Thursday, April 26, 2018


The touchy-feely interactions between Trump and Macron were filled with dominance games
The interactions throughout the visit, said Patti Wood, a body language expert and author of “SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma,” largely fall under a category known as “gamesmanship.” In calling out Macron’s alleged dandruff, she said, Trump “did something called primate grooming.” “It said, ‘We have an intimate relationship, but I’m dominant, I’m the alpha gorilla, I’m going to groom you,’ ” Wood said. “‘But I’m going to criticize you by saying you have dandruff, and I’m going to do that on the world stage and see how you handle that.” [read on]


No longer BFF's?
Macron Takes Not-So-Subtle Shots at Trump in Speech to Congress


Robert Mueller's next steps 

Michael Cohen is pleading the Fifth
Trump, Sept 2016:
"The mob takes the Fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"  

Jeff Sessions said he wasn't recused from the Michael Cohen case. Now he might be

Another piece of the collusion case
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told Democrats on Capitol Hill that former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon asked the embattled data firm to test messaging on Russia . . . Wylie also told lawmakers “that Bannon specifically tasked Cambridge Analytica with looking at ways to depress Democratic turnout with their messaging.”

Count the ironies: how the Kremlin helped Trump win the Catholic vote

Alan Dershowitz visits my campus
Dershowitz said he's given Trump four pieces of advice: "Don't fire, don't pardon, don't tweet, and don't testify." He believes the federal inquiry will end with a report by Mueller to Congress, most likely focusing on players in the Trump campaign. "It will probably cast some moral responsibility on the president. I don't think it's going to result in any legal charges" against Trump, he said. . . . Dershowitz has argued that there is no federal statute against "collusion" and doesn't believe it's a crime, though other lawyers say it would violate campaign-finance laws. "At the moment, I haven't seen any evidence of any criminal activity or an impeachable offense. That doesn't mean I'm going to vote for him," said Dershowitz, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. . . . Dershowitz said the bigger danger for Trump lies in the investigation by the U.S. attorney's office in New York focusing on his business dealings and relationships with women before he became president. "He doesn't have any constitutional defense for what he did before he became president," Dershowitz said. [read on] 

Trump said he would "100%" testify before Mueller -- then said he wouldn't. Now Giuliani re-opens negotiations that he might. It all feels like kabuki to me. Trump will refuse -- the only question is whether Mueller will try to force him to, with a subpoena
“Trump remains ‘extremely opposed’ to granting Mueller an interview, according to one close adviser — setting up a potential high-stakes legal battle between the White House and the special counsel, who could ultimately seek to try to subpoena the president.”

“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani said. He added that he wanted to find out what Mueller needs to end the probe, and “Hopefully we can speed it up.” . . . “Does the special prosecutor really have an open mind?” Giuliani said. “We’re trying to assess their good faith.” Giuliani said Trump’s legal team also wants to determine if Mueller has “made any conclusion about credibility,” adding, “Do they favor Comey over Trump in terms of credibility?” . . . “The president is convinced that if he tells his story to a decent fair-minded arbiter, the whole thing will be over,” Giuliani added, suggesting again the potential problem is an arbiter who can’t be fair.
Stop laughing!
Trump Offers to Personally Review Cohen Documents  

Hmm . . . Pat Fitzgerald, who prosecuted Scooter Libby, who Trump just pardoned, is now working for James Comey, who is accused of leaking classified information, just as Libby was. What does that tell us?

What most people think
A new Fox News poll finds that 56% think it’s likely that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe will find President Trump committed criminal or impeachable offenses. And even though 64% feel confident Mueller is treating the White House fairly, 71% think it’s likely Trump will fire Mueller before the investigation is complete.

In other news . . .

Why are Trump's judicial nominees refusing to say whether they support Brown v. Board of Education?

The Supreme Court is reviewing Trump's Muslim ban
The Supreme Court heard the Muslim Ban case today. It did not go well.
The session offered no clear indication of how the court will rule. 

