Monday, March 25, 2019

#$&?@!!!


Here's the letter from AG William Barr to Congress

https://judiciary.house.gov/sites/democrats.judiciary.house.gov/files/documents/AG%20March%2024%202019%20Letter%20to%20House%20and%20Senate%20Judiciary%20Committees.pdf

Two key points: one, that the Mueller investigation did not find "coordination" between the Trump campaign and the Russians, defining coordination as an “agreement — tacit or express — between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference.” So the pattern of behavior which we all know about did not prove a "tacit or express agreement" -- and so apparently did not constitute "coordination"

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/barr-letter-mueller-found-no-russia-trump-camp-coordination

[NB: This is a lawyer's answer to a legal question about a provable crime. Fair enough. But this does nothing to justify or explain the pattern of interactions with Russians, financial and otherwise, about which Trump and his associates consistently lied. It doesn't mean those acts weren't foolish, irresponsible, and corrupt in intent. It just says that there wasn't proof of a clear quid pro quo.]

More: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/03/trump-mueller-report-russia/
Barr’s note is clear that Mueller did not uncover evidence Trump and his gang were in direct cahoots with Russia’s covert operation to interfere with the US election and boost Trump’s odds. But the hyper-focus on this sort of collusion—as if Trump instructed Russian hackers on how to penetrate the computer network of the Democratic National Committee—has always diverted attention from a basic and important element of the scandal that was proven long before Mueller drafted his final report: Trump and his lieutenants interacted with Russia while Putin was attacking the 2016 election and provided encouraging signals to the Kremlin as it sought to subvert American democracy. They aided and abetted Moscow’s attempt to cover up its assault on the United States (which aimed to help Trump win the White House). And they lied about all this. And, yes, there were instances of collusion—not on the specifics of the attack, but secret scheming between Trumpworld and Russia. None of the evidence underlying this is in dispute. No matter what Mueller report contains, a harsh verdict remains: Trump and his gang betrayed the United States in the greatest scandal in American history. [read on]

Second, Mueller looked at obstruction and came to no conclusion about obstruction of justice, either way. He shared the arguments on both sides and said explicitly that this was not an "exoneration" of Trump. Attorney General Barr took it on himself, after consulting with Rod Rosenstein (but NOT Mueller), to conclude that the evidence is “not sufficient to establish” obstruction: “In cataloguing the President's actions, many of which took place in public view, the report identifies no actions that, in our judgment, constitute obstructive conduct, had a nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding, and were done with corrupt intent”

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1844746
"The Special Counsel's decision to describe the facts of his obstruction investigation without reaching any legal conclusions leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime," Barr writes. 

[Matthew Miller] This "leaves it to the Attorney General" language is so strange in that it seems to imply Barr had to reach a conclusion, when in fact he didn't. He could've just passed on Mueller's findings [to Congress], but decided to put his thumb on the scale after a 48 hour review of the facts.  

In other words, given an ambivalent conclusion from Mueller, Barr concluded immediately that Trump couldn't be charged with obstruction. Seeing the report and the evidence for the first time, how could he reach that conclusion so quickly?

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/3/24/18279851/mueller-trump-obstruction-justice-exoneration 

[NB: The glaring question to me is, how could Mueller not have settled this issue, one way or the other? This is what he was hired to do, he knew the evidence better than anyone, and he is a very experienced prosecutor. Making such determinations is a basic responsibility of prosecutors. And especially in this case, this was the crucial question dealing with Trump himself. Mueller HAD to make an independent determination on this matter. How could he let two Trump appointees make that call?] 

Last June private citizen William Barr wrote an unsolicited letter to the DOJ saying that Trump's actions didn't constitute obstruction of justice. Later, Trump nominated him to become Attorney General. Fast forward to the Mueller release, which doesn't draw a conclusion on obstruction, and following which Barr takes it upon himself to make the final decision. Guess what it was?

https://www.lawfareblog.com/bill-barrs-very-strange-memo-obstruction-justice
Bill Barr’s Very Strange Memo on Obstruction of Justice

https://www.aclu.org/blog/executive-branch/william-barrs-unsolicited-memo-trump-about-obstruction-justice
William Barr’s Unsolicited Memo to Trump About Obstruction of Justice

[NB: This just stinks to high heaven.] 

