit confusing. This thread, which is now seven pages long, began in early-May, when the “Previous thread” timed-out. Threads time-out after three months (which means this thread is about to also time-out). Pages are 500 comments each.

    To see the previous page of this thread, use the “Older comments” link near the bottom, just above the comment postage-stamp-sized text-entry box. (On older pages there is also a “Newer comments” link to the next page in the thread.) By studying the actual URL, you can work out the pattern and navigate, perhaps more swiftly, to the desired thread and page.

  36. Pierce R. Butler says

    blf @ # 68 – Thanks for the info, and for the work-around.

    An actual solution that makes each link do what it claims would be nice, but I can agree the FtB structure has more urgent problems at present.

  37. nobonobo says

    @68

    …just above the comment postage-stamp-sized text-entry box.

    In Firefox, you can grab the lower right corner and resize it.

  38. says

    As of today, Trump still has not commented on the fact that Putin expelled more than 700 people from the U.S. Embassy in Russia. Trump just let this diplomatic affront go by without commenting.

    What Trump did do was to more less defend Russia by dissing Congress for passing sanctions prompted by Russia’s interference in U.S. elections:

    Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!

    The Whiner in Chief also followed his usual modus operandi of blaming everyone but himself.

  39. says

    SC @66, that “firemcmaster” that is trending in Russian state propaganda may be related, in part to the fact the General McMaster fired Ezra Cohen-Watnick, (as you noted in comment 40).

    As Josh Marshall noted, Cohen-Watnick doesn’t just have ties to Michael Flynn, he has ties to the Russia cover-up.

    […] his ‘review’ of intelligence which led to the ‘un-masking’ charade was likely an effort to monitor and perhaps interfere with the on-going Russia probe.

    [From an earlier post by Marshall, in April] […] Rice’s alleged actions – if the report is accurate – were almost certainly legal. Most national security experts say they were not only legal but entirely proper. Moreover, the kind of snooping around that Cohen-Watnick was apparently doing could very plausibly be interpreted as an attempt to monitor or interfere with the on-going counter-intelligence probe of Trump associates’ ties to Russia. The White House Counsel’s job is to protect and look after the legal interests of the President. A good lawyer would likely want to shut that kind of freelancing down right away, especially if what Cohen-Watnick had found didn’t amount to anything that helped the President or the White House.

    The paragraph above also says Cohen-Watnick was “conducting the review.” But what review was that? It’s not clear this ‘review’ was authorized by anyone and it’s fairly implausible that he just stumbled on this stuff in the first place ‘in the normal course of business’, as he and the White House claim. His review apparently began in February. So if it was authorized it was likely okayed by Mike Flynn – another red flag.

  40. says

    This guy, Sebastian Gorka, needs to go. He’s an ideologue and a doofus.

    White House adviser Sebastian Gorka said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed could apply sufficient pressure on the Chinese government to force them to intervene in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

    “What card left do you have to get China to act?” Fox News’ Bill Hemmer asked Gorka, after referencing an op-ed in a state-owned Chinese newspaper that downplayed the influence China has over North Korea. […]

    “We have the President’s Twitter feed,” Gorka responded. “We have the most powerful man in the world making it very clear that we came out of the Mar-a-Lago summit with very high hopes.”

    Gorka — a controversial member of the Trump administration, given his affiliations with right-wing nationalist groups tied to anti-Semitism and the targeting of Roma people, among other things — said China’s use of North Korea as a “buffer state” was not be worth the instability that the missile tests brought the region.

    Hemmer returned to Gorka’s earlier comment: “With all due respect, can a Twitter feed change the mind of those leading China?”

    “If you can win a U.S. election with it, I think it’s pretty powerful, Bill, don’t you?” Gorka replied.

    Link

  41. says

    Trump lied when he claimed that he did not call the White House “a dump.”

    […] The White House is also energetically pushing back on the Sports Illustrated report that he called the White House “a dump,” with Trump himself tweeting that the report was “TOTALLY UNTRUE” and, you guessed it, “fake news.”

    But, the reporters explain on a podcast, Trump didn’t just call the White House a dump, he did so “in front of eight or nine members and staffers” at his Bedminster golf club, and it’s “a moment that has already passed into legend at Trump Bedminster.”

    In other words, the Trump team’s claim that Sports Illustrated had it wrong is yet another lie. At least that one doesn’t involve inventing whole cloth a phone call from a world leader and putting words into his mouth that he hasn’t said and wouldn’t say.

    Link

  42. says

    When Stephen Miller used the podium in the White House briefing room to claim that the ““Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free […]” poem was “added later” to the Statue of Liberty he was echoing white supremacist propaganda.

    […] Stormfront.org, a popular website among white supremacists that boasts the tagline, “Every month is White history month,” has a numerous discussion threads on the topic, including one titled, “Give Me Your Huddled Masses — The Jewess who tried to destroy the US!” Contributors to the forum wrote the poem should be “considered graffiti” and stress that [Emma] Lazarus’ sonnet is “not part of the original” statue at all.

    The subreddit for Donald Trump supporters, which frequently pushes white nationalist memes, also has a post titled, “Does everyone realize that the poem inscribed beneath the Statue of Liberty is not, in fact, law?” […]

    Think Progress link. More detail is available at the link.

    From Laura Clawson:

    […] So basically they want the Statue of Liberty to be their Aryan imaginary girlfriend and not associated with nasty Jews and other non-Aryan immigrants. David Duke has even written a book chapter complaining about Emma Lazarus. And these are the people whose argument a senior White House aide parroted on Wednesday. […]

  43. says

    Trump has been in office for 197 days. He spent 58 of those days on one or another of his own properties, including 43 days on a golf property. Now he is headed off for a 17-day vacation at his Bedminster golf club.

