Wednesday, September 19, 2018

"FIGHTING BACK"


Trump calls it fighting back against an unfair and illegitimate investigation. But It is clear that as the Mueller convictions and plea deals move closer into his inner circle, he is desperate to find an excuse for shutting it all down

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1796590
Trump throws a long ball in an attempt to wreck the FBI and DOJ before the midterms

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-ignores-security-crosses-red-line-declassification-gambit
Trump ignores security, crosses ‘red line’ with declassification gambit

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/09/18/trump-is-wielding-presidential-powers-to-defend-himself/
Trump Is Wielding Presidential Powers to Defend Himself 
 
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/schiff-trump-declassifying-materials-abuse-power
Schiff: Trump Declassifying DOJ Materials ‘A Clear Abuse Of Power’

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/coats-doj-complying-order-review-first

https://thinkprogress.org/trumps-decision-to-declassify-russia-investigation-documents-concerning-10b17c1222b9/
3 reasons Trump’s decision to declassify Russia investigation documents is so concerning 

[NB: The biggest outrage is when he says the release and declassification is all about "transparency" -- transparency only about those individuals he is trying to destroy.]

How Robert Mueller is trying to prevent Trump from pardoning Paul Manafort

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/18/manafort-deal-pardon-mueller-trump-827898

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-legal-team-unsure-mueller-knows
According to more than 12 people close to Trump who spoke to the Times, the team of nearly a dozen lawyers working for the President have only a partial idea of what many of Trump’s former business associates and senior members of the administration have told investigators. They’re also largely unaware of what the Justice Department plans to do with information it obtains on Trump from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and the investigation into his former attorney Michael Cohen. It’s unclear if Trump has even disclosed a full accounting to his lawyers of his time running the Trump Organization or some of the most contentious events of his presidency thus far . . .  According to the Times, some of the blame for the gap in knowledge falls on former Trump lawyer John Dowd, who reportedly never investigated Trump’s actual legal exposure and relied on the President’s denials of wrongdoing instead.

They must think people are idiots

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/nikki-haley-russian-election-interference-didnt-work
Nikki Haley: Russian election interference ‘didn’t work’

Brett Kavanaugh's accuser told a friend about the assault long before he was a Supreme Court nominee

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/18/kavanaughs-accuser-told-friend-about-assault-last-year/

"Horse play??!!??"

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/rough-horse-play

More: https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/18/flashback-quote-of-the-day-38/
“We had a good saying that we’ve held firm to to this day, which is: What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep. I think that’s been a good thing for all of us.”

                      — Brett Kavanaugh, in a 2015 speech at Catholic University.

Trump's selective empathy

https://thinkprogress.org/christine-blasey-ford-kavanaugh-accuser-death-threats-f6c488caab99/
Kavanaugh accuser has reportedly received death threats and is in hiding . . . Meanwhile, the president says he feels "so badly" for Kavanaugh. . . 

More: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/18/trumps-supremely-unhelpful-comments-brett-kavanaugh/
Trump’s supremely unhelpful comments on Brett Kavanaugh
 
In other news . . .

Trump's trade war with China is failing
The committee chairs who will be investigating Trump if the Dems take the House

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/18/democrats-committee-chairs-midterm-election-826301

Not enough to win

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/18/trumps-base-makes-up-just-a-quarter-of-voters/
Trump’s Base Makes Up Just a Quarter of Voters


***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

WITCH HUNT?


Trump keeps saying the Mueller investigation is a pointless "witch hunt." And Mueller just keeps racking up convictions
More on why Paul Manafort's plea deal is a huge deal

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/09/17/mueller-told-us-that-manaforts-alter-ego-was-a-russian-agent/

By the way, Trump keeps complaining about the investigation's cost. Here's why that doesn't matter any more

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-wont-be-able-complain-about-the-mueller-probes-cost-anymore

Looks like Robert Mueller has gotten just about everything he can from Michael Flynn

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/michael-flynn-will-be-sentenced/570538/

Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intel Committee, is still treating their investigation as a pro-Trump defense effort

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/nunes-plans-to-release-likely-pro-trump-materials-from-his-russia-investigation

A case in point: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/09/devin-nunes-many-americans-living

And in a clear sign of . . .  collusion . . . Trump helps Nunes undermine the investigation

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/17/17871876/trump-russia-mueller-declassification
“President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.” In other words, the president is demanding the release of an enormous amount of internal material, without redaction, about an ongoing investigation into his campaign and his associates. . . .[read on]

More: https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/trump-declassify-carter-page-fisa-comey-texts.html
Trump Orders Declassification of Cherry-Picked Documents Aimed at Discrediting the Russia Investigation

How terrible is the Trump presidency? Just look at the last WEEK

http://prospect.org/article/all-our-fears-about-trump-are-coming-true

Why the accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is plausible and relevant

https://www.salon.com/2018/09/17/heres-why-the-allegation-against-kavanaugh-is-credible-hes-smeared-and-attacked-women-before/

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/high-school-classmates-of-christine-blasey-ford-sign-letter-of-support
High School Classmates Of Christine Blasey Ford Sign Letter Of Support

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1796379
Kavanaugh lawyers up

Kavanaugh vote delayed: hearing on the sexual assault allegations set for Monday

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1796473

The Kavanaugh nomination might be in trouble -- but then will we get someone even worse?