And this explanation for the decision on obstruction is just WRONG

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/24/706351394/read-the-justice-departments-summary-of-the-mueller-report
"In making this determination, we noted that the Special Counsel recognized that "the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference," and that, while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President's intent with respect to obstruction. . . .

[NB: So, the fact that a later judgment determined that there wasn't "collusion" means that Trump couldn't have intended to cover up a crime? Or does this mean that Trump never considered his Russia dealings to be criminal, and so couldn't have obstructed justice? None of this makes sense: we know that he tried repeatedly, and directly, to interfere with or end the investigation. I don't know what else "obstruction" is supposed to mean.

Of course, it is convenient for the argument about intent that Trump refused to answer any questions about obstruction, either in person or in writing. And Mueller let him get away with it.]

Then there is this

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/24/706351394/read-the-justice-departments-summary-of-the-mueller-report
"The report's second part addresses a number of actions by the President — most of which have been the subject of public reporting — that the Special Counsel investigated as potentially raising obstruction-of-justice concerns. . . ." 

[NB: Which means there were additional actions by Trump that have NOT been publicly reported. This MUST be looked into.]

Let the gloating begin
White House: Barr letter shows “total and complete exoneration” of President Trump

[NB: As you can see, that is not true.]

You know where else they're gloating?
 
There are a number of other open investigations at the federal and state level, several of which could still cause Trump some serious trouble. What does Trump think?

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-mueller-report-southern-district-new-york-other-investigations-no-clue-d01604a52f6c
“You know they say there are lots of things. I don’t know about these things, just so you understand,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo in a pre-taped interview that aired Sunday, when asked about additional investigations. “Everyone says this one that one, I don’t even know about this. I called, I said to my lawyers, are we being looked at here? They don’t even know what people are talking about.”

More: https://politicalwire.com/2019/03/24/we-need-to-know-muellers-unknown-reasoning/
“At the top of my list of unanswered questions is why Mueller declined to prosecute former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort or Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. for violating laws prohibiting the solicitation of foreign contributions to American campaigns, based on those campaign surrogates’ June 2016 meeting with Russian agents at Trump Tower. How Mueller answered this question could have profound ramifications for what federal law enforcement will do to stop foreign involvement in the upcoming 2020 elections.”

Going back to the big picture, a letter saying "we did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute" is as good as it gets for Trump and his team -- because we know that the actual evidence will certainly show sleazy and corrupt behavior that fell short of a chargeable crime. That's why we need to see the actual evidence

https://thinkprogress.org/dems-call-for-full-report-barr-letter-ce67b669b4f6/

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/dem-leaders-to-barr-your-mueller-summary-raises-as-many-questions-as-it-answers

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler says they have some questions for William Barr

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nadler-pledges-to-call-ag-barr-to-testify-before-house-judiciary-committee
"In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future."

On collusion, House Intel Chair Adam Schiff points out what we ALREADY know about Trump and Russia

https://www.thedailybeast.com/adam-schiff-theres-still-significant-evidence-that-president-donald-trump-colluded-with-russia

Nadler too: https://thinkprogress.org/nadler-cnn-we-know-there-was-collusion-trump-russia-mueller-report-b3c17bce9a39

Schiff adds that Mueller should have forced the issue about interviewing Trump

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/schiff-mistake-for-mueller-not-to-interview-trump-in-person

[NB: The received wisdom seems to be that this was a pointless fight because Trump would just have pleaded the Fifth anyway. I doubt that Trump's ego would have allowed him to do that -- and even if he did, then you have the president admitting that he did something he didn't want to testify about. I'd take that.]

More: https://www.thedailybeast.com/house-intel-committee-considers-calling-mueller-over-trump-russia-obstruction
House Intel Committee Considers Calling Mueller

The Big Question, now that we know that the Russians wanted Donald Trump to become president: WHY?

