Saturday, March 31, 2018


Trump's personnel office is full of a bunch of twenty-something party kids. No wonder they can't get decent appointees, and can't handle proper vetting for the ones they do

The White House personnel office is basically a frat house
The rest of the piece basically says the personnel office is wildly understaffed; that nobody outside the White House is volunteering to help screen candidates; and anyway, nobody wants to work for Trump in the first place. But this bad situation isn’t made any better by hiring people like this . . .

Bonus item: Ohmmmm . . . .
While the stress of President Trump’s administration eventually pushed former ethics chief Walter Shaub out the door and into the arms of a partisan watchdog group, before he left, he took some enlightened steps to try to reduce tension in the Office of Government Ethics. He meditated. . . . Shaub and more than a dozen other ethics staffers would take 10 minutes out of each day to clear the conference room, dim the lights, close their eyes and listen to the smooth, sometimes sardonic voice of British former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe as he led the staff through a series of meditative breaths . . .

***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.***

Friday, March 30, 2018


Russia is engaged in cyberwarfare against the U.S. And Trump doesn't care 

He doesn't want to upset Putin
President Donald Trump told aides not to publicize his decision to allow the sale of U.S. weapons to Ukraine, NBC News reported Thursday, so as to avoid agitating Russian President Vladimir Putin. . . .

A little background: 

Trump may not fire his Chief of Staff, but he is ignoring him (he's already said he doesn't think he needs one -- and has always chafed at Kelly's attempts to impose some order and discipline)

[NB: So, when does Kelly just quit?]

Trump claims construction has begun on The Wall™. He's lying 


Trump's pattern of firings shows once again that you can't believe anything this administration says 

The key to dealing with Trump is to not give a damn if he might fire you or not
Sessions, Risking Trump’s Wrath, Doesn’t Appoint Special Counsel to Investigate FBI

Fired VA Sect'y leaves behind a going-away present
On his way out, VA’s Shulkin warns of radical privatization scheme

Shulkin: Trump didn’t mention firing in call hours before he was fired

The Veterans Affairs department has 350,000 employees. Trump says he loves the vets. So why pick someone to lead it because . . . he looked good on TV?
Trump’s VA pick blindsides staff, deepens agency disarray
Trump Is Setting Up His New VA Secretary to Fail
Trump’s Crony Cabinet Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen

EPA head Scott Pruitt is a scandal magnet (and he thinks he has a chance to become president) 

Jared Kushner's long relationship with John Bolton

Democrats demand FBI investigation into whether Jared Kushner leaked classified info to Saudi Arabia 

What happens when your lawyer's lawyer is a worse lawyer than the lawyer he is defending?

Trump’s lawyer has a lawyer and he just made the Stormy Daniels situation a lot worse

[NB: David Schwartz is lying: of course Trump knew about the agreement and payment to Daniels. But he SAYS he didn't know, and if he didn't I don't see how that doesn't invalidate the entire agreement.]

David Schwartz is so absurd that the audience laughs out loud at him during a Thursday morning interview
A key issue in the Stormy Daniels case is whether the $130,000 payment was designed to benefit Trump’s campaign for president. If it was, it would likely be in violation of federal election law since it would effectively be a contribution to the campaign well above the individual limit. Kelly asked a basic question: Why would Michael Cohen make this payment on Trump’s behalf? Schwartz responded that the decision was motivated, in part, by the proximity to the election. “You gotta see the way this all comes down,” Schwartz said, “First off he got approached, OK, he got approached 19 days or 15 days before the election. It’ll take $130,000 to make this go away.” In other words, Cohen was motivated because he understood the story would be damaging to Trump’s chances in the upcoming election. He is speaking on behalf of his client, and this is just about the worst possible answer Schwartz could provide.

Things went downhill from there. . .  [read on]

Trump’s Lawyer’s Lawyer Now Says Trump’s Lawyer Wasn’t Actually Trump’s Lawyer 

"Loyalty to Trump" -- how Trump's personal obsessions and foibles have transformed Republican politics
“Fealty to Trump has become more of a litmus test than ever for Republicans. Emboldened by private polling and focus groups that show the president is incredibly popular with the base, GOP candidates are stepping up attacks on their rivals over any daylight they’ve shown with Trump, even if it stemmed from his personal conduct toward women or apostasy on traditional conservative orthodoxy. It’s another illustration of the degree to which Trumpism has come to define the Republican Party. This is no longer the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. It’s the party of Donald J. Trump.”

In other news . . .

Trump's phony infrastructure promises
Trump promised $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending. He’s 1 percent of the way there.