Kagan, Sotomayor Grill Trump Admin Lawyer: What If Travel Ban Targeted Jews?

The Trump Muslim ban is supposedly not about Muslims -- except that Trump made clear in his own comments and tweets that it was
Trump lawyer: There’s no Muslim ban because Trump thinks Islam is ‘one of the greatest countries’

Illegal southern border crossings are . . . . up!

The Cesspool
Almost two years ago, as President Trump stood on the threshold of securing the Republican nomination, he stumbled into a nuisance level scandal over hard sell email money solicitations to parliamentarians in countries from Australia and the UK to Iceland and Denmark. . . . But apparently Trump never stopped. I checked in with one Australian parliamentarian who tells me the emails from Trump asking for money really never stopped and he still gets at least a few a week. . . . It is of course illegal to solicit campaign contributions from foreign nationals, though Trump’s defenders would point out that it would have to be shown he was intentionally doing so as opposed to just using Trump Organization email lists that have emails from many non-Americans. . . [read on]

You can't say it more clearly than this
The levels of corruption in this administration are simply staggering, and they range from open self-enrichment to openly selling policy to the highest bidder. The completely accurate sense that Trump and his party are out to get themselves and their friends rich is the administration’s gaping vulnerability. What’s especially odd is that nobody in the administration seems to have taken even cursory steps to address or paper over this weakness. They’re all just grabbing as much cash for themselves and their allies as they can, while they can.  

The kind of people they are
The Republican front-runner for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat, Corey Stewart, boasts that he strives to “offend at least one liberal” every day, but his latest attack on LGBTQ youth is just sad for how factually wrong it is. . . .
Renegade GOPer Attacks McConnell Over Foreign Born Wife
‘Proud Islamophobe’ Laura Loomer finds new home at Fox News affiliate
Ben Carson wants to triple rents for low-income Americans with housing assistance 

The kind of person HE is
“I had 12 hours of surgery on my face, broke all the bones in my face. What did he say? Did he send me a note of sympathy? He said, words to the effect ‘hope Reid tries another accident, gets hurt again.’ How about that? He is not a nice man and that’s an understatement.”  
       — Former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), in an interview with NBC News, on President Trump

The WH says it's backing Ronny Jackson as its VA nominee all the way. Uh-huh. We'll see

Jackson Drunkenly Knocked on Female Employee’s Door
Jackson Called ‘Candy Man’ For Giving Out Meds 

Worse and worse:
New report on Dr. Jackson is juicy, including a drunken car crash and self prescribing
Republican support for Jackson collapses 

Who is leaking this damaging info on Jackson?
Jackson was chosen with little vetting, angering several White House aides, including chief of staff John Kelly. And now a whisper campaign of allegations threatens to tank his nomination. The episode offers a window into how the president’s impulsive decision-making has created problems for GOP senators as well as his own aides. . . . Jackson’s trouble may also signal a new front in the war inside the White House. Aides who‘ve come to realize they can’t control the president have taken to leaking negative information about advisers, Cabinet members and Cabinet nominees in hopes they can shape the president's personnel decisions — or torpedo them entirely — through the news media. A handful of White House insiders speculated that such a leaking campaign was afoot against Jackson, whose nomination rattled West Wing advisers and was opposed by nearly every senior White House staffer. . . .  

Ronny Jackson is flagrantly unqualified, even if all the allegations against him are false 

The White House is cutting EPA Director Scott Pruitt loose
PARKER: Sarah, Scott Pruitt lived for below-market rent in a Capitol Hill rowhouse owned by an energy industry lobbyist. He reportedly directed staff to give raises to top aides and then obfuscated about it. He spent over $150,000 — of taxpayer dollars — on first-class travel. And he reportedly once even tried to get his security detail to use their sirens so he could get to a reservation at Le Diplomate, among other alleged ethical lapses. I know you said yesterday you were looking at reports about him, but can you sort of explain why he still has a job in the president's Cabinet and also how his behavior is in keeping with the values of draining the swamp?

SANDERS: Again, we're evaluating these concerns, and we expect the EPA administrator to answer for them, and we'll keep you posted.