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/mueller-report-leaves-one-key-question-unanswered/585625

More: https://www.vox.com/2019/3/24/18279895/mueller-report-barr-trump-russia
Russia is still a threat to American elections

In other news . . . 

North Korea can't figure out what Trump's policy is (Join the club!)

https://thinkprogress.org/confusion-surrounds-trumps-sanctions-strategy-as-north-koreans-prepare-for-hard-times-4ca1d86a32f1/

Trump knows his most loyal base are the evangelicals. He gave them Pence, he's given them judges, and he's giving them a significant rollback of abortion rights

https://crooksandliars.com/2019/03/trump-and-pence-turning-back-progress

Will the Supreme Court approve a power grab by the judiciary?

https://thinkprogress.org/supreme-court-auer-deference-donald-trump-is-stupid-448c19722284/

It's still early -- ridiculously early -- but Kamala Harris and Beto O'Rourke look like the two candidates with real energy behind them

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

WAITING. . . .

While we wait to learn what is in the Mueller report, some more speculation

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/22/mueller-report-analysis-1233091
The best you can expect is a summary document that strips out any of the classified and grand jury information Mueller gave to Barr, as well as anything dealing with people whom the special counsel chose not to prosecute. That’s because DOJ policy is not to air people’s dirty laundry if it doesn’t lead to a criminal indictment. It’s possible the Democratic-controlled House will subpoena the unedited report, something committee leaders have pledged to do. That could lead to further disclosures but also the possibility of a court battle that could drag out for years . . . Dozens of sealed indictments remain filed in D.C. federal court spanning the nearly two years Mueller’s been on the job. But there’s an important caveat to that: All those could be unrelated to the Russia investigation. . . . . [I]t seems unlikely that Mueller would leave such a high-profile, polarizing prosecution for ordinary Justice Department prosecutors to handle. . . . 

[W]e’re still waiting to see the special counsel’s final judgement on topics like whether Trump and his campaign conspired with the Kremlin to win the White House and if the president obstructed justice through actions like firing FBI Director James Comey. Frustratingly, though, that judgement may not be a “yes” or “no” conclusion. If Mueller uncovered salacious evidence, but not enough to bring an indictment, he may omit any mention of those actions, since DOJ rarely publishes findings that don’t rise to the level of a criminal indictment. Comey did notably break that tradition with his press conference at the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, a choice that has reverberated across the political landscape since. For now, what we do know is that Mueller has brought charges against at least 34 people and three companies. That includes guilty pleas from Trump’s former national security adviser, his ex-personal lawyer, and the one-time campaign chairman and deputy chairman. . . . Mueller has also already detailed the astonishing scope of Moscow’s election meddling. His charges against 12 Russian intelligence officials explained the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, the pilfering of internal emails and the release of those messages through WikiLeaks and the online persona “Guccifer 2.0.” Additionally, the special counsel lifted the curtain on the alleged “troll farm” housed in Russia’s Internet Research Agency, which filled social media platforms with posts slamming Clinton and backing Trump.

[NB: Two aspects of this process have helped Trump. One is the way that key details of the investigation have leaked out in charging documents or other means over the past two years. If you wrapped them up in one big release coming out now, we would be talking about a presidency in crisis: the criminal behavior of his chief foreign policy advisor, two chief campaign officers, and others in his orbit. A string of lies, from Trump directly, about Russia involvement. Some truly sleazy arrangements with Michael Cohen. Imagine them all being released at once with no forewarning. Aside from whatever else new we might learn about now, we would be talking about impeachment hearings immediately.

The other thing is the epistemological relativism of the moment. The Mueller results will probably be . . . ambiguous. There will be a furious spin effort, for and against Trump. Uncertainty and doubt serve him, because he thrives in ambiguity and because legally (or impeachment-wise) any doubt serves the defense. Trump has baked certain lies into the public framing of the report, and unless there is clear and specific new evidence of what he did and said, he will claim vindication even if the weight of all the evidence is mostly against him. The political struggle over releasing the details of the report will be just that, political and seen as such -- and we have no way of knowing right now if it will be successful. Congressional hearings are not the best way to investigate, in the hyper-partisan spirit of the moment, because any new testimony will be instantly fudged by Republican lackies. It will all just become more he said/they said. And that serves Trump too.] 