Trump gave a speech:
President Donald Trump traveled to Ohio on Thursday to tout his infrastructure plan, but couldn’t stop himself from talking about many seemingly unrelated topics. . . .

The Trump admin doesn't care about workplace safety

Trump's policies are cruel -- and meant to be so
ICE Now Detaining Pregnant Women, Thanks to Trump Order 

Scott Walker keeps losing in court, so he will hold those special elections after all

Trump attacks Amazon because he hates Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post. As with AT&T and CNN, he wants to punish his perceived media enemies

Rethinking global trade

The right-wing assault on the Parkland kids is unbelievably cruel. What's the MATTER with these people?

But then there's this. . .
Companies pull ads from Fox’s Ingraham after her jab at Parkland student . . . Ingraham on Thursday issued an apology via Twitter for the remarks. . . .
Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg said Thursday that Laura Ingraham’s apology for taunting him over his University of California rejections is “not enough” — if it’s only motivated by a desire to not lose any more sponsors for her Fox News show. . . .

John Heilman talked a minute ago about fear and we think about politics today, we think particularly about the Republican majority and America's greatest scared rabbit Paul Ryan and we look at all these Republican members that are scared to death, scared to death of Fox News, of Laura Ingraham, of Rush Limbaugh and what you see in this young man's quality of character, fearlessness. Maybe that's what happens after you've been down range of an AR-15 that kills your classmates and comes close to killing you. You lose all fear because this kid is not scared. He's not scared of the NRA. He's not intimidated and scared by Laura Ingraham. Laura Ingraham huffs and puffs. You have half the Republican party hiding under the table. Half of them are hiding under their bed. they're so scared. So timid, so skittish, not these kids, though. . . . But it's such a contrast, these kids, to the elected officials in the republican party.

What's going on with Kellyanne's husband?
Kellyanne Conway's husband has begun deleting a series of tweets he posted in the last month that are critical of President Donald Trump. . . .

***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.***

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Mueller establishes ANOTHER link between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence. It's getting pretty obvious, isn't it? 


John Dowd tried to push pardons for Flynn and Manafort
As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators prepared charges against Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn last year, President Donald Trump’s then-lawyer sent the two men word that Trump might pardon them, according to a new report from five New York Times journalists. Yes — if the Times report is right, the president of the United States’ personal lawyer floated preemptive possible pardons in secret communications with two of the president’s close associates. And this sure looks like an attempt to prevent them from flipping and telling Mueller what they knew. . . . [read on!]

[NB: Did Trump know about, or even direct, these offers? We don't know that yet, but we do know that Mueller has been asking about Trump's comments about pardons as part of his obstruction of justice case. 

And what was Trump saying publicly while these Dowd conversations were happening?
[July 22, 2017] Trump’s comment about pardons, tucked into an attack on the media, raised the possibility that he was considering his options if the investigations do not turn out the way he hopes. Trump did not specify who, if anyone, he might consider pardoning. His tweets appeared to be written in response to a report by The Washington Post this week that Trump and his legal team have examined presidential powers to pardon Trump aides, family members and possibly even himself. . . .“While all agree the U.S. President has the complete power to pardon, why think of that when only crime so far is LEAKS against us. FAKE NEWS,” Trump wrote.]

Who Ratted Out John Dowd?  

Another non-denial denial
This is the devious word game the White House is playing on Russia pardons

10 legal experts on why Trump can’t pardon his way out of the Russia investigation 

Grain of salt. . .  but people in DC think Trump might really try to fire Mueller soon

Trump attack unleashes oppo against Mueller ‘It looks like the beginnings of a campaign,’ said a source familiar with Trump’s legal strategy. . . 

Trump's new lawyer is . . . the best he could get
Ekonomou does not appear to have ever worked at a major national law firm, ever worked in Washington, DC or even worked as a defense lawyer. . . . [read on]

Trump's impulsive and ill-informed approach to foreign policy allows him to get played, again. We see it with Putin and others. He thinks he's so smart -- but behind his back they must be laughing at him
China throws Trump a curveball ahead of his meeting with Kim
[March 16, 2016] Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” who he talks with consistently about foreign policy, Trump responded, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things." . . . "[M]y primary consultant is myself and I have a good instinct for this stuff." 

No, North Korea is not going to "denuclearize" 

Trump fires VA Sect'y, and in what is becoming a common trend, replaces him with his personal physician

The growing list of Trump departures:

The Census Bureau didn't want to implement Trump's discriminatory citizenship question -- but Wilbur Ross forced them to

The huge lawsuit that is coming:

In other news. . .