'It could be pretty painful' when Pruitt faces Congress
White House Aides Wouldn’t All Mind if Pruitt Bombs Before Congress
Pruitt will forthrightly and fully address his ethics scandals: My staff did it!

Pruitt's EPA is scrubbing the term "climate change" from its web site

And another one
Trump trade secretary spent almost $1 million on office furniture—but blames Obama

It hasn't happened yet, but GOP pros already are writing off the House in the Fall. What they're really worried about is the Senate

Dems Get Good News In Pair Of New Senate Polls

Things are going well for the Dems at the state level also
Democrats flip 40th statehouse seat of the cycle

In New York . . .

Democrats easily held New York's competitive 37th State Senate District on Tuesday night, with Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer beating former Rye City Councilwoman Julie Killian by a wide 57-43 margin. Thanks to another win by Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, who obliterated his opposition in a dark blue Bronx seat (the Republican candidate took 2 percent of the vote), and the recent reunification of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference with the mainline Democratic caucus, Democrats now have a numerical 32 to 31 majority in the Senate. But no matter—Republicans still control the chamber, because conservative Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder, who has caucused with the GOP from the moment he took office in 2013, says he'll continue to do so . . .

The Trump Show 

Is Trump beating the press?

Colonel Sanders is now openly bullying and disrespecting the press
Sanders Cuts Off CNN Reporter’s Questions On VA Nom: ‘I’m Finished’


Fox World edited out Mick Mulvaney's revealing comment about how lobbyists can buy access because . . . .?

I hate right-wing whining and victimization

Bonus item: The best "Bad Lip Reading" ever
***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Trump has been acting all along like a guilty man

Trump's long history of lying

Why it's dangerous for Trump to spend so much time on his cell phone 

Spotlight on that infamous Trump Tower meeting about "adoption"


Trump is asked if he plans to pardon Michael Cohen. His response? "Stupid question" 

AG Jeff Sessions won't recuse himself from the Michael Cohen investigation. This is a problem

Trump used to call Kim Jong-un a "maniac" and a "madman." Now he's calling him "very honorable." Because nothing that he says really means anything, except his mood of the moment

A reporter asked what Trump meant when he described the dictator as “honorable,” and in response Trump offered a defense of his negotiations with North Korea  . . . 

The Trump-Macron bromance
Trump and Macron can't stop touching each other

Trump's Top 5 most cringeworthy moments as he tries to impress French President Emmanuel Macron 

[NB: Don't miss #4 on that list -- ooooh ick!]  

Macron thought he could talk some sense into Trump about the Iran deal. No such luck 

Trump's incoherent word salad for his "plans" about Syria


When Trump doesn't bother to tweet about mass killings (can you guess?)  

In other news. . . .

Trump wanted Devin Nunes as Director of National Intelligence, but decided he would be more useful carrying water for him as chair of the House Intel Committee -- and boy has he fulfilled that role

The Supreme Court will review Trump's Muslim ban

Judge rules that Trump must continue DACA

Trump nominates people without full vetting and based on loyalty to him as much or more than qualifications. And lately it's been getting even worse
Trump's VA nomination in trouble

White House dysfunction creates another cabinet mess for Trump

[NB: Ronny Jackson was always Trump's Harriet Miers -- a loyal personal aide nominated for a position far beyond him. This was only a matter of time.] 

Trump offers Jackson a not very thinly veiled invitation to withdraw himself from consideration (so Trump doesn't have to)
“I would definitely stand behind him,” Trump said. “I’d let it be his choice, but he’s a man who has just been an extraordinary person — his family, extraordinary success, great doctor, great everything, and he has to listen to the abuse? I wouldn’t, if I were him — actually, in many ways I’d love to be him — but the fact is I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t do it.” “What does he need it for?” Trump continued. “To be abused by a bunch of politicians that aren’t thinking nicely about our country? I really don’t think personally he should do it, but it’s totally his decision.”
"I've gotten to know him pretty well. he's a great doctor," Trump said . . . "But there's an experience problem -- the Veterans Administration is very important to me," Trump said, in the second signal Jackson's nomination is dead. 