We may hear about the "primary conclusions" today

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/no-barr-mueller-report-saturday

The report is "comprehensive," running to hundreds of pages

https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/mueller-files-comprehensive-report-in-concluding-investigation-1463536707981 

There are three legitimate exceptions to releasing everything: material that could compromise ongoing investigations; grand jury material; and classified material (though the latter could be shared with Congress in closed session)

https://www.msnbc.com/david-gura/watch/sen-coons-everything-in-mueller-report-should-be-released-to-congress-1463646275850

https://www.vox.com/2019/3/22/18277872/mueller-report-finished-bill-barr-congress-public 

But Nancy Pelosi says: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/23/pelosi-mueller-report-1233317
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats on Saturday she'll rebuff any efforts by the Justice Department to reveal details of special counsel Robert Mueller's findings in a highly classified setting — a tactic she warned could be employed to shield the report's conclusions from the public. . . 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/pelosi-summary-of-mueller-report-insufficient-as-doj-says-no-findings-before-sunday
Pelosi: Summary of Mueller Report ‘Insufficient’ . . . “Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise,” she wrote in a letter to Democrats, adding that the report’s findings must also be provided to the public.

Here is the best single analysis I have read (thanks to DK for the link)

https://twitter.com/sethabramson/status/1109203639581712386
At the risk of sounding like Mike Myers' famous SNL talk-show host Linda Richman, "Mueller's final Trump-Russia report" is neither "Mueller's," final, about "Trump-Russia" or a "report." So all the breathless "reporting" today suggesting otherwise is inaccurate and misleading. What we call the "Trump-Russia" investigation is a web of criminal, counterintelligence, and Congressional investigations that intersect with the work of the Special Counsel's Office. So there are three key "c"-words here—"criminal," "counterintelligence," and "Congressional." Special Counsel Mueller is part of the "criminal" investigation; Mueller's work *intersects* with the "counterintelligence" investigation; and his work feeds into and draws from the Congressional investigation. And here's the key: all three of these investigations are ongoing.

As part of the "criminal" investigation, Mueller investigated some things his office then prosecuted; he investigated some things his office handed off to others; he investigated some things he chose not to prosecute; he investigated some things he is letting Congress handle. Mueller's "criminal" investigations—that is, the information he derived during his nearly 24 months of *criminal investigative work*—then fed directly into multiple "counterintelligence" investigations and will undoubtedly feed into many ongoing "Congressional" investigations. 

The news we got today is that Mueller will not *himself* be bringing any more indictments. That's it. That's *all* that has just happened. Any reporting that says the "Russia probe is done" is false. Any reporting that "Mueller's work is done" is false. It is only what I said. Focusing *exclusively* on what Mueller's office will be doing going forward and *exclusively* on the criminal investigation—so, a small part of what we somewhat misleadingly call the "Trump-Russia scandal"—we can see that Mueller may be done indicting (*maybe*) but that's it.

As of today, Mueller had ten attorneys working for him (himself not included, I believe) down from seventeen originally. But we found out this week that certain attorneys who "left" his Office will *still be doing work for it*. Why? Because the Office has some work left to do. That Office, whether still formally constituted or not, will see its attorneys prosecute Roger Stone in November, eight months from now. It will see its cooperating witness Rick Gates participate in "multiple" ongoing federal criminal investigations. And that's just the start: The Office will see its cooperating witness Mike Flynn testify in the Kian trial in July (Kian was a NatSec official on Trump's transition team whose case intersects with all the other parts of the Trump-Russia investigation). Flynn is also involved in *multiple* other cases.