    Trump said during the campaign:

    I’m going to be working for you, I’m not going to have time to go play golf.

    Bedminster is the place where he told many onlookers that the White House is “a dump.”

  44. blf says

    Whilst Ms Lazarus’s sonnet was not part of the original statue, only being added in 1903, it was written “in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty” — Ye Pfffft! of All Knowledge.

    Fintan O’Toole (of the Irish Times) has a column in the Granuiad, Is nothing sacred? Now Trump’s White House is targeting the Statue of Liberty, which concludes: “Their [Miller & hair furor] torch is meant not to light the way, but to inflame the hatreds that are their only source of power.”

  45. says

    Stormfront.org, a popular website among white supremacists that boasts the tagline, “Every month is White history month,” has a numerous discussion threads on the topic, including one titled, “Give Me Your Huddled Masses — The Jewess who tried to destroy the US!”

    Miller, by the way, is Jewish. His grandparents fled Belarus for the US in 1903.

  46. blf says

    Leaked Trump transcripts show his incoherent, ill-informed narcissism:

    […]
    One of the most significant aspects of the published transcripts of Donald Trump’s conversations with his Mexican and Australian counterparts is the fact they were leaked.

    Private discussions between world leaders are kept secret so they can speak their minds and establish trust. The leaks will make it harder for the US to carry out high-level diplomacy and resolve serious crises, not just under Trump but potentially far beyond his presidency [sic].

    The publication of transcripts by the Washington Post is the latest of many signs that established norms are breaking down inside the administration, with far-reaching and unpredictable implications.

    Such documents should have been very closely held, accessible to only a few senior officials. Their publication reflects the intensity of the war inside the White House between rival factions — and a reminder that, for all his well-advertised toughness, the new chief of staff John Kelly is going to find it very hard to impose discipline on an institution that is dysfunctional from the top down.

    […]

    The transcripts of his conversations with Enrique Peña Nieto and Malcolm Turnbull show the president to be no more coherent in private than he is public: ill-informed […] and narcissistic to the point of absurdity.

    I am the world’s greatest person, he tells Turnbull, and boasts to his fellow world leaders about the size of the crowds who turn out to hear him speak. Maintaining his image as a strong leader in the eyes of his supporters emerges, again and again in the course of the conversations, as an overarching priority — over and above the maintenance of strong relations with allied countries.

    […]

    Perhaps the least surprising upshot of the release of the transcripts is the confirmation that the president and his administration deliberately misled the public about them. When the Washington Post published an account of the Turnbull conversation in early February, Trump tweeted that it had been a very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about.

    As has happened repeatedly over the course of the administration, the emergence of the facts has upheld the news reports, and shown the denials to be fake. Trump repeatedly tries to coach Peña Nieto on how to mislead the press, urging him to stop repeating Mexico’s refusal to pay for Trump’s proposed border wall.

    […]

    Similar themes recur in the Turnbull conversation. Here, the divisive issue is an agreement that the Obama administration struck with Australia to consider accepting 1,250 refugees, mostly from Muslim countries, being detained by Australia on Pacific islands after trying to enter the country by boat. […]

    […]

    The fact that the refugees in question are from Muslim countries is the key for Trump. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad, he said.

    […]

    For all Turnbull’s attempts to smooth over their differences, Trump is clearly in a foul temper by the end of the discussion, and broader bilateral issues are shelved. When Turnbull asks to discuss Syria and North Korea […] Trump is not interested and ends the call.

  47. says

    “Special Counsel Mueller Impanels Washington Grand Jury in Russia Probe”:

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, a sign that his inquiry is growing in intensity and entering a new phase, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    The grand jury, which began its work in recent weeks, is a sign that Mr. Mueller’s inquiry is ramping up and that it will likely continue for months. Mr. Mueller is investigating Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 election and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign or associates colluded with the Kremlin as part of that effort.

    Grand juries are powerful investigative tools that allow prosecutors to subpoena documents, put witnesses under oath and seek indictments, if there is evidence of a crime. Legal experts said that the decision by Mr. Mueller to impanel a grand jury suggests he believes he will need to subpoena records and take testimony from witnesses.

    “This is yet a further sign that there is a long-term, large-scale series of prosecutions being contemplated and being pursued by the special counsel,” said Stephen I. Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas. “If there was already a grand jury in Alexandria looking at Flynn, there would be no need to reinvent the wheel for the same guy. This suggests that the investigation is bigger and wider than Flynn, perhaps substantially so.”

    Thomas Zeno, a federal prosecutor for 29 years before becoming a lawyer at the Squire Patton Boggs law firm, said the grand jury is “confirmation that this is a very vigorous investigation going on.”

    “This doesn’t mean he is going to bring charges,” Mr. Zeno cautioned. “But it shows he is very serious. He wouldn’t do this if it were winding down.”…

  48. blf says

    The Onion, Experts Warn Repeated Attempts At Eradicating Obamacare May Have Created Ultra-Resistant Super Law:

    After persistent efforts by Republicans to wipe out the healthcare law over the past seven years, experts warned Wednesday that the repeated attempts at eradicating Obamacare may have created an ultra-resistant super law. “Given the frequency with which lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to exterminate the Affordable Care Act, the growing resiliency of this legislation could soon be insurmountable,” said Institute for Healthcare Improvement senior fellow Curt Greenwood [… H]owever, hope remained that sufficiently high doses of single-payer healthcare legislation could potentially offer a cure.

  49. says

    I might be the only one who thinks this, but…the thing that bothers me particularly about the leaking of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders is that it’s unfair to EPN and Turnbull. Neither of them asked to have to deal with this bonehead. (I would have a different opinion of leaks of his exchanges with Putin, who very much did.)