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/17/gop-plans-to-play-hardball-on-kavanaugh/

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/17/can-kavanaugh-hang-on/

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/feinstein-says-more-senators-do-not-know-about-kavanaugh
Feinstein Says There’s More That Senators Don’t Know About Kavanaugh

With defenses like these, Kavanaugh IS in trouble

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/9/17/17870408/brett-kavanaugh-sexual-assault-allegation-conservatives-abortion

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/09/ari-fleischer-if-kavanaugh-not-credible

Donald Junior keeps trolling the dark undergrowth of the GOP psyche

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1796375
Donald Trump Jr. mocks Kavanaugh assault allegations in disgusting Instagram post

More: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/when-trump-jr-mocked-kavanaugh-allegation-a-hud-official-cheered
When Trump Jr. Mocked Kavanaugh Allegation, A HUD Official Cheered

In other news . . .                                                      

Trump tweets (more lies) that his trade war is working, and plans to press it further

http://uk.businessinsider.com/trump-tweets-tariffs-have-put-the-us-in-a-very-strong-bargaining-position-2018-9

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-going-ahead-with-plans-for-tariffs-on-200-billion-chinese-imports

The end of Trump's "Space Force"?

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/17/space-force-military-air-force-825757

Trump's Education Sect'y, with no sense of irony, attacks universities

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/17/devos-says-universities-no-longer-seek-truth/
DeVos Says Universities No Longer Seek Truth

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tried to get a Russian visa

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/leaked-files-reveal-julian-assange-tried-to-get-a-russian-visa-back-in-2010
 
Theocracy watch: religion and racism

https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/09/religion-and-racism-still-go-hand-in-hand-in-the-gop/

Trump's core supporters don't believe a "blue wave" is coming (because he has told them it isn't) -- and they aren't worried. That's great news for the rest of us

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/its-all-fake-news-until-it-isnt.html

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-key-reason-the-gop-confronting-severe-voter-turnout-problem

More: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1796373
Trump's aides have tried to tell him things look bad for November, but he's not hearing it

The Republicans, already in trouble in the midterms, have hidden their intentions about cutting social programs. Trump's economic advisor just let out the secret

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/top-white-house-official-eyes-entitlement-cuts-next-year

Trump (and others) would just like to make Hillary Clinton go away. She isn't going away

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/clinton-pens-op-ed-outline-trump-democracy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: dutiful daughter

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/sarah-huckabee-sanders-and-her-unconditional-loyalty
Some White House press corps veterans say that Sanders is helpful and warm behind the scenes, but quick to don a mask of irritation and sarcasm when she steps behind the podium, ever aware of the eyes that almost always watch her performances...

More: https://www.salon.com/2018/09/17/how-sarah-huckabee-sanders-allegedly-pushed-the-boundaries-of-the-law-to-help-defend-president-trump/

Do we need a third party?

https://www.vox.com/polyarchy/2018/9/17/17870478/two-party-system-electoral-reform

Bonus item:  Seth Meyers on Kavanaugh

https://www.thedailybeast.com/seth-meyers-calls-out-gop-senators-stop-dismissing-kavanaugh-allegations

***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***

Monday, September 17, 2018

DIRTY MONEY

Why anyone thought that a guy raised in the sleazy world of NJ and NY real estate would act any differently as president is a mystery to me

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/16/ags-ask-for-trump-communications-about-hotel/
“The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia want the legal authority to get any communications between President Trump and officials of foreign or U.S. state governments pertaining to his Trump International Hotel near the White House,” NPR reports. . . . [read on]

What we knew about Trump and Russia BEFORE the 2016 election

https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2018/09/midterm-time-capsule-51-days-to-go-manafort/570388/ 

How Paul Manafort ran Trump's campaign just like he ran campaigns for Ukrainian thugs

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2018/09/what-was-manaforts-electoral-strategy.html

Alan Dershowitz, a strong Trump defender, says that Giuliani and the rest of the legal team have totally mishandled the Manafort problem, and now it's too late. I agree with him
Ken Starr, who thought it was a good idea for the country to spend a couple of years arguing about Bill Clinton's blow job, now says about a possible Trump impeachment: “The country should not be taken through that”

https://www.salon.com/2018/09/16/ken-starr-on-possible-trump-impeachment-the-country-should-not-be-taken-through-that/

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/09/lindsey-graham-downplays-mueller
Lindsey Graham suggested that guilty pleas for lying to the FBI do not carry the same weight as other convictions. . . . It's an interesting shift from where he was in 1998 and Bill Clinton's pending impeachment. . . [read on]

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/what-happened-to-lindsey-graham.html
Once defined by his loathing for Trump, Lindsey Graham is now all-in for the president. Why?