The Office will continue to pursue grand jury testimony from a Roger Stone witness, and continue to pursue a substantial trove of documents (for its grand jury, which is seated through July as far as was last reported) from an as-yet unnamed state-owned foreign corporation. The Office has—it appears—referred to DOJ for prosecution at least one man it previously promised to prosecute (Corsi) and presumably has referred to DOJ for *possible* prosecution a whole host of "Trumpworld" figures who Congress has recently accused of perjuring themselves. 

We also heard from major media over the past few weeks that Bob Mueller's office was referring out an unknown number of new cases to other federal prosecutors, including presumably—based on past cooperation and information-sharing practices—prosecutors in SDNY, EDVA, and DC. We *also* know from major media that there are many ongoing cases for which Mueller's office conducted some of the investigation, all of the investigation, or shared information with the case's primary investigators, such as Cohen's SDNY cases and the Maria Butina case in DC.  

What some in the media decided—I do not know why—is that the only cases they would associate with Mueller would be (a) indictments Mueller's office brought, (b) that were completed before he issued any report to the DOJ, and (c) immediately (on their face) involved collusion. So you have reporters today blithely saying that "Mueller is done" when Mueller will be prosecuting Roger Stone for most of 2019. You have reporters saying "he's done" when cases he initiated are not only ongoing in multiple jurisdictions but may well provide new intel there. If Roger Stone decides to cooperate—before or after conviction—that's Mueller. The same is true for Kian. The same is even true for Manafort (who can cooperate to reduce his sentence for the next year). But the same is also true for the many cases Gates and Flynn are working. The same is true for Butina. And for indictments that arise from the ongoing counterintelligence investigation(s). Or any new criminal referrals that go from Congress to DOJ. The same is true for cases Mueller began—that then went elsewhere—that could lead to new indictments. The same is true for any cases that Mueller passed directly on to DOJ to let DOJ decide whether to prosecute them or not. In short, media can tell us today that *Mueller himself* will bring no new indictments—but even that might be conditioned by what happens in Stone's case.

So Mueller has indicated not just all the charges he himself brought, but all those he sent elsewhere that we know of and all those he sent elsewhere that we *don't* know of. As for the "counterintelligence" investigation—quite possibly still ongoing—we'll get nothing at all. There may then be *another* category in what Mueller has submitted which includes cases he referred back to Main Justice. And a final category (possibly) that includes cases he suggests be referred to Congress because an indictment is impossible (e.g., cases involving Trump). As to what Mueller will do with one other category—inculpatory evidence he discovered involving potential offenses he regarded as outside his purview—I have no idea whether those will be in the report, were sent to other federal prosecutors, or will be given to Main Justice. . . .

That is, no matter the scope of what Mueller "reports," we know he investigated—and may have sent to other prosecutors outside Main Justice—data on pre-election Trump collusion with Saudi Arabia, Israel, UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, and Qatar: all intersecting with Russian collusion. So for instance, major media reported that Mueller was looking into Trump-Saudi collusion—and soon after Representative Schiff of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence picked up that thread, and will pursue it even if Mueller left it out of his "report" to DOJ. . . .
 
What we have today are a large number of non-attorney journalists who don't understand what a *small part* of the big picture is being dealt with and discussed today because they want to believe they have a handle on a story they do *not* have a handle on. That's distressing. . . . [read on]

Let's pause and consider what we already KNOW. We know that Russia interfered aggressively in 2016 in order to help Trump win. We know that members of Trump's team helped provide Russia with information to facilitate that, and coordinated their messages with what they knew Russia was doing. And we know that Trump has pursued Russia-friendly policies since his election. The national interest demands knowing EVERYTHING that happened (and could happen again). It isn't just a question of crimes, even if there weren't crimes