Trump has been pretty quiet lately. Some think, TOO QUIET

Perhaps you already noticed this
The Most Male Administration In Decades 

Sources: Zinke tells employees diversity isn't important

All the female senators, of both parties, stand together on sexual harassment and assault 

Think about this for a second
More FBI agents are dedicated to looking at Hillary Clinton's email than Trump's Russia scandal

[NB: Witch hunt?]

Cambridge Analytica is . . . evil 

Relentless bullying from the GOP has the FBI opening an investigation into the Carter Page FISA warrant. Okay, fine -- but let's be clear: the Page warrant (and the Steele memo cited in it) HAD NOTHING TO DO with initiating an investigation into Trump-Russia (that had already begun)

Why is it taking so long to announce a new WH Communications Director?

It's a mistake, as I mentioned the other day, to talk about repealing the Second Amendment -- it's not going to happen, but now it gives Trump and the NRA traction to fundraise and get-out-the-vote for candidates in the fall who will "protect gun rights" and appoint another right-wing Supreme Court justice. Allowing them to foment paranoia that "the liberals are coming after your guns" serves their purpose, not ours. The right approach, and the politically smarter one, is to talk about ENFORCING the Second Amendment, as written


A better approach: 

The White House calls police shootings of black men a "local issue," which it would be . . . IF IT DIDN'T KEEP HAPPENING ALL ACROSS THE DAMN COUNTRY!

Stormy Daniels’ Lawyer Moves To Depose Trump And Cohen


Michael Cohen's lawyer says he never told Trump anything about the agreement with Stormy Daniels or the $130,000 payment. That sounds absurdly untrue

“A lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution by refusing to divorce himself from his businesses cleared a critical hurdle Wednesday when a federal judge in Maryland refused the Justice Department’s plea to dismiss it,” the New York Times reports. “The decision could allow the plaintiffs to scrutinize the Trump Organization’s financial records for payments from foreign entities and others possibly seeking to influence the White House.”


What do the Trump opinion polls mean?

***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.***

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


"A" for All Alone. We know some of the major reasons why no credible law firm wants to work for Trump: he's an impossible client, he doesn't pay his bills. . . and he's going to lose. But here's an additional reason that doesn't get as much attention

Think about it. Trump faces an aggressive investigation led by the very best people in the Justice Dept, with every indicator suggesting they are narrowing in on him -- and he can't find lawyers to defend him
Trump’s personal legal team now consists of just one full-time attorney—Jay Sekulow—a remarkably shallow bench for a president facing potential obstruction of justice charges and the prospect of impeachment. “As far as I can tell, Ty Cobb is the only attorney left on the Trump team with experience handling federal criminal investigations,” said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor who has been closely following the probe. “The team is thinner than you might expect for perhaps the most important investigation of our lifetime.” . . . Trump’s inability to assemble or maintain an experienced legal team could prove crippling if he is forced to square off against Mueller, a fearsome federal prosecutor assisted by “16 of the best lawyers in the country.” . . .

“What happened between last week, when DiGenova and Toensing were announced as joining the team, and yesterday?” mused Neal Katyal, a former acting solicitor general under President Obama. “The conflict of interest issue was apparent on Tuesday, and yet we were told they were joining the team and that Mark Corallo (the person with the most significant conflict) had waived any concern. Then Dowd resigns Thursday, and yet by Sunday DiGenova and Toensing are gone, leaving the president with only two lawyers.” That strange development, Katyal posited to me, suggests that Robert Mueller may have intervened. “Diligent prosecutors, when they see a defendant doing something profoundly dangerous to their self-interest (including hiring lawyers who have conflicts), will raise it with the defendant and suggest they rethink it,” he explained. “I think it very possible that that happened here—Mueller is a scrupulous prosecutor and may have told Trump he had concerns about Trump’s own rights. If it did happen, it would strongly suggest that Mueller is formally thinking of Trump as a target of his investigation . . . A prosecutor would issue such a warning to a target, not to a witness.”

FUNNY: Craigslist DC Ad Seeks Lawyer For Trump  

The US expels Russian diplomats, but Trump had to be dragged kicking and screaming to agree to it

Kellyanne goes on Fox World to say this disproves the Russia investigation because it shows Trump isn't in Russia's pocket

No it doesn't:
Trump’s odd history of downplaying Russian aggression

The OTHER Christopher Steele report

The White House has finished its review of Jared Kushner's real estate activities, and just wants everyone to know that it is ALL JUST FINE. That is all, carry on  

This stinks. The FEC is trying to slow-walk the review of whether Trump/Cohen's payment to Stormy Daniels violated campaign finance laws. It shouldn't take A YEAR (or more!)