Brett Kavanaugh's accuser comes forward, and key senators say the vote should be delayed until she is heard

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/16/17867706/christine-blasey-ford-brett-kavanaugh-sexual-assault-allegations

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/kavanaugh-delay-vote.html

The head of FEMA enables Trump's lies about the Hurricane Maria death toll in Puerto Rico, then makes things worse by saying some of the deaths might have been due to . . . spousal abuse

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/it-just-gets-worse

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/brock-long-puerto-rico-hurricane-maria.html

More: https://crooksandliars.com/2018/09/fema-chief-brock-long-racist-and-should

The war over the Trump "Apprentice" tapes

https://www.thedailybeast.com/tom-arnold-and-mark-burnett-fight-over-trump-tapes-at-emmys-party

People on all sorts of issues have figured out the way to get Trump's attention -- use Fox News

https://www.thedailybeast.com/generals-secret-weapon-to-keep-trump-in-afghanistan-fox-news

A few years ago the Texas State Board of Education took "teaching critical thinking" out of the public school curriculum (they reversed themselves later). Now they are banning . . . Hillary Clinton

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/9/16/17866146/texas-board-of-education-thomas-hobbes

Bonus item: Anthony Scaramucci ("the Mooch") writes a book. The title is hilarious, and it gets funnier from there

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/09/scarmucci-wrote-fawning-book-about-donald
"Trump: The Blue Collar President"

***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***

Sunday, September 16, 2018

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

The Manafort plea deal means the end of the joint defense agreement with Trump (sharing information between their lawyers). And there's even worse news for Trump

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/paul-manafort-trump-mueller-trial/570331/
“This is also incredibly important because if the president were to pardon Manafort under these circumstances, the case against the president for obstruction of justice would be even more compelling,” Waxman said.

More: https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/15/how-manaforts-plea-brings-mueller-closer-to-his-end-game/
How Manafort’s Plea Brings Mueller Closer to His End Game
 
https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1795998
Mueller's investigation is a long, long way from over

Trump thinks the whole purpose of the Mueller investigation is to hurt the GOP in the midterms. That is stupid in about six different ways

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/15/trump-manafort-mueller-plea-deal-825759 

Mueller's next target?

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/09/am-joy-panelists-agree-muellers-next 

More: https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/16/who-says-mueller-is-writing-a-report/ 

Trump has soured on Sect'y of Defense James Mattis, the last strong figure in the admin who will stand up to him. (Trump thinks he's a secret Democrat)
In other news . . .                                                      

Trump will escalate the trade war with China

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/trump-set-to-announce-new-tariffs-on-usd200-billion-in-chinese-goods-as-early-as-monday.html

Is Brett Kavanaugh in trouble? The letter Dianne Feinstein sent the FBI apparently described an attempted sexual assault in high school. You can make of that what you will, but instantly a letter of support for Kavanaugh pops up signed by 65 women who say . . . what?

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2018/09/15/the-letter-from-kavanaughs-defenders-doesnt-pass-the-smell-test/

***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***

Friday, September 14, 2018

FLIPPED

Paul Manafort agrees to cooperate with Mueller

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1795772
What's in the plea deal: The truth about how Paul Manafort promoted Russian interests in the U.S.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/paul-manafort-cooperating-mueller/570364/
What Paul Manafort Knows

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1795785
What Paul Manafort knows will be DEVASTATING to Donald Trump

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/manafort-takes-off-his-maga-hat/570376/
Under the terms of his plea agreement Manafort is obliged to cooperate “fully, truthfully and completely.” More to the point, no prosecutor of any experience would enter into a cooperation agreement if he did not already know what the witness was likely to say. Prior to the plea, Manafort certainly sat down with the special counsel’s office to reveal what he knows. . . .

More: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/9/14/17861480/paul-manafort-trump-tower-flip

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/14/manafort-plea-deal-questions-823883

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/14/17850596/manafort-cooperation-flip-mueller-trump-russia
Paul Manafort’s flip is a major turning point in the Mueller investigation

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/09/14/the-manafort-plea-is-pardon-proof/
Checkmate: The Manafort Cooperation Is Pardon Proof  

[NB: This is a pivotal moment and a huge victory for Mueller. It's the last piece he needs to make a damning case against Trump. And Marcy Wheeler is right -- a pardon won't help Trump now.]