https://www.emptywheel.net/2019/03/23/after-mueller-an-off-ramp-on-russia-for-the-venal-fucks/
  • Trump pursued a ridiculously lucrative $300 million real estate deal even though the deal would use sanctioned banks, involve a former GRU officer as a broker, and require Putin’s personal involvement at least through July 2016.
  • The Russians chose to alert the campaign that they planned to dump Hillary emails, again packaging it with the promise of a meeting with Putin.
  • After the Russians had offered those emails and at a time when the family was pursuing that $300 million real estate deal, Don Jr took a meeting offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” At the end (per the sworn testimony of four people at the meeting) he said his father would revisit Magnitsky sanctions relief if he won. Contrary to the claim made in a statement authored by Trump, there was some effort to follow up on Jr’s assurances after the election.
  • The campaign asked rat-fucker Roger Stone to optimize the WikiLeaks releases and according to Jerome Corsi he had some success doing so.
  • In what Andrew Weissmann called a win-win (presumably meaning it could help Trump’s campaign or lead to a future business gig for him), Manafort provided Konstantin Kilimnik with polling data that got shared with Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs. At the same meeting, he discussed a “peace” plan for Ukraine that would amount to sanctions relief.
  • Trump undercut Obama’s response to the Russian hacks in December 2016, in part because he believed retaliation for the hacks devalued his victory. Either for that reason, to pay off Russia, and/or to pursue his preferred policy, Trump tried to mitigate any sanctions, an attempt that has (with the notable exception of those targeting Oleg Deripaska) been thwarted by Congress. [read on]
More: https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/03/they-were-happy-to-have-help.html
But hundreds of pages of legal filings and independent reporting since Mueller was appointed nearly two years ago have painted a striking portrayal of a presidential campaign that appeared untroubled by a foreign adversary’s attack on the U.S. political system — and eager to accept the help. When Trump’s eldest son was offered dirt about Hillary Clinton that he was told was part of a Russian government effort to help his father, he responded, “I love it.” When longtime Trump friend Roger Stone was told a Russian national wanted to sell damaging information about Clinton, he took the meeting. When the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks published documents that the Democratic National Committee said had been stolen by Russian operatives, Trump’s campaign quickly used the information to its advantage. Rather than condemn the Kremlin, Trump famously asked Russia to steal more. Even after taking office, Trump has been hesitant to condemn Russia’s actions, instead calling the investigation a “witch hunt” and denouncing the work of federal investigators seeking to understand a Russian attack on the country he leads. 

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/without-mueller-report-congress-already-had-facts/585616/
Even Without Mueller’s Report, Congress Had All the Facts It Needed 

https://www.politico.com/interactives/2019/the-mueller-probe-subplots/?plots
25 subplots to watch in the Mueller Investigation

If the Mueller report comes to nothing (and I think it WON'T come to nothing) we will hear no end of crowing from Trump and his apologists. But that's not the worst of it

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/22/trump-aides-mueller-counteroffensive-1233079
Trump aides gear up for Mueller report counteroffensive . . .  Working in earnest since last fall, at the first signs that Mueller might be finishing up, they have prepared statements and talking points for loyal surrogates, including congressional Republicans and state GOP officials. Different versions aim to cover multiple different conclusions of the Justice Department investigation into whether Trump associates conspired with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election, ranging from the most damning conclusions likely to trigger impeachment calls to a potential exoneration of the president. . . . Trump will almost certainly respond via Twitter — either to claim vindication, denounce Mueller with new relish or some combination thereof. Particularly if Mueller’s conclusions are not particularly damaging, Trump could make an address the nation. More likely, Trump would make his case at a series of boisterous Make America Great Again campaign rallies across the country. The Trump aides, including those in the White House press and counsel’s offices, are primarily focused on an outcome that has Trump being exonerated . . . In that case, a triumphal president will blast the investigation for spending more than two years and millions of dollars in an effort to delegitimize or even destroy his presidency. . . . Trump and his allies plan to criticize House Democrats even more aggressively after the completion of Mueller’s investigation if Trump is exonerated, accusing them of examining the exact same issues as Mueller for purely partisan reasons. “They shouldn’t just take a bow, but go on the offensive,” said Michael Caputo, former top Trump campaign adviser. . . .

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/03/whats-next-trench-warfare.html
If there's no collusion that was found then it strongly vindicates President Trump but it raises those serious questions about whos going to be held accountable at the FBI, the bad actors that had a political agenda which goes against everything that law enforcement is supposed to be about.
             -- GOP Minority whip, Steve Scalise

A “lock her up” chant broke out at Mar-a-Lago tonight during Sen. Graham’s speech as he called for an investigation into Clinton and the origins of the dossier. Trump watched on from a table in the ballroom. . . . 