Trump said Mexico would pay for The Wall™. Then he said, no, really, Mexico WILL PAY for The Wall™. 

Then he said, well, WE will pay for The Wall™, but Mexico will reimburse us. Then he said, we will pay for The Wall™, but it will pay for itself. 

Now he says, the MILITARY will pay for The Wall™, and that way we won't need Congressional approval (but it will be taking away funds that he was just bragging would go toward troops and weapons).

So, just to summarize, we have gone from "Mexico will pay for it!" to "The Military will pay for it!"

In other news . . .

Trouble for Trump's CIA nominee?

Trump wants a line-item veto. It's unconstitutional, but he still wants it 

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says we should repeal the Second Amendment

[NB: Well, THAT won't happen. My view is that we should simply enforce it as written: it does NOT authorize the unlimited personal ownership of guns, and it calls for strict regulation.]

Not So Long Ago, the Second Amendment Didn’t Guarantee the Right to Own a Gun

The NRA admits that it accepts foreign funding, but says it doesn't use them to influence elections . . .uh. . . sorta

NRA Acknowledges Receiving Foreign Funds, Moving Money Between Accounts

Trump wants to use the census to police immigration, knowing that it will suppress and distort demographic numbers

At Least Twelve States to Sue Trump Administration Over Census Citizenship Question

Not shocking, really
Trump treats Texas hurricane victims better than those from Puerto Rico
How Trump favored Texas over Puerto Rico

Trump's shocking neglect of hurricane-battered Puerto Rico, by the numbers

Trump hates Amazon 

We need a modern view of global trade

Another judge tells Scott Walker he can't delay special elections in Wisconsin

The GOP doesn't like to pass balanced budgets -- but they love to pass balanced budget amendments (especially now that they have created a massive deficit with their tax cuts)

The NRA is lying about the Maryland school shooting

The Parkland kids watched their friends get killed. They have been incredibly articulate and moving. All they want is to protect more kids from being killed. Now watch the right-wing liars attack them as "Nazis"

Trump rages against Stormy Daniels in private

In Fox World:
After completely ignoring the Stormy Daniels story on Monday, Fox & Friends finally devoted a segment to the scandal surrounding President Trump’s alleged affair and hush payment to the adult film actress. But host Ainsley Earhardt went to extreme lengths to downplay it, making the case that the media has “a double standard” because they have “forgotten about Bill Clinton,” who was impeached 20 years ago.  . . . Earhardt opened the segment by suggesting that nobody but the media cares about Trump’s alleged affair with Daniels. . . . [read on]

The NDA Stormy Daniels signed was boilerplate language that suggests more than one person had been forced to sign one. Daniels' lawyer says 6 (now 8) other women have come froward saying they signed one too -- and part of the boilerplate language addresses paternity issues (Trump doesn't like to wear a condom). Stay tuned

In praise of John Avenatti

Colonel Sanders lies
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely claimed on Tuesday that the citizenship question the Trump administration decided to add to the 2020 Census has been part of the national survey for decades. “This is a question that’s been included in every census since 1965, with the exception of 2010 when it was removed,” Sanders said, later repeating the same claim. . . .

After facing several questions about a payment from Trump attorney Michael Cohen to porn actress Stormy Daniels, and President Donald Trump’s silence on Daniels’ allegation of an affair, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders complained on Tuesday that reporters asked the “the same question over and over and over again.” “I don’t think it’s silent when the President has addressed this. We’ve addressed it extensively. There’s just nothing else to add,” Sanders said . . .

This shows the flaw in "approval ratings." Trump's numbers go UP -- but don't tell me that 42% of the population "approves" of him

Bonus item: On character
This type of scandal demonstrates why character does matter in politics. The main problem is not sex. It is a certain approach to public life. Trump feels exempt from the normal rules of honesty and decency. He plays close to ethical and legal lines. And he uses his wealth and influence to shield his embarrassing behavior from view -- with hush money, non-disclosure agreements, legal threats and lies from the White House briefing room podium. He forces everyone around him to become complicit in his corruption. Members of Congress, White House staffers, party officials, conservative media figures and religious leaders are all expected to be accomplices. . . Trump has made a career out of paying and manipulating people to be dishonest about him. It is how he built his image as a plausible president, even though he was more of a con man than a successful businessman. This weakness of character is now what moves Republicans in Washington to speak of him as though he is a great leader -- bowing and scraping in the hope of getting what they want. Sometimes they do. But in the process they give Trump what he wants: people pretending he is something he is not. . . 

***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.***