Trump and Giuliani have been praising Manafort as an honest, stand-up guy. What are they going to say now?

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/14/trump-team-suddenly-not-sure-manafort-will-tell-truth/
President Trump’s legal team released a statement attributed to Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s outside counsel in charge of the Russia probe. "Once again an investigation has concluded with a plea having nothing to do with President Trump or the Trump campaign. The reason: the President did nothing wrong and Paul Manafort will tell the truth." Minutes later, they seemed to reconsider. A ‘corrected’ statement removed the bit about Manafort telling the truth. . . . 

https://thinkprogress.org/paul-manafort-donald-trump-plea-deal-mueller-investigation-russia-election-interference-102b89fa2dee/
All this Team Trump praise of Manafort is now extremely awkward

Now the other shoe drops . . .

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/14/cohen-is-talking-to-mueller-too/
Michael Cohen Is Talking to Mueller Too

Witch hunt!

https://www.vox.com/2018/8/21/17765982/manafort-trump-mueller-russia-list
These are the Trump associates who’ve pleaded guilty in the Mueller probe

Trump may be stuck wih AG Jeff Sessions no matter what he wants

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1795561

In other news . . .                                                      

Trump wants to "rebrand" NAFTA as the "USMC pact." Wake me when it's over

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nafta-rebrand-canada-complain

Life with Trump

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-aides-ignore-tweets-until-new-story
White House aides are following a new playbook when it comes to President Donald Trump’s frequently offensive and incendiary tweets: don’t comment and wait for the next big story to break. According to a Thursday Politico report, it has become clear that attempts to control or guide Trump are futile since he considers himself the best spokesperson he could have. . . .

All those people who are denying what they told Woodward better start worrying

https://politicalwire.com/2018/09/14/woodward-offers-to-release-tapes-of-interviews/
Woodward Offers to Release Tapes of Interviews


***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***

HURRICANE

  
Trump is lying about the Puerto Rico hurricane death toll

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-concocts-conspiracy-theory-explain-puerto-rico-death-toll

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/trump-tweet-puerto-rico-hurricane-death-toll-fact-check-democrats-faked-3-000.html

Trump is turning the U.S. into an asshole nation (just like him)

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/us-pay-mexico-deportations.html
Trump Plans to Have U.S. Pay Mexico for Deportations, in Addition to Funding Border Wall

Despite saying a solution would be "not as difficult as people have thought," Trump (with help from Jared Kushner) is making the Middle East situation much worse

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-policy-toward-the-palestinians-is-dazed-and-confusedand-dangerous-for-israel

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/09/trump-palestinian-plan-suffering-not-peace.html  

Is the Brett Kavanaugh nomination in trouble? What was in the letter Dianne Feinstein sent to the FBI?

https://www.vox.com/2018/9/13/17855900/dianne-feinstein-brett-kavanaugh-fbi-letter

https://crooksandliars.com/2018/09/kavanaughs-nomination-teeters-apparent

In Russia news . . .

Giuliani says there's nothing to fear about Paul Manafort flipping because he has nothing to offer against Trump (and because he is an "honorable" man). This is obviously not true. The pressure on Manafort from both sides is because he is a pivotal witness. They may be confident he won't flip, they may have already promised him a pardon to ensure that he won't -- but it insults our intelligence to say he has nothing to offer

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/13/giuliani-trump-manafort-plea-bargain-821797

Giuliani also confirmed that Trump's lawyers and Manafort's have been in regular contact and that they are part of a joint defense agreement that allows confidential information sharing. "All during the investigation we have an open communication with them," he said.  . . .

More: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/trump-manafort-russia-mueller/570187/
How Trump and Manafort Are Helping Each Other in the Russia Investigation

Manafort reportedly reaches a plea deal

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1795594

Rudy Giuliani says Trump may try to block the release of any report from Mueller. He can't do that

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/donald-trump-robert-mueller-report-executive-privilege.html

Russia was reaching out to Trump long before his campaign really took off

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/09/13/mariaa-butina-alleged-russian-spy-trump-823396
 
In other news . . .                                                      

More reports that Sect'y of Defense Mattis will be out after the elections

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/jim-mattis-may-resign-trump-administration-after-midterm-elections-moderate-dog.html

Another senior departure

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/top-commerce-department-official-removed-possibly-related-to-internal-probe
Top Commerce Dept. Official Removed 

Could Republicans actually lose the Senate too?
Bonus item: Colbert on Trump's hurricane response

https://www.thedailybeast.com/stephen-colbert-goes-off-on-trumps-sickening-hurricane-maria-tweets

***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 (http://pbd.blogspot.com) 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.***