Fox World doesn't have to see the Mueller report to know that it is totally GREAT NEWS for Trump

https://crooksandliars.com/2019/03/fox-already-weaponizing-mueller-report

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/fox-news-reacted-to-the-mueller-report-by-declaring-victory-for-trump.html

In other investigation news. . . .

What an unbelievable crook

https://politicalwire.com/2019/03/23/prosecutors-suspect-manafort-pulling-another-fast-one/
“Prosecutors suspect Paul Manafort might be trying to secretly claw back about a million dollars he agreed to hand over to the government for his financial crimes — and he could be using the same type of shell company at the core of his legal problems to fake a loan”. . .
  In other news . . .

Appalling

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/03/he-never-leaves-penny-on-sidewalk.html
Our corrupt President’s hotel, in which he retains a conflicting financial interest, is selling products with the image of the White House on it. I’d say he’s monetizing the presidency again, but it’s a continuous effort so “again” wouldn’t make sense.

While Trump keeps marketing on his name, there are a lot of other people who want nothing to do with anything that has Trump's name on it

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1844514
Could we interest you in a nice pre-built suite at 725 5th Avenue? . . . The Trump Organization has put together a sales brochure pushing space at this phenomenal location, which just also happens to be Trump Tower, the central gem in Trump’s real estate crown. But nowhere in the brochure does one encounter the word “Trump.” It’s not there in the picture of the outside of the building. It’s not there in the name of the company offering the units. It’s not there in describing any of the location’s amenities. The pictures for the brochure have even been carefully cropped so that familiar lower floors of the outside of the tower can’t be seen. . . .  

ISIS is far from defeated

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2019/03/23/isis-is-far-from-defeated/ 

The great businessman

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/1844106
Donald Trump is blaming the UAW for General Motors’ Lordstown, Ohio, plant closing. A Republican blaming a union for a massive company’s actions is not so surprising, but Trump is claiming that union dues are responsible, which is both strange and ignorant. Union dues are paid by workers to their union; they don’t come from the company. But a new report from Hedge Clippers and the American Federation of Teachers offers a better idea of who to blame for the Lordstown plant closing. And guess what! GM, the company that decided to close the plant, says it needs to make $4.5 billion in cuts—through layoffs and plant closings—to survive. But “GM has given over five times as much money—$25 billion—to Wall Street hedge funds and other investors in the past four years, including over $10 billion in controversial stock buybacks.” So, yeah. GM has money for stock buybacks, but not to keep its plants open and its workers employed. 

Oil execs laugh at what easy touches the Trump gang are

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/03/23/trump-big-oil-industry-influence-investigation-zinke-226106
Gathered for a private meeting at a beachside Ritz-Carlton in Southern California, the oil executives were celebrating a colleague’s sudden rise. David Bernhardt, their former lawyer, had been appointed by President Donald Trump to the powerful No. 2 spot at the Department of the Interior. Just five months into the Trump era, the energy developers who make up the Independent Petroleum Association of America had already watched the new president order a sweeping overhaul of environmental regulations that were cutting into their bottom lines — rules concerning smog, fracking and endangered species protection. . . . On the recording, Russell, the IPAA’s CEO, described an extended meeting he had already had with Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general and climate-change doubter whose tenure at EPA would be cut short by ethics scandals. What started as a simple meet-and-greet became an invitation to critique the EPA’s air pollution regulations, the oil executive said. . . . “And what was really great is there was about four or five EPA staffers there, who were all like, ‘Write that down, write that down,’ all the way through this,’’ Russell continued. “And when we left, I said that was just our overview.” The audience laughed again.  “So it’s really a new world for us and very, very helpful.” . . .

Bonus item: Trevor Noah on reparations

https://slate.com/culture/2019/03/trevor-noah-reparations-excuses-daily-show.html

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