[NB: Isn't it great how much Trump  cares about our veterans in need? The VA has 380,000 employees. So a nice guy who's a good doctor is obviously a great choice to run one of the biggest government bureaucracies.]
More evidence of Trump's nonexistent vetting procedures
“Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was interviewed by the FBI twice while he was working as a political consultant for a Ukrainian political party — several years before he was named a top adviser to Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports. “The information raises fresh questions about how closely the Trump campaign vetted staff members and whether Manafort and Gates told officials about their interactions with the FBI.”

As President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Veterans Affairs skids to a halt, senators from both parties are voicing frustration that the White House is skipping crucial vetting of nominees and leaving lawmakers to clean up the mess. . . .

[NB: Apparently there is one respect in which the Trump WH does rigorous vetting: they scrutinize people's social media postings or previous comments to be sure they have never said a negative thing . . . about Trump.]

Trump's Cabinet full of Marie Antoinettes
Here’s the (very conservative) estimate of how many taxpayer dollars Trump officials have wasted

Trump is keeping Scott Pruitt in place as head of the EPA despite a truly remarkable series of scandals and just plain stupid missteps. That's because Pruitt is doing exactly what Trump wants him to do
Scott Pruitt’s new ‘secret science’ proposal  

The EPA ousted science advisers. Now it’s going after the science itself.
Trump White House Offered to Help Prep Scott Pruitt for Hearings. EPA Told the White House to ‘Get Lost’
Mick Mulvaney says, hell yes, pay to play is how things work
Mick Mulvaney has been running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since November . . .

“If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”  

That seems bracingly clear. Most politicians don’t have either the arrogance or the cluelessness it would take to admit this in public, but Mulvaney does. 

Rand Paul is a poser

Rand Paul Explains Flip-Flop On Pompeo Nomination With Nonsense  

Kris Kobach's job was to make voter suppression permanent. Fortunately, he was incompetent

Meanwhile, in Arizona, voters can't get their voter IDs:

It's getting harder and harder to defend the Republican tax bill

Trump said this tax break was for small businesses. It’s giving $17 billion to millionaires this year. 

The GOP wins a special election in Arizona, but it's still bad news
The Repubs, having failed repeatedly at "repeal and replace," are now just satisfied with "repeal"

Theocracy watch: how "religious freedom" is used to protect anti-gay bigotry 

Trump voters: motivated by anxiety over status, not by economics
The Dems grow up
Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock spoke to CNBC‘s John Harwood:

HARWOOD: What do you advise people as a matter of strategy to do about situations like Conor Lamb found himself in when he was running? You want a Democratic majority. He’s trying to win a very Trumpy district. And he says in the campaign, “I don’t support Pelosi for speaker.” How do you feel about that and what do you advise women candidates in more conservative districts to say to that question?

SCHRIOCK: We need to win. So if you feel like you’re in a district that you need other make those types of positions, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win.

HARWOOD: You don’t care?

SCHRIOCK: We just have to win. We have to take back the majority, and that’s really critically important.

It’s never a good idea to enter willingly into a frame your opponent has constructed to entrap you. The term “identity politics” is part of a whole vocabulary including “thought police,” “politically correct,” and “liberal elites”, whose main intention is to undermine the legitimacy of liberal and left politics. Uncritically adopting the “identity politics” language of the right is the equivalent of dropping our guard and waltzing on to their terrain. Master’s tools, master’s house, anyone? We need to recognise a toxic frame when we see one and refuse to be a party to its proliferation.

What a surprise: Hannity's real estate dealings were shady

Only in Trump World
Custody Litigation Between Two Ex-Trump Staffers Involves Allegation That NASA Faked the Moon Landing

Bonus item: We've had lots of videos of Melania refusing to hold Trump's hand. But none funnier than this


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sharing its URL ( with others via email or social media. Thanks for helping to spread the word!

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***